Guest Lewis Denham-Parry
Lewis Denham-Parry Co-founder of Cloud Native Wales joins me to talk about mental health in technology
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Dave: Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host Dave Albert. In this show, I talk about technology building a company as a CTO, and co founder and have guests to discuss their roles in technology and entrepreneurship.
Today we’re joined by Lewis Denham Parry, a co founder of Cloud Native Wales. Thanks for joining us, Lewis. Really appreciate it.
Lewis: Thanks very much for me, Dave. Pleasure to be here.
Dave: Yeah. So if you’d like to give maybe just a little bit of an introduction of yourself, or your background.
Lewis: Sure thing. So yeah, I’m Lewis and I’m based in Cardiff in South Wales. I’m currently 34 years old, at time of recording and which might help out later on in some of our conversation, trying to understand why I’m here today. And previously, I was a C sharp web developer, back end developer, Team Leader CTO, every every title you could give me out I pretty much took but currently I would say as well as being the co founder of Cloud Native Wales. I’m also an instructor with learn Kubernetes. I’m a speaker and I recently just fitted my own kitchen, I’m a kitchen fitter as well.
Dave: Nice. Yeah. So first why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you do with cloud native?
Lewis: Well, Yeah, so um, I started attending conferences a couple of years ago. And I will probably touch why it happened so late for me in my career and why it impacted me so much and I was having to travel around a lot to be able to go to different meetups and conferences. So I had to leave Wales. I was going to London, if not weekly, every other week I was going there. And I just wanted to bring it back. Because I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could afford to catch a train. I’ve got a very good partner who can help look after our son. So I was able to leave home, go and see these talks, hear these new concepts and ideas and bring them back home. But then I realized that other people might not necessarily have that available to them and in the South Wales area. So we look to set the meetup group to invite speakers across but also to try and generate some more speakers locally which we’ve found so many great people and where we are and now we have a monthly meetup. We all get together we have some inspiring talks and then usually we go to pub afterwards to try to write everything else. So yeah, that’s that’s what we’re doing with plenty of Wales I moments and we’re looking to expand outside of Cardiff as well because we’re not planning to Cardiff we are claiming to Wales so looking at doing a road show round Wales later on this year, to try and get some other people involved as well.
Dave: Cool. Um, what, what do you what did you find the most interesting about setting that up? Well, what was surprising?
Lewis: Mmm, initially going into it. I thought it was just going to be like a house party. And back when I was in school, I did some good house parties. And but quite quickly, I realized they were so many more stress levels to it. And I initially anticipated for so organizing a meetup with most things, you’ve got three things to factor into it. And first of all, you need to have a speaker or speakers. So we reached out to a couple of speakers that we liked. And they said, Yeah, they’re more than happy to come along. Then we realized that we didn’t have a venue. So we had fighting fires and we got some quotes. But I found out that the first job I had out of school was pushing trolleys at a supermarket. And the colleague that I had at the time is now head of recruitment for a big firm in Cardiff. And so they offered us their office space. So that was great. And it’s on the 22nd floor. And it overlooks the principality stadium. So it’s a beautiful venue. And and then yeah, once we had that little family had to make sure that people will turn up. So with that it’s meetup. So meetup. com really helped us out with that. And that we promoted on meetup on there. And it links to other people have other similar groups in the area. And so we ended up I think, on our first meetup. We had about 30 people turn up. But nowadays we can get anything between 50 and 80. So it’s definitely a growing community.
Dave: Yeah, yeah, no, I’m a big fan of meetup. com. In fact, that’s how we met was through a meetup that..
Lewis: Yeah, meetup last year
Dave: Yeah, yeah, actually, now that we’ve touched on that, the reason that I initially was interested in talking to you was so much about your talk there that was related to mental health and the technology and startup space. I’m very interested in trying to help shine a light on some of the stresses that can affect those of us in these fields. So yeah, what, what brought you to that talk, and what kind of was it about that you might..
Lewis: So um, last year, and again, this partially came from our meetup. So running on meetup, we give away conference tickets, because again, it’s reason we run that is to really help people get into this. And and but in doing so there’s this conference in London, and they had a speaker drop out. So they asked me with a couple of days ago, we don’t mind covering up this conference. And as we’ve helped me out so much fun. I felt like I had return the favor and it was for a microservice conference, and I felt that most microservice talks I’ve listened to always talk about the technology aspect of it, and how it benefits us on our business but personally, and my experience of microservices is that it gets us away from the monolith. And the monolith for me, took out a lot of my time, effort, and resources. And it will lead me to having burnouts and parts like that. So I felt that this would be a great talk, to be able to actually say, can we use microservices to help fix the way that we do things. But then touching on but in so yes, in this talk, I talked about my previous experiences and my issues with mental health. So I’ve suffered in the past from depression. I still do occasionally now. But yes. And so when it was a case of trying to put ideas forward as to well, how can we help each other out within this? Can technology help us out? And yeah, really just trying to opening the lead on this topic? Because I think it’s kind of brushed over at this moment in time, I’ve is coming a bit more to face and I’m seeing it I’m seeing people took my mental health more on Twitter now. And not just within our industry, but in life in general. And yeah,
Dave: Good. No, it’s it is it is gaining some momentum. And I’m, it’s done to people like yourself, who have the brave bravery to be honest, for the rest of those who still may be suffering often in silence. So, you know, I appreciate it.
