This episode was published on 11 February 2021 and is approximately 54 minutes long. This episode made possible by Glow Your Soul and Anchor.fm.
In this episode we’re joined by Micah McMullen and Bryan Kenneweg, who are co-authors, with Imran, of a book about Mendix and programming with low code. You can order
Building Low-Code Applications with Mendix
on Amazon today!
This conversation covers a lot of ground; from the backgrounds of the authors, to technology, to low-code, and the expectations of young developers today. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this free-form conversation about writing a book, working with editors, and how technology impacts our lives.
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Bryan Kenneweg, Micah McMullen, Imran Kasam
Show Notes & Selected Links
Once again, we’re providing the entire transcript of the episode as the show notes.
Let’s Jump Right In
[0:00:01] Steve: Good morning, Imran. Welcome to another episode of the architect and the executive. How are you today?
[0:00:07] Imran: I’m doing good, Steve. How are you?
[0:00:08] Steve: You know, I’m really well today. Got another beautiful day. And I am excited that I have the opportunity to talk with not one, not two, but three authors today. So for our audience, everybody knows Imran We also have with us today Bryan Kenny wig and Mike McMullen, who are altogether writing a book about Mendix and low code, which we are super excited to talk to everyone about. We’re going to jump into some introductions, talk a little bit about the journey, and then the book s O brien, why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about you? And how did you get started in low code programming?
[0:00:47] Bryan: Yeah. Thanks, Steve. Yeah. So my name is Bryan. Kenneweg. I’m a software engineer. Team lead at eXp. Working on sort of the international side of things, but, uh, diving into sort of low code. It’s for me, sort of starting my my technology or sort of software development path. It might sound bad for me, but I was always sort of a almost like a lazy developer. I was always looking for fast ways to kind of complete sort of, you know, the basic tasks. And I’ve always sort of looked at some quick frameworks. Or I think one of the things that I discovered was this this technology called, like Keystone, where just quickly built a nap. You kind of just filled in the blanks. But I really started picking up Mendix when I, uh, was hired on to the A consulting firm here in the US and kind of help start their Mendix firm. I think I was employee number one. And from there I worked with couple clients from, you know, small metal manufacturing companies to larger banking and finance companies. So from there, um, I worked there for a little over a year and dove into eXp. And that sort of started my cycle with with Mendix and low code
[0:02:07] Steve: that’s pretty amazing. So thank you. And I’ll just put out there that for the most part, the lazy developers are the best developers because they’re going to figure out how to make things work so they have to do it twice. Micah, What about like, how did you get,
[0:02:20] Imran: like, a natural thing for mathematicians to just be lazy? I think we call it efficiency
[0:02:25] Bryan: it is. Yeah, that’s probably a better word.
[0:02:28] Micah: It’s all about the label, right?
[0:02:34] Steve: so Michael, what about you?
[0:02:35] Micah: Yeah, Um, for me, I feel like low code kind of found me. Um, it wasn’t something I was actively looking for seeking. Um, I was working at a medical device company back in is probably 2012. 2013. Ah, I was working as, ah business systems analyst at the time. We had a project to uh, we had a ah, portal. That was just in this old technology. I think it was like, written in cold fusion or something that just no one. You know, at least that the company was, you know, aware of her maintaining, um, eso we’re looking at to bring it into a more modern, you know, tech stack in Mendix came in and just blew us out of the water. They did a great job coming in and like, a proof of concept and like, you know, 24 hours or something, You had all the basic functionality. And we’re like, Wow, if they can, you know, prove out to us. You know, obviously there wasn’t an entirely working application, but it was just kind of the the framework, the basics. We were really impressed. So they came in. I think it was Jasper from Mendix came in did like the crash course like it was like, 345 days or so, you know, maybe, like, five or six of us all crammed in a conference from and Yeah, that just kind of I haven’t looked back since, Um, so that was probably 2013, maybe late 2012. So yeah, it kind of found me. It was kind of cool
[0:04:06] Steve: that’s really interesting. And think about, you know, that experience and how things would be today, right? We can’t cram a bunch of people into a conference room way would put you know everybody into a virtual world, like, I don’t know, maybe for Virbela. And have everyone, you know sit together remotely to do that sort of crash course. Just imagine how different that experience would have been. You know, in that in that time frame?
[0:04:32] Micah: Oh, yeah, No for sure. I know em around you and I have kind of talked about that. We have e think a similar experience with kind of how we got introduced. Um, but yeah, I know. It’s, um I think about it often because it’s something that, like, at the time, I didn’t really know what I was getting into, Um, which was kind of cool, but looking back on that, I mean, fast forward the tape, you know, whatever it is. 8, 7, 8, 9 years from, You know, looking back, it’s It’s crazy. It feels like a lifetime ago. Yeah.
[0:04:58] Imran: Yeah, I think earlier in 2012, same thing Jasper came down and we all got into a conference room, and he gave us that first, You know what was initially called? Mendix Apprentice back then, right? Three day course. And? And we learned a little bit about, um, what was called the modeler studio pro, You know, back before some of the branding changes and things like that. So we’re kind of dinosaurs in this in this platform?
