Skip to content Todd Libby

Bekah Hawrot-Weigel


[00:00:00] Todd Libby: Welcome to the Front End Nerdery Podcast, a podcast about front end development and design. I'm your host Todd Libby. My guest today is creator and maintainer of Virtual Community filled with a wonderful developers and designers and all sorts of great folks.
She's also a technical community builder and a former English teacher. So hopefully my English is on par today. It's been a very busy weekend, so. Bekah Hawrot Weigel, how are you today?
[00:00:41] Bekah Hawrot Weigel: I'm sorry. I, he, you cut out for a second.
[00:00:44] Todd: Yeah, I'm, I'm sorry. Bekah, how are you today?
[00:00:48] Bekah: I am doing okay, Todd.
[00:00:51] Todd: It's my
[00:00:51] Bekah: Thanks for having me.
[00:00:52] Todd: Yeah, not a problem. It's my wonderful internet connection here at home. Could you tell listeners a little bit more about yourself and I have probably cut out again.
Yeah. Could you tell listeners a little bit about yourself?
[00:01:08] Bekah: Yeah, sure. So, I as Todd said I am the creator and maintainer of Virtual Coffee, but before Virtual Coffee, I spent 10 years teaching college English, and then made the transition over to tech. And it's been, I've been really lucky to have a really supportive environment and community around me the entire time that I was learning and growing.
And so, I'm happy to have Virtual Coffee now and to have so many continue to have so many supportive people who are willing to help each other. So, I have spent the last, most of the last two years, as a front-end developer doing contract work.
And then just recently about six weeks ago, moved over to become a technical community builder at Deepgram, which is a speech to text company and I'm on their devrel team. So, it's pretty exciting for me because I'm doing a lot of the things that I, I was doing and not getting paid for before. With community building, writing blogs, live streaming, we're running a hackathon right now.
So, it it's been fun to be able to continue to do those things.
[00:02:18] Todd: Awesome. So, let's jump right into the questions. How did you get started in your web development design journey?
[00:02:26] Bekah: Yeah, so I started playing around with code. My husband is a second career developer as well, and I was going through free code camp for a while.
And then I kind of like hit a wall with JavaScript, which I feel is a natural place to hit a wall. And then I was part of a group that no longer exists, but through them I found out about Flatiron school, which is a bootcamp. And I ended up getting a full scholarship to Flatiron school. And then at that point, it just before that, maybe a month or two, I had decided this was gonna be a career change for me.
So, at, at some point it was just playing around, learning to something new, growing in a new way, which was exciting and good for me. And then I remember my, I was an adjunct, so I was working part-time, and it was contract basis every, every semester. And so, the head of the department reached out to me and said, hey these are the courses that I have for you next semester, are we good to go?
And that's essentially how it had been the entire time. And so, but it, it forced me to make a decision and I thought, no, I'm not, I'm not good to go. I'm, I'm gonna do this. And so, then when I said, no, thank you. I am not gonna be teaching anymore. That really gave me some motivation to really pursue this and work through it.
And once I graduated from Flatiron school, I had been blogging about what I was learning my experience pretty much the whole time and talking about it on Twitter. So, I had built up a pretty positive following of people. And I just put out my I'm looking for a job tweet and it landed me the job that I've pretty much had the last two years. And it's been great.
[00:04:26] Todd: Yeah. So, let's talk community building then, because I that's, again, one of the things I wanted to get you on about today is community building. I have been a part of communities since I hopped on the internet in 19, 19 90, it was a little before that, but I wanna say 97, 98. Maybe a little before that, but I was in, you know, the old message boards and all sorts of things like that.
So, what do you think is the foundation of a successful online community?
[00:05:11] Bekah: Foundation of a successful online community? That's a good question. I, I think you know, one of the things that we talk about in Virtual Coffee all the time is the intimacy of the group, because that allows for vulnerability, it allows for support and a culture of sharing.