Lewis: Well, yeah thank you. But yeah, it’s, um, so part of my experience, getting to this point, a lot of time, I’ve been told just to step up and let them just, Hey, I’m doing it. And I and it’s very interesting, because when I found out that I did suffer from depression, and then I could actually say, Okay, so this is what it is, I look back in my past, and I could see times survey, there were times when I wake up, and I just couldn’t get out of bed, I was completely stressed out. I didn’t know how to, I didn’t know how to move. And, and then at the time there was people would think that as prognosis probably hung over, he was probably out late last night is probably enjoying himself, because he’s this 20 year old. And I want to, well, it wasn’t the case, the majority of time, I probably I should probably say on that. But and then yes, later on in life when factors come in. So now I’ve got a young family now. And so I got a four year old son. But there was when he was born. And I realized that should be the happiest time in my life that I wasn’t. And I’m doing well. And this is where conferences do come in, I had to find change. Because my day to day life wasn’t working out for me, and my nine to five, and I was now contracting in Cardiff. So I used to consult around the world. But then when I started a family, I decided to move back home because I didn’t want to be on the other side of the world, I want to be closer to my family, I wanted to be an active part in it, then doing that for jobs for I had available to me, they were limited in what I was doing. And so for people found I was working with, they were 10-15 years older than me, and within was just my luck that the people were more focused on money, then actually what we were trying to do and achieve. And for me, I’m, I’m more creative, and I am financially driven. I like to solve problems. And it just got to a point over a couple of years, I just completely forgot. That’s what I was interested in. That’s why I ended up becoming a developer in the first place. I didn’t become a developer because I wanted flash cards or anything like that. Yeah, I became a developer because I enjoyed solving problems as a kid. And I found that computers to web programming help you solve a lot of votes. And so yeah, I was going in every day, I didn’t know I was going in a van, just to get the paycheck to paycheck, come back home, and look after the family. So at that point, I reached my lowest points. And ballet attributed it more to my job for myself. So I made a and yeah, I made a decision to go to a conference in Oslo. And because I just assumed that this was the state of the industry, I assumed that everyone in the industry was pretty much just money driven. And then yeah, I know just for Well, if I go across to Oslo, if I end up finding what I don’t actually connect with anyone within our industry, then I get a visit Oslo, which was on my list of things to do. But they want to go out there. But people were amazing. And it was just hearing so many talks about inspiring talks as well about how people are doing things, it was, it was great. And I find this community, which I never thought I needed or had. And so anyway, that just got me to the point where I realized I do enjoy solving problems. And I realized that my mental health as a problem by needed to solve. So when I came back home, went and visited my local doctor. And I said, I’m depressed. And so I had some blood tests. And we found out that I’ve got an underactive thyroid. So I never actually knew what a thyroid is I just know it’s in my neck. But it’s it wasn’t producing enough of a hormone, which can lead to depression. So if it wasn’t for actually wanting to try to solve this problem again, then I don’t think I necessarily would I think I’ll just have my stiff upper lift, and just carry on going as things should be. And and in saying that as well. But I’ve now come to realize that it isn’t just, it isn’t black or white. If this one fix doesn’t fix everything, for me, it helps me manage it a lot better. And it helps me understand what’s going on. Because, again, being working with computers, I like things to be logical. So if I’m feeling a bit when I’m feeling down and depressed, I like to try to understand why that might be. And so now, I have one factor, which is, but yes, and so I started look back in my history working with monoliths and I just realized that all the stress was put on me by the business. So I might get this with businesses. Like I said, I’ve had a range of job roles. And when you’re supposed to be delivering a product, and that product is supposed to be able is supposed to be available 24/7, and you have to do it with as little resources possible to make as much profit as well. And then you’re shipping out code, which you’re trying to say to people, we need a little bit more time with this. But then when you’re saying it’s a business, I had people in business, just saying we need it now, if we if we don’t have it now. And no one’s going to be able to get paid at the end of this month. And it was that level of stress. And then I didn’t want anyone else to have either I wanted that box to stop with me, not because I wanted to be a rock star, because I wanted to allow the people around me to be able to do their jobs properly, And yes. And so when monoliths for me, just became this monster were just consumed so much from my time and energy and like microservices as well, this isn’t the silver bullet. Because if you got 99 microservices, and you got 99 problems
Dave: But a monolith ain’t one
Lewis: Yeah so it has some scale, but I feel that it’s just this pattern of understanding how we can do things better. And that I do believe that sometimes we are our own worst enemies. And that being a developer, it’s, we are the ones creating the product. And so if we have if we think, well, what’s going to happen when it does go down, what happens when it breaks, what instead of trying to keep it up and running. So I’m, I’ve been and again, this is only from going attending conferences and listening to other people speak at meetups and such, and the concept of fire drills. So within your organization that it might be every Friday, you have one along go going off, which is just a test up a fire alarm. So once a month, you might have to actually go to the company car park. And and then someone said, We don’t do that with our software. And that clicked with me, because I’ve had moments when everything is broken, everything’s broken. And the only thing I’ve got is more telephone calls coming through, just to tell me that everything’s broken. And when you’re in that position, if you haven’t, if you don’t know the drill. So if you don’t know the route that you’re supposed to take to get to that car park, essentially within your own software. So if you don’t have these playbooks and pay available to you, then you’ve got the added stress of having to manage all of this without actually knowing how to solve it. So it was these concepts that really grounded with me, and just thinking, well, we can actually do things a lot better here.
