Jonathan: Well, good evening everyone and welcome to the Exercism podcast. I'm privileged to be joined by **Brian **Underwood. Brian, where are you living at this point in time? And tell us a little bit about your story and how you ended up where you are now.
Brian: Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so I'm in Stockholm, Sweden. But originally I'm from the US, born in Ohio, so a bit of a journey from there.
Brian: the, I guess, my... you wanted to know like where I where I am from, like my sort of my journey in between I guess.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. How did you end up going from middle of the US to...Sweden, Scandinavia, you know, that's quite a leap.
Brian: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, of course, it's, it's the middle of the US. I don't blame you for covering, like, nobody really knows where Ohio is. So that's, that's totally fun. Yeah, so I, you know, I went to Ohio State for college. And that was like computer science, education. And that was fun. I enjoyed that. And I was sort of doing...tech support at uh at in the College of Humanities the whole time that I was there. I was fortunate enough to get a job there when I started. And I kind of continued on for a couple of years after I graduated. um But then I sort of, I think I got a little bored of just where I was at and what I was doing and also my girlfriend broke up with me. So let's not, let's not.
Jonathan: Not happy memories, you could say.
Brian: Yeah, I mean, it was all fine in retrospect. But yeah, but it's sort of like, okay, I've had the opportunity here, I think. And so I decided to take a few weeks traveling Europe, which is the first time I'd ever sort of... really got out of the US for any extended period of time. And that was fine, travel through Europe. And then I decided I before I did that, I decided I was going to move. And I had sort of settled on Boston as a place that I was going to move. And so I got, I guess, I don't know if I got lucky in a way, but I had a couple of opportunities where like, you know, I'd always done like Mac support was like a big thing that I'd done. So that was like one job that I had sort of had the opportunity to take was like a tech support Mac job in Boston. And another one was this small startup that did software for like, cell phone companies and like, how they like, lay out their merchandising in their stores. And the, you know, I think I really wanted to transition to being a programmer. But this other job was like, Oh, that's the thing I've done for a long time. But I think I was I was leading on the side of like, Okay, I'm gonna like, take on this new life, this this this career that I want. So, but I think I was also a little bit lucky in getting the job because I think they really needed someone. And so they just kind of took me on. And that turned out to be a sort of a big job that I had for a number of years. Um, But yeah, and then that was sort of like the beginnings. In short, sort of from there, I met my now wife and we moved down to Providence, we got married there. um then we moved to California. I think my wife got a job in San Francisco. And I was like, Yep, I can. I'm a software developer, I can, I can do that I can find a job in San Francisco. No, no, no worries. So that was great. It was we lived in Oakland and worked in San Francisco for a couple of years. But then we decided we wanted to travel around for a couple of years. And so we ended up traveling around the world for two years with our at the time we by that time, we had a two and a half year old son. And so we traveled with him for a couple of years. And, and then yeah, came back to the States a couple of a couple of years. And and then we sort of decided like, Oh, you know, we had passed through Stockholm on our travels. And we're like, we really like Stockholm. So we're like, okay, we're gonna, we're gonna come back. And that's what that's where we've been for the last four years or so.
Jonathan: Is your wife Swedish or is it just that you like Stockholm? Oh, like how did they, what's the story there?
Brian: Yeah, no, that's a good question. It's the question a lot of people ask. But no, we're both American. All three of us are American, my son included. Although he speaks way better Swedish than either of us. We're working on it. But yeah, no, we just really liked it. I think there were a few places that we had traveled to that we were like, well, maybe we might live here if we... if we wanted to move somewhere. I think one of them was Auckland, it was a place we travelled through and we really liked that. In New Zealand? Auckland, New Zealand you mean? New Zealand, exactly. But that was a bit far, that would have been like if we wanted to travel back to Ohio to visit family that would have been a trek. It's still a bit of a trek from Sweden obviously.
Jonathan: you Okay, and so now you mentioned like you made a comment about computer programming versus or computer sciences, excuse me, and programming. Like what was the difference? Because in my mind, computer sciences is kind of programming, but clearly not. Or maybe yes, I don't know. So what did you mean by that specifically?