[0:05:24] Micah: Yeah, I remember sitting in the conference room and everyone was you know everyone’s excited, right? Like, Oh, this is just really cool. We can all collaborate and work together. And I remember, you know, we’re like, writing down Just you know what would then become kind of the foundation of this application and like, Oh, hey, I’m building this entity and I’m doing this and hey, that you got this thing and it was it was kind of cool, like, there’s five or six or seven of us in the room at the time. Um, but it was It was just Yeah, it was a good experience. It was cool
[0:05:51] Steve: that actually, it reminds me for, you know, for me, I do a little bit of low code. Imran’s forced me to learn some things, and obviously the job requires it. But the for me, it was going from HTML. So I’m dating myself here. There’s a long time ago into ASP, not ASP.net. Not that right that everybody knows, but literal ASP taking a web page and converting it into something instead of having 50 different copies of the Web page to putting a little bit of code behind it. And then, you know I remember when ASP started talk about branding. It was a ASP+ that they were gonna make it, but it turned into dot Net is where it ended up going. So it’s amazing to me how how those things change and you think about what? That what that looks like. So you guys have been in this low code working on Mendix for a while. Um, both of you have gone from, you know, that very beginner Thio. I’m pretty sure both of you are now Expert certified. What’s that like? Like, what’s that journey? What’s the What’s the process? How did that go? You know, Bryan, you want to start?
[0:06:59] Bryan: Yeah, yeah, I can. I could definitely start its’s. Yeah, it’s It’s like you said. I’m trying to think back just from sort of me sitting down and, you know, being in my head just trying to learn Mendix, event to where I am now to sort of fairly recently achieving that. That expert level cert it’s Yeah, it’s definitely been a journey. It’s, you know, seeing the different versions and whatnot. But, um, for me, I think the big buildup is getting those first certifications, getting your rapid. And I think as well as the larger one is getting the advance. And then those two together is what kind of sets you into place to get that expert. You’re kind of building those skills. You’re kind of building your background and your portfolio and the knowledge to kind of get you ready for that expert level to say, Hey, you know what? I got these two Certs and and as well as to kind of prove yourself that you are a truly an expert Mendix developer. But yeah, it’s it’s been definitely a journey, and and it’s funny going through sort of the requirements where they’re asking you. Hey, you know what? What apps have you worked on and going through? You know, pages of Well, I’ve worked on this and this and this and this, and it kind of, you know, going for that expert level. It kind of actually, you know, set set you back like you’re you’re thinking like, wow, like, I’ve worked on a lot of different applications I’ve worked on, you know, many teams and and, um, yeah, it’s going for that expert. Definitely kind of gives you a little bit of the bigger picture of your your Mendix career.
[0:08:38] Steve: Micah, what’s it looked like from from your point of view, you know, doing that same sort of journey along the way. Did you Were there certain things that were, you know, bigger challenges? Did you have that same Wow. I worked on a lot of things. What’s what was that like?
[0:08:53] Micah: Yeah. No, I It’s funny, Bryan, as you were saying that I was thinking about that process. When you write when you submit the expert, you know, it really forces you to look back over your time and and often in the day to day, I mean, you guys air no stranger to this concept, right in the day to day you get so focused on what you’re doing. Um, when you lift your head up for a second and kind of look back, it’s, you know wow. Okay. There. Yeah. I have been doing this for a while. I am a dinosaur. Simran said, um so no, it was kind of a cool, cool experience going through the expert things. It does force you to look back and, you know, and not just, you know, in a quick moment. Think about things. But you really have to think through, you know, the projects and who was involved and what did the the application do? S so that was kind of a cool process. But, you know, thinking back to just like the rapid, you know, as we were talking a minute ago about the theme the, um When When Jasper, for example came in and we did the course, you know, you took the rapid. It wasn’t even called the rapid at the time, But you took it right after or at least we did. And, you know, your head is still spinning from the three days of just information that’s being thrown at you. Um, So I remember sitting there trying to do the rapid examines, and it’s a multiple choice kind of test that you take and just like, what have I gotten myself into, like, what is going on right now? Um, but, you know, you get through that right, and then it’s OK, You get dropped in the deep end, and here you go. Here’s a project. Go, go Do it. Go. Build it. Go Make it right as Mendix says so that was really like, you know, exactly like they say, you just get dropped right in, and you know, you’re gonna learn from drinking from the firehose.
[0:10:31] Steve: Yeah, there’s no doubt that and in my experience, that tends to be the best way, right? It’ll gives you that chance to just get in, fill your way around, figure it out and and really, you know, own that whole process off of, of learning the language but learning how to use it, the tools, all of that. And for me, anyway, it drives a lot of confidence later on.
[0:10:57] Micah: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Otherwise, it’s just theory, right? I mean, so you’re just it’s concepts from a book or from you know, of course, right. And and that’s great. And you need that. That’s a foundation, but yeah, to get dropped in. And now you’re taking those those those theories or those concepts and really applying them, man, there’s no better way to learn something in my opinion.
[0:11:17] Steve: So I’m gonna turn things on you a little bit. As you guys, you know, we’ve kind of talked a little bit about being in this for a while and the term dinosaur and everybody thinks about that is, you know, super old history. Low code is relatively new, right? In the landscape, of software. It’s new. So think about where it is and where maybe where we’re using into your experience. Where do you see the future Off low code. Like, if you think out the next couple of years, what do you see? Different. Maybe not How We’re using it. A t e x p but just in general, on the platform. Like, what does that look like from from you for your point of view?
[0:11:56] Micah: Yeah, I think as a technology, Um, and as a, uh if you call it a discipline. But I only see it becoming more and more accessible. Um, you know, we have Mendix. There’s other low code platforms to I think you’re just gonna see more and more of it and it more widespread across organizations. So just that’s just from what I’ve seen, even just the last seven or eight years of my involvement, I mean, the community, um, Mendix itself and has has grown exponentially. And I don’t I don’t see that slowing down personally.
