Whiskey Web and Whatnot

A whiskey fueled fireside chat with your favorite web developers.


18: Chuck's Origin Story: Career Pivots, and Learning to Love Ember

Show Notes

After diving into Robbie’s backstory in episode 017, today we’re panning the camera to Chuck. If you’ve ever wondered how he ended up at Ship Shape and where Chuck first discovered the world of the web, today’s episode explores his digital origin story.

Like Robbie, Chuck’s foray into software development began in Photoshop. In fact, for a period after graduating college, Chuck considered going to photography school. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you ask Robbie), shelling out cash for grad school seemed daunting and impractical. So he stumbled into a startup instead.

After gigs at multiple startups, MLMs, a national network, and a non-profit abroad, a new baby sent Chuck searching for something with fewer hours and more flexibility. Spoiler alert: he ended up at Ship Shape.

In this episode, Robbie and Chuck discuss Chuck’s gradual love for Ember, the frameworks that shaped his career, the developers who impressed him, and Chuck’s ideas on the future of the web.

Key Takeaways

  • [00:27] - A whiskey review.
  • [08:41] - Where it all began for Chuck.
  • [11:48] - Chuck’s foray into the digital space.
  • [15:19] - Where Chuck went post-grad.
  • [19:08] - A turning point in Chuck’s career.
  • [21:27] - Why Chuck headed to Europe.
  • [23:14] - Chuck’s career with National Geographic and the software that shaped him.
  • [29:33] - When Chuck met Ember.
  • [33:30] - Why Chuck left the startup world.
  • [37:56] - How Chuck found Ship Shape.
  • [46:22] - Where Chuck’s headed next.
  • [48:30] - How to send suggestions our way and a brief chat on NFTs.


[20:25] - “For me, and I think for a lot of people, jQuery was kind of the entryway into JavaScript programming.” ~ Chuck Carpenter

[39:01] - “What was the next rung on the career ladder? I decided that instead of more middle management, getting my hands dirty and building a business sounded pretty great, or at least worth a try. I needed to check that box off.” ~ Chuck Carpenter

[41:55] - “It feels like things are going in a direction, even if it’s not Next, where there’s more opinionation.” ~ Chuck Carpenter


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This show is brought to you by Ship Shape. Ship Shape’s software consultants solve complex software and app development problems with top-tier coding expertise, superior service, and speed. In a sea of choices, our senior-level development crew rises above the rest by delivering the best solutions for fintech, cybersecurity, and other fast-growing industries. Check us out at shipshape.io.

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Robbie Wagner: [00:09] Hey, everybody, welcome to another Whiskey Web and Whatnot. I am Robbie Wagner. This is Charles William Carpenter III. We run Ship Shape and this podcast. We did our last one a couple of days ago on my origin story. And we are now doing Chuck's origin story today. Today we have a whiskey from Catoctin Creek.

Chuck Carpenter: [00:29] Catoctin.

Robbie Wagner: [00:30] Yeah, I've been driving by because this is actually local to me. It's maybe like 15 minutes away from here. And I've driven by a bunch of places with spelled differently, like with like K-A-T-O-K-T. Back in the day, probably people didn't spell it the same when no one knew how to write English in the one 1700s or whatever.

Chuck Carpenter: [00:53] Right. Whatever phonetic spelling they were familiar with or something.

Robbie Wagner: [00:58] Yeah, so I've seen a lot of that around, and that's what makes me pretty confident that it's because the k's are definitely.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:06] So is it Purcellville, then?

Robbie Wagner: [01:09]No, Purcellville.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:13] Purcellville.

Robbie Wagner: [01:13] You leave out like three of the letters.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:15] But it feels a little like Louisville to me how people try and say Louisville. Louisville. It's like Louisville. So it's like Purcellville.

Robbie Wagner: [01:23] Yeah, I mean, the people living there were, like, this is too long to say. So we just like.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:29] Perhaps I had a bit of a different drawl when they were saying that.

Robbie Wagner: [01:34] Tis true.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:35] Yeah. So this one is the Roundstone Rye. And the internet says and the bottle that it is 100% rye. So it's just all rye here.

Robbie Wagner:[01:49] And this is from, is it, Seelbach? I don't know how to do the b-a-c-h. Is that back or bach.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:55] Seelbach? I like bach sounds more bougie.

Robbie Wagner: [01:58] We'll look up what the real pronunciation is eventually. But anyway, this is their barrel pick, and they refer to it as the hot honey whiskey or something like that. So it's supposed to have notes of hot honey, which I don't know. We'll see.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:12] I feel like it's going too well. It's going to taint my expectations.

Robbie Wagner: [02:19] It does smell kind of honey.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:24] Okay.

Robbie Wagner: [02:29] I never know where to set things on this desk.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:32] You just need a bigger desk.

Robbie Wagner: [02:34] Oh, it's big. I just have a lot of junk on it.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:37] Yeah, same. I understand putting a podcasting preamp thing board. That's probably what it's called. I don't know these things.

Robbie Wagner: [02:47] Hardware board.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:48] Yeah. So it's like on my desk, I find myself with this board. I've got this mic. I've got like two keyboards. I've got two computers, monitor and an ethernet switch. A lot of stuff. And now some whiskey bottles, too, which is problematic. Anyway, let's get to this. Yeah. Okay. On the smell, I'm smelling. Can't trust me on these things. But like overripe banana peels.

Robbie Wagner: [03:14] Oh, my gosh. That is super, super sweet. And it does have a little bit of burn to it.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:22] Yeah, you got to chew it first, remember?

Robbie Wagner: [03:24] No, I mean burn like hot honey, like peppery.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:27] Oh, yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [03:30] It makes me wonder if this is actually made with hot honey, and it doesn't say anything on the barrel or, I mean, on the bottle.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:39] Well, I guess you could technically flavor it, but I don't know why you'd want to do that.

