Whiskey Web and Whatnot

A whiskey fueled fireside chat with your favorite web developers.

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142: Flagging Features and Dropping Beats with Ben Rometsch


Show Notes

In this episode of Whiskey Web and Whatnot, hosts RobbieTheWagner and Charles William Carpenter III are joined by Ben Rometsch, CEO and co-founder of Flagsmith.

The discussion kicks off with a lighthearted conversation about the absence of landscapers at Chuck's house, leading into Ben's unexpected affinity for the New Orleans Saints due to a memorable game at Wembley in London.

Ben shares his journey from running a web agency for 23 years to starting Flagsmith as a side project, which has now become a growing business with 97 percent of its codebase being open-source.

The conversation shifts to a whiskey tasting of Redwood Empire's Lost Monarch, featuring a blend of aged bourbons and whiskey, followed by a discussion on various tech topics including AI in jobs, the value of front-end frameworks, and Git practices.

Later, Ben provides a detailed overview of Flagsmith, emphasizing its open-source nature, the importance of feature flags in development, and how the platform has evolved with contributions from the community, including paying customers. The episode wraps up with personal insights from Ben, including his dream of being an author and his fondness for the video game Parappa the Rapper.

Key Takeaways

  • [00:00] - Opening Banter and Landscaper Tales
  • [00:55] - Introducing Ben and Flagsmith
  • [03:02] - A Deep Dive into Whiskey Tasting
  • [10:31] - Hot Takes on AI, Frameworks, and Git Practices
  • [25:38] - Exploring Flagsmith: An Open Source Journey
  • [32:32] - The Challenges of Staging and Production Environments
  • [33:42] - The High Cost of Configuration Differences
  • [36:11] - The Evolution of Engineering Practices and Frameworks
  • [42:15] - The Business Value of Open Source and Commercial Software
  • [53:38] - Personal Passions: From Tech to Writing and Retro Gaming

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Transcript

[00:00:05] Robbie: What's going on everybody? Welcome to another edition of are landscapers working at Chuck's house today with your hosts Robbie the Wagner and Charles William Carpenter the third.

[00:00:15] Chuck: Yes. And for those who want to know it is not happening. Landscapers were here early this morning. And yeah. So in recent recordings dear guest I've had this challenge because I'm working now out of a former shed and landscapers in the neighborhood create quite an echo. Anyway. So, fun fact, not happening today. So, but for real, welcome everyone to another episode of Whiskey Web and What Not featuring your hosts Charles William Carpenter III and Robbie the Wagner.

[00:00:54] Robbie: Indeed, indeed.

[00:00:55] Chuck: Yes, so our guest today is Ben, and actually Ben I should have [00:01:00] asked you how to pronounce it correctly. Romch, Romch, is what I

[00:01:03] Ben: miles away. Romich. It's

[00:01:05] Chuck: Ramich. Yeah,

Ramich. I bet Robbie would have gotten it right.

[00:01:10] Robbie: I'm I'm terrible at pronunciation.

[00:01:12] Chuck: Yes. So, CEO and co founder of Flagsmith. And, yeah, that's right, and New Orleans Saints fan.

[00:01:23] Ben: Well, I mean, that was a team that was thrust upon me. They, they were playing in, in Wembley in London. And my buddy who's, from New Orleans came across and bought me a ticket and we drank some beer and watched a really bad game of American football actually.

[00:01:40] Chuck: That's

[00:01:41] Ben: so, that's the affiliation. No,

[00:01:44] Chuck: Alright, we

[00:01:44] Robbie: Do you think they're all bad compared to

[00:01:47] Ben: no, no, no, I

used, I used to watch, I used to, I was quite into it when I was a teenager. So I do know what a good game of football looks like. This wasn't it.

[00:01:56] Robbie: Gotcha. Gotcha.

[00:01:57] Chuck: Fair enough. Well, for those who don't [00:02:00] know who you are, why don't you tell everybody who you are and what you do?

[00:02:04] Ben: Yeah, cool.

[00:02:05] Chuck: Course.

[00:02:06] Ben: so yeah, I, my name is Ben. I live in London. Lived here pretty much all my life. I was running a web agency for the last 23 years. And about six and a half, seven years ago, we started a side project. That became Flagsmith. And now I'm working full time on Flagsmith. So it's, it's growing like a weed.

And, we didn't raise any money. 97 percent of the code's open source. And, yeah, I've, I've got very, very strong imposter syndrome. Basically, yeah.

[00:02:48] Chuck: Well, I can't wait to get into that then. But first,

[00:02:51] Robbie: Yeah. I am also interested in that other 3%, but we'll get into that later too.

[00:02:56] Chuck: Oh yeah, there you go. That's true. That's the key point, [00:03:00] right? That's the money shot, so they say. Alright, so today we're having the Redwood Empire lost monarch. Okay. And this is a very interesting one. It's a blend of four 12 year old bourbons and three to five year old whiskey. So 60 percent of this blend is rye, and that rye's mash bill is 95 percent rye, 5 percent melted barley.

The other 40 percent being that mishmash of 12 year old bourbons, 40 percent of it. And the mash bill there.

It's definitely got something. 75 percent corn, 21 percent raw rye, which, this is interesting, I've never seen a distinction there. And 4 percent malted barley and proof down to 90 proof, to make it palatable for everybody, you know, grandmothers, children, whatever.

[00:03:51] Robbie: Yeah. Grandmothers typically drink whiskey straight is what I found.

[00:03:55] Chuck: You know, that's what

they say.

[00:03:57] Robbie: Yeah,

[00:03:58] Chuck: Well, okay, [00:04:00] in Kentucky, at least, they would take a little, like, dip your finger in whiskey and put it on babies, like like, when they're teething and stuff, to help numb it. So, I don't know. It seems to have, yeah, and that's how you get adults that are alcoholics.

[00:04:15] Ben: There's actually a, a very good play about the troubles in Ireland called The Ferryman and it's set in a kitchen in a house in Northern Ireland and there's like seven kids and it's Christmas and all of them just pile into the whisky on Christmas morning.

Yeah.

[00:04:36] Chuck: yeah, it's a special occasion. And there are no alcoholics in Ireland, right? Right. Right. Right. Right. Yeah, no, of course not. Yeah. All right. Well, let's let's give a little dive into this i'm gonna You're having some right ben. You're

in you're in. All right. Oh, okay. There you go That that cup was full just a minute ago. [00:05:00] Hmm

[00:05:02] Robbie: some rotisserie chicken.

[00:05:03] Chuck: No, that's a lie. That's bullshit. I'm calling that one. This is you just trying to test it out how suggestive you can be and

[00:05:11] Robbie: You don't smell it?

[00:05:12] Chuck: No, I don't at all, It is slightly floral for

me

[00:05:16] Ben: a lot of vanilla

[00:05:18] Chuck: yeah,

[00:05:19] Robbie: Yep.

[00:05:19] Chuck: like, yeah, a note of that. All right, I'm gonna give it a little

[00:05:27] Ben: and like some sort of buttery caramel.

[00:05:33] Chuck: butterscotch almost.