Brian: Yeah. I don't know if I know the difference. I mean, I got a computer science degree, and I think it was programming, but it wasn't like... you've heard or other people have heard. that you don't always learn with a university degree, the sort of real life things that you might learn and do in a job. And probably that's changed some since I went to college. I think that there's probably been a move towards more practical education. Like, I remember... You know, we would learn, I think like C and Java were the two main languages that we learned at the time. And in particular, I remember that we were learning this thing in Java, in this one class, where they were very, it was this, I think it was a teaching method or some sort of way of approaching things where you would very thoroughly comment each of your functions to say, it was like, it's called design by contract, where you'd say like, what does it fit? you know, in a legal contract, you know, sort of say, like, okay, what are your responsibilities? What are my responsibilities? And so designing a function by contract means, you know, okay, if you provide me these values in the variables, and you know, you never provide me a negative number for this one. And you always make sure that this string is never empty, or whatever, right? These are the things that you're responsible for. And then if you do that, I promise to, to do this, right, and make this happen. And so they there was this comment structure that I remember being very confused thinking that somehow the comments were executed, and part of the program. And it was I would, you know, I think I spent a couple of days like like what? what am I supposed to do here? And I eventually sort of caught on that it was just this sort of very formal method that... And I think it was good in a sense that thinking sometimes shapes my mind. It's good to think about not having a function, being able to deal with every single thing that can possibly happen because that will just lead to madness.
Jonathan: So now you went to university with computer science as kind of the main degree that you were looking at doing. How did you decide to do that? Was it just that you had a natural kind of gravity towards the sort of more scientific subject matter at school or high school or was there a moment where you were like, actually this fits me really well? What was the kind of lead up to deciding that actually computer science was a degree that you would want to do?
Brian: Yeah, I was probably pretty lucky in just kind of being naturally drawn to it, I think. I don't know, like I remember... having sort of a choice in programs at one point where I could go into the the arts and sciences program, computer science track, or the engineering computer sciences track. And one of them would involve like taking like language course or like Spanish was the one I was sort of on track for from high school. But the other one was like, oh, you don't have to do foreign language, but you have to do more physics and math. And I was like, okay, sign me up for that. So I guess that I was kind of, I think I was drawn to that. I think that it's like, although the one thing that I think about a lot is that, and maybe this is like sort of a a scientific or mathematical interest privilege that I have, but I feel like probably... math, doing math. A lot of people are sort of like, oh, math, like I get nervous about math or it's stressful or whatever. And that's, I understand that that could totally be the case, but I wonder if maybe sometimes. and people some people just for whatever reason like find the fun in the math and they're able to sort of like Get it excited about it and it's like it's the same amount of work and figuring things out But it just doesn't feel like it because when we're having fun, we don't feel like as much work It's probably not exactly that that's just like a pet theory that I have that's probably only half right
Jonathan: But it was funny because just, so I remember doing chemistry for three years at GCSE in the UK and for two years you have three years of learning up until your GCSE exams and then you have these big exams at 16 and you do a whole range of topics so you kind of do ten different subjects and that's like quite a lot. And then you decide, okay I'm going to do A levels, I'm going to either do more maths or science or whatever or English or drama or whatever. But I remember chemistry for me not clicking for about two years and then in like the week before the exam it all like made sense so the periodic table and how all of that kind of worked and oh I could get all the answers from the periodic table I just have to like, it's like a crossword or whatever. And it was the light bulb going on and I remember from that point being like oh this is the easiest subject ever. But it was two years of kind of struggle to get to that point and it's just interesting because I feel like for me coding is similar which is it's like immerse yourself in it for a long time and then the penny will drop and I'm excited for when that kind of feels like it's moving in that direction. But I think what you're describing there you know I saw friends who they just understood very quickly off the bat and kind of enjoyed it and the problem solving aspect was the main feature of learning which is very interesting I find. So it's cool that you experienced that as well for yourself I guess.
Brian: I know that there's this app actually that my son has played on his iPad. There's a company or a series of apps called Dragon Box. I don't know if you've ever heard of those. But they make some really nice educational apps. Normally, I'm pretty skeptical of most educational apps, but they do a number of really good ones. And one of them is about geometry. And I think about this as a metaphor a lot, that it wasn't geometry, it was algebra. There's a geometry one as well. But with the algebra one, it doesn't actually teach you the concepts of algebra. It teaches you the mechanics of algebra.
