Get in touch

In the past year the world saw the development and distribution of the COVID vaccine. This week Paul and Rich share what they observed in watching this process. We talk about how, like the vaccine, with software, you need to be able to take something very complex and make it available to the masses. 


Paul Ford Apple, man. It’s like, “Hey, how about now? How about now? How about now? I got this new operating system for you. It’s real good. You’ll never know the difference, but let me give it to you.” [music ramps up, plays alone for 15 seconds, fades out] So, Richard.

Rich Ziade Yo, yo.

PF Hello my friend. I was reading a wonderful news article today.

RZ Oh, I love articles.

PF Yeah, it was in New York Magazine. And the news is basically that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are really effective. They’re really good. And people aren’t—

RZ It’s nice to read that isn’t it?

PF So let me give you the headline. That’s all you’re gonna need. CDC Data Suggests Vaccinated Don’t Carry and Can’t Spread Virus. That’s it.

RZ That’s a wonderful thing.

PF So I you know, for me, I just think about how bananas it is that we went ahead, used mRNA.

RZ A new technology. 

PF I don’t know what the hell that is really. You know, it’s like we’ve been saying it but and I know it’s like genetic code for ribonucleic something. But like, you know, basically, some very nice scientists got together, got together with the little, little company called Pfizer, one called Moderna, and they made these, these vaccines, and it’s just an absolute triumph of total science.

RZ It is a home run. I was watching something recently and Dr. Fauci said, you don’t get many home runs in science. And this is an absolute home run. I believe that he said that.

PF You gotta take your wins. Gotta take your wins where you can get ’em right?

RZ Well they’re rare, right? Science is never that neat. It’s never like straight up math. There’s always edge cases. There’s always—you ever read the warnings, when it’s like a drug ad on TV? “You may get, side effects include…” and then that side effects are longer than the actual TV ad. It’s also, they’re just so apocalyptic because overlayed while someone is picking up their kids from soccer practice, because this drug is giving them freedom, though the narrator is saying things like “excessive bleeding, dizziness, dementia…” it just goes on and on. Meanwhile, she’s like, “Hop in kids! Let’s go get some snacks!” [Rich laughs]

PF “…Is very likely to give you rectal knots” [Rich laughs] You know, it’s just a woman. It’s a gladiator. They’re touching the wheat. You know?

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So it is an amazing thing. And inventing is probably the hardest and the most frightening step. And then there’s validating, which is what we sort of hunkered down and waited five months, would usually takes years, about four or five months, they tested it on 10s of 1000s of people, bless their hearts for giving it a go, then it becomes about scaling up, scaling. And the truth is this there was so much urgency around this that the big pharma companies were ready scaling up even though they hadn’t gotten the results of the trials yet, which is, from a business perspective, utterly terrifying.

PF Well, that’s the thing. This is not business, like it is, it ends up business.

RZ That’s right. The US government, I think had given certain assurances of giving people backstops in case it was a fail, but you’re talking about billions of dollars getting spent on a thing that might not be used. 

PF But no. And you know, I think this is the thing. So you have this intense Science, like Science with a capital S, we’re thinking about chemical compounds, we’re figuring this out. And then you have this other problem, which is, how do I make the thing accessible to everyone? Full disclosure, it’s a software podcast. But it’s interesting, because you and I were talking about this earlier, scaling comes in a lot as like the great subject of technology. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because it correlates to money. Right? Like, you know—

RZ It correlates to success. 

PF That’s right. That’s right. So people talk all the time about scaling. But I think the weird secret of our industry similar to this, so it’s just interesting to see this pattern playing out with vaccines, is that the science is really hard and complicated. Computer scientists, writing a new database that does something novel and dealing with all the rules and the logic, and then scaling it comes in for a lot of drama, but it’s actually it should be pretty simple. It’s a lot of brute force on top of the science, you see that with the vaccine.