[00:05:34] Ben: Yeah.

[00:05:35] Chuck: Yeah. Get a little of that. Little cinnamon on the finish, and I still

[00:05:40] Robbie: Hmm.

[00:05:41] Chuck: floral.

[00:05:42] Robbie: Hints of where there's originals.

[00:05:45] Chuck: There you go. Those, those were good.

[00:05:48] Robbie: That were, they're still good. You're, we're

[00:05:51] Chuck: I just don't think,

[00:05:52] Robbie: to keep them in our purses

[00:05:53] Chuck: Right, exactly. You get those from a grandparent or something of that nature. Hmm. [00:06:00] Yeah, no dried apricot whatsoever.

[00:06:04] Robbie: Hmm.

[00:06:05] Chuck: In this, so.

[00:06:06] Robbie: And it's true. Yeah, not, not really any citrus at all.

[00:06:10] Chuck: Hmm.

[00:06:13] Ben: The

[00:06:16] Chuck: citrus makes me think, but.

[00:06:17] Ben: of very buttery finish don't you think?

[00:06:19] Chuck: Yeah,

yeah.

[00:06:21] Ben: of like cream.

[00:06:22] Chuck: Yeah, yeah, I definitely, I was trying to kind of place that. Like, it hangs out for a bit.

[00:06:28] Ben: Yeah.

[00:06:29] Chuck: It almost has like a thickness to it. It's got a little more burn than I would have expected too, from just 90 proof. But, hmm. It's very interesting. It it almost has like a slight, like, slight tinge of bitterness, like from, like a beer or something.

You know, like a Like if you have something with like, like an IPA or something, a light one that, that has a little linger, it almost has that for me as it, as it dissipates. [00:07:00] Explain the rating system, Robbie, please.

[00:07:11] Robbie: try to remember. It's very complicated. So it is zero to eight tentacles. Zero based because we were developers. We used to do one to eight, but changed it. Zero is like worst thing ever. Would never touch it again. Four is middle of the road and eight is like the best thing you could possibly have.

You know, you're going to drink this above all other whiskeys. We'll make Chuck go first. Yeah,

[00:07:43] Chuck: like, it's hard for me to categorize. So Robby and I will like oftentimes try to categorize, because we have so much whiskey through this. We just try to like compare it to others of the same category. I don't know.

This is really like more of like a experimental blend for me. Like I [00:08:00] know those Wolves ones that we had, they were like stout based and some weird stuff like that. I almost think about it like that. I don't recall price point. I don't know, 60, 70 bucks, maybe something like that.

[00:08:12] Robbie: I don't think it was too crazy.

[00:08:14] Chuck: Yeah, so I do think it's very interesting.

It's not like, it's not, Blowing me away, but it is very drinkable. And I, yeah, I kind of keep coming back to interesting. I'm going to try more and I will probably eventually add a couple of drops of water and see how that opens it up. But I think in that category of things, it's like, it's definitely above average.

It is interesting. Price point, not too crazy. I think I might have like a 5. 5 for me. Yeah. Would, would have again, still exploring it.

[00:08:46] Robbie: Okay. Yeah, for me, it's gonna be, I think, maybe a little higher. Like, this is pretty good, I think, and it's interesting. Yeah, I don't know what category it's in, really, but I'm [00:09:00] definitely gonna drink a lot more of this. And I don't always do that with the ones we try. So I'm gonna actually give this one a 7.

I'm pretty impressed with this one.

[00:09:08] Chuck: Okay. I like it. All right. What do you think, Ben?

[00:09:13] Ben: So I'm more of a peated person and generally I find, I find it hard to separate non peated whiskey.

[00:09:25] Chuck: Hmm.

[00:09:25] Ben: But the interesting thing about this is it's got this very sweet, Kind of, you know, smell, but there's quite a kind of nice harshness to it as well. You know what I mean? So it's like, I'm not getting the peat obviously cause it's not peated, but,

[00:09:42] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:09:43] Ben: you don't have that kind of, I just don't like the kind of long sweetness you get with a lot of unpeated whiskies.

But this, this kind of like the harshness kind of like kicks through there and gives you something else to think about. So, I mean. [00:10:00] I drink pretty much anything, so the bottle won't last long in this, in this room over the next few weeks, but, I'd, I'd drink it again I'd give it a five, I think, maybe four and a half or five,

[00:10:13] Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You won't throw it out. That's good. And you said the next few weeks. I think you, I think you said days wrong,

but Yeah,

[00:10:24] Ben: I mean, depends who's listening.

[00:10:26] Chuck: Yeah.

there you go. Hey, all right. So we will we'll take that and we'll roll it into the segment of the show that we call hot takes and hot being very subjective, but we just like to look at the things people argue about online and developers are very passionate about their ways of doing things and tools and whatever else.

So we take some of those hot takes and And ask here to our guests and each other. So, I'll, I'll take the first one. [00:11:00] Okay. So Ben, will AI take over our jobs?

[00:11:04] Ben: No,

[00:11:06] Chuck: And why?

[00:11:08] Ben: well, see I, I've made a career out of not jumping on bandwagons. Thanks. You know, having said that AI is probably the most legitimate bandwagon that I've not hitched my ride on. And actually just before we started recording, I was looking at Claude

because another business that I'm involved in has a really perfect use AI.

But the reason I'm so certain about no is because The jobs that we have will just become Kind of higher level I feel right like If it can write unit tests Great, right. That's really boring

[00:11:57] Chuck: yeah,

[00:11:58] Ben: I'm happy for it to [00:12:00] do that. And if it can even start writing You know django code or react to components then great but when it comes to You know, I just feel like the the role that we have will become a little bit more Like every, like it's been doing in computer science for decades and decades and decades, it just becomes more of an abstraction.

But, so maybe, maybe our roles will change, but I don't think, it's not going to be like 90 percent of software engineers lose their jobs in the next 10 years. I just, I don't, I don't see that.

[00:12:38] Chuck: yeah. I kind of

[00:12:39] Robbie: Yeah. I, I think it's like, it depends on exactly how you mean, because I think. It's really hard to be a junior and get into the field now because it's like why would we hire you? We can just like type on a keyboard and get some AI to generate what you would do because you're gonna not do a good job, so it's like I Think most of the people that [00:13:00] are more senior are pretty safe for the

foreseeable future.

Yeah

[00:13:04] Ben: that. That is, that is a very good point.

[00:13:07] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:13:08] Robbie: Yeah, so it's it's a tough time to get into this field because like there's so many people that got laid off too that are like for jobs. So no one's hiring juniors right now Yeah,

[00:13:23] Chuck: equalizing the playing field to a degree of like, if the bar to entry is higher, because you need to understand and do so much more to sort of provide the value there, like fill the gap beyond a certain thing, but also, I think regressively be able to review and edit, you know, the output of these AI interfaces.

So like, you know, it's like, maybe it becomes more refined, like, oh, you know, lawyers go to law school beyond, and maybe there's something like that. There's additional training. There's a [00:14:00] higher bar that, that comes into play before you're able to enter the profession. I don't know. It's hard to say. I think in so many ways, I agree with you, though, that like, We as humans aren't going away as part of this.