Robbie Wagner: [03:44] I'm just really confused how these flavors come out of 100% rye.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:49] Barrels are part of it where it sits in the rick house or something? Maybe this one got a lot warmer and.

Robbie Wagner: [03:57] I guess if it sat in the barrel a really long time, it could be like this sweet, but it's probably the sweetest rye I've ever experienced.

Chuck Carpenter: [04:07] Yeah, it's more like maple to honey than honey to me. Maple syrup. I think everything sweet tastes like maple syrup to me.

Robbie Wagner: [04:15] Yeah, it is a little bit, now that you mentioned that. It's between the two. I think.

Robbie Wagner: [04:20] Yeah, you get the kind of flame banana flavor in bananas foster. I'm getting a little of that. And then you get the burn at the end, but not like spice. I'm used to some cinnamon, some I don't know, no leatheriness.

Robbie Wagner: [04:36] There's no black pepper. Like you usually have a little bit of. Definitely filing this under extremely interesting. This is another one I would not want to drink. I'm probably not even going to be able to finish the amount I've poured because it's so sweet. I mean, I'll finish it, but it takes me a while. So, yeah, I would say this one is pretty cool in the fact that it tastes very much like hot honey. So if they haven't added anything, I would say this is a seven. On interesting level, it's good and accurate to the flavor profile it should be, but on a I want to drink it level, it's like a four. Buton a I want to show my friends how much this tastes like hot honey right up to a seven.

Chuck Carpenter: [05:24] So it's a novelty bottle.

Robbie Wagner: [05:26] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [05:26] Basically, you have it around, and you're like you want to taste something interesting. You'd like ryes? Let's try this one.

Robbie Wagner: [05:33] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [05:35] So then, just in general, where does that put it for you? How many tentacles? I think drinkability plays a part in that. Right. Like, it's not bad, but it's not something you can enjoy normally. Like, oh, I don't know, it's the weekend, I want to have a nicer drink, but I want to kind of enjoy it through all the way through. Maybe have a couple.

Robbie Wagner: [06:02] I mean, I think to be fair and subjective to all of the rest of the ratings we've done, I would give it like a five and a half, like average out the like I really like it from the standpoint of novelty, but, yeah, I would definitely not drink it.

Chuck Carpenter: [06:20] But not, like, the short stack, which it was like a novelty that I hated.

Robbie Wagner: [06:24] Oh, no yeah, that was a novelty that was not executed well.

Chuck Carpenter: [06:28] Right? Yeah. I'm going to say I have this, like, mustiness too. I don't know. The leftover gives it a little I'm going to go five. I think it's interesting. I don't think it's like because it wasn't inexpensive either, I think that's a different thing to take into account. Like, I don't know, maybe like $70, something like that. So for $70, do you reach to this bottle? Do you suggest this bottle? I mean, you have it, you might like, whatever. And then, once it's gone, it's probably gone for you. And I would say the same for me. So I'm just going to go with a five.

Robbie Wagner: [07:00] I think it would be really good for cooking certain things. Maybe something that you would maybe use hot honey on, like some kind of interesting dessert or something, but kind of boil this down and put it on there. Could be really good.

Chuck Carpenter: [07:17] Make your own kind of boozy syrup. That might be interesting. I use hot honey on pizza, actually. Certain pizzas really good with hot honey.

Robbie Wagner: [07:24] I used to get that Ann pizza all the time.

Chuck Carpenter: [07:27] Yeah, well, Mod Pizza actually has it, but we'll just kind of have it on hand. Friday is family pizza day, and we'll get order out from different places every once in a while, make our own, and we'll try hot honey on a few different ones too.

Robbie Wagner: [07:41] Yeah, I'm a fan.

Chuck Carpenter: [07:44] So, yeah. Five. I say five. Yeah, it's interesting. It's worth the try. Something I could say if you saw on a menu at a whiskey bar or something, it's like, oh, it's worth a dram kind of go from there.

Robbie Wagner: [07:58] Definitely.

Chuck Carpenter: [07:59] That's not going to get you any free bottles. This review is not going to get you any free bottles from your neighbor, though, just so you know.

Robbie Wagner: [08:05] Yeah. If there's any chance that anyone from Catoctin Creek Distillery comes across this, we are not saying you are a bad distillery. We like your stuff. This is just a little bit interesting for our taste. So especially if you wanted to give us something a little more normal, we would gladly take anything you might want to give us.

Chuck Carpenter: [08:25] Right. As a rye drinker yourself. You would like to try their regular offering? Like, oh, this is our normal offering. This is not any kind of experiment or special. All right, so there we go with that. As Robbie mentioned, a few days ago, we recorded an episode which is an origin story episode, which is really interesting, particularly since my son is very obsessed with pretending to be a superhero and will be one when he grows up, as I'm often reminded. It feels very connected to that. While I'm sure he does not see me as a superhero, so my origin story will not end in radioactive spider bites or whatever.

Robbie Wagner: [09:08] Well, you just have to send them to. Is there a name for the Charles Xavier? Is it named after him? The school? I forget the name of the school.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:16] Right. I think it's like the Charles Xavier School for Exceptional Children or something.

Robbie Wagner: [09:24] Just send him there.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:25] Exactly. Totally exists. What's, the actor James McAvoy is there.

Robbie Wagner: [09:32] How old he is at the time.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:34] Yeah, Patrick. Whatever. Yeah. Was the original one. Right? Anyway, my origin story doesn't have very much to do with movies or at least working in them, but I know we've talked about little nuances of my many lives of careers through life. I think, in general, about did a little retail in high school and sold cell phones in college. Was a nice part-time job that paid well and that allowed me to have a lot of freedoms there. So that was cool. Moved out there's. Arizona.

Robbie Wagner: [10:07] Follow up to that. Sorry to derail you already. Are you slinging cell phones out of a trunk, or are you at a store? You know what I mean?