RZ Yeah, you know, there’s a there’s decisions you make early on that can help you scale and the risk around those decisions—and it actually played out in the vaccine world, right. Moderna and Pfizer had a particular thesis about what the vaccine how the vaccine should work. Now there was a downside to it, which is you needed two injections, scaling challenge, and they needed to be really, really cold. They needed to be at freezing temperatures. I think that Moderna one hold has to be like extremely cold, right? So they’re left with this moment saying that’s going to be a scaling challenge, right? And so they could say, you know what, back to the drawing board, because we need it to be one shot, and we needed to not be so cold. But the challenge with that is now you’ve introduced risk in exchange for being better equipped to scale. And the truth is a company like Moderna, who the entire business plan is around mRNA, that wasn’t even an option for them. They didn’t know, they don’t do anything else. That’s all they existed for. So that wasn’t on the table. A Johnson & Johnson comes along, and they’re like, okay, those guys are doing it that way. We’re going to give it a go this way. And what they’re doing is when you’re laying out a strategy, you’re going to make some decisions early on, that could fail, but are better equip you to scale early days, right? That bargain that you have to make is a very, very tricky one. I often bring up when we’re debating decisions, especially in a strategic context, I often say why are we debating the problem we don’t have yet?

PF I mean, this is the great danger of technology, this is what we love to do.

RZ We looove to do it.

PF A lot of problems are solved in our world, Richard, I was having a conversation with a potential client today, we were kind of locking in what we’re going to do. And you know, they want to build a platform, they want to build some good stuff. But the reality is 90% of what they need is done. It’s open source, it’s available, the actual computer science of it is a long established, we know how the network is going to work. And then there’s a 10% of it, that’s novel, you know, and immediately your head skips ahead, what I’ve learned over the last five years is your head skips ahead to the part where you’re going to make a million of these things, you’re going to stand up a million sites, you’re you’re going to get you’re going to get a billion users, you’re going to you know this, that and the other. And really, the reality is everybody’s going to come in, they’re going to use the same—it’s almost like a grammar like, oh, this is the CMS, this is the that.

RZ You’re touching on a reality that technologists really have a hard time processing, which is most of it is the same as it was 20 years ago, and 15 years ago, and 10 years ago. It’s just not that exciting.

PF Every now and then that you try to break out, like remember the no SQL movement? 

RZ Yeah.

PF And I mean, look, Mongodb, big database, it’s kind of the absolute focus of the no SQL movement there. And everybody got, you know, this database will work differently. It’ll be more like JavaScript, you’ll just dump your stuff in it. And it’ll all go from there. And as a company worth like, $16 billion now. It’s not like there was a failure there. But people have kind of including Postlight, like, just been rolling back to the databases that work the way they did 25, 30 years ago.

RZ You know what you’ve got, right? Look, technologists love forging ahead. It’s akin to, “Hey, I want to redo the stoop to my building.” General Contractor says, “Hey, I want to show you something” and he gives you a really glossy brochure. And it’s like, “it’s a new type of cement. It doesn’t crack.” I was like, “Huh, how long has this been out?” “Well, it’s not out yet. But it’s coming. And it’s gonna be great.” [Rich & Paul laugh] 

PF How do you know it doesn’t crack?!

RZ So technologists love to keep growing and learning, right? And they want use—

PF What we like to do, there’ll be a new platform, like suddenly node js, JavaScript runs on the server instead of in the browser, it’s pretty interesting. And then every single piece of code that has ever been written before, has to be written again, but this time inside of node js, right?

RZ I actually don’t want to discourage that exploratory spirit of learning the new thing and playing with the new thing, and because it does something really amazing. But at the same time, it skews off of the actual agenda of what you’re trying to get done.

PF It’s a paradox, you need it, and it’s fine. And people reinvent the world in new ways all the time. Our clients don’t pay us for that. No client pays you for that.

RZ Yeah, that’s right. The truth is a lot of platforms out in the world, A) they just kept building on him. I mean, Facebook was PHP. And then what they did was they kept eating away at the bottlenecks and rewriting them in highly, highly performant components, and kept going and going. 