[00:14:12] Robbie: yeah

[00:14:13] Ben: I, I kind of feel like, I just, I, I find that, I'm, I'm, I'm already tired of that question, right? Like, and, not, not that I'm going to go at you for asking it, but, the kind of, it's, it just feels like, you know, like, the Luddites complaining about the steam powered factories. Like, you know, it's just, it's, it's got a bit of, you know, that we've, this is like a 300 year old argument a little bit and I just kind of feel like it's more, it's, you know, like all these new jobs that are going to be created by it and all this sort of stuff.

So, I mean, I think, I do find it fascinating that kind of illustrators are the first ones who have been properly kind of, you know, Well, maybe not, you know, [00:15:00] but that's that I would never have expected that, you know, it turns out that, you know Illustrators are the ones that are really in the firing line.

[00:15:08] Robbie: Yeah,

[00:15:09] Ben: wild to me

[00:15:10] Chuck: Yeah, absolutely, that's true. I didn't consider that at all, but it's easy to, like, replace the idea of even, like, stock imagery just by

ten minutes of prompts.

[00:15:21] Ben: Like it in in six months twelve months. It's just so common to see I Don't know like blog posts or Twitter posts with what it's kind of amazing as well You can immediately tell that they're AI generated images, right? I guess that that will get better as well. But yeah, like that's just commonplace now, right?

[00:15:39] Chuck: absolutely.

[00:15:41] Robbie: Yeah, yeah, we use it for the the art for the show. So

yeah Yeah,

[00:15:48] Chuck: Ben. It's gonna be great.

[00:15:51] Robbie: you get what you get I don't spend that long on it so

[00:15:53] Chuck: You get what you get. Yeah.

[00:15:58] Robbie: All right. Our next [00:16:00] one here. Rails or Django?

[00:16:04] Ben: I mean, either both? I don't know. used Rails for quite a while. It's kind of a little bit It's got more going on than Django, right? Like, it's got the Kind of more dynamic front end stuff and shuttling things back and forward and things like that, which I guess you can do with some other libraries in Django. We built Flagsmith on Django, primarily because it let us build a REST API really, really quickly,

[00:16:46] Chuck: Oh, yeah.

[00:16:47] Ben: with Django REST framework.

So thank you to all those people that built those tools. But it's, it's stood up. It's held up really well, right? Like, [00:17:00] the bits of the application that we need to be super performant are, everything else is good enough kind of thing. Like,

[00:17:08] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:17:09] Ben: it doesn't break. It's absolutely rock solid in a high load environment.

So, you know, but I'm sure rails would be as well. But for us, I mean, it's kind of, it's kind of credit to. To Django that, you know, it did what it did at the start really, really well, which is why we chose it. But it's maintained, you know, it's kind of impressive that it's maintained that as we've scaled the platform.

Yeah.

[00:17:37] Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. Like it's still highly relevant. Feels like it's bubbling up as the list of battle tested frameworks comes back to light of like, Oh, maybe we don't need to over engineer everything and use 64 like cloud sass products with

[00:17:56] Robbie: Yeah. Just 63

[00:17:57] Chuck: Yeah, yeah, we only need 63. Planet [00:18:00] scale is gone now, so not really, but they, they're

not freemium.

Yeah, for, right? Yeah, well, and that has people aghast. But anyway, I mean, 40 bucks a month for a hobby project is, of course, you know, whatever. Not awesome, but I, I yeah, I'm way off track here. Well then, in that vein of thought, I think this is another good one. Were front end frameworks a mistake?

Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:18:29] Ben: don't even feel qualified to answer that question because, I haven't written any front end code for about 25 years. Although I did, I did have, I did have HTML that I'd written on the BBC weather homepage. In 1998, which I'm quite proud of. There was lots of, single pixel transparent GIFs and it, yeah, transparent [00:19:00] GIFs.

Yeah. And yeah, so I'm not, I don't feel qualified. I mean, they're kind of a bit, everyone complains about them and the, and the, the churn and whatever, but, Again, we chose React for the dashboard for, for Flagsmith and, you know, I mean, yeah, that is,

[00:19:21] Chuck: Was that a technology decision or a hiring decision though?

[00:19:25] Ben: well, it was just what we, what we, what we knew, but again, like, you know, I mean, I mean, Django is really old now, right? And React's pretty old as well. Like, I'm pretty old, you know, like, yeah, they're like, again, they're tested.

[00:19:43] Robbie: Yep.

[00:19:44] Ben: You know, I don't, I think, I think the, I think the sort of wars around them is what's tiring.

You

[00:19:52] Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because most of the like Problems that people are arguing about are very, like, nuanced, [00:20:00] very specific use case, or just, just opinion, just about like, I don't like doing this thing. I don't think that's the best way, right? Robbie will chime in on that. He, he wishes everything was still class components.

So, you

[00:20:17] Robbie: I like classes like you think about stuff like classes, whether you're using a class or not. Don't even pretend like you don't like, anyway, I don't, I don't want to go down that path.

[00:20:28] Chuck: Yeah.

fair enough.

[00:20:31] Robbie: Let's see. Get rebase or get merge.

[00:20:36] Ben: I, I set up a configuration in Git years ago that works really, really well for me. And I don't actually know which one it does. I just, I just have like the workflow.

[00:20:54] Chuck: Yeah,

[00:20:56] Ben: and I think it's rebase, I [00:21:00] guess. Yeah.

[00:21:01] Chuck: well, there you

[00:21:02] Ben: I mean,

[00:21:03] Robbie: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:21:06] Ben: I keep meaning to sit down and spend an hour learning how Git actually works and never get around to it and feel like it would be one of those things that would be a really, really valuable investment. You know,

[00:21:19] Robbie: Eh. I feel like there's people that know it really well and I'm like, I don't, I don't need to do that. Like if I have a really hairy conflict, I'm probably just going to like copy the stuff that I want to keep

[00:21:31] Ben: I

[00:21:34] Robbie: doesn't matter.

[00:21:35] Chuck: That's funny. Yeah, I feel like if you're in some like advanced cherry picking situation, like to fix or roll back Matt, you know, production, I have to like, ask why your process requires that, you know, what kind of like CICD process you have that is, is fucked up enough to do it. I've had to do it a couple of times in life, and I [00:22:00] do not recommend it, and I always just have to dig into documentation for a bit to like, all right, something got screwed up.

This is the way to fix it. That means something is very fragile here. So I'm gonna just, yeah, take my time.

[00:22:17] Ben: think also github does a really good job of just kind of Shielding you from ever having to get into that dark room, which is scary. Do you know what I mean? It's really Like, yeah, wait, I, it, the workflow that we've got building flags with now, there's only like seven people developing on it, but it's, it's like, you know, compared to what life was like 20 years ago, it's just amazing.

And yeah, I always find it interesting how, GitHub sort of greases those wheels and sort of shields you from the [00:23:00] weird flags that you need to put in. Every now and again, and just pray that

[00:23:06] Chuck: it all works out

[00:23:07] Ben: Yeah

[00:23:08] Chuck: looks good in the end. You can go a step further, like Robbie, and do the gooey. Yeah,

[00:23:13] Robbie: I use their GitHub desktop and it's great.