Dave: It’s so funny that you bring up fire drills, because I was at an AWS event here in Dublin, last week I think, or maybe the week before, I don’t know time sort of blends together anymore. But some of what they were discussing just actually triggered a thought in my own head that I’m going to add a few randomized routines within our slack bot to throw out fire drill scenarios that we can come through on demand or find some sort of time setting. But I haven’t implemented it yet. But it’s something that’s very much on my mind. And in fact, we had a bit of an issue with a test deployment the other day, and the colleague of mine, she said, You were talking about fire drills. And at least this happened in test. And that was pretty funny.
Lewis: But it’s nice. You’ve got one if you don’t just have a production environment. That’s the nicest thing to take away.
Dave: Yeah, just so long as test is what breaks first, every time. Which isn’t always the case, unfortunately.
Lewis: Yes, yes. And planets. And that’s a nice, that’s the thing that I’m realizing now, it’s when we’ve been talking about having 100% up time. And then when we start again, so ladies that were 99.999, and then all of a sudden business for me, businesses to takes on board. And it was just a case of can can you do this? And it’s like, well, I don’t actually know how to. And the thing is, is that if you’re trying to attain 100% up time, it’s not going to happen. It I once had, I once had a server go offline on a Friday evening, and then I can ping the box at all. And so I rang the data farm. And this is about 10 years ago. Now. I said, I can’t connect to the box. And he said, Oh, yeah, you can’t connect to it. Because it’s currently being moved to another city. Okay, but we need that box now. And they said, Well, we can get it back. But it won’t be online until Monday. And so yeah, and there was no way that I could do 100% of time in there. And that’s, again, that’s just a crazy scenario from 10 years ago. But nowadays, it’s a case of if something goes wrong, can we automate, it can be automated, so that instead of you having to wake up at two o’clock in the morning to have a look at it, get it back up and running, and then be expected to come into the office from 9am the following morning. Well, so later that morning, feel fresh enough to be able to go through the logs and find out what happened, it’s, that’s not well, I want to be in a song scenario where it’s, I don’t have to worry about it, I can disconnect from what I’m doing the majority of time at least, and then come in with a fresh face and be able to go through logs and see, okay, this happened, we can fix it, and we can patch it. And so it’s more about trying to retain 99% up time because your confidence in that it’s going to fail. And when it fails your confidence, you can pick it back up to the extent where you don’t even have to do that yourself. So
Dave: Exactly that plus another thing that I’m very interested in trying to move to obviously, it’s it’s the dream that I’m sure everyone would like to arrive at. But at the moment we’re all still striving towards is alerting on trending. So trending potential future events, as opposed to existing current events. Sorry, hang on. Just one second. Sorry about that small break there. Do you remember what we were discussing before?
Lewis: Yeah, we’ll go into chaos engineering, I was just trying to attain 100% up time, which can never happen, and usually just causes for people who are trying to maintain it just to burn out and it’s, it’s really this having conversations with people, that’s the case of usually saying, Have you ever taken a laptop with you on holiday? Or just or just when you’re out with your family do you have Do you have to make sure that you’ve got connection to the Internet, or make sure that you’ve got that your work email paid out, just just knowing that you’ve got this escape plan to be able to escape from your own life to get back to your work environment to be able to fix something and yeah, and a lot of people do, usually it’s okay. And then it’s just but when we ever having a break whenever, whenever we resting. And when we when we doing things that actually make us human again, when can we just enjoy our time. And yeah, and I and I still see it today. And it’s I think came from people wanting to become rock star rock star developers. In fact, I remember it fondly, and thinking, well, if someone if someone needs me, that’s amazing. Because that means I’m needed that means I’m doing something someone needs not anyone else. But they need me. And quite quickly, I just realized that lots of people need you when when you’re not really sharing it well, and and so now it’s more of a case. That I really tried to focus on sharing and sharing that knowledge and is trying to share the best practices that we can do. So that I am ideally I become redundant. So people know exactly what they need to do to be able to achieve their goals. And that’s where I feel we need to start going towards. And, and so talking about it was certainly this morning, I think about it. And so we talked about chaos engineering for our systems. But then equally, I realized now that I’ve kind of taking some of those patterns and then using them for my own personal mental health now in that’s like 10 years ago, when I was suffering I didn’t, I couldn’t tell anyone, because it was seen as a sign of weakness. And so I have to have this 100% uptime. I need to be this person who’s constantly available and to do everything perfectly, because I’m this rock star then. Whereas nowadays, I accept there’s going to be times when I was completely out of my control I’m going to have about where I’m not going to be able to do something, I need to have a break. And so now I’m building up my life around that. Knowing that at any moment, I might not be able to be contactable and and it’s creating that safety nets as well. So I’m speaking with friends speaking with family and just saying this is this occasionally happens. And so it’s kind of just they text me every so often just to make sure that I’m okay. And which is great. But then equally, that helps me with confidence knowing that when things aren’t going well, for whatever reason I’ve got, I’ve got someone else I can check to.