PF They made their own virtual machine for PHP, like it just starts to become—

RZ That’s a smart way, though, Paul, because what you’re saying is, you know what, let’s get this out. Let’s see what the world does with it. And then we’ll deal with that problem when we get to it. And you know, software is amazing, and that you can surgically carve out bits that are clearly clogging up the pipes and make them really, really fast. And you can do that and software doesn’t care. Python is not going to get offended if there’s a piece of C code in the middle of it. It just doesn’t give a shit. 

PF It really likes that. It respects it.

RZ Yeah, yeah. And it’s a positive thing! Everybody’s it’s a warm, friendly place. I think when people get religious, I think is where you start to run into danger. I guess I’ll let me pose a question to you. We are scaling up today. It is April 1, 2021. It’s pretty amazing. New York State has just opened up vaccinations for pretty much everybody. It’s not hard anymore to Go get vaccinated. And it’s a pretty amazing thing. There are 300 plus million people in this country.

PF We’re into two digits now. Right? Like 15%, 16% of the population has been vaccinated like we’re starting to see, we’re past that first step and into like, the 50th step.

RZ Yeah. And so I guess, standing up a factory is real, like, what can we learn with regards to scaling? How do you scale like, there’s so many, if I type ‘scaling white paper’ right now, I’m gonna get a lot of articles about how to scale.

PF Well, this is fun, right? We watched, we were talking about this, we were watching and sort of reading up on it. So what did they do to scale up vaccine production? It’s all lots of little things. Like it’s like, well, we got to get a factory. And then they show you the thing that puts together the lipids in the in the mRNA. And it’s like, it’s one little, it’s like a tube with three nozzles.

RZ It’s not impressive. [Rich laughs]

PF It’s a little, it’s like a little dish. It’s like a little hockey puck and two tubes go in with mRNA lipids, and they squeeze together at a certain pressure and then the vaccine comes out. 

RZ Yeah, simple solution. 

PF And it’s like, okay, well, we got that. How do we do this, this thing a zillion times. And then you know, we’re watching, we were watching a video together, because that’s what we do. We watch like Salesforce demos and CNN videos, because we’re old now. [Paul laughs] That’s what you do, I think. And, you know, they needed more dry ice, but they couldn’t get enough dry ice. So they figured out at the Pfizer plant, how to make the dry ice, ’cause that’s a lot easier than trying to solve the dry ice supply chain problem. And you need new spaces.

RZ The guy who came up with, “Here’s what you do, plug one tube into the little disc thing, plug another tube in and smash them together, like really, really hard.” I’m gonna level a criticism to the technology world, brought in a package of love and care towards the engineers everywhere.

PF Technologists love, they love criticism.

RZ There is nothing more beautiful than like 20 lines of elegant code that don’t call another 6000 lines of code. We have reached a point where you’re just folding in packages. And next thing you know, you think it got easy, you think it all got really easy, but dependency chains and all the things that kick in, that’s unimpressive to me. What is impressive to me, is a real focus on simplicity, and not overthinking things and saying this really basic thing I just put together here works, and it works nicely when you’re gonna get to stand it up in 10 minutes. 

PF The vaccine supply chain is actually a great example. I appreciate that a brilliant person spent a career, got PhDs, and figured out what the vaccine needed to look like and be in order to help people fight off Coronavirus. Really, I think that that is like it’s, it’s beyond me. And I’m not going to right now I’m not going to spend a ton of time getting all the details. But what I love, what gives me joy in life, is the little details. And it’s the same it is the same thing with technology. When you’re talking about that 20 lines of code, what you’re talking about is that it’s an abstraction. I love a good abstraction. Because what an abstraction does is let you actually perceive the world in a slightly different way. And it’s simpler. So you go, Oh, that’s incredibly obvious. And now I understand, you taught me something, I learned. And I’m an primate, I am a very large, intelligent chimpanzee, you gave me a new tool and a new sense of control and understanding of the world as I see it, when you gave me those 20 lines of code, or you showed me the little disk that you put that you pump the liquids into. Some things are beyond me. And that’s okay, I’m not going to invest the time. And maybe I’m not smart enough. But the other things I’m like, oh, my God! And that becomes a real joy. It’s not necessary that I’m going to pick up and start writing code on top of it. But you just really appreciate it aesthetically, it’s like why you took something really complicated. And I have to say like you can see it between, that’s the difference between the junior engineer and the senior engineer and the junior designer and the senior designer, like the the senior is the person where all of that work gets abstracted away, and they show you the thing and you go, ohhhh, and it’s surprising, and at the same time, it’s reproducible here, like that’s how you should solve that. Very good. Onward.