[0:12:30] Bryan: Yeah, and and I would definitely jump on and say you know, 100% on that. When whenever I started with, you know, using Mendix even, you know, when I was, uh within the career wise, you the only Mendix jobs you would really see is was in Mendix. You didn’t really see anyone really using Vendex. You might see someone offs. And now it’s you see, you know, everyone’s using Mendix, and that’s so much, you know, even here within the states. But you’re seeing sort of even, you know, looking outwards. Like, for instance, I believe you know, the whole governments are switching their systems to use Mendix as their platform and and, uh, and working on that so it’s definitely interesting to see sort of where it started, where you know, Hey, you know what is Mendix to now? Everyone’s using it from almost peer coast to coast to now more globally.
[0:13:23] Imran: Yeah, I’m gonna actually jump in on this one, too, because I noticed, um, a post the other day from one of my colleagues in the Mendix community, and he posted a picture of his seven year old son doing some programming on popular video game that they’re working on. And now he’s using basically low code to build levels and things like that. And I’ve noticed the same thing with my nephew, who is also seven, about to turn eight. And he made a good point, which was these kids that are growing up. They’re not going to grow up and want to write thousands of lines of code to build programs and their professional life. They’re growing up with an experience, you know, we didn’t grow up programming, and so we’ve had to learn and adjust as we went along to what was there. But now, in the next 20 years, the market of the workforce is gonna have an expectation of what this experience should be like for them. And I think low code is definitely going to be something that they’re gonna really fully embraces. A native, you know, organic thing to them.
[0:14:22] Steve: That’s interesting. I you know, I have ah, 15 year old who is very into computers. He got his rapid certification this past summer, put him through the Mendix course because I thought, you know, I might need some help with all the things we have going on. He doesn’t do the you know, the roadblocks or anything like that. But he is doing programming at school. They have. It’s called Project Lead The Way they work in different sorts of languages. You know, they’ve done, I think, some stuff in PHP. They you know, they do different sorts of challenges to learn how to program. And it’s very interesting to me. I started when I was 10, writing in basic on a TRS-80. I mean, I’ve been around doing this a long, long time, which I don’t think it was any surprise. But you’re right. I’m on the the expectation of what it will look like in the tools, and what people will have is completely different, right? He was one of the programmers on his robot robotic team this past year, and he’ll be doing it again this year, and the expectations that they have for being ableto easily right commands to allow someone to use an Xbox controller to manage a robot wirelessly is like I hadn’t really ever thought about that, like, That’s a huge leap from where we were, where everything was by wire and you had to write it all in and really, really designed it to a way that it could work. And now they’re like, No, no, no. I should just be able to program some buttons on a controller and have it work for that robot, and it just works. That’s a the big mind shift.
[0:15:58] Imran: Oh, yeah. Ultimately, as things evolved, I think people just become more and more abstracted from the hardware, right, and and being able to communicate with him.
[0:16:08] Bryan: Yeah, I I think I also kind of going with that too, I think. Originally just within low code, it seemed like it was very sort of like enterprise business related. And then now you start seeing sort of, you know, even within Mendix, even within other local low code platforms, for instance, there’s a sub one called Bubble. They completely re created Twitter musical low code. And you’re just starting to see sort of these mawr sort of options that you have for using a low code versus, you know, sort of. Hey, you know, originally whenever I started, it was sort of mainly for, like, the enterprise level companies.
[0:16:44] Micah: Yeah, I think the just the barrier to entry on that is is much lower. You know, I even see or in general now. And you see things that air marketed towards I have, ah, 4.5 year old and we see, you know, stem type stuff marketed for that age. And I was talking about my wife like, man, we really got to get him. And he just wants to play freeze tag and, you know, play with his dinosaur figures right now. But like a soon as he starts to show some interest, you know, we nudge him in that direction like it’s even at that age. It’s you can they can already start starting with learn some of that stuff. It’s really need it Z as a as a, um culture and as a you know, mankind. Right? And this is a much larger discussion. Um, but, you know, everything is around technology and code, right in the in the background. So it’s Yeah, we’re only going to see more and more of it.
[0:17:34] Steve: Funny that you, you know, talk about at 4.5. I think my my son, who is now 15, he was into Mythbusters dinosaurs. The deadliest catch. Um, that was one of his favorite shows because it’s always on after mythbusters and and all sorts of things that dealt with electricity. So I used to get those little snap block things the little you could just kind of put them together and you could create circuits and it, you know, had a battery and a horn and a buzzer and all these things, and his whole goal was, how many batteries can I put on? How loud can I make the horn go off? And how far can that thing stretch before you know, things blow up like that’s what that’s what he wanted to do. He really you know, he wanted to see how those things work. And I think of my younger son and he wanted the He wanted the experience. He didn’t wanna have to go tinker and build that stuff. You just want to be able to play with it and see what he could do, as opposed to deconstructing and reconstructing it. He just wanted that great experience of playing with the toy and having something fun that he could then take and do something else with right that it would now it just expanded his horizon and was able to move forward doing something else.
[0:18:46] Micah: As Long as you’re not trying to electrocute the dog or their dad or something like that stuff, right? Well,
[0:18:52] Steve: yeah. I mean, thinking back we might have been, you know? Hey, Dad, you put these two together knowing that he had created some sort of circuit that was gonna
[0:19:00] Imran: Yeah,
[0:19:02] Steve: we might have shorted out more than one set of those things. Um,
[0:19:06] Micah: well, that’s part of the experience, right?
[0:19:08] Steve: It sure is. You know, I remember the first time I inadvertently pluged something in wrong got sent across the room because I had my finger on the the plug in the wrong place. So, yeah, you gotta you gotta learn somehow. You get that scar tissue?
