Randall Thomas on Learning Elixir and Why Community Matters

About this Episode

Published December 10, 2020 | Duration: 53:09 | RSS Feed | Direct download
Transcript: English

The culture of your programming community directly impacts your professional success. As Thunderbolt Labs Founder Randall Thomas explains in this episode, a community that practices openness and which warmly welcomes its newer members leads to greater career happiness.

We open our chat with Randall by exploring his start in coding and how he discovered Elixir. He shares some of the teething problems that he had moving from Ruby to Elixir before we touch on how learning other languages expands your ability to both appreciate and code in languages that you’re already fluent in. Following this, Randall explodes the myth of the genius polyglot programmer by sharing his take on why all coders are polyglots. As the Thunderbolt CEO, we ask Randall how his company adopted Elixir. He provides listeners with insights into how they introduced Elixir into their practice without affecting existing projects.

After highlighting the efficiency of Elixir and how community affects the feel of a language, we compare the culture and challenges of Ruby, JavaScript, and Elixir. Near the end of the episode, Randall reflects on why experts make for poor teachers. For Randall, Elixir gives his company a competitive advantage. Tune in to hear Randall’s perspective on why community matters and for his top advice on teaching your team Elixir.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing Thunderbolt Labs Founder and CEO, Randall Thomas.
  • Randall shares how he discovered coding and engineering.
  • Hear how Randall first heard about Elixir and how he picked up the language.
  • Exploring common challenges moving from Ruby to Elixir.
  • How learning new languages can deepen your understanding of languages that you already know.
  • Why there’s no such thing as the ‘genius polyglot programmer.’
  • Details on why Randall’s company began gravitating towards Elixir.
  • How communities affect the ‘feel’ of a language.
  • Why no one actually writes in JavaScript anymore.
  • Randall gives his take on why Elixir is a god-send for certain programmers.
  • Insights into how Randall integrated Elixir into his company.
  • The challenge of learning Elixir versus the ease of learning JavaScript.
  • How Randall sold his clients on Elixir and the benefits of having clients that trust you.
  • Randall’s top tips on helping your developers learn Elixir.
  • Why Elixir gives Randall’s a strategic advantage.
  • The importance of having non-experts explain things to you.
  • How your coding community can impact your happiness and career success.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

SmartLogic — https://smartlogic.io/
Randall Thomas on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/randall-j-thomas/
Randall Thomas on Twitter — https://twitter.com/daksis
Thunderbolt Labs — https://www.thunderboltlabs.com/
Episode with Miki Rezentes — https://smartlogic.io/podcast/elixir-wizards/s4e16-rezentes/
Gödel, Escher, Bach on Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/B6del-Escher-Bach-Eternal-Golden/dp/0465026567
Stephen Hawking — https://www.biography.com/scientist/stephen-hawking
William James — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/james/
Bertrand Russell — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/russell/
Barcelona Ruby Conference — https://twitter.com/baruco
José Valim — https://twitter.com/josevalim
Programming Elixir on Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/Programming-Elixir-1-6-Functional-Concurrent/dp/1680502999
Dave Thomas — https://pragdave.me/
ElixirConf — https://2020.elixirconf.com/
‘(UN)Learning Elixir’ — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o54EurlzK8o
Bruce Tate — https://www.linkedin.com/in/bruce-tate-a836b/
Grox.io — https://grox.io/
Eric S. Raymond — http://www.catb.org/~esr/
Stack Overflow — https://stackoverflow.com/
Medium — https://medium.com/
Engine Yard — https://www.engineyard.com/
Douglas Crockford — https://www.crockford.com/about.html
Yehuda Katz — https://www.linkedin.com/in/yehudakatz/
Blake Mizerany — https://www.linkedin.com/in/bmizerany/
The Pragmatic Studio — https://pragmaticstudio.com/
Stuff Goes Bad: Erlang in Anger on Amazon — https://www.erlang-in-anger.com/
Frederic Trottier-Hebert — https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredth/
Stu Holloway — https://www.linkedin.com/in/stu-holloway-linvio/
Paul Graham — http://www.paulgraham.com/
Hackers and Painters on Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Painters-Big-Ideas-Computer/dp/1449389554
Lonestar Elixir — https://lonestarelixir.com/
Turing.io — https://turing.io/
Sundi Myint on Twitter — https://twitter.com/sundikhin
Justus Eapen on Twitter— https://twitter.com/JustusEapen
Eric Oestrich on Twitter — https://twitter.com/ericoestrich

Special Guest: Randall Thomas.

Transcript (English):