Dave: That’s fantastic. Yeah, it back to what you were just carry on. Or you just get on with it. You wouldn’t say that to somebody with a broken leg. And mental health is almost even more impactful than a broken leg. So it’s nice to see that it’s starting to shift. But still, there’s so much of that old school thinking that is just faulty thinking.
Lewis: And we can take examples of what we do for a living. So if you’ve ever gone into another, the business and then you have look at their code base, and you’re trying to figure out how does any of this work, you can’t see where it comes in. And you can see where it goes out. It’s that it’s amazing that it’s up and running. But you find out that it’s been up and running. It’s been up and running for five years. And it’s a main income source for this business. And because we can see inside because we can see these things are broken externally. Because people don’t, they don’t even need to look at code, they just need to be able to see the website up and running. Or they need to be able to see the invoices are being generated for them that might look like it’s healthy. And it’s exactly to your point. It’s the same with mental health. Because if you don’t understand mental health, you don’t understand necessarily how it can break you. I had a conversation with my dad, and he doesn’t understand he doesn’t understand the pressure he does for him. He can’t figure that out. And he said it in the nicest possible way to me. And it was really reassuring, because he wants to learn and understand why I was what was going on. But equally help me understand that just because I’ve got this doesn’t mean that everyone else does either. It’s and it’s but equally to your point. If someone’s got broken leg, you can emphasize for them. But you can see that broken leg. And yeah, and I didn’t know equally, I think over again, growing up any sign of weakness isn’t good. And I used to play football as a kid. And so if you’ve got if you’ve got tackled hard, and then your foot’s hurting you can’t show that your foot’s hurting, because if you show that and they’re going to run past you next time. So you’ve got it, you’ve got to look strong confidence. And then that’s what we’ve kind of taken on into this world as well. Where we have to show up with strong and confident in what we’re doing that we’re competent, and what that we’re constantly going to be available. And it’s that’s the thing, I don’t think we need to I think with modern practices. And so back to like co native and such, it’s for me, it’s the case of technologies is now getting to a point where it’s a case of saying when things break, how do we rebuild them. Yeah, and that works perfectly with me. Because it’s like, when I break, how do I really rebuild myself. And so if I can, if I can know I can touch away from the things I’m creating that gives me enough time to focus on fixing myself as well. And making sure if I’m healthy.
Dave: I want to go back to your point there with the the football analogy, if you had, say, a hairline fracture that happened to your foot because of the way you took that hard tackle, and you continue to run on it for the rest of the game. By the end of the game, you’re going to have a serious problem. It’s the same as mental health. If you don’t take care of it in the beginning, it’s not going to get better on its own. It’s just going to continue to get worse and worse and harder to fix the problem in the long term.
Lewis: And this so since learning about this with myself, I’ve been reading a lot of books better and is just I’m not trained in this either.
Dave: So sure, sure. Me neither. Me neither. Yeah,
Lewis: Yeah. 24:52 But it is when you push things away. And yeah, they do build. And it’s and it’s the worst thing because usually the smallest thing can break even. It’s because it’s just so much pressure built up behind you. And then when it breaks, and then again, from the outside, it looks like the single thing has caused you to completely fall over which you have completely falling over. But it isn’t because we’re a small thing is because of this multitude of things. But yeah, I don’t know if there’s a fix for it. I like I this moment time. And I don’t I the only fix that I can do is change the way I’m doing things. And it goes back to this talk about how we are in control of our own day to day destiny. It’s if we can start if we can start building things to help us site as well, then that’s going to pass in a much better position than it is if we’re just trying to shift code as quickly as possible waiting for it to fall over when someone else picked it up. It’s just Yeah, yeah.