And so, I think, you know, all of those things together work, as that base for what you're doing, but, maybe if I had to boil it down, like openness or willingness to support others would, would probably be, it would, it would allow for all of those things to continue to happen.
[00:06:00] Todd: So, speaking of Virtual Coffee, how did Virtual Coffee come about?
[00:06:08] Bekah: So, when I was working my first job I had been there, I think about eight months, and I finally was feeling like, I was getting into a groove. I was figuring out what I was doing. I was better at asking questions better at figuring out answers for myself. And then the pandemic hit. And the same day I went to pick up my kids’ books from school because they were done with school.
I came back to a message in Slack. That I was out of work, essentially. So, our contract was paused. And so, I found myself at home. Interviewing really for the first time ever, because my job before had just been a conversation that was really great. It worked, you know, we both kind of had similar goals and it was, you know, just, it, it felt like a good fit which I know not everybody has that great experience, most people don't.
But so now I'm interviewing, and I have my kids at home and. It was a really, really rough experience. And people used to say, interviewing is soul crushing. And I thought, wow, you know that that's, it's tough, but that's an exaggeration. I'm like, no, it, it was so crushing.
[00:07:32] Todd: Yeah
[00:07:32] Bekah: And so, I posted a tweet. Does anybody wanna meet for Virtual Coffee?
And it turns out that I was not the only one who felt that I needed to connect with other people that were, were going through these same problems. And so, it started, and we were meeting on Tuesdays, which quickly grew to Thursdays to accommodate another time zone. And then we we've just been following them momentum, you know, where wherever people wanna go.
We, we are there too.
[00:08:06] Todd: Yeah. Yeah. I remember when the pandemic hit. And I said to myself, I don't have a lot of work I was doing at the time. The place I was at didn't have a lot of work for me to do so I tried to fill in those gaps. One of those gaps was joining W3C. The other gap was I don't remember who exactly I heard it from, I think it was Chris DeMars, that told me about Virtual Coffee.
So, I said well
[00:08:35] Bekah: Probably
[00:08:36] Todd: I'll check it out. Yeah. And so, I, I joined and, you know, came to a few of the, the online meetings and they were great. Meeting a whole bunch of people. And this goes back to when I was originally online meeting people that I normally wouldn't, you know, talk with or, or meet people from, you know, Europe in, in anywhere across the globe.
Even in, you know mid in the Midwest or the west, you know, of the U.S. So, it was very, it reminded me of a few of the old communities I had been in where there was this sense of kind of like fellowship or, you know everybody was, was, and you don't, you know, back then, I guess it hasn't changed really, but you, you don't find it a lot or you didn't find it a lot back then.
But you find it more these days, I think where people are more kind, but, you know, regardless it was nice to see such a community like Virtual Coffee and the how it's grown. And I've been so busy lately. I wish I could get to more of the, of the events, but it it's great. So, if somebody's out there, and I've started online communities too, but I've never really gotten to the point where it's grown to something of the size of Virtual Coffee or even bigger than that.
So, what would you tell somebody who's trying to start a community, you know, what is crucial to building that, getting that community rolling and making it successful.
[00:10:27] Bekah: Yeah, that's a good question. I wrote a blog post kind of about this recently because you hear a lot of these questions and first you have to know why you want to start a community, I think, or where, where is there a gap? That you are trying to fill. That's probably a better question. There was a need for a Virtual Coffee at the time, and that was clear because people kept coming and meeting.
[00:10:54] Todd: Yeah
[00:10:54] Bekah: and, and so I saw a need.
I never set out to start a community. I just wanted to make some friends. But I think that if you find other like-minded people or people who are interested in talking about the things that you're interested in, and there's no other place, no other community that they're living in, or maybe they are in other communities, but it doesn't really fit what you're looking for.
Then that's a good indication that like, okay, you know, maybe, maybe you should start something. And I say it like go lowkey. It, it doesn't have to be a big, huge thing all at once. And I've found that a lot of companies are jumping into communities by saying like, let's have a Slack, let's have a Discord.