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Brian: And it does it in a way where you have two different sides with these two different boxes, and you have to make things sort of just balance on the two sides. You move the monster from one side to the other, or you have to transform them in from a certain kind of monster to another. It's been a little while since I've seen it, but what I remember so clearly is that he was learning the mechanics of algebra, even though he didn't understand what he was working towards and why he was doing this. But it was fun to do it, and they did it in this way that made it really engaging. And the thing I think is so great about that, and I want him to go through the app again when he starts to do algebra, because I feel like if you have the mechanics down, then you don't have to worry about those so much, and you can sort of think more about the high level without having to get stressed about the mechanics stuff. And I think maybe that's the thing that you're saying with chemistry. I don't know if this is how it was for you, but maybe it's like, why should I care about all this mechanics stuff, and these rules, and these things? And it's like once you get to a certain point, it's like, OK, I've kind of struggled through that. I can maybe care about why am I doing this.
Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. No, it was a really interesting experience because it was the first time that I'd kind of gone through that process of understanding something and then you kind of go through this period of losing a lot of confidence in those subject matters because you think, oh, my brain isn't particularly wired towards that kind of thought process. But actually then if you look at English literature, for example, which was what I did, you actually go very systematically through looking at language and how things are structured and understanding sort of, but there's a nuance, there's an artistic nature to that whole thing as well, which I mean, you could say there's also that artistic element in development and coding stuff. Each person has their own little flavor and I think that's what I'm realizing more and more is there's no hard or fast rule to anything. It's just, it's all trade offs. So no, it's been fascinating. So now you've, you did, you helped us on the cohorts, which if anyone listening, that we ran like learning experiences in Elixir and Golang and Brian, you kind of helped out a little bit with the Elixir cohort. So how did you get into Elixir as a language itself? Like what was the kind of background in getting into that?
Brian: Yeah, it's it's funny, because someone was just asking me that exact question today. Because it's a I mean, it's it's a niche language, you know, in a way. But I've been in the Ruby. I've been a Ruby developer for for a long time. And I really love Ruby, because it's, you know, I'm sort of programmer who like I want to, I want to get things done, I want to think about I want to get hard problems done. And it's hard to get hard problems done when you're thinking about the small details of things and having to deal with pointers or whatever, right. So, Ruby was great for that. And then, of course, Joseph Alim, the creator of Elixir, came out of the Ruby world. He was prolific already in the Ruby world and decided that he needed, not needed, maybe he's amazing, he was going to create his own language and be prolific in that and did an amazing job at that. So I kind of in a way, you know, I just I was kind of hooked into that world where, you know, I would listen to some podcasts about where they would sometimes talk about Ruby, but then there was like, Oh, this is new thing elixir and and then I think maybe a bit of a shift, well, a bit of a fundamental thing was, I was living in, I just actually moved back to Columbus for a while, Columbus, Ohio, and Joseph Aleem came to the Ruby group in Columbus, the Columbus Ruby Brigade. And they were like, you know, Joseph Aleem is so great to just come and speak on whatever you want to speak speak about. And of course, he was like, Yes, I will speak about Elixir because I created this language. I'm really excited about it. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I remember this. It's so funny, just like a year ago, I found a recording of that presentation. And it's a bit grainy. But you can still watch it. And I still, I can find the place where I ask a question of Joseph. And just like I remember having this, this confusion about how exactly.
Jonathan: I'm really excited about it.
Brian: the these concepts of like, you create these processes and they can recover from failure, if you have supervisors and whatever. And I don't remember exactly what he said, but I was sort of like, how does that work? And like, like, okay, you recover from errors. But do you like, do you still learn about those errors? Or like, what happens? And I, it's, it's this been this whole process to like, learn what that means. And I think it's a really interesting process. I think at the time, there were a lot of the Elixir community was struggling with like, how to describe these concepts. And I think there's more blog posts out there and more and more things for people to absorb and come on more quickly. So, but anyway, that's the sort of place that I came into. I think that was one of the big places. It's just like, oh, this sounds interesting. And if Jose says that it's cool, then I should check it out.