Dave: Yeah, that is one thing to consider with all of this is that with microservices, it is easier to push out more things faster. But also that increases the complexity, which then can increase the cognitive overhead, which can become a stress factor. So just because you can move faster doesn’t always mean that you should continue to move as fast as you possibly can, without taking time to tend to tear machinery. And some of our most important machinery is our our mind, so
Lewis: And so I’m with our meetup. And we found some people based in Wales. So we’ve got someone in Wales who works for Netflix. And so they came across and gave us a talk. And then were saying that they’ve got over 700 microservices. And it’s just too much for any one person to manage. So we don’t have that they don’t have because it can’t be done, then it makes me think about the way that the way that we’re going forward, we’re still trying to do business like we did, and say, the 60s, 70s or 80s, but now with modern technology is advanced away from that. So like within one of some humans microservices book, he talks about not necessarily having the business domain within your code. So instead of if you’re writing something for accounts, then you don’t just call the project accounts or stuff like that, because we’re imposing what this has been, we’re looking at removing it from the domain. And so if we’re doing stuff like that, as well, it’s just, it’s harder for people to understand. And it’s harder. And if we’re, if we’re putting processes in place for our business constructs. And it’s kind of breaking these patterns, which makes it harder for us to do as well. And the amount of times I’ve gone into businesses, and it’s just saying, you do know, this isn’t necessarily the best practice like writing your own security code, for example, like that, that doesn’t, that doesn’t feel right, you could have used it and it’s, and each time they say, well, that’s how we do it here, or that’s our secret sauce. That’s how that that’s what we do. And it just, it just adds so much more complexity to it. It adds so much more pressure to trying to do these things. Whereas Yeah, I think we really need people who are driven and focused like we can believe. So it’s, for example, I was working in a business, I’m one of the architects, he was sat opposite me and his face went completely white. And for five minutes, I didn’t know what had happened. And it got to a point where I felt like I gotta ask, this could be some serious. And so I said, Are you okay, and he said, Actually, no, I’ve just received an email with my password in it. And there was, Oh, okay. And it’s one of the spam emails. But when they found when there’s been a data breach, and someone’s got someone’s password, and they’ve just been mailing everyone who’s got the password saying that I’ve compromised your computer, I’ve got your password, what’s up to everything, you don’t actually believe that someone had compromised his machine. And for me, this was kind of like one of the most for me, it was one of the more basic things so and so from this point, as well. Make sure you use a password manager or some extent, it’s a great website, have they been phone, which is made by Troy hunt, which helps you see when passwords in when your passwords have been breached. So I had to notification over weekend actually saying that one of my other passwords has been taken now. But um, the point of this is, is that these are the people who are steering for me steering the ship. And I’ve always had an issue with trusting captains of my ship. So I think of the business as a ship and this direction that we’re going in and seeing that happens, someone that’s such a high level within this business, it I just, I realized that I did not trust where this business the direction that this was going in. And I felt like this was not right for me again, because I need to trust that whoever is leading this is taking us in the right direction. And again, I think and this isn’t about age or experience or anything like that. It’s just about having this knowledge and having the ability to open up and share and learn. And that’s where I feel at some of the issues that we have now with this transition towards cloud computing is starting to fail.
Dave: So we’re, what would you like to see happen in the short term beyond just, you know, what you and I individually can do? What would you like to see within the community.
Lewis: So I’m seeing more and see more community come together now. And again, I’ve said development so many times in this. But being a developer, I thought contributing to a community respect me adding code to open source project I for that’s the only way that I can contribute to this. But then I realized that there’s so many other ways and it doesn’t even have to be using a computer that I can contribute to the community. So in organizing this meetup and getting people around the table together after our first meetup. So I mentioned that they had an issue with one of their pull requests on one of their projects. And it was to do a terror form. And so there’s someone else in the other side of room. And he said, I can, I know it’s hard for my can fix that for you tomorrow. And then by half past 10, the following morning, this is a branch is gone. So switch back into master and they fix that issue. And it’s great, because he actually made me realize that well, even though I didn’t do any coding format, I, we’ve just created these two people coming together to be able to share that and create and make this happen. And since then, as well, it’s realizing that there’s so many projects where if it’s documentation, if it’s translation, if it’s just checking for folks, if it’s going via demos, just work on it, you can contribute in so many ways, and again, is from my backgrounds, I’ve come from a Windows background where open source was always do well within the environment. So I was working in open source meant that it was full of bugs, and that you’re going to get compromised, and someone’s going to steal your details. Yeah, and that’s not the case. That’s not the case nowadays. And you can see that with Microsoft in that it was over 40,000 projects with that will open source a couple of months ago. And so you start to see this, especially this direction, away from being silo’d about being just we don’t talk to any other businesses to actually we’re going to open sources, you can contribute to it. And I think that’s personally I that’s where I see things going. I feel that if instead of just having a CV saying, this is what I’ve done, and these are the skills I have you actually just going to have, yes, you could just say, look at my public repo like, you can look up, I’ve, I’ve helped fix issues of this, I’ve helped I’ve contributed to this project here. That’s where I feel that we’re going, I think that’s more of a direction that we’re going towards.
Dave: Hmm, how do you think people could bring some of these these thought processes into into their own daily work, not just the, the open source initiatives.