And I think that that's not the best strategy for things, because if it's you and, and three other people, it's gonna be hard to keep that exciting and alive. And so instead of jumping into that, find other ways to meet your community and then see what they want to be doing. So, you know, do they wanna go to live streams or do they wanna go to live events or do they want to listen to speakers, or do they want the opportunity to speak. All of those things looking at who your community will be.
And asking them or gauging what their interest is, is gonna help to define what your community will look like. And I would say, explore other communities that you think are great and, I'm in tech, but I think it's important to look at communities outside of tech, because often we like live in this bubble of, we're looking at the people around us and what they're doing well, but we're, we're not seeing other places or we're, we're frequently limiting our viewpoint.
We can look at these other organizations and say, okay, that's really cool. That thing that they do. I wouldn't have thought about that. Or, you know what, there's a tech take in here. And I know that I can apply this to my community in this way. I think that's a, another good way to give you some ideas and do some community discovery.
[00:13:03] Todd: Yeah. So, in all of this, in, you know, in the community building that you're doing and, and with Virtual Coffee, what has, what have you learned about all of this that has impacted you the most?
[00:13:19] Bekah: Oh, it's, that's a hard, that's a really hard question. There's so much. You know, I, I think the, the most important thing to me is the support for authenticity that comes and being able to be transparent with people. I have never been the kind of person that has a lot of friends. I'm mostly an introvert and I am afraid of strangers; I say all the time. But Virtual Coffee has allowed me to really kind of embrace who I am and to be more confident in that sharing.
So, the, the most important thing for me is I think that. I am comfortable sharing with other people, sharing my story and inviting other people to share their stories as well, because this is how we all grow together. So, you know, it can, it can be easy to start building up walls and to be scared of being open and sharing with people.
But when, when you keep those walls open, you learn so much about yourself and the people around you.
[00:14:32] Todd: Definitely. Is there a part of it that I, I guess, is there a part of community building that goes through the, goes through the most or contributes for lack of better term to the growing pains of a community?
[00:14:56] Bekah: There's a lot of things that contribute to the growing pains.
[00:14:59] Todd: Yeah
[00:14:59] Bekah: It's, it's hard. And I think that depending on how you start a community, that will impact what those growing pains look like. For us, a lot of it was like constantly playing catch up because, this wasn't intended to ever be a community. You know, I didn't set out to say, I'm gonna start a community and this are the things we're gonna do.
And so, we were always growing and doing new things and trying new things and then figuring out like, okay, we're, we're both looking at how we can improve on the things that we've already done and the new things that we're doing. And so, it was like this didn't tug of war back and forth. And you know, we're a community of volunteers.
[00:15:38] Todd: Yeah
[00:15:38] Bekah: So, you have people that have a ton of time one month and then change jobs and suddenly have no time. And so, there's this like balance of cycling in volunteers and helping onboard them to the processes that you're doing and creating structures for that. And then also figuring out how can we improve these things in the past and how can we do more things or what does our community need now?
Because you know, six months ago they needed something different, but we, we all grow we're people, right? We, we change what we need.
[00:16:13] Todd: Yeah
[00:16:14] Bekah: And that's really, I think what's going to be exciting for Virtual Coffee in the next year, because we finally hit this point where yes, we're having growing pains and we're, we're taking a deep breath.
But and giving ourselves the time to be able to figure out, like, what does that next stage of support look like and how do we grow? And I think that there's some really cool things that are gonna come out of that.
[00:16:46] Todd: Yeah, this is kind of a broad question too, but I guess what is your favorite part of community and or community building?
[00:17:01] Bekah: You've cut out on my end, Todd. Yeah.
[00:17:04] Todd: There's that wonderful internet of mine again.
Let's see
[00:17:12] Bekah: There, I can see you now.
[00:17:13] Todd: All right. Gotta love the internet around here in Arizona. So, what's, what's your favorite part of community and or community building would you say?
[00:17:26] Bekah: That's a good question too. Yeah. I, I, I think like I just keep cycling back to the friendships and the people.