Jonathan: So was it almost like the timing was right for you to kind of move into it? It was just like a lot of different things lined up and made sense for you. Had you been exploring other languages? Like, I mean, you mentioned about pointers. And is that a reference to to go specifically or was it kind of you were just on the hunt for some language that suited you, you could say?
Brian: I think I... Yeah, I mean, I...I'm like super into the idea that different things are good for different purposes. And I'm, you know, I'm huge into Elixir now. I feel like probably I'm probably a bit biased that like, yeah, Elixir can be used for just about anything. That's probably not entirely true. But I think the pointers thing I think was I just had C in mind, I think, you know, it does some C, C++ in college. I think.
You know, yeah, so like I, for a number of years, I was working with Neo4j, the graph database. And that was something I was super into. And I was one of the maintainers for the Neo4j gems for Ruby. Because it was this
We don't have to get too much into it, but graph databases can let you do certain things faster, or just sort of in some ways more easily. It was kind of to me it was this it was a it's not a lot of people use Neo4j for this, but I feel like it was kind of like Ruby and that it helped you think about things at a higher level. And so would let you do things more nicely. But I'm just into that idea of like, okay, graph databases could be good for this purpose and then a relational database for this and a document database for this. And okay, well, if I need to make a little service that needs to operate super fast, maybe I'd make it in Rust or Go or whatever. And so I should know about those languages and if I, higher level things, there's Ruby and Python, but now there's Elixir and Elixir is, and it has actually a lot of great advantages. It's a super hard thing to figure out what's good for different things because there's so much involved in a language, for example, that figuring out whether it's good for something is hard. And also people, myself included, I think get emotionally invested in some of the languages that they like for one reason or another. And so it's like, well, it's hard. Mm-hmm.
Jonathan: And Brian, do you use Elixir on a daily basis with work? And what is work for you at the moment? Like what do you what's day to day look like at this point?
Brian: Yeah, so I'm a consultant with Erlang Solutions. And so I'm working with a client of Erlang Solutions, which is a company called VicAI. I don't know if you've heard of them. I think Lars Wirthven, I think, has helped them some and has written about them a little bit on his blog. He's a kind of semi-famous person in the Elixir world. And yeah, so they're a company that...helps other companies, they have they make an application that helps companies process invoices, semi or fully automatically using artificial intelligence. Okay. And so yeah, that's and so they have, you know, of course, machine learning models, but then they have an Elixir API that lets them sort of coordinate a lot of things.
Jonathan: Okay. And so do you deal with a lot of different clients in the day or is it kind of you work with a specialized group that you sort of walk through and partner with? Like how does that all work?
Brian: Yeah, so I'm usually on a sort of a feature team with a product manager, and we've got a web developer and mobile developer and sometimes a back-end developer, the machine learning team. And then it's nice to sometimes we'll have like a product or QA person who will interface with our clients to help sort of try to get us the most relevant, most needed, sort of, you know, what is it that the users and the clients actually need? But it's a bit of like layers, like we, you know, depending on what it is, like we have, we have one big direct client, and then we have some like, accounting systems that ERPs that we work with that they have people that, you know, enter their clients, I honestly don't actually work with a lot of it, like with the customer side as much. But it's I think we have a lot of different ways that we interface with, with clients, and we kind of have to do a lot of different dances to integrate, which is which is kind of an interesting problem in itself.
Jonathan: So is the week quite varied and are you doing a lot of different things during the week or is it fairly predictable?
Brian: Um, yeah, I think it's, you know, I think I'm pretty lucky in that I, uh...I usually I mean, there's there's a usually one project that I'm working on. But like, for example, something I think I can say on recently, as I was just working on helping make sure that our back calculations were, were correct in how we process invoices. Because that could be a tricky thing, just dealing with with that. Especially when you just have invoices coming in from a whole bunch of different vendors that they can be, you know, they can do things differently from each other. And so, but I'm pretty fortunate in that they They would like to make sure that we're kind of on top of our...code quality and, and in general, just a top of things. And so we, we try to spend a decent amount of time doing, doing things to make things better, make our code better or improve things. And so, you know, I, that's also kind of just how I am. It's like, I usually just try to grab at least some of my time for like, you know, we I do a lot of like integration with data dog for application, to make sure that we can have tracing for our requests and our background jobs and all those sorts of things. And that's something that really tickles me to be able to like, once I've done that, to like, okay, now I have the tools that I need to do my job. But yeah, like, like, also, I think just recently, there's something that, that I got interested in, like a sort of a way of organizing code and referencing other modules. And there's a tool in the Elixir World Club, Credo, that lets you sort of enforce different rules in your code style. And so I created a new Credo rule to potentially enforce that rule. And so I'm kind of curious to see how it goes.