RZ It’s fun to install stuff, Paul. It’s really fun to install stuff.

PF You know who believes that? Every single device I have bought in the last five years because nothing stops installing. 

RZ Yeah, exactly. Yeah, nothing stops installing. But even in the engineering world. I’m a huge fan of Plex server. It’s a media server you can run in your house. Every three days, it asks me if I can update the Plex server tonight. 

PF Ah, yeah.

RZ Every three days. [Rich laughs] You know what I used to be in awe of? PlayStation 2 games, not because of the games. There were some really good games, but not because of the games. But because once they press those CDs—

PF Oh, you’re done.

RZ There’s no patches. [Rich laughs] There’s nothing, good luck.

PF Meanwhile, it’s like, oh, we released Cyberpunk 2077 or whatever the hell it’s called, it was a complete disaster, but they’re still gonna be able to pull it out in the clinch and just release a whole nother one later.

RZ Oh, no, yeah, I’ve been messing around with Flight Simulator 2020, there was a patch that just said Ireland, like apparently Ireland had bugs. And they just sent forward new like terrain data, or whatever it was.

PF Someone should make another game called Flight Simulator Simulator where you just sit there and click buttons to install updates.

RZ It’s remarkable, their gigabytes of updates on top of gigabytes.

PF Oh it’s so bad. It’s so bad.

RZ It’s not that different in terms of appreciating a great minimalist design, a design that just seems to strip everything away and just feels really intuitive and thoughtful. Code is to me is a form of communication, like I view code, a code base as almost like a document, just a collection of instructions. And I think that’s my legal brain thinking about this artifact that doesn’t do anything except tell something else what to do, right, which is what a contract does and what other things do, right?

PF Like 5% of code actually functions that way. You know, I mean, this is one of one of the things I’m a big fan of is the Python standard library, because it’s an incredibly readable and it’s one of the guidelines for things going into that. So for people who don’t know, you know, Python is a programming language, a language, it has a library that kind of comes with, Python’s very big on that, it’s, it’s batteries included, it comes with lots of tools for like downloading things from the internet, or parsing URLs or doing math. You know, you read that code, and again, over and over again, it is not mysterious. It’s just this like, oh, that’s really obvious. The same is actually true of a lot of Unix source code, things like that. When you go in and look at them, you’ll be like, oh, the way they solve that is the way you would expect them to solve it. Except it’s really well organized. They’ve done the research, and every now and then they’ll just pull some miracle out of the world where they’ll be, you’ll be like, Oh, they know a lot of math. That’s a lot of math right there. 

RZ I think you’re making a great point here. Because what you find is Python is adored in non technology communities, non programming communities, data scientists love it. Blender is really popular amongst 3d rendering people who need to run like large scripts.

PF Yeah, it’s got Python built in. Yeah. Or calls out to it.

RZ And I think what people appreciate, what those people appreciate is like, okay, you focused on my thing, not the program. You didn’t get it, it wasn’t programming as fetish. Right. So and I think that is a beautiful thing. I also think, you know, we’re sitting here crapping on on all the modern stuff that makes the web work today—

PF That stuff was built for and was designed to be appealing to engineers and engineering culture, right. Like, it was like, I got you all the stuff that you like, they they connected to it, and it’s been, and they’ve built from there, right. So no one makes better tools than engineers to service other engineers,

RZ Other types of engineers. Yes, yes.