[00:23:16] Chuck: Yeah,

[00:23:17] Ben: Sublime Merge is really good That's, I, I use that from time to time Not often, but it's, it's That's a really great tool as well Yeah, I strongly recommend people check that out If they, terrified

[00:23:29] Chuck: Heh heh.

[00:23:30] Ben: Like, me, yeah

[00:23:31] Robbie: Yeah.

[00:23:31] Chuck: Yeah. It's, it's valid. Let's see here. Oh, I guess it is me. I have to ask about do you think about nested terranaries? Heh heh

[00:23:46] Ben: I don't even know

[00:23:47] Chuck: heh, no. Heh.

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's my, it's my weird, it's my weird freedom accent. You know, it's all, it's a little like this and sometimes you don't [00:24:00] understand what all I say, but I said, ternaries, turn, turn, ternaries. I don't know. How can I make it worse? But

[00:24:07] Ben: You know, it's, it's actually interesting, like, with, there's, so there's kind of Pythonic people and React TypeScripty people. And I always was kind of getting the feeling that sometimes TypeScript developers spend a lot of their time trying to show off, you know,

like,

[00:24:32] Robbie: Oh yeah,

yeah,

[00:24:35] Chuck: we ended up with this frameworks.

[00:24:36] Ben: Like Python people wouldn't think of doing that, I think.

[00:24:41] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:24:43] Robbie: like there's, if else for a reason, maybe,

[00:24:46] Chuck: Or it's switch statements or a billion other cleaner easier. Yeah. Yeah. It's a reason about so yeah, I think that's fair. That's a, that's a pretty good answer in that like from the Python world, you just wouldn't even think about trying that.

[00:24:59] Ben: [00:25:00] Yeah.

But, but JavaScript people have been living in like 87 nested callbacks for so long that a nested ternary seems like this kind of like

[00:25:12] Chuck: easy

[00:25:13] Robbie: yeah.

[00:25:13] Ben: stuff.

[00:25:15] Robbie: You also, it's easier in JavaScript. Cause you can never press, like, you don't have to do any spacing. Like you do in Python, you could just like type it all out and then auto format it.

[00:25:24] Chuck: Oh yeah.

[00:25:25] Robbie: be really gross about it and then be like, don't care. Yeah.

Yeah.

[00:25:34] Chuck: Oh man. I gotta, I gotta fill up here. You know.

[00:25:38] Robbie: All right. So yeah, we do want to get into a little bit about flagsmith here. Do you want to give just a quick pitch into what it is? What you use it for?

[00:25:49] Ben: Yeah, sure. So Flagsmith is a open source feature flagging platform. So it's a collection of an API of React in Python, [00:26:00] Django, React front end dashboard, and then SDKs in too many languages that Chuck and I were talking about earlier today, which are, it's really hard work keeping SDKs. And up to date and in line with each other and not upsetting the people who write in those languages.

That's the hardest part. Feature flags are a kind of a engineering technique that allow you essentially to decouple deploying your code with releasing your features. So you know, up until maybe seven or eight years ago, that's how. You know, deploy your code and then all your stuff's released. And if you don't want to release it because it's all broken, you're kind of, you know, just rolling back and database schema change reverts and all this sort of stuff, feature players allow you to [00:27:00] toggle in your code, features or behaviors or user journeys or whatever switching on and off and there was a Kind of set there was two two sort of Seminal, sort of blog posts about feature flags, one by Flickr, back in the day, and another one by Martin Fowler.

And they're still kind of contentious, right, like a lot of people, some people think that, you know, they're a bad idea, or introduce kind of like bad habits or whatever, but, We, we, we, as I was running this agency, we were doing work with these large enterprise organizations and they could, they just couldn't release the code, they could not release the code.

They, they couldn't deploy it. They had multiple teams with cross dependent things that, you know, some tests were [00:28:00] failing and they'd punt the release and then they'd punt the release and then they'd punt the release. And we were like, what the hell is going on? Like it was suddenly, they've got like four months of work.

They need to deploy it because the CTO is getting, you know, destroyed in the board meetings and We were like, look, this is nuts because we're in the consultancy. We're in the middle of this, like just trying to keep our heads down and not stress out. But yeah, so that's where the idea came from.

And yeah, we open sourced the project. It was a side project at the agency. We open sourced it, back then there was, there was like a couple of commercial, providers out there and there was us and Unleash here were the other sort of earlier open source projects. And yeah, it's, it's, it's sort of grown pretty slowly at first and organically.

And then just before COVID, I started working on it full time and now [00:29:00] we're 15 people. Profitable just about, but we kind of dial have that dial set at just about profitable, you know, more months than not. And yeah, it's, it's, it's, it's really great fun. It's, it's, it's been really interesting running a, an open source project that's completely new to me.

And, yeah, we, you know, we'll see where, we'll see where the, the boat takes us, but we're, we're not, you know, we're not, we're, we're, we're not VC funded. So we've not got, you know, this, this this sort of preordained path of, go big or, or I don't know, lay, lay most of the company off kind of thing.

So,

[00:29:51] Chuck: Right. Yeah. Like you growth driven, tons of money, collect users, let them come in for [00:30:00] free for, you know, a very long time and then start to

turn, you know, squeeze the juice a little bit. Yeah. I mean, I think that's what launched darkly was right initially. Didn't they open like kind of launch with a more freemium model, you know, it's like the first one's free.

Once you start getting deeper and having more calls, then, you know, the, the bills go up and And people have you know, once you're really invested in this path, which, you know, to be fair, I do agree with a I don't know, bad habits or not kind of thing. Like you said, when you have multiple collaborators, you want to, like, keep shipping, but maybe it's not ready for prime time.

But you also want the ability to, like, test in a real environment and all this kind of,

[00:30:42] Robbie: Yeah

[00:30:43] Chuck: cases for feature flagging that I think

[00:30:45] Robbie: Yeah, or like your teams aren't on the same page like often we'll release a front end feature and it'll be six months before the Back end is ready. So like

[00:30:52] Chuck: yep.

[00:30:53] Robbie: You need a feature flag for that because you don't want to let the branch sit there for six months You want to like get it merged and then just wait to turn it on

[00:30:59] Chuck: [00:31:00] Yeah, because, I mean, you let a branch sit for six months. You might as well close it and just

[00:31:03] Robbie: Yeah, delete it, yeah

[00:31:04] Chuck: Yeah, so

[00:31:06] Ben: Actually, I do think like from the experience that I've had now, I actually, I'm coming to the sort of point where I feel that probably the most valuable thing that they introduced to you is the, the, the capability of removing almost all of your environments. And I think that generally, And this isn't, you know, obviously in engineering, there's no, there's no sort of like golden bullet for everybody.

But reducing your, the number of environments you have and, and aiming to get to one, not, not maybe as a, as a kind of a panacea rather than an actual, like we have to get to production environment, I think that's probably the most valuable thing you can [00:32:00] test in production.