Chuck Carpenter: [10:18] So, I mean, that could be an episode into itself. So I am I am working for an actual wireless carrier. And there was a store, and it was in downtown Cincinnati, and there was like a main store, like, on a square, and then there was like a mall at the first couple of floors of an old building and of, like, a skyscraper building, and there was a kiosk there, but it was like, not in the middle. It was, like, tucked to the side. And so it was just like an offshoot of the main store. And I worked in that, and yeah, it was a very funny adventure because it was kind of autonomous, and the manager was always at the main store, and so we just sort of did our own thing. But yeah, so it was like legit selling cell phones. So I don't even remember the name of the wireless provider at the time. I don't know if they're around anymore. So it wasn't like Sprint or T Mobile or something like that. Some other smaller one that I think got gobbled up by a bigger one got you. So, yeah, I did that and then decided to leave the Midwest for the West Coast. Wasn't really sure. I was actually planning to go to California, but it's very expensive there, and if you're not trying to be an actor, it doesn't make a lot of sense to put yourself through that. And so I kind of landed in Phoenix and tried a bunch of things. Just was like, oh, what normal? I was in a call center for a while. I was a valet for a bit, became a bartender, blackjack dealer. After a while, I was really into photography. It took a lot of that in college, and I was shooting to go to photo school at one point. But through a random series of things, mostly money related, it didn't happen, and I didn't really have any financial assistance. But I got to know Photoshop. I started building my own computers and things like that, and it made me want to pursue more of a career. So through that, I ended up getting a job at a startup doing marketing work, but it ended up being like customer service marketing. I learned how to triage technical issues with their networking equipment. We were doing point-to-point Internet access, so it was kind of like Starlink but no satellites. It was just from big skyscrapers shooting down to other antennas.

Robbie Wagner: [12:38] Yeah. Like I still have in my house.

Chuck Carpenter: [12:41] Wow. That was not reliable technology, but I don't know, however many 20 years ago or something.

Robbie Wagner: [12:48] It's not reliable now, either.

Chuck Carpenter: [12:50] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [12:51] Like, we'll just randomly have no Internet. And I'm like, hey, you know, we pay you a ton of money for this. And yes, it's our only option, so you can charge us a ton, but for that money, you should have it up more often. It shouldn't go off, like, five times a day.

Chuck Carpenter: [13:07] You're constantly exactly. And you're constantly calling them to do a reset from their side. And then that kicks off other people.

Robbie Wagner: [13:15] And by the time you get in touch with them, like, things have sometimes already resolved themselves. Or they're like, oh yeah, I don't see anything on my end. And then you're like, oh, you're right. Like, okay, bye.

Chuck Carpenter: [13:24] Yeah, I'm able to ping your endpoint now, so it must mean you're up, basically. And there was a lot to that. So, yeah, things don't change, but that gets old after a little while. Yeah. And part of that, I just did so many things at that job, and because I knew Photoshop, this is like my entrance into the web world. One of the founders, he learned that I knew that didn't want to pay a graphic designer anymore, and asked me if I could jump in and do Photoshop things, do Illustrator things. I just got stacks of books and kind of figured it out so I can update things without totally breaking it. Part of that ended up being the website as well, which was built using table layouts many moons ago. So you would be like 800 pics with all nested crazy tables. And they want to just change a button, which you had to do in Photoshop, and then re-chop everything up and then try and replace the right square and then FTP the changes up. It was a real adventure but.

Robbie Wagner: [14:26] Did you have to do frames or no frames, or was it past that?

Chuck Carpenter: [14:31] No, it was probably frames or no frames. Yeah, that sounds about right. Definitely have. As bad as things were, I would say that's what I was working with. It was really hard to do stuff, and there's just visual changes. I can remember there being, like, JavaScript and some forms on the site, and I was like, I can't touch that. That looks like foreign to me. I'm just going to make these visual changes.

Robbie Wagner: [14:56] Yeah. I feel like CSS back then didn't really do anything. Like, a lot of stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [15:00] It didn't.

Robbie Wagner: [15:00] Wasn't included. So you had to just take everything in Photoshop and piece it together.

Chuck Carpenter: [15:05] Yeah, and you had to set all these properties on the table for how you wanted the inner contents to be, and then you would just nest deeper tables to get more explicit. Yeah, not great. So then, after that, I had a few other kind of odd small jobs of similar nuance through town. So I got brought on to so there was like a pet supply company in town, and it ended up being like they had a big umbrella of pet like things. So it was like pet e-commerce stuff they were starting to do, and they were making their own dog food, and then they wanted to kick off a line of pet training videos. So like pre-Caesar Milan stuff. So I was like going to help them build that website and work on the e-commerce stuff. And then turned out like they owned all the puppy mills in the mall in town, and they had me like taking photos of puppies to put on the e-commerce site. Yeah, I was like, okay, I don't feel great about this. In between all this, I did a bunch of side work too, just like learning to get better, helping people make their websites. I did some graphic design, like collateral print work stuff, too, with some friends who were in that space. And I worked for GoDaddy for a little bit, but like so I didn't have to like do customer service and sell stuff, but I was in their domain services. So it was like essentially I was managing GoDaddy's portfolio of thousands of their own owned domains, like renewals, goofy things like that. And then I also had to deal with ownership disputes. So if you were like, this says Joe owns this, but I actually own it. And now it has to go to some kind of arbitration. I'd have to manage that process. Most of the time, people would be wrong and lose their domain. And if somebody stole it from you and then changed the names of stuff, there's kind of like nothing you can do. Did that for a while. Still more websites. And then, I started getting into the multilevel marketing world, which got me right. It's just like my moral compass is very loose if you kind of think about it.

Robbie Wagner: [17:15] But more money. More money.