Jonathan: Okay, cool. That sounds, to be honest, straight over my head a little bit, but somewhat, I'm sure someone out there will know what's going on. But you mentioned earlier about you kind of worked a little bit for a startup, I think I'm right in saying. So you had this tech support side of things, and also there was a bit of a startup story going on. Is that something that you would be interested in in the future, or is something that's always in the back of your mind? What's the kind of trajectory for you, you think, in the next five, 10 years in terms of programming? I mean, you may not know, but I just thought it's quite an interesting one just to ask people, where do you see yourself in five years, five, 10 years?
Brian: Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, I kind of...As far as startups, I've always gone between small to medium-sized companies.
Jonathan: Thank you.
Brian: as happy in very large companies. And I never really saw myself as a consultant until recently, where I was sort of like, okay, this is kind of like... interesting to be able to like...go to different companies and maybe try to help them solve their problems, but then maybe move on to another company. I mean, if anybody from Big Gag is listening, I'm not unhappy.
Jonathan: I was like, I don't think I should ask someone on a podcast, but yeah, just obviously, assuming everything is going great. Sorry, my cat's just clawing at the door here.
Brian: Oh yeah, yeah, I just had a We just got a puppy about a month ago and so I'm constantly like having to like, she's barking or she's, you know, maybe once or twice like peeing on the bed and it's like, I gotta deal with this.
Jonathan: So we just got,it's mad. 5am every morning. 4.30 in the morning she sort of jumps on the bed and starts like pawing her face. It's cute and adorable. But yeah, after a while it's like, come on. But yeah, just back to the whole like next couple of years, what would you love to be able to do or realize?
Brian: Yeah, that's a good question. I think I'm into the idea of figuring out... I think one of the things that appeals to me maybe about Elixir is that it's still a bit fresh. And so I like... like what are some ways to sort of pave the new paths and find the new patterns. And especially in like, you know, it's not just like, you know, I was in the Ruby world. for a while and so like coming into Elixir, sometimes there's things that's like, oh, I missed this from Ruby, so it'd be great to like build this or do this. But then there's also just things that are like. you know, oh, this is something that I couldn't do in Ruby very well. But if I just do this, then, you know, we could, it could be even more awesome by taking advantage of the strengths of Elixir. So I think that's the sort of stuff that I'm interested in, like finding, finding the neat use cases and talking about them, sharing them, because that's also something that's always something that inspires me is like when I read, especially when I like read about something, like a real use case and see the details of it, not just like, yeah, we did this thing and we kind of, this is how we went about it. It's like, but where can I see some code or like what's in details? Yeah.
Jonathan: It sounds like you enjoy the optimising side of things, kind of taking something and pioneering a new way to make something better and more efficient. That's what I'm hearing at least. Is that fair, do you think?
Brian: you Yeah, I think and I think efficient is good. But I think maybe I would say even more finding ways to make things enjoyable. I'm super into the idea of how can we solve problems so that we don't have to deal with them anymore. Like make libraries so that we can be like, okay, now that problem, yeah, that problem solved now, let's move on to something that, you know, is this better use of our time, right?
Jonathan: No, sure. That makes sense. So one of the things that I've enjoyed asking people, especially in the whole, because I'm fairly, I would say I'm fairly new to tech as an industry as a whole, and don't come from like a particularly experienced background in terms of developing from a young age, etc, etc. And one of the things that has often stood out to me is, and you hear this with friends who are in tech a lot is, there's quite a lot of opinions flying around, which it seems fairly, fairly true. But we have this question that we like to ask sort of people who come on our podcast, which is, what is the hill that you would die on in tech? And obviously framing it in a kind of a slightly tongue in cheek way. But is there a particular mindset or opinion that you have which you're like, this is the hill that I would defend? And it can be anything. So a good example would be like DJ, who's one of our maintainers, you might know, his hill was the role of really key conversation, like having well meaning and good, well structured conversation in the tech space. So having that robust, you know, challenging interrogation, which is kind of built on the right foundations, you could say, I'm trying to think of who someone else said. Rebecca at Unison was like, she would rather have 50 people on a team who were hardworking, conscientious, and maybe less talented than one genius who's a nightmare to engage with. So hopefully, those are kind of good examples. And I did throw you a little bit under the bus there with that question out of the blue, because there's probably quite a few perspectives that you might have. But is there one that you would be like, no, this is what I'm willing to hold firm with?