Lewis: And I think so I think it was called a brown bag session. So I think it comes from the states from just having your lunch in a brown paper bag, and just talking and sharing your ideas at lunch. So I think just having having a sharing talks in your office and just seeing if you’ve seen something in line or if you’ve been to a conference or meetup. And then he liked the idea, share with your colleagues, when the first talk that I gave was at a previous office, like we used to work at. And we, we did a talk on Kubernetes, and they had a Raspberry Pi cluster. So I had six Raspberry Pi’s. That was that was my own private cloud that I used to call it. And yeah, so you know, lunch break. And we just told everyone Well, if you want to come along, just bring your lunch to sit down and give you this talk that we’re going to share it the next meetup that we do. And we have, like, we had so many people turn up, but we’ve never met before. And it was really good. And it helped us because all of them are communicating with teams that we’ve never spoken to before. So I guess this is where office politics come in. And usually when, when you’re working within your team of like, say, seven or eight people. And then you’ve got four other teams on the same office rose you I’ve been there before, and no one’s talking to each other, like, everyone’s siloed off on them by themselves. But these people are most likely to have the same issues that you have as well. Like, and again, this isn’t just mental health. Now, this is just day to day issues. This is this is politics is everything else. And so just being able to talk to someone who’s experiencing the same pain points that you have, or just who can also say, well, we fixed it this way. And then it’s just, it’s amazing and, and see, I think communication is key in that aspect as well.It’s a lot easy to just be hidden behind your desk and just stay stay behind your keyboard and not speak to someone else. Or, and like, Yeah, sometimes we send an email or slack them or something to that extent. But um, yeah, actually meeting people and just hearing just hearing them talk and it just connects back. It’s amazing how much more you get to find out about someone. And yeah, I think that’s one thing I’d look towards is just communication and make it personal as well.
Dave: And, you know, even if you’re not in a large office and want to share those talks with people within your own company, if you’re working out of a co working space, like we’re in we work, you know, they’re always looking for different types of events like that. So, I’m sure you can always work with the the organizers of any of the events within those coworking spaces to do those lunchtime sessions. You know, obviously, not to share your secret sauce or your business logic. But other people will have different input that they could give you to actually make it easier. And people are usually willing to share as long as you’re not direct competitors.
Lewis: Yes. And, and that’s the thing, you don’t need to go that deep as well. You don’t need to get the secret sauce, it’s the issue that I have, whenever I go to give a talk is for them, I always want to focus on the hardest bits and talk about that, that, that that at the end of the journey is these bits of very complex and it’s still trying to unravel them, because then it makes me look better. But then actually is trying to remember trying to give a talk that you wish you had when you started on this journey. So three months ago, prior to that, given this talk, what is it that you really wanted to learn what was the first step was the first thing that you could have avoided to prevent from wasting two days just because you had the long run library installed, for instance, it’s both things because yeah, it was I forgot who it was. But he said, just to drop the ladder, just drop a line to the down to the next person for them to be able to climb up. And, and that’s what because by the end of this is so deep into a project. And it’s so much easier to focus on those hot topics. But just sharing, showing what’s great about what you’re doing as well. It’s, it’s just to inspire people is just be able to let people go away because that’s the other thing. Most of the time when people do try to do things, it’s on their own. And the amount of times that I’ve just been at home. And it’s like 9pm, and it’s like, well, I’m going to give this a go. And then I hit an area of that no one else has hit. And I’m just coming up with this, I’ll just go out do something else, though, is if you can help people avoid versions. And that’s a great way to start as well.
Dave: So what’s next for you? What do you have going on at the moment.
Lewis: So I’m, I’m I took a sabbatical and September of last year, so I was planning on my sabbatical was essentially if, for me, not doing my nine to five contract, but I had previously been doing and and then I started doing I’m now an instructor for a company called learn kubernetes. So we do public and private workshops, say two to three days long, where we get people from containers up on to kebernetes. And so that’s what I’m doing predominantly at moments. I’m also writing content for workshops and blogs for them. So that’s pretty much my day to day at this moment in time. Going forward it’s again, it’s just share this when I was younger, my career, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Again, I’ve at the time I thought, well, in my early 20s I for that money was the most important thing which I’ve since found out it is important to have so many to be able to pay the bills and such, but then it doesn’t solve all of life’s problems. And but I find that actually helping people is a really rewarding thing for me personally, and helps me feel a lot more confident bye myself. So yeah, going forward that’s probably why I set up this co founded the meetup and now I’m an instructor, I get help people on their journeys with these things. And, and it’s great because we’re building this community, and it’s helping it that’s helping others help others. It’s just such a great model just for us to push forward.
Dave: I can identify with that, you know, I’ve been programmer since I was nine years old. Yeah, not very good at the time. But I hope that over time now, as I’ve been doing this professionally, for over 20 years, that I’ve gotten good at it, I realized that it’s the problem solving expands beyond just figuring out the right syntax to solve a problem, the problem solving, of helping build teams is is very rewarding as well. So, you know, not getting stuck on I used to do code. So now I will always do code is not necessarily a truth, it’s not a true statement, you know, you are going to evolve over time, as well as everything else.