[0:19:21] Bryan: Yeah,
[0:19:21] Imran: they do make you know, Thio something you said. Michael, you’re talking about, you know, the 4.5 year old and the stem the toys that are geared towards that. When my seven year old nephew was five, I had gotten him this caterpillar, and it’s like I don’t know if it was like a Fisher Price toy or something like that. But the idea was it teaches the kid programming concepts, but it’s in a fun way. So the Caterpillar had a bunch of segments and each segment it could be separated and rearranged back together in any order, and each segment was a specific function. One was go straight. One was turned left when was turned right. One was you turned and the idea was to teach their mind to rearrange the functions in a specific order to solve a problem. And so you might build ah Mei’s or like, a pathway or something and say, Okay, you want to get from point A to point B, and you need to be able to take some, you know, specific turns go straight around here, and then you can kind of rearrange this and then the child can, you know, rearrange the segments of the kind of pillar to solve the problem. And then when you started, it will execute your function, and then you either figure out you got there or you didn’t, and you need to debug and rearrange your functions and, you know, try and figure it out from there.
[0:20:29] Micah: That’s cool. That that’s really neat. It’s funny when we, um, you see a child trying to figure that out. Like for, you know, an adult, right? Your mind is instantly. Oh, yeah? Well, I started to go straight and turn right, and, you know, loop de loop, whatever it needs to do. But for their, like, you see, like, almost the synapses in their brain starting to fire and you know them to figuring that out. That’s that’s pretty cool. You have tow Thio. Send me the link to that.
[0:20:52] Imran: Yeah, well, look it up and see if we could find it for the show Notes. I probably played with a little bit more than he did in the beginning, but it was just a really neat thing to see, you know?
[0:21:01] Micah: Yeah, that’s cool.
[0:21:03] Steve: I still remember from my childhood one of my really good friends, he and I, he had a Commodore, um, before the Commodore 64. And I had the the TRS 80. So we used to write programs for each other, like little you know, text based adventures. But he had a truck. Ah, Moon Lander truck. That was like that same sort of thing that had a little pad on it. You could program in, you know, go forward this long turn turn. You know, I think it could Onley turn right. Um, but But I had a bed on the back of it, so we would basically, you know, say okay, we want to take this whatever. You know, beer, not it wasn’t a beer. Jesus. Sorry, we were kids, but we might have been delivering to adult. Um, you know, take this drink, put it in the back and drive it from the kitchen down the hallway into the living room, right over where it supposed to go, The person who wanted it and try to figure how to get the truck to go there in the, you know, the fewest number of edits on. You know, I still remember that toy, and I’m pretty sure it’s out there with, but it’s still out there. I’ve seen it on eBay. I’ll have to find it for showing up, because that’s the same sort of thing. Is that caterpillar? And I don’t know why there aren’t more toys like that. I would still play with them.
[0:22:14] Micah: Yeah, Yeah, that’s that’s cool that you can get your kid to program you a truck that delivers you a beer. That sounds. That sounds perfect. E
[0:22:23] Steve: That doesn’t feel like mission accomplished right there.
[0:22:26] Imran: Pretty ideal right there. That’s
[0:22:28] Steve: meaningful. Um, so I wanna change topics just a little bit. So we’re talking about, you know, fun things for our kids and different things that we see them use. What about for you guys? You know, in your day, Um, I happen to know that you guys work in a pretty busy environment. There’s a lot of things going on. What are some of the tools that you guys use in trying to manage? Manage your day, your your work. Life integration. What are some of the tools you just can’t live without?
[0:22:57] Bryan: Uh, I could go ahead and start on that for me. As many screens as I can have. I wanna be like you. Like the movie swordfish just with with with, uh, screens and and and monitors all over the place. I can’t go back just toe. Have just a simple laptop in just one. Monitor it. I feel like that’s not productive at at all. But as for going more towards, uh, like software, really simple, just, you know, virtual sticky notes. That’s the biggest thing for me to just pop them on my screen, jot down notes, and I can kind of go throughout. You know, by the end of my day, I can kind of review them and, you know, go from there. Um, and the other big thing is is calendar, uh, just the Google calendar that that comes with the G suite and that just helps extremely, extremely. Aiken jot in just again meetings time Or, you know what? This time I’m working. Don’t bother me. I got to get this done, and hopefully I don’t get any meetings during that time. But, um, that’s you know usually what? What? What I use to kind of help keep me productive.
[0:24:02] Micah: Yeah, it’s it’s funny you mentioned sticky notes Bryan. Ah, there’s, ah, chrome extension that actually John Higginbotham on our team suggested to me, it’s called It’s called note note board sticky notes, app. But basically you could do the same thing. You create virtual, you know, sticky notes, but then it will be you drop him on Web pages, and then next time you go to that page, the note is there when the page loads, um so that that one’s super helpful recently when you’re jumping between what you guys know, right? We’ve got all these services and and APS we got to be logging into and making sure data gets from point A to B to C. Um, so having those sticky notes there’s has been pretty helpful s that That’s a that’s a newer one that I’ve started using that I find pretty
[0:24:44] Bryan: healthy. Yeah, that immediately sounds better than the ones that I use. Might literally. Just like Ah, virtual just like literally sticky note. Yeah, that sounds Yeah, a lot better.
[0:24:54] Steve: I love that you mentioned in your in your calendar, you know, blocking time out in Iran. And I have talked about that. Ah, lot, right. That’s the the idea. The GSD for us Get stuff done. Or I guess they get things done. Is the official name of it. The idea that you have to block out time in orderto allow yourself to focus on the things you know. You have to get done and you know it’s true for me. It’s true for everyone. How do you manage that? As you’re dealing with all the things that are going on around you, How do you manage your time to do that? To get things done.