Chuck Carpenter: [17:17] Yeah, change in life. They do pay well, especially for in-town doing web stuff. So worked for a couple of those. Getting deeper into the e-commerce side of things. Still being dubbed the web designer. So I was doing a lot of graphic design-like things. I was like creating ads in Flash and creating even some flat ads that could be used. Like if you had your own website and you were a reseller of MLM, then you had some collateral that was from the mothership that they would give you, and I'd make some of those. But I was also doing a bunch of the websites, and I would make websites for their one-off events every year. There's a lot of WordPress stuff at that time, too, so it would be like WordPress-hosted things, so people could write articles and blogs internally a bunch. And then I started doing things working on their entire e-commerce platform. So it's like once you're a member, you get in there, and you can sign people up, you can see the breakdown of the tree to a particular degree that is within your own purview. You could purchase products or purchase products for other people. So that really got me more into the technical side of not just like, Brochureware, but in actual, like, web applications that could take something all the way to fruition registrations, sign-ups, and selling things and making a bunch of money and having that related to the work I was actually doing, which brought me a lot of personal pride. There's just more than just like you were doing this event site, it's just information, and it's very subjective. And maybe your manager says, I know that you like this green button, you think green is a good idea for this, but I say make it red because I say make it red, and then now I did something too. Maybe that's harsh, but I credit this point in my career with really giving me the decision and where I was going to go with my career. So I just had a VP of marketing that saw that my hands were in multiple pots and said to go somewhere to your career. I think it's great. I think ideally these things should be of separate concerns. So you have your UX design, you have your web design, and you have your web developer, your engineering side of things, solving the problems and executing more business logic, and you should pick one. I thought about it for about four minutes, but then I waited a whole day just so he could think that I would have given it more thought, and I chose the more business logic execution layer of things. And he was surprised but followed through on the promise of encouraging me in that path, in that direction. And yeah, I'd say it's worked out okay.

Robbie Wagner: [20:02] Yeah, you just really liked PHP, so you wanted to go that way.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:05] Right. Exactly. Well, during this time, too, so you were doing a lot more DOM manipulation and then starting to write a bit more like full-fledged application logic where saving things to a database and all of that, but a lot of it's jQuery powered. So you're really stretching this thing for me, and I think for a lot of people, jQuery was kind of the entryway into JavaScript programming.

Robbie Wagner: [20:31] Yeah, it was so much easier than vanilla JavaScript at the time. You couldn't do anything with JavaScript.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:37] And even if you try to do a vanilla JavaScript thing, it only worked in okay, it works in two out of the four browsers you're forced to on the browser wars. I don't totally miss those, and I guess they don't completely escape you forever. But yeah, that was like a very challenging time. So there's the first step where there was a movement towards improving CSS and get separating presentation and the document layout and all of that logic too. And then, although ironically, we've munched them all back together in a different way, but it's less hacky now. At least it was definitely a hack. It was like, oh, I have these tools. Here's how I can cleverly make them do some other things they are not supposed to do. Yeah, so did that for a while. Like I said, worked for a few different MLMs so in the e-commerce space, but specific to those, lots of JavaScript exposure, some PHP all along the way. I had touched ColdFusion in that nightmare ride at one point wouldn't go back there and even though people will pay you a bunch of money to do it. Yeah, and then at a certain point, I decided I needed a little pause and take time to meet some, not just professional, but life goals. So I sold everything I owned and saved some money, and then I took off to Europe, and I still did some web work, but I was doing volunteer work, so I was like, I'm up for volunteering. So one of the things I volunteered with was the Homeless World Cup, essentially like grassroots training people, giving people confidence across multiple countries, like street soccer kind of thing. And then every year they would have this big World Cup style, small like five-on-five competition. I can't even remember now, but I was inspired because Colin Farrell narrated a documentary about it, and I was like, yeah, somebody can do that. So I did a bunch of web stuff for them, a little bit of updating on their site, and then a bunch of content work, too, through that. But yeah, I had like seven months to sort of take a break from all that and try and do a bit of a reset. Came back, and then I was just a gun for hire. A few places for a little while until the network came a calling. And, yeah, I had a former colleague reach out to me to see if I was interested in working for National Geographic. And I was like, wait a minute. I can do web stuff and do it for something I think is really cool. Yeah, I'm in. So made my way to Washington, DC. And yeah, that was the beginning of a five-year journey with National Geographic. Was interesting too, because I got there at a time where that business used to be, was very separated by department. Every department had their own budgets. If they did anything internally, they had to exchange these yellow dollars. So there wasn't really a centralized engineering group, and a lot of other teams just farmed all that stuff out. So then, when I came in, they were changing all of that, and it was initially just the news site, but then it didn't take long to start scaling up into other parts of the business. Over time, I got to work on analytics, like global analytics. They had like a singular unified authentication project. There was things with the channel and video and then a video player that got utilized across all properties. A lot of advertising work for better or worse. And then started managing teams on my own there. So that was the beginning of my leadership career, was managing a project that was like a technical lead on projects for a bit and a team lead and then essentially managing both the internal teams and a bunch of the offshore teams. Just ensuring like, you're starting a new site, and you need to utilize some of these global properties. So you need to be utilizing our internal login structure. You need to leverage analytics that we have all across all properties, so they go to centralized things like things like that.

Robbie Wagner: [24:50] Was all this in React, I think you had mentioned before?

Chuck Carpenter: [24:53] Oh yes, I should talk about some technologies, too, once I've shifted over. Yeah, I mean, heck yeah. Leaving Arizona, I had only worked essentially in like PHP or vanilla JavaScript or jQuery and even coming in on Nat Geo. There was a lot of jQuery at first. So the first framework that we started leaning into was Backbone. So we wanted to get into some of these JavaScript-driven applications. Started utilizing Backbone, doing like a Backbone Marionette thing. So we did an entire greenfield project in that which was like essentially across the magazine and magazine archives, which was kind of cool. Did some work in Angular, for they had like an Instagram property for quite some time. That was kind of cool because it was like Instagram was very photo focused, but the nice part were actual there would be assignments, and then Nat Geo photo photographers would review and rate people who submitted to the assignments, those things like that. That was kind of cool. Yeah, Angular. Yeah, it was like, this seems so because I had fought so hard to get like logic and presentation out of HTML Angular just from the get-go. I know you were speaking on yours about two-way binding and all this kind of like tying the DOM and like logic together. It just felt so wrong to me. I was very opposed to that and very angry about it.