Everyone's sort of like,

[00:32:03] Robbie: you're advocating for testing in production.

[00:32:05] Ben: well, yeah, but you can test for production.

You can do it in a really safe way.

Um, and yeah, like, you know, and like, I mean, oh my God, like feel like some of the projects that we worked on, probably half the bugs were like issue in like some random environment that someone had decided to stand up,

[00:32:23] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:32:25] Ben: then it's like, well, if you don't know if it's going to work in that one, then you definitely don't know if it's going to work in production.

So what are we doing?

[00:32:31] Chuck: Yeah, yeah. And the idea that, like, staging is production like, almost completely

untouched. It's never quite the

same. Like, Oh, the database is a little different. We have security, you know, compliance issues and we can't copy the database down or whatever it is. There's always a reason why you never have a full fledged copy of production, but then you have this, but it's like, and yeah, I [00:33:00] mean, reducing environments is, is, is an awesome use case because I can think of even in recent history.

So many times where. You will have like a shared QA server and different people are pushing different code to that at different times. And you'll have like four teams having their own kind of roadmap and sharing like a QA server. Except like you never truly have integration until you get to production.

And so how are you actually ever testing this? You're never certain. And then You know, all hands on deck, everything's on fire, cause we didn't know this was gonna happen, even though we have overlapping priorities, so,

[00:33:42] Ben: And then the other thing we noticed was like, it would always be the best engineer on the team who would be the one like figuring out all these configuration differences because the best engineer on the team is the one who's got like the most [00:34:00] understanding of how all these different things fit together.

[00:34:02] Chuck: Right.

[00:34:03] Ben: You know, we were like, at one point we were doing this big project for a bookmaker in the UK. And I realized at one point that like the lead engineer that we were providing to the customer was basically spending his entire day every day, just like dealing with this stuff. And. Yeah, like, you know, and like, why doesn't this thing work in that environment because of this?

[00:34:31] Chuck: Right.

[00:34:33] Ben: You know, so it's like the most, the most expensive person on the project, or the most, the one that could deliver the most value was the one who sat like staring at environment variables pre pre prod, you know, and it's like, well,

[00:34:48] Chuck: Oh

gosh.

[00:34:49] Ben: are you doing that? Like, well,

[00:34:50] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:34:51] Ben: why you're doing it. I just explained why he's doing it, but like, yeah, why are you doing it?

You know,

[00:34:54] Chuck: Yeah, like, why do you settle for that? Why is that good enough? Why is, like, there never a [00:35:00] priority on I don't know. Yeah, I always find that amazing that it's like you would continue to waste that kind of expensive time and expertise than likely burning someone out. So they're going to go do something else

anyway.

[00:35:12] Ben: it actually was after that project,

[00:35:15] Chuck: Absolutely. See? Yeah. Yeah. You couldn't predict.

[00:35:19] Ben: years.

[00:35:20] Chuck: Yeah, couldn't predict it any, any better. And instead, you would rather go through all of that to ship more features, quote unquote. You know, so, so much validation and business value. Like, yeah, I feel like there's a, there still is like quite a fallacy in, in, in the product software and product industry around what is valuable to the business and whether it, you know, becomes like a product.

ideology or if it gets, Oh, that's an engineering problem. Like not necessarily because delivery and, you know, business value, user happiness, all these things can be wrapped up in [00:36:00] these, these bits in tech dead in, you know, having to like chase terrible environment scenarios, like just unfuck your process.

Come on.

[00:36:11] Ben: The other thing that's interesting is like this, you know, in some ways the engineering, you know, front end framework. So I have a move very quickly. Right. And no one's going to go like, you know, someone turns up and goes, Oh, you know, there's this front end framework. It's really good. We're going to write it in that which is an entirely risky proposition.

But there's seen, there's still these shibboleths. It was like, well, why don't we just delete these five environments? Cause they're crap. No one uses them. And they're just, you know, like everyone's like, Oh, you can't do that. Like, you know, like, I don't know why that is, but you know, you can turn up and go, Oh, I found this new front end thing that we're going to use.

And no one knows if it's going to be [00:37:00] maintained and have security patches in like two years.

[00:37:03] Chuck: Yeah.

[00:37:04] Ben: try and, you know, against something just because everyone's it's just bad engineering practice, right? Like just cause you've been doing it for 25 or four years doesn't mean that it's a good idea.

[00:37:17] Chuck: Mm hmm. Yeah, I well, I feel like there's two aspects there. I feel like that if you've been in a place long enough, a fear of letting go of anything means that you may never get it back, right? Like if you have to, you know, ask I. T. To spin up environments or put Provide you with additional space or giving you account allocation on AWS, you know, all of those things as soon as you say I don't need this right now.

You may never get it again It's kind of like headcount right like as soon as you lose someone because of

attrition

[00:37:50] Robbie: your money because if you don't you'll get less money next time.

[00:37:53] Chuck: Exactly, so you gotta spend your budget, you need to make sure your, like, headcount allocation stays around. Like, [00:38:00] anything that gets reduced, you feel like you're not gonna get it anymore. So I, I understand that, it's just not logical. And then right, yeah. And then, yeah, like, new shiny thing. It's kind of funny because, like, people complain about, like, Some fatigue around all these new technologies coming out all the time and they're cool to explore and stuff and I think that's probably a little more like Show off and talk about men than real world application like honestly, you know React is everywhere like how many?

Svelte applications are there some there a lot of

them are hobbies or startups Like, you know, you're not going to if you think about I don't know why, you know, you think about you know, Wendy's or something, right? Like fast food restaurant, like they're not exploring felt right now.

Unlikely, right? I don't think so. I think that they're selling burgers just fine. And they're [00:39:00] like, react has been react has been selling. Yeah, fine. React has been selling our burgers since 2014. And we're just going to stick with it. of maintenance, because of hiring or whatever else. Although now I bet anybody would take any, if you're out in the marketplace and you get asked to write Ember JS, you'd be like, sign me up.

Is there a paycheck with that? I'll take it.

[00:39:20] Robbie: but also like react hasn't released a new version in over a year like Everything else has what? Yeah, so I think the writing's on the wall there.

[00:39:33] Chuck: after, after server components, maybe we can bury it. I don't know. And that's a controversial opinion

that I hold.

[00:39:39] Robbie: get them fully released, let's just that. Did

[00:39:49] Ben: is 18 years old and React is 11 years old,

[00:39:53] Chuck: Yeah, yeah.

[00:39:54] Ben: I'm good with that, right?

[00:39:56] Chuck: Yeah, like those work. I mean, I went through [00:40:00] this you and I mentioned this before on the show, but whatever. I went through this a little bit when I was starting to work on Shepard Pro features and an app there. I actually started writing An API stand. I was like, I'm going to do separate little more microservices architecture here, right?

So I'm going to do the initial API and there's this new like it's basically the new express. It's called Alessia and it is really cool. It's using the bun runtime like it's 100 percent type safe. It just it had the ergonomics are really cool. But it also is like it's new. So that means you have to do a lot yourself.