PF That’s right. But when you think, so languages or software, right, think of a language as software to help engineers get their job done. I think you made a really good point there, which is a Python and a few other languages, Julia, you know, which is another science and math driven language. They’re not focused on the engineers, they’re focused on different classes of users. And so as a result, those are the people who get motivated and excited by them. But it creates this funny dynamic, okay, because the engineer, a Python programmer, kind of culturally, and I’m gonna say this and throw it out. And people might disagree with it. But like, a Python programmer is a servant of other industries and other activities. A lower level, like a Rust programmer is an engineer, yeah, they’re thinking about the computer. And they’re thinking about, you know, memory, and their, and type safety and so on. And it’s, it gets closer and closer to math. And then on the Python side, you can do all that. But you’re actually kind of like, well, how can I help you? I need to make you something. [Rich laughs] Yeah, it sounds like Django is a good example. It was a CMS that was built for newspapers, like it was built inside of a newspaper was built for people who need to get work started really quickly as journalists, and then you could kind of build your, your web platform around that. And so like, I gotta say, as I, you know, we’re a client service company, right? So it’s a funny paradox in what we do, which is we have a very focused, very intense engineering community that that really is connected to the modern web stack and those modern tools, and they’re really good at and they get a lot of work done. But our clients don’t care about that. 

RZ No, they don’t.

PF They need to get their thing. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they’re like, “Hey, I know what you are. And I know I want that”

RZ Yeah, true, true.

PF Especially if it’s like a big tech company. But most of our clients are like, “what, I don’t know, what do you, okay, I  just I need a thing.”

RZ We find the greatest success as an agency when we talk to clients in their domain, in their context. Yeah. And rather than saying, “Let me tell you about all the cool components, we’re going to bring to this project.” They don’t want to hear that!

PF The new buyer of services who just like needs a website and an app and so on, they tend to come and be like, “Hey, you’ve never built a rubber band focused website before. But we’re a rubber band manufacturer.” [Rich laughs] You do have to work through that every time. But then there are the people who are like in a in a relatively large organization, let’s say like a not for profit. And they’ll be like, “Oh, we help people get groceries. And we manage relationships with people over time, because, you know, we tend to have at least six months of a relationship.” And they’re thinking often in acronyms not in technologies, they’re thinking, it’s going to be a little bit like a CRM, yeah, you know, are there gonna be and I need a content component. They’re thinking in terms of categories. And then our job becomes to partner with them and figure out how to translate that into technologies. The hardest thing to learn for me was that those categories might make sense. There’s a reason they exist. CRM is a horrible acronym. It’s just horrible, means nothing. But the reason it exists is because it abstracts away all the technologies underneath and gives people on two sides of a table, something they can talk about.

RZ It’s not a technical acronym. It’s a real world, how I work in the real world, acronym. That’s that’s the point of it. The Holy Grail is the technologist that just unapologetically loves the technology and loves the latest thing, but has the requisite empathy to talk to non technologists in such a way where they appreciate the value of the thing. That is a rare thing, right. The one shortcoming I do see on the Python side is they almost despise the nuts and bolts of it, they’re they almost they sort of like “Ah, that’s not for here, keep it simple, keep it simple, calm down.” The thing is a technologist that is curious and is always growing, and is really on top of all the latest best ways to do things. But then says it in such a way, right, frames it in such a way so that non technologists appreciate things like Docker, and why that’s valuable from a business perspective, rather than getting into the nuts and bolts of it. You give me 10 of those, and you conquer the world. Right? Like that’s, that is the ultimate, it’s hard to find. It’s actually hard to find. I think we try to cultivate it at Postlight just because of how we are and who we are, and the way technology interfaces with other parts of the organization. 

PF Well, you know, the trade off is that if you’re a technologist, you come work for Postlight, you’re going to get to use very modern tools. We’re not going to make you use Java from 12 years ago. Right? It may not be the incredibly abstract new approach that’s taking the world by storm, you know, on Hacker News last week. But then again, sometimes it is we’re shipping elixir code into a giant government organizations right now. And happily with full transparency about what it is like a very modern programming languages, programming language focused on lots and lots of connections happening at once. So we make that deal. But then the corollary to the deal is that you have to learn how those ideas present to the wider world, you can’t just sell elixir, you can’t sell JavaScript. That’s not what people want to buy.