Robbie Wagner: [26:23] But it was so cool. Like no one thought about, oh, this could be bad in some way. They're just like, whoa, this updates when I change this.

Chuck Carpenter: [26:31] So I still didn't feel great about that. I liked the Backbone side of things, and yeah, it wasn't like component-level rerenders or things like that. But I mean, it did feel like, oh my gosh, I can control all of the application here, and I don't have to worry about every single thing the server is doing first. So I don't know, that felt neat to me. Angular felt wrong just because I had been part of that fight of separating all these things. And then eventually, it was actually the Unified Login Project, where there was one authentication, one login, one user across all properties. We decided to do that in React as a React component, and then it could just get dropped in pretty easily into all kinds of things. JQuery version munging was often a big problem sometimes. Especially if there was, like, a project that had been outsourced, and then it would come back in house, and then it would be like, oh, well, we try and add some of our stuff. And now there's jQuery for version munging, and there's all these global you got to do.

Robbie Wagner: [27:36] JQuery. No conflict.

Chuck Carpenter: [27:38] Yeah. So, yeah, React came out, a colleague showed me a little demo about it. That was the thing where it was like, what, this stuff is updating, like real-time? And I don't know, I thought it was super cool, so we implemented it in that way. And then I was just like, React fanboy as we were putting it across a whole bunch of other properties. Because seeing a small thing was cool, but, like, seeing it in a major thing and having, like, a true single-page application where that was, I thought a game changer enjoyed that for quite some time. And then National Geographic Media Properties were acquired, a new company came into play, and I think you were saying, and this was a trigger for me too, essentially. One day I came into work and had to be let upstairs and then was given this badge, and there was like these machines. It was just like one day I came into work, and there were these things that you had to scan through to get into any door, and it had always been like such a kind of cool open property. And the first buildings from 1888 and the one where my office was was like 1927 or something, and it was just like that. It was just like it felt like a college campus in a way. And then now they had basically put massive gates up around it, and that's when I kind of knew like there were layoffs and some other stuff, and I wasn't laid off, and I was like, still had a career path and things like that, but it just wasn't cool.

Robbie Wagner: [29:08] Not the same.

Chuck Carpenter: [29:08] It just wasn't fun. Yeah, the whole vibe of things when they fired some people and restructured, and then it was just like, oh yeah, okay, I'm not going to have the same fun on projects, and this isn't the same owners, and they now want to massively gatekeep everything. So I was like, okay, I want to try a different experience. And I ended up next at a startup in town doing boutique fitness management. So it was like a big piece of software that would do all kinds of things for you, like member management and some location things with special features, like around you're in a boutique fitness class. Say you're taking a spin class, and you want to be in a certain spot. You could actually not just reserve a part in the class but reserve your spot and inventory management and a POS and all kinds of whatever random stuff.

Robbie Wagner: [30:08] Didn't they layer on to that? If you want to buy like a protein shake or something, it can be there for you and that kind of stuff too.

Chuck Carpenter: [30:15] Yeah, exactly. So you can pre-order all these things, so it's like, after your class, you can pick up your shake already. I don't know if it ever got to this, but the idea was eventually to have dynamic pricing. So essentially, the airline model of pricing, like the same flight, could be more or less expensive depending upon demand, and they could do that with classes and even into the spot was the intention over time. So I don't know if that ever got implemented, but it wasn't while I was there.

Robbie Wagner: [30:45] I don't remember anything from my short time there, so I couldn't really tell you.

Chuck Carpenter: [30:49] Yeah, so I came on board to help them build their engineering team, continue to build out the MVP and launch of the product, and to get introduced to Ember, by the way. So this is where Ember JS first came into play for me, and I'm, like, best tool for the job kind of person in general. But I remember the first couple of weeks being like, why is this so hard? I really don't like this. It's like making me do all kinds of things and I'm always having to, like yeah. I just felt like any way I knew how to do something was wrong. And maybe that's because it was wrong. It was hard to say, but having been so happy with my React experience and our integrations there and there wasn't Redux at that time, but there was some other state management thing, so there was like the router, and maybe there was like Funk or Sagas or something, I don't know. And so I was like, look, all these things work really good. Why are we doing all this stuff over here? And then, one day, it just kind of clicked. It was like, oh, I've done this a couple of times. Oh, I easily know how to find the answer. Oh my gosh, I found this place, and it was like Slack at the time or whatever. I found this place where I can jump in and ask a question, and people don't tell me, go read the RTFM. Go read the manual. So this is kind of cool. Maybe it does kind of make sense. And the more I learned about it, it did, and it was easy to be very productive and really focus on harder problems like combinatorics. That way, you get every possible combination depending upon the number of options that you add. Yada yada yada. Yeah, so it actually just turned the corner there. Started attending EmberConf, started not hiring Robbie, started. Inside joke and eventually like reviving the Ember DC meet-up, which Robbie eventually took over when I moved. So that was all great and pretty happy experience. Startup world was interesting. There's a lot going on. There's a lot changing all the time. People changing, business objectives changing, a lot of features changing, and so work and then rework and testing and manage some of the internal team there. Helped manage the team that did the mobile applications also. So yeah, you can see the theme here. I'm like leading teams for the most part, and really I was having a so we launched the product in December. I had recently had a child. I was sleeping like 2 hours a night, but then on launch night, up until two in the morning, getting the app going.

Robbie Wagner: [33:42] Those two don't mix very well.