[00:17:34] Todd: Okay, yeah
[00:17:35] Bekah: It's not a real specific thing, but
[00:17:36] Todd: Right
[00:17:37] Bekah: You know, for a person like me who never had a bunch of friends, like I, I've made so many friends in the last two years, but I know everything I've gone through and my life in the last two years, there's always been somebody that I could talk to about it
[00:17:53] Todd: Yeah
[00:17:54] Bekah: and feel like they weren't going to judge me. And, and that acceptance, I, I gave a talk at KCDC in October called a person-centered approach to tech or something like that. And it's a story about a medical trauma that I went through and looking at what I learned there in applying it to tech and I'd given the talk online a handful of times, and I cried every time and I'm like, well, now I'm gonna go cry in front of people live.
This is gonna be awesome. You know, like, I don’t know what I was thinking. I don't like to cry in front of people.
[00:18:32] Todd: Yeah
[00:18:32] Bekah: And I did. I, I cried. And I was talking about this to James Quick on his podcast on Friday, he was there. I never met him before in real life, but he had come to Virtual Coffee and we had known each other through that and through Twitter and had met the night before just been introduced, you know, and kind of like walked around together at the conference.
And, in the moment that I started crying during this talk and I look up at this crowd of people and thought like, what am I doing? Like, why am I here? Like, should I, should I just like try and leave? Or can I make it through the rest of this talk? And I saw James and I think Taylor Desseyn was there too, who I had met the night before.
And, you know, there was affirmation and that's what I needed to move forward. It wasn't a group of strangers in the room. There were people that I knew were there to support me. And I think that's with this entire experience about community building has been, it's not been this transactional thing where hey, someone comes in, gets an answer they need, and then they leave.
Or, you know, somebody's just, spamming with job opportunities. It's not that at all. It's that connection that you get and the support for when you need it. And I, you know, like I said, any, any of our community members, I could, I could think of so many of them that I've reached out to when I've been having a hard time and, you know, I know we all care for each other.
[00:20:11] Todd: Yeah, definitely. So, I know you have a lot of plans for Virtual Coffee going forward. Is there any that you could kind of leak out and, and tell us, or is it all kinda under wraps? Cause I know I saw that the people membership, you know, where Virtual Coffee is going to hold off on new members for, for a while.
And I guess that's contributed to the growth of Virtual Coffee. So is there anything that you could.
[00:20:48] Bekah: We've had a huge influx of new members, which has been great, you know, it's, it's that blessing and curse.
[00:20:55] Todd: Yes
[00:20:55] Bekah: And we've been feeling this the last couple of years, you know, how do we support existing members and new members?
And I, I think at the very least I can say that we are prioritizing that intimacy that we've had at Virtual Coffee, because we feel like that's so special. And so, we're finding we're doing our best to find ways to preserve that intimacy while still, still allowing for more people to join Virtual Coffee.
So, and in the meantime, we're kind of ramping up our external efforts. So, we ran our first Twitter space about monthly challenges a couple of weeks ago. I think we're gonna do another one in April for our new monthly challenge. And so, we're hoping like in the time, while we are not open for new membership, that at least we can still be providing support for the larger tech by doing things like that.
[00:21:59] Todd: Yeah, do we do you, I should keep saying we, because I've, I'm in this work mode. Do you have any timeframe where membership will open back up? And if so, how do people go about joining?
[00:22:17] Bekah: That's a good question too. We don't have a clear time. Right now, we are thinking about some ways to support our existing members and allow for that growth.
So maybe there will be an intermediate point for these things rather than like we're closed now we're open, right?
[00:22:36] Todd: Right
[00:22:36] Bekah: Like, so maybe there's a, a middle ground that we can work on. And so, once we get those things in place that for sure will be useful. I know Dan just launched a new way to join all of our events and make them more discoverable for our current members, which has been great because we have a lot of members who are running like smaller groups within Virtual Coffee.
So, it's offered just for members of Virtual Coffee. By members of Virtual Coffee and it just kind of got lost in the shuffle. And so now all of those folks are able to log in and add events. And then that shows up on the announcements in our announcements channel every week.