RZ Very often, the latest thing is used as a marketing vehicle as a way. But even that, you can’t go that far. Like if you go on big consulting websites, you won’t see elixir and graph qL what you see is Internet of Things, AI and ml, because—

PF No, this is true. It’s only the very technology centric firms that even list that stuff. 

RZ That’s right, that’s right.

PF This is a wrestling match for us, because we don’t, if somebody wants elixir, we want them to call Postlight. But most of our clients don’t want anything in particular.

RZ Right. They want the thing solved is what they want.

PF They want the thing solved. And you seem like nice people. That’s what they’re going for. Let’s bring this back to scaling in the supply chain. Well, we were talking about the virus earlier, we were talking about how, you know, here’s the vaccines, intense science, but the actual scaling of it is surprisingly simple. It’s big, clunky machines, it’s dry ice, every aspect of it can be understood.

RZ It’s not exciting. 

PF It’s not. It’s a lot of little solutions.

RZ When I hear a problem put in front of me. And that could be you know, weeks of digesting what a problem is, once it’s solved, I’m kind of done. You know, it’s like once a platform is architected, the architect is kind of done. But then there’s this stuff that’s kind of you could argue less glamorous and less exciting, but it’s really going to be the make or break right and things like dry ice, things like scaling a platform, things like glass. Do you remember at one point like they kept saying “but there’s no glass” and I was freaked out. I was like, what do you mean there’s no glass? Like we’ve got the vaccines? Yeah, we’ve got large vats of vaccines, but we got no glass. I’m like what do you mean, just empty Mountain Dew bottles? What do you want for me? Like no glass? Yeah, it just, you know, logistics is boring. That dude who came up with the little nozzle thing that allowed them to make the vaccine faster? It’s probably not like, you know, at the top of the chain in terms of PhDs on top of PhDs.

PF It doesn’t matter, he’s not getting, he’s not getting the Nobel Prize.

RZ He’s not getting the Nobel Prize! He’s just like, you know what—

PF No, no, he’s gonna get, I mean, he probably has a PhD in biochem. But he’s gonna get the like, supply chain logistics, you know, Innovator of the Year 2021. 

RZ It’s the plaque that’s floating in glass. That’s sort of, the one that sort of sits at the desk.

PF You know, he’s getting he’s getting a Lucite award. No, I mean, that’s that’s us too, though. Ultimately, I’m a Lucite award receiver. Let me let me say the thing I think we’re saying, because I think it’ll piss everybody off. And I don’t know if I fully agree with it. Solving the core problem can often be really, really hard. But if it’s hard to scale, you might be doing it wrong.

RZ Yeah. I mean, this is the point I made earlier, which is when you solve the main problem, are you just solving it? Are you solving it with some foresight towards what’s going to come at you?

PF This is a controversial DevOps opinion in the age of Kubernetes, and containerization. Richard, we might have just, we might have just set fire to the whole company.

RZ No, I think we should, I think we’ve never talked about DevOps, you know, a lot of people like “DevOps?” like are listening, maybe. We should actually dive into it and speak to this. Because to me, what’s happened is the idealism and the perfectionism of engineering has seeped into IT services. And what you have is, and they had a baby, right, and that baby is DevOps. And what DevOps is saying is, we are not just here to make sure the lights are on. We are here to as an interface towards future proofing, whatever got built, right? And for a while, I was confused by it, because like, their engineers are saying, “Oh, I’m also DevOps” like, what do you mean your DevOps? Why would you want to do that to yourself? And it turns out, it is an art in and of itself. And what it speaks to is maintainability and scalability, right? That’s really what we’re talking about, that the software isn’t ever handed off, really, it is a living, breathing thing that is going to continue to need good, thoughtful thinking throughout. You don’t launch it and wish for the best, right, and that’s, that’s the world we live in today. I still I’m impressed, incredibly impressed by people who write firmware that can never be updated. People who put out PS2 games that can never be updated. I remember I used to get a dozen like small floppy disks from my Microsoft Word, and it would get mailed to me, it was the strangest thing.