Chuck Carpenter: [33:43] Yeah, they don't mix that well. Between that and just having a new family and maybe wanting family and help for our child and ever-growing family that I decided that maybe the startup world wasn't a good fit for me. Went back to corporate dynamics and got a first lead that it was a team lead job, tech lead job that quickly became a manager's job, and that was kind of the intention when I picked it up was, oh there's going to be an opening soon so let's get you and then go from there. And that was with Acquia out of Boston. They're much known as the Drupal company founder created Drupal, they essentially provide Drupal enterprise services, lots of hosting and set up, and all of that, but I never touched any Drupal or PHP while I was there. Proud to say that. Nothing wrong with that. For some people, it just wasn't my jazz. I was running teams and working on the product. One of the marketing products and it was called Lift which was all about dynamic content through metrics and rules and analytics and all these crazy stuff, things like that was also an Ember application, so that was really cool. It was a team in Toronto team in Boston. I was in DC at the time. Eventually moved to Phoenix, remote the whole time, and then just visiting teams and working to get that product. So yeah, I worked on two iterations of it and proud to say that always stayed on modern Ember iterations. Even when the product itself changed a couple of different times in terms of what the admin was, what was the overlay, what was going to talk back and forth, all that kind of stuff was always Ember and always modern Ember.

Robbie Wagner: [35:29] Well, Ember makes that easy, right? Like everything is backwards, compatible to a fault, like it's held back the framework, honestly, because they care so much about supporting everything, which is nice for the developer, but bad for them.

Chuck Carpenter: [35:44] And the dev team there used to like to cite that. So an early prototype, or the first version of this uplift, Ed Faulkner, came in and helped them build it and.

Robbie Wagner: [35:57] Essentially, so it was made of magic and fairy tales.

Chuck Carpenter: [36:01] Yeah, it was a lot of magic. There were a lot of these, like, mini apps that were messaging to one another for different states and updates and their own memory states. So essentially, you have this admin app, and you would change one of the content pieces within the admin. And then it was also like an overlay wysiwyg thing. So then this other mini-app would get updated through this message flow out that would say, like, hey, the state has changed, and then it would update on its own. So they like to say that it was, like, basically an early POC for card stack.

Robbie Wagner: [36:40] That's true, I guess, which is still magic. And no one understands.

Chuck Carpenter: [36:45] So much magic. Because I worked on Lift, I felt like I might have a leg up into this thing. And I haven't looked at it in a while, but I remember looking at it early on, being like, yeah, it's sort of like NFTs to me where I'm like, okay, conceptually, I get this thing, but then I like to look at it and try to grock the reality, and it's no I have no idea what's going on.

Robbie Wagner: [37:07] Yeah, you get it, but you don't grock it.

Chuck Carpenter: [37:10] Yeah, exactly. That's exactly what it is.

Robbie Wagner: [37:12] Which is pretty much everything Ed works on. He's on another level of thinking, and it's just like, oh, yeah, okay, this is a cool thing you solved. I kind of get it. But then you try to look into it, and you're like, oh my God, no way. I don't know what you're doing here.

Chuck Carpenter: [37:24] Right. I can remember at least two different EmberConfs where he spoke, and every time he was blowing it out of the water. I don't know how you did that, but the magic is amazing. This is cool, right? So, yeah, worked at Acquia and the Lift team just as an engineering manager and a lot of product things. But I had a great team there, pretty happy for quite some time. They did get acquired after I left, and the next step is pretty obvious to some people, which is I left to join Ship Shape.

Robbie Wagner: [38:01] But you were doing some Ship Shape before on the side.

Chuck Carpenter: [38:04] Yeah, I guess I should mention at various times, when I was in the leadership side of things, I was moonlighting on some different things, worked on some Ship Shape things early on. Even in the Nat Geo days, when some people left Nat Geo and then tried to do startups, they engaged me. So I worked on some React apps in that timeline, too. So outside of National Geographic, I worked on React stuff, too. I remember working on early view things with some National Geographic people, and they were doing some very media-heavy things. And since I had done things with the National Geographic Channel and their player, I was engaged for that. And so, yeah, when I was in the Ember world, but then doing more management stuff, you reached out to do some embry things with me on the side. And so, yeah, we've been working together in that capacity on and off for a couple of years, and, yeah, I decided just what was the next rung on the career ladder. And I decided that instead of more middle management, that getting my hands dirty and building a business sounded pretty great, or at least worth a try. I needed to, like, check that box off, and a couple of years later, it seems to be doing okay.

Robbie Wagner: [39:18] Yeah, it's going much better since you've arrived. I guess it depends on how you define better. We make a lot more money now as a company, but, like, you know, maybe I personally made more before. I don't know. Like, it's it's tough when you're trying to scale from, like, one to a real company because it's you're used to, like, I can bring in all the money, and all the money is mine. Right. But, yeah, it's been overwhelmingly positive for growing the company and actually having employees. I don't know how to do any of that.

Chuck Carpenter: [39:53] And the company itself has become more handsome. I mean, definitely, there's that.

Robbie Wagner: [39:59] Yeah, I got to give me a Peaky Blinders hat so I can keep up.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:02] Yeah, you should. I mean, this is a winter staple for me. I don't know how we get some Ship Shape logo.

Robbie Wagner: [40:08] No beanie. Is it a warm?

Chuck Carpenter: [40:12] It is, yeah. This one's wool. I mean, they have them in, like, linen and chambray and some other stuff, but when it gets below 70, I need a warm cap.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:25] Yeah. I woke up this morning, and it was 25, and I was fairly sad about that. But, like, if it's going to be so cold, why can't it just snow? But it never snows.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:37] Strange, though, like, not that kind of precipitation. Yeah, I was I was very concerned for myself and my children when I asked Alexa the weather today, and she said it's currently 53 degrees and a high of 68. I was, like, a high of under 70. Kids, let's bundle up.

Robbie Wagner: [40:55] Yeah. Get the winter coats out.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:57] There are some people that have puffy coats on this morning, but I was not one of them. Just a fleece.

Robbie Wagner: [41:02] It's all relative. Like, once it starts getting super cold, I can go outside and not be cold without a jacket because I'm used to being extra extra cold.