[0:25:29] Bryan: So it’s really I think the easiest thing is just saying, you know that that, uh, well, number one just learning how to say no to a meeting invites there’s times where, like, you know what? Like, you know, I have tow hop into this meeting. You know, there are some fires that that happened, and you have to kind of hop in there. But I think the big thing is is you know what? Like you need to get things done, and it is completely okay for you to sometimes to decline meetings for you to get these priorities done. Um, and no one to decline and know when to say no. Versus being sort of like a Ah, yes, man, when it comes down to meetings, you know? No, I do not need to go to this meeting. You could shoot me a message, and it will be perfectly fine that way. I think that’s really the big thing. Is sort of balancing when to say no and and decline those meetings and, uh, and really kind of say, you know what? This is my time. You know, I need to get things done during this
[0:26:26] Micah: for me. It’s been, um, is You guys obviously are well aware of being a global company. You get people pretty much on every time zone you could think of. Um, I’m east Coast. Uh, there’s folks on my team I deal with every day that air five or six hours ahead of me in the Netherlands, three hours behind me on West Coast, and, like, 100 hours ahead of me in India. Um, so finding that sweet spot for me, it tends to be like, right in the first thing in the morning, like 8 a.m. to, like, 10 AM ish where I don’t get a lot of meeting requests. I’ve got it kind of blocked out. And that’s sort of my timeto focus on what I need to get done and prepare for the day. Um, just and And that will probably change next week, right? But that for now, that’s kind of my sweet spot, right? In the times. I don’t know what it is, but yeah, but I’m saying it, you know, probably ruin it, but meeting invite sent, right?
[0:27:20] Bryan: Yeah,
[0:27:23] Steve: And now I know when to look and something that Imran has talked about in the past. Just about how toe you have to find your flow time. Like, what’s that period that works for you and Ron? Anything you wanna add in there?
[0:27:37] Imran: Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s hard to really put your best effort forth when you’re doing something and you’re constantly interrupted in it, right? And we talk about flow state and things like that, and you need time to get yourself. It’s like getting in the zone, right? Um And so whether you’re programming writing, painting, whatever it is that you’re doing that you know your core skill, um, you gotta be able to give yourself a few hours time to focus on the task so that you can, you know, you could get a lot done in a few hours of uninterrupted time. Then you could in 10 hours where you were constantly getting interrupted every 15 or 20 minutes and having toe mentally, start back over on your task in what you were doing.
[0:28:16] Steve: Yeah, the constant switching right. The interrupts our what? Kill everything like that. Is it so hard? We talk about multitasking but really forcing your brain to switch back and forth like that means that you’re going to take a lot longer to do any of them.
[0:28:33] Micah: Yeah, and it’s either you’re distracted on the task you’re trying to accomplish off to the side or your Your attention to a meeting is distracted. You’re always trying to balance these things, but it’s it is a challenge and trying to stay focused on one thing, you become much more effective. Um, and as Imran mentioned, you know, especially with development. I mean, if you’re trying to figure out a bug or you’re building a feature, a small as a feature could be, Maybe if you don’t have, ah decent block of time to carry that thought process through. You know, two hours broken up into 15 minute segments is not the same as just two hours of sitting down and being able to work through that. So I found that so that’s a challenge at times, too.
[0:29:16] Imran: Yeah, and you mentioned the other side of that, which is when you’re in meetings being present and being focused on the meeting, because if everyone’s in the meeting doing something else, well, that’s a huge waste of time for everyone in the meeting, you know? And if there’s someone who had an objective in getting you all together and they’re not getting what they need out of you, then you’re not being fair to that either, right? So either take Bryan and Steve drought and just say no. And don’t go to the meeting or make sure that you have time to go to the meeting, make sure you’re prepared. And on that end, you know, Steve is always a big stickler on. If you invite him to meeting, put in an agenda. What are we gonna talk about? How should I be prepared for you so that when I hop into this room with you, I could give you my best and make sure that you’re getting what you need out of it.
[0:30:02] Steve: Yeah, I think about that a lot. Like, you know, ah, development task, right? You know, you have ah, story or a bug there. There’s a list somewhere that says or description that says, Here’s what you need to do You’re prepared for spending X amount of time working on that. You’re not getting it and saying Oh, this is blank. Let me go try to figure out what it is, right? A meeting is the same way. Meeting without an agenda is like a story for a development effort that has no details. Is our body Kirkwood say there’s no acceptance criteria? I don’t know what it is I’m expected to do here. How can I give you anything, let alone my best? If you don’t tell me what’s going on, I had
[0:30:41] Micah: Yeah, I I used to work with a guy that Ah, if you’re meeting invite didn’t have an agenda, you just wouldn’t go. Wouldn’t even ask for you agenda if you’re not gonna put the take the time, take the two minutes to put at least a sentence. Something right? What is what is this? Meeting Just wouldn’t show up and yeah, I mean, that’s an extreme example. Maybe, but I like him already effective. Yeah. Who is this person?
[0:31:04] Steve: Eso as you guys think about when you’re you mentioned some virtual sticky notes in your calendar, but is you’re in working, doing your creative work in development outside of the model. Because I know you guys do a lot of work in Mendix. Anything else you add into that mix. Anything that helps you with the creative work. You know, the maker process of building.
[0:31:34] Bryan: Yeah, uh, one of the tools that I’ve been using and I actually have a bookmarked just because I use it so much just it helps with just even just troubleshooting. Just a simple like Jason for matter validator where, You know, especially, you know, when it comes down to Catholic messages and like, the new route that we’re going, you know, if there’s an issue, I can easily just, you know, get get the value of that message popping in the validator and and the for matter And it just be nice and pretty for me. And I can easily go through it versus just kind of going through this big block of text and kind of skim to find one value, which I could just easily dio so something simple as that. And when I’m kind of going through from having to either build out some some custom piece or Cem Cem integration, the tool that I’ve been using is brackets. I kind of go back from well, the text editor brackets or, uh, sublime text. Um, but right now, it has been brackets.