And then also when I started exploring the deployment story, like your options are a bit more limited. They are a little bit more hands on. I was like, I don't know if this is a good idea for me. So, then I went to look at RedwoodJS and Django, and spent a weekend playing with both, had fun with both, and I just haven't done [00:41:00] Django in a long time, so I was like, am I going to relearn this?

I'm just going to go to Redwood, because it's

React, it's GraphQL.

It

[00:41:06] Robbie: the brackets train?

[00:41:08] Chuck: Yeah, yeah, yeah, get on the brackets train. That was part of it. I must have brackets in my code according to, to Robbie, but like, it comes with off, it was easy to set up a mailer. It was like you could set up like server, like functions, like standalone API functions on, on your own.

So you can create web hooks. Like it just comes with so much already done for me. I just want to build great.

[00:41:32] Robbie: you should use batteries included stuff so that you can focus on your domain specific features and you don't have to like all that crap to get started. Yeah,

[00:41:46] Chuck: too. Like, it's almost like. We're talking about with AI, like, the bar, just, just, just get a head start. Just go here. AI can do some of that legwork for you. It'll make you more efficient because, you know, it [00:42:00] gets you past certain points. And then you're smart enough to deal with ABC things.

I mean, Robbie isn't, but I am. I'm smart enough to deal with

[00:42:09] Robbie: I can only do A and B things not C is a little hard for me.

[00:42:12] Chuck: Mm hmm. So, I'm very curious, because we're talking open source, we're talking projects, we're talking flagsmith, what it, what it, you know. So, I think, I feel like, like commercial open source is starting to bubble up a lot. I like it. You know, our industry has changed a bunch with the difference in, in finance markets and, and all of that.

So there's no free money or less, much less free money out in the world. And so you're seeing like less like freemium open, freemium cloud products. And they just want to acquire users and growth, growth, growth, growth. And we'll turn that into a unicorn. And there is a more of a realistic take, right?

And people have started to look towards Open source software and commercial businesses around that, which obviously, you know, a lot [00:43:00] about, which is just an interesting business paradigm. Like, how does that? does an open source start to become a profitable business bikes, but exposing percent of the secret sauce?

[00:43:16] Ben: Well, yeah, I mean, that's a big question. I think the thing that I've noticed over the last several years is the engineering folk generally, if you, if you don't take the piss out of them, and that depends on, you know, the project or whatever, but everyone kind of know if you don't kind of pull the rug on them or, you know, Then it's definitely more, you know, it's, it's not really, it's not religious, right?

It's not the commercial part of it is, you [00:44:00] know, 30 years ago, you know with the free software movement, it was very religious. That's fine. I love Linux. I was playing with it in 1994. It's brilliant, blah, blah, blah, blah. But the, there's definitely, you know, there's this generations come and go. There's definitely a, a sort of like a tacit understanding that.

You know, if you're, if you're not like abusive or rude to that relationship, then I'm trying to build a sustainable company. We try really hard to make the free version of Flagsmith really good. And the bottom line is really, you know, if you're using it with a team of 10 engineers or less, if you squint, you probably wouldn't notice the difference between the two.

The 12, a year version of Flagsmith and the one that doesn't [00:45:00] cost anything. And we have a philosophy that I came up with a while ago about how, the sort of TPS reports features, the kind of non functional requirement features like, like auth and audit logs and sending stuff to Splunk. All of that stuff. We're going to charge like money for that because engineers don't care about that, right? Like engineers don't care about audit logs. I, some, some weird ones might, but most

engineers just want to write, you know, they don't care. But they, they, they care about, you know, I don't know, an Elixir client or being able to do this sort of like cool thing with, with a, with a.

So we, the, the, the, the philosophy that the, the sort of the open source philosophy of Flagsmith is that if it's an engineer that, you know, the lot that we never want an engineer to go, Oh, I really wanted to do [00:46:00] that. And that's the closed bit and that's lame, right? Like, and we just really try really, really hard, to build a a business that's predicated on that, on that basis.

And then everything that basically engineers don't care about. If they are lame that's what we charge money for. And actually it turns out, that the, actually the amount of, the amount of code that, that falls into those two brackets is, is, you know, enormously on, the stuff that's open and, and, and the stuff that's closed is, is, is relatively small amount of code, but it's not just that they're buying, they're buying support and.

You know, a lot of, a lot of our customers are self hosting if they have a weird failure mode or they're putting like an insane amount of traffic through it and something's behaving, you know, like that's what they're paying for. So,

[00:46:59] Chuck: [00:47:00] Yeah.

[00:47:00] Ben: yeah, like, you know, we've kind of sort of considered this idea that, well, maybe someone, you know, Chuck could fork it and build the By Walth and OXA and SAVL integrations and you could do that.

Just people, the reason, the reason engineers don't do that is because that's kind of really boring work, right? Like, you know, so it's kind of like self reinforcing in that regard. Yeah, and it, and also I do think over time, I do think, people are less religious about it and you, you don't. We, we, we never really get called out on it.

And you know, you could, you could, as a, as a, as an open source contributor or whatever, you could legitimately make an argument about it and say like, you know, I think blah, and this is why it's, it's, you know, you're, I don't know [00:48:00] sort of, I

don't know, abusing your open, but no, no one's done that like you know, and actually the, the, probably the most interesting, experience that we've had is, is a lot of the big contributions to the platform have been from paying customers.

[00:48:19] Chuck: Mmm.

[00:48:20] Ben: So we have customers that are either like trialing us or by the enterprise version and and then they, they want, so we've, we've, we've got a customer at the moment, like, one of their engineers has given us like a bunch of massive pull requests that are amazing. just because they want that functionality in the platform.

And it doesn't exist and, and, and it's kind of, it's cheaper for them to get this one, one engineer to build that stuff over two months and then, and then make use of it than it is to stay on [00:49:00] their incumbent platform. And, so that, that's been like that. I'm, I'm constantly staggered by that. Like that, that's very common.

Yeah, easily. The, the, the contributions outside of, people that get paid to write the Flagsmith code is, is from who pay to, to run it. Yeah.

[00:49:22] Chuck: Yeah, and that's, that's amazing. That's in a very interesting circumstance that I wouldn't have considered. But it does make a sense, make sense when if you're, you know, looking at a competitor that has this particular feature and then, you know, They look at you and you know, like man ticks off 90 percent of the boxes and way more cost efficient, except and to consider that like, well, since it's open source, we could put it there.

That's incredible. Like that's a really, that's a great story around why that makes a lot of sense.

[00:49:58] Robbie: Yeah,

[00:49:59] Chuck: like you [00:50:00] said, the boring stuff matters for, you know, the specifics of running a business that. that a developer doesn't want to do, great, we'll give you that, but that, you know, at a cost, like, why not?

[00:50:13] Robbie: yeah. And developers love that. Like, if you're open source and your competitor is not, I'm always going to choose the open source one because I can see how it works and be like, Oh, this is not working because of X, Y, Z. like, I don't know, I got a contact support and like, who knows what's going on in there, but.