Chuck Carpenter: [41:10] But everybody likes talking about the weather. So to button up my technology story some more, though, I think should come back into so leave. Acquia had been doing Ember projects, although those things have evolved quite a bit for us over the last couple of years. There's been the dive back into React, but more in the Next.js world, which has been a lot more pleasant, at least for you, I know. In particular, React has changed a lot since 2014 when I first used it, but it was just always like, bolt-on whatever you think is best, and there's a lot of opinions there, and there's a lot less of that now. It feels like things are going in a direction even if it's not next, but there's more opinionation in that world, and there's like a couple of flavors, and this is sort of like, well, this or this, but not like anything you want in the Wild West. And a lot of people are using GraphQL as your application state too. You might have some short-term state within components or even one level up, but a lot of it is just like, okay, let's improve caching. Let's use GraphQL. The client-side has a certain level of caching, your server-side has a certain level of caching, and everything's pretty quick. So now we remove all of that persistence from the application. Unless you're trying to be an offline-first app that I've had the opportunity to dive into a lot more infrastructure. I've done plenty of pipelines through Travis and Circle, and.

Robbie Wagner: [42:49] You're a Yaml developer now.

Chuck Carpenter: [42:50] And now I get to do some Yaml. So yeah, I've been able to do things with the AWS CDK to put together resources, so, okay, you can set up databases with JavaScript, you can set up cloud formation stuff with JavaScript, which is pretty cool. Dabbled a little in Kubernetes, which is kind of, I don't know, it's a nautical term, so it's on brand, so we'll see. We'll see where 2022 takes me in that realm of things. But that's okay, I can support everyone else. I'm fine with that.

Robbie Wagner: [43:27] I think Kubernetes is in the same bucket as vanilla React for me, like, I'm just going to stay away from it. Someone is going to make it better, like, there's going to be a Next.js for Kubernetes. It probably already is. It probably already is, and it'll just make it so much easier to use instead of being insanely complex. And a lot of people want engineering pain. They're like. I'm the smartest guy ever. I'm going to do it all the way I want. I want to have like the biggest webpack file you could possibly have with all this custom stuff, and like, nobody wants that. Like people that are smart, like there's maybe 5% of developers who should be doing that, and the rest should be listening to people smarter than them and using the opinionated frameworks that exist and just using them and being productive. Like, you don't need to spend six months hand-rolling stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [44:19] Yeah, you don't. Yeah, it's definitely not always the right answer. I think that there's always time between innovation and abstraction. So essentially, somebody comes up with this thing that solves a massive problem, but it in itself isn't necessarily easy to use. So then, like adoption over time, and then there's iterative improvement. And then, at one point, there's enough abstraction that it makes more sense. And I think the AWS CDK is a good example of that, where cloud formation was their way to say, oh, you don't have to go and click through this verbose console through the web. You can do things a lot faster, but you got to write it out in this just crazy YAML stuff. And that also takes a while. So then, what's the abstraction? Okay, the CDK is like use the language that you know to write the things you need. So you're like, great, I need desk three bucket, I need database. I just write that all in JavaScript, and it turns into this more complex thing and then becomes programmatically doing that. So I just think that's probably what it is. I can see all these things because they've been proven their usefulness, but they're difficult to master and take special jobs to master. Then you're going to have people over time, like creating abstraction layers.

Robbie Wagner: [45:42] Definitely. And I wait for those. I don't need to jump on the hard stuff, except I'm pretty excited about Astro. And I've tried to dive in a couple of times, but it just takes too much of a time investment, and I haven't done it yet. But the 1787 website will hopefully be in Astro.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:00] Look out for that once we have a logo.

Robbie Wagner: [46:02] Well, no, it'll come out before we have the branding assets, probably. Well, I don't know. I want to be marketing the space soon, but we'll see.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:12] Stay tuned to everyone. Yeah, this Astro-powered site. Otherwise, I will reject that PR.

Robbie Wagner: [46:20] Yeah. Trying to finish everything up before the baby comes in March.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:27] I'm trying to think whether that's the first time you've made mention on a podcast.

Robbie Wagner: [46:32] I think it is.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:33] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [46:34] But yeah, like short term. Like we want to get the coworking space ready. It would be nice to start subscriptions in January. And then we have so many inflight projects that Ship Shape. We got Swatch if we have the time. We got Wolf. I would really love to have Wolf out as like an iOS app just to play with for people. I feel like it would get a lot of attention even though it doesn't do a ton of, like, actual real computing. It's just fun to use.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:04] Llama. I was just talking to.

Robbie Wagner: [47:07] I forgot about Llama.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:08] Yeah, I was just talking to Rob about Llama and just like thinking about that again and picking back up. He's in his own fatherhood now, and so maybe there's opportunity there.

Robbie Wagner: [47:19] Yeah. I mean, if we can get rid of a lot of these projects, like get them like Swatch is basically once Swatch works, it's done. We don't do anything. So like, we can check some of these things off, then we can all work on Llama because Llama would be cool.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:35] Just tell me when Orbit makes sense.

Robbie Wagner: [47:39] Hey, it makes sense to Dan, who's helping us redo the stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:43] Perfect. I'm into it.

Robbie Wagner: [47:45] Yeah, it already works. Like, he refactored it to be the latest Orbit, but then there was an error. We actually didn't have a test for adding a color, so I added one because that was the one thing that was failing. I need to test some more stuff, and hopefully, that'll be done soon.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:04] So that'll work all fine, and then we just get back to reconnecting it to the API.

Robbie Wagner: [48:09] Oh, no, this is with the API. It connects to the API. There's probably an edge case where you add three palettes, put two colors in one and one in another, and undo a few times, and it blows up or something. But we'll have to test all that.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:22] Well, we'll let people know, and maybe we can encourage those to give it a download and give it a try.