[0:32:31] Micah: Yeah, I say I use sublime pretty often. And another one, Um, I think a lot of us use it. It’s his postman. If you’re gonna be touching an integration, it’s so simple to just set that up, you know, make sure make sure it works in Postman first. Before you invest the time and trying to plug it into, you know, whatever business logic you’re trying toe, you know, call to a service or something. So that that’s one that’s, you know, pretty regularly use. I’m sure across our, well, our organization, I’m sure you know tons of other ones, too.
[0:33:00] Steve: Yeah, Postman is ah is a lifesaver. It’s been around for so long. It Yeah. Without a doubt having that ability to just go see does does what I’m sending actually really work. I’m right there with you. I was thinking those you’re talking, Bryan. Little surprise. You’re saying when you look at a Jason message, it’s not like the Matrix where it’s all just kinda pouring down the screen and you see it in three D. That’s not works. Yeah,
[0:33:28] Bryan: its’s. I’m training myself. I’m not I’m not that neo level yet, but just a safe time. And I’m even kind of introducing this tools to even product support when they’re kind of going through like, hey, we’re having an issue And, you know, they’re trying to troubleshoot. Either be, uh, any type of ah Kafka message And like, Hey, just use this paste in there and you’ll be able to quickly fuel, because I just see them kind of skim through that whenever we’re in a meeting like just do that, you’ll easily be able to spot it out
[0:33:54] Steve: like that. So I think there’s, ah, plug in for note pad plus plus that will make a Jason will format of Jason message into the right syntax layout so you can actually read it. But I same with may I use those Jason beautif IRS all the time. I know how I would get around without them. Iran. Anything you found new. I know you’ve been doing a lot of different things working in a lot of different ways. Anything. Any new tools that have jumped out of you recently?
[0:34:25] Imran: Um, Well, you is. We’ve talked about some of the task tracking stuff for me. I’m gonna start playing around with superhuman for emails. I know you. You recommended it to me and I specifically asked because you’ve been using it for a while now, Um, I’ve been trying to find a better way to organize and go through my emails versus just being a giant mess and, uh, you know, Google Inbox. So, um, that’s that’s probably the next new thing that’s gonna chopped across my desk.
[0:34:50] Steve: Yeah, I hear you. I I am a I am a fan. We’ll link the show in the show notes. But Steve Peel, we had him on a couple months ago and he recommended it. He was so hyped up about it. I’m like, there is no way. And then in Ron and I were talking earlier this week and I realized that I sounded just like Steve feel I was that much of an evangelist for this product, that I was like, Oh, man. And he was right. I didn’t realize so
[0:35:18] Imran: yeah, and it’s huge because I think, Steve, you and I have a huge disdain for email in general and we talk about that Atlanta in multiple shows. And so that’s one thing that, you know, convinced me was how enthusiastic you were now about your email inbox. And so I was like, Okay, I want to be at that level. I’ll have what
[0:35:37] Steve: he’s having. I am so close to inbox zero every day that it’s amazing. It’s such a good feeling and just all the control around it.
[0:35:45] Micah: It’s funny, Uh, I think it was my first week working with Imran. You told me, and it’s just stuck with me. Except that was funny. Um, you said your inbox is just somebody else’s to do list and that stuck with me and like, Yeah, you know what? You are absolutely right. So I only checked my email once a month. Now it’s great
[0:36:02] Imran: E check my regular like USPS mailbox like once every three or four months, and then I just take all the mail, put it into a box, and once a year, I take it to someone who will just shred it for me in Mass. I can’t even like it’s just you have to find better ways to communicate. I think
[0:36:22] Steve: exactly so. Speaking about communication and tools, one of the reasons that we have three authors here today is that there’s a new book coming out all about men dicks and writing and working in low code. So one I’m fascinated by the fact that you guys air are writing a book together or have written a book together, Iet’s out there or it’s coming. What was that like? How did you guys decide? You know? Hey, let’s go write a book.
[0:36:54] Bryan: Yeah, I guess I can pick that up, because I guess it’s the story. Kind of starts with me, um, breath kind of going with the tools and communication. Really? I’m sort of a big linked in Fanboy. I’ve landed my past two jobs through Lincoln, Um, and a swell as I was able to meet a lot of great people, especially within the low code fields. And that’s sort of how the book kind of stumbled into our lap where I got a message from, uh, someone from packet. They were looking into, uh, making a, uh, low code book on their one, wanting to see if I was interested in it. And, you know, I kind of came up, and I think Enron and Micah and sort of sort of both We’ve sort of, you know, chatted like, hey, you know, that would be cool or something along the lines or doing something on YouTube or or anything like that. But, um, looking through it, I’m like, You know what? This is sort of the best thing for for, for for all of us. So I reached out to pack him like, Hey, you know what? This sounds like a great opportunity. Can I bring into other authors? And they’re sure perfect. So I reached out to Micah. He, uh you know, he was He seemed like he wanted to to do it as well as, ah, Enron. And that’s sort of how it how it started. Um, just through ah, random shot in the dark, linked in message from from packet to me.
[0:38:16] Steve: Eso basically what? What I’m hearing is that those those random connections where you send a you know, to everybody on LinkedIn they work. That’s that’s really great.
[0:38:26] Bryan: Exactly Exactly what one of those Nigerian prince emails might actually be in Nigeria. E,
[0:38:34] Micah: remember when Bryan, this is your texting me about it? I thought he was joking at first, like no one reads books. Come on, What are you talking about? But now it’s its’s. You know. Obviously, he wasn’t joking, but it was. Well, I’m sure we’ll get into that in a minute here, but yeah, it was, uh, unexpected. I think it kind of just found us, I guess.