[00:50:31] Chuck: Yeah, and also, like, if you do identify an issue, it's very transparent what is happening around that

[00:50:38] Ben: A hundred percent.

[00:50:39] Chuck: oh, cool, an issue's in there.

[00:50:41] Ben: that's actually, it's it's, not just the code that's open source. It's the, it's the business, the, the, the engineering side of the business is open source as well. So. W like we get this a lot where, a paying customer or, or maybe not like, [00:51:00] or just maybe someone who's using it you know, a hobbyist or whatever, or paying, you know, they, they, they find an issue, raised the issue you know, through our support chat or whatever.

And then like, you know, like, like five minutes. I mean, in the perfect case, and this is what I love. And I, I, we, we do try and do this as much as possible, put the issue on GitHub, send them the GitHub link, you know, two hours later, send them the pull request link. And then, you know, I don't know, like two days later, send them the release link or whatever.

And all of that is public. And obviously, you know, you have to be careful, customer data and personal data and things like that. And I've always worried that, you know, like it's. It's kind of, I don't know, like that's always a concern, but they're like, [00:52:00] Oh my, you know, because, because for some reason, and they don't need to do this.

Closed source companies don't do that. Right. Like, I don't know a single, I can't think of a single, there probably are, but I can't think of a single closed source company that has a public issue tracker. And they're amazing. It's like a superpower. They're like, Oh my God, I can't believe how transparent you are.

It's like, whoa. There's a bug. We wrote the software and it's got a bug. You found it there. It is like other people should probably know about it because it's a bug. Like there's no, it goes back to what I was talking about with the environments. It was like, why, why make those things? I mean, obviously, yeah, if there's.

There's a class of issue that we have in a private repository because it's, you know, containing information or, or, you know, commercially confident things or whatever, but why don't commercial private software companies have [00:53:00] a public issue tracker? I've got no idea.

[00:53:01] Chuck: yeah, yeah, I don't know. It's actually a pretty clever idea, and it's just as one of the, like, the, like, tangential Benefits to open source. It's like, it feels good. You know what's going on, you know, I mean, there's obviously dark sides to everything, but I think in general, like, there's so many positives around it.

And also, like, if you put all the work in and you want to add a business aspect to this, why can't you? And, know, so I don't know. Seems like there's so many positives there.

[00:53:35] Robbie: Yeah. So I do want to move a little bit into non technical things here. We always ask everyone if you weren't in tech, what other career would you choose?

[00:53:49] Ben: I've always wanted to be an author,

[00:53:52] Chuck: Hmm.

[00:53:54] Ben: And actually I wrote a a blog post that you, you, you read and mentioned to me [00:54:00] Chuck where, it's kind of annoying actually I hate writing 90 percent of the time, if I'm just not in the right mood, but 10 percent of the time I absolutely love it, and I can't, I can't isolate what it is in my head.

Or, or environment or whatever that

I, I can't, Yeah.

I can't replicate that 10% thing. It's really annoying, I guess that maybe that's writer's block, right? I don't know. I'm not so, yeah, I would've loved to have been an author and I spent, sort of late teenage years, like hoovering up, I don't know.

Yeah, like sort of like. British fiction and thinking yeah, this is but yeah, I mean, I don't think I I think I've been terrible, right? You

[00:54:57] Chuck: The desire.

[00:54:58] Ben: I if I could like [00:55:00] You know re redesign myself before I was born with an ability to Instead of

[00:55:07] Chuck: Yeah, the

[00:55:08] Ben: then it probably been that yeah

[00:55:10] Chuck: persona of Ryder is very appealing, I imagine.

[00:55:14] Robbie: Yeah.

[00:55:16] Chuck: What I want to know is what's with the, you know, what's with the obsession on Parappa the Rapper, anyway?

[00:55:25] Ben: What wait wait, where's

where's Oh

[00:55:31] Chuck: like, PS1 CD of

[00:55:33] Ben: yeah.

[00:55:33] Chuck: Rapper, which I remember that game. I can't believe it was a game, ever, but anyway, it

[00:55:39] Ben: So, so, I was born in 1975, which meant that I was at university when the place that just, just as a PlayStation one was released. And so I was kind of the absolute bullseye target [00:56:00] Sony marketing. This person is going to buy a console. And, at the time. I don't know, I was curious about this. Because I can't imagine it would have played well in Sony Japan, but Sony in the UK went really hard marketing into nightclubs.

[00:56:21] Chuck: Oh.

[00:56:21] Ben: And I'm not, I'm, I'm talking about the nightclubs that stayed open until like six in the morning and had lots of techno music and stuff like that.

[00:56:29] Chuck: Right.

[00:56:29] Ben: It would be very common in the nightclubs that I frequented. To have PlayStation consoles there paid for by Sony.

[00:56:39] Chuck: Huh.

[00:56:39] Ben: And they lent really into that culture and

Parappa the Rapper has basically got loads of sort of stoner culture.

I mean, they're not even sub references. They're like blatant sort of like stoner culture

references. um, and so We used to play a lot of Parappa the Rapper, [00:57:00] when I was a student. And and then I finally got my PlayStation out and I, I found my Parappa. It's one of the only, discs that I've still got. And, Yeah, it, it's got a scratch on it that causes it to reboot after you've done the, The, the, the, the reggae frog. Who's selling? He's selling skunks. It's . It's, it's just ridiculous. So it is one of my, it is just one of my favorite games. So, and, and actually like the, the, I looked on eBay the other day, like the, the, the discs are like 50 quid.

They're like, you know. Yeah.

[00:57:45] Robbie: Have you

[00:57:45] Chuck: these

the fixer

[00:57:47] Robbie: thing?

Yeah,

[00:57:48] Ben: Oh no, I haven't, I mean, I, I can, the thing is, it is actually , I'm gonna take it back to technical because you can get, I can run the. [00:58:00] emulators to, to, to run it, but it requires, the game requires really, really, really good timing with the emulators and the way TVs are now and speakers and everything's delayed, right?

It's so annoying. Everything's delayed. And so

[00:58:18] Chuck: to do

[00:58:18] Ben: the, you, you don't have the same experience playing the game if you're running it through like an emulator and a modern TV and all this sort of stuff. So I've got, it's, it's here. Hang on.

[00:58:30] Chuck: Just the name of

[00:58:33] Ben: There it, there

There it is. Like, it's, it's right behind me and I, yeah. Maybe, sorry, so what is that? I can, what, it's something that skims the top of the disc

or?

[00:58:44] Chuck: There's like a repairs thing that you can

put on

[00:58:46] Robbie: it once and it worked.

[00:58:48] Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. It just adds like an

extra, it like, fills the crevices.

[00:58:52] Robbie: it's like, it's, I thought it was more like, like a rough toothpaste and it kind of like sands down the [00:59:00] scratched part to get to like the next layer underneath or something. I don't

know.

[00:59:04] Chuck: I thought it was Monday. Yeah.

[00:59:06] Robbie: not working and it won't

[00:59:07] Ben: I mean, I, I could just buy one for 30.