Lewis: Yes. And it’s, it’s to your point there. I think the most rewarding moments I’ve had in my career is seeing other people progress with this. And just being able to be someone who could just help out, just give them whether it’s given an opportunity to someone who’s doing their first job out of, well, just first job with an industry or if it’s just take, having some fun next level, if that’s the most rewarding parts I’ve had. But again, I think those are the interesting times because I didn’t get into development to be managing people. And when I went into managing people, I thought that was a good thing. Because I for those progression with my career, I for that square root, and I wanted to go but then I equally fine, don’t fall I still I still enjoy problems. I still enjoyed writing code. So for me, it wasn’t necessarily Yeah, I it’s an interesting thing. And it’s, I guess that’s the thing with experiences that I hated it when I started when I when I was saying for my first role and is you need for years of experience, it’s like, well, no, I’m ready to go. Now. I’m all good to go. But the experience that you do guys is this, but you just got to understand aspects of life a little bit differently, you get to see what you do chase them free months, and you don’t lift up your head when you realize that actually that’s just waste free months of efforts. And it’s and it’s just being able to share these experiences as well. So I’m
Dave: Sorry, go ahead.
Lewis: And I was just gonna end it. Just remind me everyone’s different in that the things that I’m good at. And the things I’m bad at aren’t the same as everyone else. We’re all completely different in what we do. And we’ve all got our own pressure points. And there are reasons why we have some, sometimes we don’t want people to talk to us. But sometimes we need people to talk to us and we’re all different. And so trying to construct ourselves to be the same, it’s a very difficult thing for us to do. So
Dave: Hundred percent agree. Yeah, no, it was gonna say something similar of being all different that some people think that they can’t wait to be manager so that they can, you know, continue their progression up the chain or whatever, and find out that they don’t like it or others who think that they won’t like it, then realize the parallels to software development in the solutions to problems being found within the resources you have. So it’s, it’s, you know, with everything, being true to yourself, and understanding yourself what it is that you actually like, and what you don’t like trying to go down the right path for you and not the path someone else’s has followed. Before that you think you want to be.
Lewis: I guess I think when I started this, 15 years ago, there was a case of Iwas at C sharp dev, so I run Windows and I’m going to Microsoft and Linux is no that’s not me, I’m not Linux and then Java. No, no. And for me at the time it was for community was following me from everything else. And now it’s with cloud native, everyone’s coming back together again. Everyone’s coming back to the table. And this time, instead of saying that’s bad, or anything like that is show me what you show me the best that you have. And then it’s everyone’s trying to contribute the best that they have now. And it’s just amazing just to see the passion that’s coming into these projects, and then also just being able to utilize them yourself. So that’s why I love containers, I don’t have to install libraries of Python which I don’t really understand or anything else to that effect to be able to use project to project I can just do a single line command using Docker enabled within an environment and then I’ve got it up and running straight away with that steep learning curve I can then break into it I can go into document and break it all down and understand how it works but allows me to do that and it was looking to speak with one point 14 Windows is coming into Kubernetes and so I think there’s going to be a flood of Windows that’s coming in towards the Kubernetes space now because it’s that their boxes are available to come in. And so I’m very excited to see what happens with the community now and what’s going to be spanning from that
Dave: Yeah, it’s great to the so much of this cloud native momentum has started to remove they will never remove all of the religious technology, so my technology is better than yours because I use it that’s just wasted energy so it’s great to see the you know the your your .net versus Linux versus when you know all those different people basically needing to know the same types of techniques and technologies to serve whatever fits the needs of their problem
Lewis: I think yeah and i think that’s that’s a great point with you as well because they won’t change its I just compared to sports teams in that if it’s a football team and it’s Liverpool and Everton. If you support lift for then you don’t like Everton fans and the fans don’t like Liverpool fans that we’re always going to have its tribalism, I’ve just like we want to have, we want to have our own identities. But then that’s the thing now it’s just a case of, but we can bring it all together. It’s like how many international team when it doesn’t matter, which could be paid for, it’s just that we’re bringing the best stuff you have. And then working on that stage fear. So that’s, that’s what excites me. Because then not only do I get to see this, I got to use it as well. And so it’s, it’s having the confidence knowing that stuff I’m running is just the best that it could potentially be from the people who really know what they’re doing. And so I get to learn from that as well. Which is great for me.
Dave: Very nice. So anything else that you wanted to talk about before we wrap it up?
Lewis: Um, no, I just, well, if I could go back a couple of years, I’ve just wish I had done this sooner. So the only issue I have with meetup is that I didn’t get to meet the people by know now quicker because the geographically for all around me. And so I live in a village on the outskirts of Cardiff. And I’ve already found out this for different people that come to me to them, we’re in the same village. So now we just meet up in the pub every so often. And, but to do that, you have to take a risk. And that risk is just putting yourself up on a pedestal, and it’s just talking to someone, it’s, it’s, I I never knew if this would be a success. And I still don’t Well, it has been a success to date. But I’ve always got this feeling that it’s not going to continue. But that’s the thing when you do take a risk, some things don’t work out. So we’ve tried to do things which haven’t worked out for us, but then the majority of it has, and you just got to keep pushing forward. So just take that risk that you can right now. So if it is just speaking to that person that on the other side of the office, but you know, did something similar to you, and just finding out that you both have a love of Raspberry Pi’s and just do it because there’s only so much time that we have. So that’s the only thing I’d say from this.