Robbie Wagner: [48:28] Yeah, definitely. And we don't really talk a ton about I think we did maybe the first couple of podcasts. If anyone's listening to this and has a suggestion for topics, whiskeys guests, anything you would like to hear from us about instead of just us rambling about nonsense. We are totally down to do any of those things. So we do have Twitter. We don't have a specific Twitter for this podcast, but we have Ship Shape Code is the Ship Shape Twitter. And you can also reach out to us on our website, ShipShape.io. Yeah, we would just love to hear from you guys about do you absolutely hate this, and we should just stop doing this or do you have ideas for making it better. Always better when everyone is involved.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:11] Agreed. I'd rather talk about what people want to hear and not just strange interests.

Robbie Wagner: [49:19] Although we'll be talking more about NFTs and potentially having an NFT dedicated segment because a new one is out every like three minutes. So we'll start talking about some cool ones, and shout out to Gary Vaynerchuk, who is the god of NFTs, and anything he tweets blows up. Maybe tweet our podcast. Gary, if you ever hear this, we can get some more listeners.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:46] Right. Yeah, certainly wouldn't hurt. We got our recur passes today. Hopefully, that's of use.

Robbie Wagner: [49:53] Yeah, I have no idea what it's so vague. It's just like yeah. This is for Paramount or no, Viacom. Viacom and Nickelodeon.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:04] I know that the first NFT they're going to release is like Hello Kitty, but then they're going to do like Care Bears, and they're going to do some movie-related ones. It's hard to see here the sports teams, so it looks like LSU, University of Michigan movies like Mean Girls, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Robbie Wagner: [50:22] The way I understood it. Your pass gets you one of those things. Like you may get access to something specific in an event or something for one of those things, but otherwise, it doesn't work for all the things.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:38] I saw it as getting you early access. So a lot of times, like, if you're an NFT owner of a certain maker and they do a new project like, oh, you're an existing owner, so now you get first dibs.

Robbie Wagner: [50:51] Got you.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:51] And I kind of saw it as that you want to pass. I mean, it's pretty clever. It gives you early access to things forever, and it helps them gauge interest.

Robbie Wagner: [51:04] Well, I was confused because you could buy up to 1000, which made me think they were only good for one thing each.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:10] Yeah, I think you probably can only buy one of each. Like say, you get early access, and your pass gets you one NFT from this drop.

Robbie Wagner: [51:21] Okay, so if you had 1000, you could get 1000 from that drop.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:25] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [51:26] Got you.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:27] Because they're all probably assigned to different address. I don't know. Hard to say.

Robbie Wagner: [51:32] Yeah, I mean, it seems like all you really need is some really good art and like some scarce NFTs and, like, one person to tweet about it. That's like popular, and you have tons of money.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:46] Yeah. I think the marketing and social aspects of it are very important, and I think that's where I will probably fall short. I don't even do my own social media, so I can't imagine being much of an evangelist for any of these things. But everybody starts a Discord server, so then you're trying to gauge from that.

Robbie Wagner: [52:08] Yeah, social media has gotten hard.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:10] Yeah, it really has.

Robbie Wagner: [52:11] I used to do MySpace marketing, which was easy because back then you could just auto-add everyone as a friend, like run programs to get more friends and just be more successful by doing nothing really. But now that kind of stuff doesn't work.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:28] Yeah, because it's across how many things that's part of it. I don't know. I'm really disappointed that Instagram isn't just about finding cool art. Like, oh, cool independent photographers became more of a social thing.

Robbie Wagner: [52:45] I mean, it's by Facebook, right? There's never going to be that. I think NFTs can solve that problem a little bit. Like you can find, once this huge initial push of like everyone ever is making an NFT because they might make a couple of bucks goes away. It'll be like real art and cool stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:02] Possibly. Well, there was the Damien Hirst drop, so the fact that there was a real artist already getting involved is cool. I wish I had at least known about that. I would have been interested in owning some real art.

Robbie Wagner: [53:15] Yeah, I mean, that's the problem. Step one is knowing about things, and step two is like, being able to get it. We were trying to get those baseball cards and sit there for like an hour, and then it's like, no, we're sold out. Ridiculous.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:30] Right. Well, the demand, is there something to be said for that?

Robbie Wagner: [53:34] Yeah, I mean, the FOMO is real. And with that in mind, catch the Ship Shape NFT coming out soon.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:42] How many variations of the octopuslike character can we actually present?

Robbie Wagner: [53:48] I mean, the fewer, the more they're worth, right? So we'll do 20.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:52] Rare variations. So that's the thing. If you're doing a singular thing, what you want is there's an algorithm that will give it particular traits, and then the rarer traits are worth more money. So you need variations, and then you run it through an algorithm, and then it might do 100 of one, two of another. And so the two one is the hot one. I don't know. We should talk to Ian.

Robbie Wagner: [54:15] Yeah, I was reading a thing about the rarity and stuff. There was for the Shiboshis that I have a couple of. I think 90% of the top 1% rare ones were sold to one person that was using a bot. He gamed the system to get them all, then sold them all for 100 eth each. Made millions of dollars and disappeared. And it's just like I want to learn that. That's some smart stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [54:48] Yeah, I know that there are bots, but I don't really know how that all works.

Robbie Wagner: [54:54] Yeah, I don't either. But we'll talk a lot more about that next time, probably. Well, no, not next time. Next time. I think we have Kent C. Dodds. You may know from React and Twitter and things. We're going to be doing a holiday episode. And yeah, if you like this, subscribe and let us know if there's things you want us to talk about or whiskeys, you want us to try, et cetera, and catch you guys next time.

Chuck Carpenter: [55:20] Ciao. Thanks for listening to Whiskey Web and Whatnot. This podcast is brought to you by Ship Shape and produced by Podcast Royale. If you like this episode, consider sharing it with a friend or two and leave us a rating and maybe a review, as long as it's good.

Robbie Wagner: [55:39] You can subscribe to future episodes on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. For more info about Ship Shape and this show, check out our website at shipshape.io.