Brian: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, because my first thought was sort of like oh like camel case versus snake case Well, I don't know if I'd die on that hill or not I think a lot of those things like
Jonathan: I couldn't...
Brian: Yeah, yeah, but a lot of those things I think I... maybe become less opinionated about over time. But yeah, I like these higher level things that you're talking about.I feel like I could I like. Let me see if I can bring this up. Unfortunately you're editing this so my pauses are just going to go away, right?
Jonathan: That's the plan, at least.
Brian: Yeah. So there's a tool called Remote Retro. Which I have used a number of times and really highly recommend. And I learned about it because it's written in Elixir. But aside from that, I think it's just well designed. And over time, it's grown to be a better and better tool. But it always starts off with a Prime directive, which I think was, as I'm looking at it now, I'm seeing it was taken from Norm Keith. There's a wiki page here, so you can look this up. You can go to remote-retro.org if you want to check this out. But... the, yeah, here's the prime directive, which I think is just, it's sort of the thing that you read in the beginning of a retrospective to put people in the right mindset, that it says, regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available and the situation at hand. Um, so I think that's good. I think it's similar that like... You need to make sure that you're always... Like, and actually, I'll even say one more thing. There was an interview and I can, I can share this if you want to like, put the link in the show description or whatever later.
Jonathan: refer to it for sure.
Brian: Yeah, I always recommend this article, even though it's always super hard to find and I don't know, it's probably passed a bit into obscurity now, but there was this...this man who was an administrator of the Veterans Association in the US, the government department. And specifically, I think he dealt with their healthcare system. And he had this interview where he came from the aerospace world. And a lot of what he talked about was...how in aerospace, in a lot of, probably it's not perfect everywhere, but in a lot of what he experienced. You would blame the process, you don't blame the people. And if something goes wrong, you say, you know, okay, you know, it's not, you know, like, I've, I've deleted a table in production. But fortunately, nobody blamed me for that. They were like, Okay, what do we do now? Well, we, we make it so that when you go into production on the console, it comes up, the prompt is red. And so it's clear that you're in production, right? Because I made that mistake, because I thought it was development when I was Yeah, right. So so that I was fortunate to have an office in which we blamed the process and not not the person. And so that was really great. And so he talked about that in the context of like medicine that was like, okay, we sometimes maybe nurse might give the wrong medication to a patient. It's like, well, sometimes the labels are confusing, and or there's this thing that's like, it's hard, or it's just whatever, it's not ideal. It's like, okay, let's, let's fix that. Let's let's do it. So if we want to, if we really do care about the patient, let's let's make it a process that is harder to go wrong. So that's something that I think is a big deal for me.
Jonathan: That's really cool. I'm going to definitely put these show notes. Is that out of the sort of agile, is it a kind of built upon agile methodology you could say? Or is it sort of a little bit of something else? What would your thoughts be on that?
Brian: You know that's a good question, I think. I got the impression that it was part of a reasonably long tradition in some aerospace engineering circles. I mean aerospace, I think it maybe it just has to do with the fact that like if you have, if you're making airplanes or if you're making rockets. You're in the job of like, this needs to work. And when we put a human on there, whether it's an astronaut or a passenger, we need to give it the best chance of working. And the best way to do that is to put our egos aside and say, you know, what?
Brian: what is going to make this work as much as possible every time if we just follow the process. I think that's part of it, yeah.