[0:38:54] Imran: And I think even at first we were all pretty weary and skeptical about the publisher. You know, they have a lot of content out, and since then, I’ve looked at some of the other books and courses that they have out there. But it was kind of new for us. And we’re like, Is this is this even, really? You know, like, Okay, we’re gonna put a lot of stuff in, and someone’s gonna steal our work and, you know, go go publish it under something else. And so we definitely did some research into the publisher after Bryan approach us, and we’re just like, Hey, you know what? Let’s Let’s take a chance with this, it seems like a really good, good opportunity.
[0:39:25] Bryan: Well, that was generally my idea. Just have you guys kind of write it and you say, Yeah, I did the whole thing. I like now do that.
[0:39:33] Steve: Yeah, we’re in an attribution economy now, so you gotta let other people get in there. It’s all right. Um, So what was the what was the experience like? So I assume when you say I’m going to write a book, you have an expectation. How did the experience match up to what you expected? What? You you know, What was that like along the way?
[0:39:56] Micah: I I have a profound respect for people that write books as a like a career. I mean, after doing this, it is It was like, I don’t even exponentially more work than I thought it would be. And it was It was good. It was an awesome experience, but wow, it’s, um It’s a lot of work to put to put into that eso, I think just from ah, you know, like people that just turn out books, you know, left and right. Stephen King. Or, you know, any author that just has, like, a billion books, Man, the respect for those guys that can do that day in and day out, it’s It’s an art form.
[0:40:32] Bryan: Oh, yeah, 100% on that, we thought was gonna be something sort of like, fairly straightforward, like, Well, just jot something down and then send it to the editors and they’ll just fix it. There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of emails, a lot of edits, a lot of revisions. And I think really, the big thing that kind of at least made it a little bit easier for us is like we we we’re not necessarily doing this for like, a career. For necessarily for like, the next step. I think I can at least safe to say for all of us that we wanted to at least share our knowledge to the greater community and almost do this as a as a service for for others that are, you know what I’m getting into low code or you know, what is low code. So I think that’s also kind of made a little bit easier.
[0:41:16] Imran: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there was nothing particularly like it, you know, at the moment and still really isn’t most of the publications, you know, come directly from Index and another, you know, another colleague of ours. Renee has launched his low code academy this year, and you know he has a lot of things that he’s doing, but there’s not really, you know, you can’t go to Barnes and nobles and vitamin next book off the shelf, right? Or or Amazon, Or I guess people even know what Barnes and nobles is anymore. But, you know, So the idea was Yeah, let’s give back. Right and see, we’ve had this kind of ethos culture I d x p toe. Whatever we learn, we get back to the community. And, you know, as Bryan and Mike and I have grown exponentially in our careers over the last few years and with our use of the platform and and how we’ve kind of expanded out and it seemed like the best thing and the best way for us to put in some time and and, you know, give that knowledge back.
[0:42:08] Micah: Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that in rocks I was thinking about. Just are, as we were talking earlier about, you know, having ah, a longer time in this space in the low code space with Mendix. And I know you guys have touched on it before in the podcast. Like what will you leave behind? You know, And what will you leave behind for the community? What will you leave behind for the you know for the people that are three and four year olds now, right when they get up to age and, hey, they’re digging into low code or whatever the technology is at the time. You know, maybe our book is still kicking around on some dusty bookshelves somewhere, and so it’s It’s just kind of a cool thing to be able to give back in that way. Um, I think it’s Bryan alluded to as well, So it z e. I think that was a lot of the motivation there, too.
[0:42:51] Steve: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s one of my favorite things about the team that we have. And you guys, obviously, you know, are perfect examples of it. Is that ability that willingness to to give back right? We go on blaze some trails and there’s probably a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and instead of saying, man, the next person has got to figure this out, we’re no, we’re OK. Here’s how you do it. Here’s a way. Here’s a path forward and we’re everybody on our team really looks to to expand that which I absolutely love about our team. It’s a tremendous so on the book I didn’t. I realized I didn’t say this. What’s the official title? What are people going to go to Amazon right now and look for
[0:43:43] Imran: So that’s funny. We actually a good part of our our book writing journey was trying to figure out the title with the publisher, and, you know, we were throwing in some cool, funny options and things like that. But I think it’s a pretty straightforward building. Low code applications with index, right, Um and, you know, sky little fun Subtitle about, you know, being able to quickly build enterprise applications and things like that.
[0:44:10] Steve: All right, we will definitely like it from the show notes. So were there other people as you guys were putting all this together as you mentioned? And editor, um, were there other people that were involved and we’re Did you feel like that was additive? Did it make it better to make it harder? Um, I’m fascinated by this. I’ve never written a book. It’s something that that I would like to dio, um, years ago at a Barnes and nobles, I actually bought a book called Eso. You’ve got a book in you and it talks all about the writing process, and I read it and went Wow. Yeah, okay. I probably do, but I’m not sure when I’m gonna be able to pull that out. So what was that, like getting other people involved?