Um, you know, there's

always

[00:59:13] Chuck: Yeah. Like if you could yeah. If you couldn't get past the guilt of just

[00:59:18] Ben: But for the, yeah, so for those of you who've got no idea what we're talking about, it's, it's just, it's a great game. It's, it's like, have you, have you, have you,

[00:59:27] Chuck: played it a long time ago, but I

[00:59:29] Ben: there's a, it's, it's so weird, it's so odd. It's got this kind of very,

[00:59:35] Chuck: It's like

[00:59:35] Ben: it's kind of like sort of merge between American and Japanese culture and there's a, the level in the game to this, it's about this, you play a rapper and he's trying to.

Impressed this girl

[00:59:48] Chuck: Ha ha

[00:59:49] Ben: and he takes her to a picnic and then on the way back He really needs to poo so he He he stops

at a [01:00:00] service station and there's a queue for the toilet you have to wrap your way You have to kind of battle rap your way past the people in the queue. And then if you complete that, if you complete that scene, he goes into the toilet cubicle and does this big poo.

[01:00:20] Chuck: Yeah, Yeah.

It's so funny that that was like your entry into the PS1. Because I am also Gen X. And I remember like walking into a game shop or something. I think it was like, I don't know, get your haircut and afterwards I was like, Oh, I'll walk in this game shop. And they, somebody was like demoing Tomb Raider or no, I think it was Not Tomb Raider, but Tomb Raider was a good one too.

It was Resident Evil, the first Resident

[01:00:48] Robbie: Mmm.

[01:00:49] Chuck: What is this? This is incredible. And I bought a system on the spot.

[01:00:53] Robbie: Ha ha. They gotcha.

[01:00:55] Ben: Yeah. I

[01:00:56] Robbie: Ha ha ha ha.

[01:00:58] Ben: Actually, Matt, who I started Solid State [01:01:00] with, we were at this management consultancy out of university. he had a Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye,

and I

literally,

[01:01:08] Robbie: Mmm.

[01:01:09] Ben: Goldeneye for about 5 minutes, and I got in my car, and went to the

store, and bought a

N64.

[01:01:16] Robbie: was great.

[01:01:17] Chuck: Yeah.

GoldenEye was really good. That and Conker's Bad Fur Day were some of my favorite 64

games.

[01:01:23] Robbie: N64 controller was so bad though.

[01:01:25] Chuck: Yeah, it's rough.

[01:01:27] Robbie: it have three things to hold? I don't get it.

[01:01:28] Ben: Yeah,

[01:01:29] Chuck: can

[01:01:29] Ben: held it in one way, right?

[01:01:31] Chuck: Yeah. you can get one like a USB one now because I have like this recall box emulator thing where you basically you can choose from like 40 systems and, you know, you gotta get your own ROMs but, and then I was like, oh cool, Donkey Kong or something Donkey 64, I don't remember what it was called, and then got one of those controllers and I was like, wait a minute, I hated these.

[01:01:56] Robbie: Yeah. Yeah. You, you fell into that trap and got it

[01:02:00] again. yeah,

[01:02:00] Chuck: it. Yeah, I was like, oh, let's play these games like with the same controller my with my son And I was like wait, these are terrible

[01:02:06] Robbie: They were. Yeah. Yeah. Games are really good though.

[01:02:10] Ben: got a really good story. I didn't realize, there's a lot that's been written about Goldeneye, but the team that wrote Goldeneye had like basically no video games experience whatsoever. Yeah. there's, there's been experiences this before in engineering where like, they don't know where the boundaries are so they, they just go and like, come up with these ideas.

Just achieve them where other people would be like no,

you

[01:02:40] Chuck: can't do that and they don't even try

[01:02:41] Robbie: Yeah. So we should hire people that don't know what they're doing and get better

products.

[01:02:45] Chuck: so all only hire juniors that's what it is only hire juniors maybe I don't

oh

[01:02:53] Ben: I mean, yeah, I I it's it's hard to explain [01:03:00] know if you didn't grow up with 8 bit computers or whatever like

[01:03:03] Chuck: Yeah,

[01:03:04] Ben: it's, it's just a, an outstanding of art.

[01:03:08] Chuck: I had the first NES, when it was like Nintendo Entertainment System, and it had the robot, and it would grab the gyroscope, and then move it over to spin on a different thing. That was like, I don't know if anybody remembers, early 80s, at like Castlevania,

and then There

[01:03:27] Robbie: before the NES.

[01:03:29] Chuck: It's the original NES. So it's the same one that came with like Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.

You had the gun where

you like

shoot,

[01:03:37] Robbie: Yeah. Yeah.

[01:03:40] Chuck: had this like a little robot thing. And it was like part of the game was you had to like in physically you were controlling the robot to move like this little spinny top thing. It was called like

[01:03:54] Robbie: Hmm.

[01:03:54] Chuck: over to a different thing.

And then that would react on the screen.

[01:03:58] Robbie: Oh,

interesting.

[01:03:59] Chuck: I think [01:04:00] they

broke a lot

[01:04:00] Robbie: of interesting. They had like the power glove and the like, they did, they did a lot

[01:04:04] Chuck: glove. I

[01:04:06] Ben: 3D, weird 3D glasses as well. Do you remember those? They, what

were they called? Yeah, they, they had like they had some, like, weird 3D glasses. of,

[01:04:19] Chuck: Goggles or something?

[01:04:21] Ben: hollow glasses that

[01:04:23] Robbie: Hmm. yeah, Yeah.

[01:04:30] Ben: But they, they, yeah, it, they, they, it's a mad company like.

[01:04:33] Chuck: Yeah, it's kind of like the glove. Like, that thing was impossible to use, but you were like, The power glove! And then you're

[01:04:39] Robbie: It's so cool to have. Yeah,

[01:04:41] Chuck: it just never really worked. I don't know. Shit. It's

[01:04:43] Robbie: Yeah.

[01:04:44] Chuck: Shit. Go

[01:04:48] Robbie: are over time here. Where can people find out more about Flagsmith or follow you? Or what do you want to plug before we end?

Ha

[01:04:55] Ben: so I'm going to, I always do github. com slash [01:05:00] flagsmith and somewhere on the internet, four of my colleagues are going, no, like the website, but no, yeah,

[01:05:10] Chuck: the free code first.

[01:05:12] Ben: yeah, github. com slash flagsmith. And then also, we have a discord. That's slowly growing, that you can find from, from there. And yeah, like it's, yeah, we're, we're trying to it easier to contribute code and have that barrier of entry, As low as possible, but obviously it's tricky as the surface area grows and stuff.

But, you know, like anything, like raising issues, requests, documentation, PRs, anything like, yeah,

it's all good.

[01:05:55] Chuck: going to plead for someone to mail you a Parappa the Rappa that works.

[01:05:59] Ben: [01:06:00] If someone wants to do that, then that's fine by me.

[01:06:03] Chuck: please mail it to Ben. You can send it to me and I'll take it. It'll be fine.

[01:06:09] Robbie: All right. Cool. Thanks everyone for listening. If you liked it, please subscribe. Leave us some ratings and reviews. We appreciate it and we will catch you next time.

[01:06:17] Chuck: Boom.