And so, it, it might not seem like a huge thing, but it's a huge step in supporting everybody who's there and everybody who's been willing to give their time to run these small groups.
So, I, I really, you know, love that we focus on the overall picture, but also, you know, continue to support members and the, the awesome things that they're doing right now.
[00:23:50] Todd: So, one more question about Virtual Coffee and that is to do with the podcast, any plans for new episodes coming out?
[00:24:00] Bekah: Yes. Which reminds me, cuz I need to proofread the transcripts for the episode that's coming out this week.
[00:24:07] Todd: Nice, nice.
[00:24:07] Bekah: We did four seasons last year
[00:24:11] Todd: Yeah
[00:24:11] Bekah: we did nine episodes each season a and the plan was to kind of stick to that schedule. The beginning of this year was we needed a break
[00:24:21] Todd: Yeah
[00:24:21] Bekah: you know, with COVID and, and Dan who co-hosts and myself, we have kids.
And so, it was just navigating like kids home and then bad weather. And then job, I had a job change and all of that stuff. It was just a, a needed break, but we do have half of our season recorded and the other half, mostly on the, I think almost everybody is on the calendar. So, it it's dropping this week.
I think we should have our first episode out.
[00:24:54] Todd: So, just for the listeners, I'll have all show notes and links to everything that we've discussed here. In those show notes, which I will put up on my site as I furiously try to build the podcast website through everything I'm doing. So, I wanted to touch a little about your new role is front end development.
And how are you, how are you enjoying that role? And what do you like about the front-end development side of things?
[00:25:27] Bekah: So, I come from front end development and now I I'm a technical community builder
[00:25:32] Todd: Gotcha
[00:25:32] Bekah: which is on the developer relations team.
[00:25:35] Todd: Okay
[00:25:36] Bekah: And so, for me, what I'm doing, I'm still taking all of the stuff that I have learned before and doing devrel type things
[00:25:45] Todd: Okay
[00:25:45] Bekah: which I'm writing blog posts and holding Twitter spaces and live streams and speaking at conferences. But my kind of focus there is how do we build community in those moments? So, it's not just about, you know, writing a blog post it's about how does this contribute to the overall strategy of community and what do we want our community to, to look like.
How do we wanna build that community who are the members of our community and what is the purpose of it? And so, you know, as I'm learning these devrel things that I'm doing I'm also thinking about that and taking, taking notes and, and making plans, I guess.
So, it's been, it's been really great. It's so it's such a good combination of all of the things I've done, including teaching our, our company, Deepgram is a speech to text AI company. I like it. I love it for a couple of reasons, but you know, my background, I taught college English for 10 years.
And so, I kind of get to nerd out with people again about language and, and meaning, which is really cool. And then just at the end of last year, I started live streaming learning, TensorFlow JS with Gant Laborde’s book.
And I had, I had no idea. I wasn't looking for a job. Let alone a job that had anything to do with AI. But I found that the, I don't know, maybe I did eight live streams that I did. Were huge in understanding so many of the concepts that we're using at Deepgram.
So, you know, there's a mountain of vocabulary you kind of have to learn when you're coming into things that are talking about neural networks and machine learning. And I'm like, I know what that means. So, it's like, you know, that, that background of what I learned in that short time live streaming, everything I've done as a teacher, and everything I've learned from working on Virtual Coffee and coding for the last two years, it, it all has been packaged up very nice and neatly I feel like for me.
[00:28:06] Todd: Yeah, there is a lot to devrel that and it it's something that I had thought about doing when I was in between. Searching for work. When I was actively seeking work and there was a lot to that that I didn't know about and that I was just like there, you know, it's, it's a lot, there there's a lot.
What part of that are you enjoying the most would you say?
[00:28:39] Bekah: I really enjoy being on a devrel team, I guess, because I, I hadn't, this is really the first devrel team I've ever been on.