Jonathan: Because when I was looking up remote retro, it looked a lot of like sort of agile terminology. So I'm wondering if it was maybe kind of changed from there somewhere. But that's really cool. I've not heard that before. The one I have heard is about checklists, especially in medical and aerospace. So it's like a pilot will go through a checklist. He doesn't deviate from his checklist. And a doctor will do the same. That's really cool. Brian, we'll start coming into land. I have one more question really for you this evening. And it's really what is your recommendation for the exorcism community in the next week? If you could give one piece of advice, and it could be on anything. It could be like go drink kombucha from, I don't know, your local deli or go for a run and swim in the Arctic Ocean or whatever it is. If there was one thing you would recommend to the exorcism community to go and give it a whirl, what would it be this week?
Brian: Cheers! Hmm. Uh, I would say...that, um, I mean, within, within your uh you know abilities, because maybe this is, you know, not, it's always hard to give advice to everyone. But I think one thing that has been a big thing for me is, I think one time I went into the ER because I was having a sudden headache. And there was maybe a concern that it was like a flash headache, which can be a sort of serious thing. So, so I went in and had the doctor look at me and everything was fine there. But you know, the doctor was just sort of asking general questions and sort of saying like, Okay, how much exercise do you get? And, you know, what's your activity and whatever. And, and I was like, you know, being an American, I was sort of like, well, I, you know, I walk a good bit, I get maybe 8000 steps a week, a month, or on average a day. And he's like, you know, you should, you should be getting out three times a week, for 45 minutes, like for really getting sweaty. And, you know, I didn't do it right away. But, you know, I was after maybe five or six months, I did get into a pattern, a habit of running, usually three times a week, sometimes it'd be two times a week, but you know, and I think that that's been something that's been sort of a big change in my life. I think it's helped me a lot. So I think I know that it's a super hard thing to do and it's super hard for me to get into. And I think the part of the way I did it is like I was like, okay, I'm going to go out and if I end up walking for 75% of the time, then okay, that's just how it's going to be. I'm just going to build it up.
Jonathan: That's cool. I think that was interesting that you mentioned that because we...
Brian: I think that was interesting that you mentioned that because we...
Jonathan: No, that's really cool because one of the things that we tried to think through with the cohorts was what's going to facilitate people growing and learning and kind of moving and gaining momentum, I guess, in their coding jog, you could say. And one of them was just getting out, even if it was for 10 minutes a day, just to kind of just put yourself in the place of trying it out. And even if you don't really get anywhere, even if you just read the instructions and then that's it for the day, as long as you turn up in some shape or form, it kind of makes a big difference. But I think that's a great recommendation, definitely a reminder for me to go and get my sport going a little bit just because it's so sedentary sometimes sitting indoors. So if anyone listening is out there, take up Brian's piece of advice and head out for a run. But I mean, it's going to start getting a little bit chillier in Stockholm in the next couple of weeks. Do you still run in the middle of the winter or is it kind of indoor running?
Brian: Yeah, I do. And I mean, I would say also, like, you know, the best exercise you can do, if you're going to get out there for 3040 minutes a day for three times a week or something is like, whatever, whatever is the thing that you enjoy the most, you know, because if you don't enjoy running, then that's you're probably not gonna be able to keep that up. So you know, I'll say that first, but but yeah, the winter, you know, I have a hat, which is like it's dark in Stockholm, too. So my wife got me a hat that has built in fibers that are retro effective. Okay, so that's that's nice. So it can keep me safe. And then I have a face mask and ear things I can put on to Yeah, and then Yeah, so I do have to bundle up but it's it can be good too because it keeps when it's cold it you know, I can, I can stay lower and I can still get it. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Jonathan: Oh that's brilliant. But Brian I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your time this evening and it's probably been a long day and kids and work and new puppy and all that kind of stuff so I just wanted to say thank you for your time and for sharing it with us and for anyone listening out there we will put the show notes in the description below so you can check those things out. If you have any opportunity and you're listening to this go and check out the Elixir track and I'm sure **Brian **I don't know if you do any mentoring at all on the Elixir track but maybe if you are in the mentoring space ever at all you might see some new people popping in and testing things out. I've heard a lot of good things about Elixir so I think it's definitely one to watch for the future and yeah, have a wonderful evening Brian. Just hang on a little bit when I stop the recording but yeah great to have you on with us and thanks for sharing a little bit of insight into the life of Brian Underwood and yeah so thanks everyone for listening and have a wonderful evening. Check you soon.
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