PF I think this is an artifact of this moment. And I think when they make funny videos in the future, about the years, you know, 2010 to 2030, popping up “you have to upgrade this” will be a big part of it. Because it’s ridiculous. I have to upgrade everything. I have to update my phone, which has the update it’s apps. Everything.

RZ My light switch, I have a WiFi light switch, it’s like we need to upgrade it. What do you mean, when I hit on, it goes on. When I turn it off, it goes off. All’s good.

PF It’s very dangerous for people like you and me with sysadmin tendencies because it’s like, oh, well, you know, what about the firmware on my microphone? My USB microphone? Is my camera up to date? My reMarkable reader? My iPad? My phone? And then it’s like, what about my monitor? Does my monitor firmware?

RZ It does. I want to close with this. I’m going to full confession. I want to close the confession, Paul. I really love upgrading stuff. I feel so good about it.

PF Well no, I can’t help it, that’s a problem. It’s an obsession. 

RZ I feel like I’ve fixed everything.

PF When Apple pops up that little like, “hey, time for you Mac OS update tonight.” And you’re like, no, I don’t really want to and it’s like, “Yeah, uh uh, you’re gonna be upgraded.” Nothing, you know what I have to do? Because I’m I’m on Linux at home until the pandemics over at which point I’m going back to the Mac. And that machine is also my gaming machine, So I have to login to Windows. Reboot. And I mean, so you know mostly I’ve just got my computer up, my work computer, working all the time. But you know about once every two weeks, I go into Windows. And I play a little Flight Simulator. And it’s about an hour. It’s an hour every single time.

RZ You got a fast connection too. It’s pretty remarkable.

PF I have no—because I got that it’s like an Xbox for PC where you can download, I have like 12 games from a subscription service. Yeah. And it’s, every single time I go into Windows, about 35 gigabytes of new data needs to come. And then I have to restart and it reboots back into Linux. 

RZ And it’s interesting that you think is temporary. 

PF I don’t think it’ll ever quite end. It’s not like we’re going to create secure systems. But this, the amount of intervention necessary, I think will go down to zero, because it’s it’s just a ridiculous situation. Eventually we’ll stop restarting, you’ll have containerization on your phone. So the core kernel will only need to be rebooted every six months and everything else will be running inside of a virtual machine that it’s easier to restart. That’s where we’re headed.

RZ I think this is about pragmatism, ultimately. I love the idealism and the perfectionism of engineers. I do, I really appreciate it. I there’s something you get a high out of refactoring and making things great, but it is also about balance and pragmatism. I think we see that because a pandemic will teach you about pragmatism, because the shits got to get out, you could sit here and architect the best thing. But you know what, Michigan hasn’t gotten a shipment in four days, you better just get it out. Right. And I think that’s a wonderful thing. 

PF I just talked to a client with an unrealistic deadline. And I was like, look, that’s an unrealistic deadline. Hold on to it. Don’t let it go just yet. You got to keep everybody on their toes, including us. But you know, I also need to tell you right to your face, that’s unrealistic. You need that sense of like, what is the fastest, cheapest, simplest thing we can do? Or otherwise, humans want to do it right. It’s our great. It’s the greatest thing about humans. And it’s also our greatest failings, we want to do it right. So bad. This time will be different. We’re going to architect an entire economy, and it’s going to be wonderful. And everyone’s got, you know, dessert or whatever. We just we love to think big. And you can’t actually think big out of the gate. Gotta get those little abstractions, right. Look for the good, high quality stuff. And then you can put that together.

RZ But if you do want to think big Paul, who should you reach out to?

PF Oh, my goodness, that’s a great question.


PF I don’t even know anymore. 

RZ Check us out. We do big and small efforts. We touch all all kinds of sectors, from content to publishing, to finance to nonprofits to, we did a great project for the MTA. There’s a great case study on the site, hit us up Reach out with questions We love talking,

PF Go get your vaccine. We want to see you at the office soon.

RZ The office is opening back up. We’re based in New York City. We’re all over the place nowadays, but we’re based in New York City. So check us out and everyone be well, have a wonderful week. 

PF Bye! [music ramps up, plays alone, ends]