Dave: So do you have anything that other than to talk to people that you you want everyone to do
Lewis: Well, and it’s I guess the other thing is, is that not everyone’s going to, and opportunities don’t necessarily always for for you, you have to just push yourself out there and be confident in yourself. And if there is Yeah, to the confident in yourself, take risks, take the opportunities and insane all that as well with mental health. If there is anything, if you do have questions about it, if it’s yourself, or if it’s a friend, or physically, there are so many resources online in the UK, we’ve got mind so fingers mind.org.uk, and it can help relate, but usually the best and it is back to this point. But usually the best thing that you can do is just try to have a conversation with someone. It’s the reason I the reason I got out of it as quickly as I did with my depression was just from people come in to speak to me. And for me not feeling well. I was completely alone. And yeah, and it wasn’t, it wasn’t family or friends. It was just other people within the industry start coming towards me. And then all of a sudden I realized, actually something wasn’t right for me. So yeah,
Dave: That’s one thing that you needed support to help you get the help you needed. talking to other people was never going to fix the thyroid issue, right. So if you have any concerns that you may have some mental health issues, talk to a doctor, I mean that they will not laugh at you. The worst thing is that would happen is that you end up paying for some advice to go talk to a therapist it it’s it just I know that one of the biggest problems with mental health is that it can trick you into thinking that you’re alone and will never get better. Don’t listen to that. Go talk to someone who may get better. And that’s that’s probably that should be good enough to get you to take an action at least the hope.
Lewis: Yeah. Well, I got to the point with my mental health where I just assumed that the only way I could feel happy was if I felt them. So when I was having a dance like when I was when I was up certain just didn’t know what was going on. And I just assumed I’ve Well, this is the only way that I can the next time I feel happy. That’s the only way I’m going to feel happy. And then I kind of accepted the process that was going through and if you have a relationship, relationships brand you as well because when it’s locked inside your head, and no one else can understand how you’re feeling like I’ve mentioned my partner before, she’s been amazing with me and and understanding what I’ve been going from giving me the space to be able to do this. But I had to share it with her first for her to understand it because she didn’t know this was the issue. But I have Yeah, it’s it’s difficult one and back to that doctor. Yeah. But But the issue that I had is, as far as this was constant with me, it got to a point where it was constantly down, constantly upset. And the only analogy I could say is, is it just felt like, it was a great day constantly. Oh, actually, I felt like when I was at home, I wasn’t at home, I wanted to be home. And it was just a state of flux. I didn’t, I just didn’t know what it was. But being able to tell the doctor you soon realized that the mentors, the mentors, stuff, a doctor will here in a day. My story, my story was probably forgotten after quite soon after their appointment. But for me, it was a constant for me, it was a constant pain. And so I had to be the one to go out there and get that done. And so yes, just to your point, it’s about just if you do feel that there’s an issue, then have a confidence going to share it with with the doctor
Dave: And keep advocating for yourself. So that as you said, they may forget by the end of the appointment, but if you don’t feel like you’ve been sorted, don’t just give up. Just keep trying to get the answer to solve the problem as we would in any other situation.
Lewis: Yeah, I thought I was diabetic and because some of the symptoms of thyroid is becoming the 52:03. And so then I thought, well, this is probably probably blood sugar. So So I initially I was expecting to find out that I was just going to be diabetic, but then I had to go back to the doctor a couple of times just to say, it’s still there’s something not right with me. And so, usually with thyroids is your white blood cells are attacking the thyroid. And so that’s usually the main indicator that that about that person with a thyroid, but for me, that wasn’t the case. And so I had to go back a couple of times. And then when I have to advance blood tests, we find my thyroid levels when when, right and so um, yeah, it’s it’s a difficult thing, and everyone’s everyone’s an individual. And I’m not a medical practitioner, or, and I don’t have counseling advice, but it’s a case of, if something doesn’t feel right then, and it’s only within you and it’s only within your mind, then you need to share it with others to make sure they get it fixed. Because it’s like we’re saying it’s not a broken leg, people can’t see as easily but you’ve got something isn’t necessarily clicking right. So
Dave: Thank you very much. What How can people get in contact with you?
Lewis: Twitter is probably the best way so the beauty of having a double barrel surname is is what I get my own Twitter name of my own URL. So um, but the only problem is, is that I’ve always got to spell it
Dave: Well. I will link it in the show notes. But yeah,
Lewis: So that’d be great. Um, so yeah, so just add DenhamPerry if you could add it for sure. That’d be great. And yeah. Oh, that’s the thing as well. Always. I’m more than happy to have people message me directly. Give me the answer my messages open. Yeah, it’s anything I can do to help others out. I’m more than happy to do
Dave: Thank you very much. And I would love to have you back if you’ve ever got anything you’d like to talk about.
Lewis: Oh, well, I think probably in the next year. I’ve got quite a few things lined up now for this year. So hopefully I’ve got some real examples to talk about next year.
Dave: They’ll be fantastic. Just reach out. So thank you Lewis. And thank you everyone for listening.
Until next time, remember, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.