[0:44:52] Bryan: Yeah, it’s mainly I think, the getting other people involved, I ask for me, you know, bring it on. You know, Enron and Micah. It’s breath. I think it was fairly easy. You know, we we’ve already had a long work experience together, and I know the type of work that they put out. So I was like, You know what? You know, it’s just made sense with that, um, as we’re sort of the other individuals that help with the book. I know we had some e. I guess it kind of goes back to what we expected. And I initially expected. Hey, you know what? We write something down, they review it, and that’s it. But there was a lot of different steps and and they brought in they being packet brought in some some technical reviewers. Um, one of them. I did not catch his name. He sort of assisted with the first several chapters. And then they brought in I believe Renee and, uh, having him kind of a new fresh eyes that have been seat didn’t see the book and kind of go through every single chapter, every single sentence, and just jot down a comment on everything. Definitely, uh, kind of, you know, I think helped a lot, especially. I bring in someone else that has tons of Mendix experience. You know what? Yeah, that makes sense. Or you know what? I wasn’t thinking about that. Um, yes, I think it was definitely different. Fairly helpful with that.
[0:46:11] Imran: Yeah. And in addition to us and in the specific Mendix knowledge there was, you know, Packet Publishing’s editorial team. And we had several editors. We work with designers because ultimately, we way put stuff into word documents. And they, um, have done the work to create it into a book layout in a digital book layout and things like that, um, their technical editors on their staff to I think we probably worked with about what, 6 to 10 people at packet publishing who were also involved
[0:46:41] Bryan: in the production
[0:46:42] Imran: of this book. Yeah,
[0:46:43] Micah: yeah, yeah. They They’ve been awesome. I mean, just even the feedback they give and how quick they reply to things. Um, I think I think they’re based in where a lot of their editorial team is in India. And then they’ve got folks in the UK So it’s It’s, um you know, that talking about that, that time zone difference. But they’re they’ve been fantastic to work with.
[0:47:04] Steve: So from ah reader point of view again, all of our listeners, I’m, I’m sure have already just gone and and hit up Amazon or they’re planning on. Maybe they switched over to Mobile, and they’re driving to Barnes and nobles to go pick up the book. Um, there, What can they expect? So if I’m if I’m new to this or if I’m and maybe I’m an advanced or I’m working on my advance certification for Mendix, what can I expect from this book?
[0:47:31] Imran: So are our book is really it’s targeted towards people who have at least some kind of object oriented programming. So maybe you work with another language. Um, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert by any means. Um, we do, you know, we don’t go too far into the programming concepts. We do have an expectation that maybe you were a tech savvy business user, and you’ve been working with the B scripts and you have some idea of what you’re doing there. So kind of that sweet spot of the, you know, real target market for men. Next to say, you’ve worked with this a little bit, or you’re really advanced in your your next step is to start programming. But you want to go a different route. Um, then, you know, I think this book is really meant for you.
[0:48:13] Micah: Yeah, I think the way we’ve laid out the book to is, um, kind of the beginning portion. Section one. The first couple of chapters is sort of that introduction. Like, what is low code? What is men? Dicks. What’s the platform like? And then we take you all the way through Thio mean you basically have a functioning application at the end of it.
[0:48:56] Bryan: pretty much. If if you know the difference between Java and Java script, you should be able to at least go through this book and be in pretty good shape.
[0:49:04] Steve: Wait, you’re saying those aren’t the same thing? Just kidding. So that’s exciting. I know from our our pre show prep that they’re, you know, something’s out there. Do you guys have a that you’re still working on? You guys have a publication date? If that that’s okay, we can always update show notes later.
[0:49:28] Imran: But the official date is I think March 9th is what you’d see. If you went to pre order on Amazon, it would have for pre order a couple of weeks ago. Um, we have gotten indication from the editorial team that that maybe sooner because they’ve gotten through a lot of the things that they were expecting to get through ahead of time. Um, I know there’s like a last riel technical review going on right now with the editorial team, and we’re doing just some finalizing things like front matter and, you know, dedications. And just little things like that are our bios and stuff that we’re touching up. But I would say by the end of February, beginning of March, it should be be available. And it’s gonna be available as a digital and as a print version, So you could get a Kindle version of it. Or if you really want a book in your hands, you can You can also get a book in your hands.
[0:50:17] Steve: Oh, that z great. I’m excited for those of you that have, you know that. Listen to this show. You know that I I personally like physical books because I wanna be able to write in the margins. I wanna highlight things. I want to write notes to myself. Um, in this particular case, I know I’ll be purchasing a ah physical copy so that when we do get to see each other, I could get it autographed. Um, strong that I was setting that expectation right ahead of time. So
[0:50:43] Micah: that’s if you could get your hands on any Steve, I think my wife pre ordered all of the copies.
[0:50:48] Imran: E
[0:50:56] Steve: oh, man, Yeah, the Mendix book going for three times the cost. Okay, That’s what I see on eBay. I’ll know where to go. No, no problem, E. I love it. So this has been awesome for our listeners. I’m sure they will have gotten a lot of us. I have greatly enjoyed this conversation. Anything you guys want to share as a final thought, anything that you know, You’d like our audience, Thio. Remember to hear that kind of thing. No. All right, man. I put you all right on the spot like you did. You could say, Hey, you got to read the book.
[0:51:32] Micah: Yeah. You go by the
[0:51:33] Bryan: book? Yeah,
[0:51:35] Steve: that’s that’s okay. You talked about the dedication, you know, that sort of thing. I saw, um, em the other day, and it was a dedication in a book that said, you know, to my my wife and it had the name and my two Children. What? Not, um, without whom? This book would have been finished two years ago. Wow. Z
[0:51:58] Imran: kind of hard zio,
[0:52:03] Steve: right? I’m the next book. Well, so I’m gonna just go ahead and close this up here, then. Thank you. Bryan and Micah and Imran, This has been wonderful. Um thank you. You guys have a wonderful day to our audience. Please continue to like and reach out. The show notes will contain the link to the book to preorder all sorts of great information from here today And enjoy your day.
[0:52:29] Imran: Thank you. Thank you. Awesome. Thank you.
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