[00:28:49] Todd: Okay
[00:28:49] Bekah: Just because there's a lot of learning from other people
[00:28:53] Todd: Yeah
[00:28:53] Bekah: and seeing the, the wider understanding of what devrel is, and you know how to create community through the things that you're writing and doing.
And so, I, I don't know that there's anything that I haven't enjoyed yet. So, I feel like I'm in a, a really good position there, but it has been great, you know, learning from everybody else.
[00:29:21] Todd: Yeah. It's, one thing that I've carried with me throughout the time that I have been doing development work or even accessibility work or whatnot is take away one thing and learn one thing a day.
And when I joined this recent team that I have, I've been learning too. And I find that to be one of the things that I like about this, so I can definitely understand. So, we're about, I got like halfway through. There's I had a few questions. It's mostly, you know, it was mostly Virtual Coffee, but.
I am one where I have not, I mean, I read up a little bit about devrel. And I guess what is devrel first of all, and secondly what do you find challenging about it?
[00:30:23] Bekah: That's a good question. And I think that you'll get a different answer depending on the person you ask and what team they're on, because nobody can really decide what devrel is or why it's important, or if you can track it, you know, there's there are a lot of, a lot of different takes out there, but devrel is a way of engaging with developers about your product or the mission of what your company's doing.
And so, in a lot of ways it's educating them, you know, being able to talk about your product, know how it works. And then show cool things that it can do. And so, I find like one of the things that, that is a little challenging for me right now, I'm trying to work through creating tutorials, using our product because I've never had to really do that before.
And so, you know, I was working on very specific code-based things and, and now I'm like, okay, I have to showcase this product and this project, cuz I want people to think it's cool, but also, I can't write 15 pages, you know? So, it's finding that balance of, okay, what are, what are some things that people would be interested in?
How can I break this down into a way that helps them to understand what, what we're doing and why we're doing it. And then, you know, convey that through writing a blog or making a video on the code that I've written. So, that I think is probably the most challenging thing for me right now, because my experience is I don't have a lot of experience doing that.
And, and I see, you know, some of our other devrel team, they're just like pushing these things out. Like, how are you doing that? You know, like.
[00:32:26] Todd: Yeah
[00:32:26] Bekah: Yeah. So, it's been. It's been good, but so it is that presentation and every team will do it differently and the pandemic for sure has impacted that because a lot of devrel used to be going to events and giving talks.
[00:32:42] Todd: Yeah
[00:32:42] Bekah: And obviously couldn't do that for a while.
[00:32:45] Todd: Yeah
[00:32:45] Bekah: I mean, there were online events, but it it's a little bit different. So, it, it is all that, you know, education. Some people say it's, it's product and developers. Some people put it with marketing. We are nice at Deepgram cuz we kind of, we have our own spot.
We're not on the product team. We're not on the marketing team or the engineering team. We are, we are devrel.
[00:33:08] Todd: Yeah. You're, you're, you're own team. In the education part of it is there, I guess I'm trying to find, kind of formulate this question in my head. Do you, you talk to outside teams as well, or is in and internal teams or is it just internally in the company or?
[00:33:38] Bekah: So, I, as a community person, like, I I've tried to talk to every team. And I think that our devrel team does a good job of knowing people from different teams. We're I think at just over a hundred people.
So that's still doable, you know?
[00:33:55] Todd: Yeah
[00:33:55] Bekah: To know different people. And, and so there, there is going to be that some collaboration amongst teams, we're a pretty small devrel team. So, we have three developer experience engineers. And what they're doing is kind of creating the platform for our developers, people who will use our, our API.
And, and so they'll, they have the documentation and, and the housing, the examples and the tutorials and, and things like that. And then we have our developer advocate side of the team and Kevin has been holding that together, mostly by himself until just a couple months ago when Tanya and I joined.
And so, Tanya, Tanya is our Python developer. And so, she's doing a lot of, you know, writing, but also helping people work through problems that they have a problem with our, our Python SDK. We have a note SDK, a dot net SDK, and a Python one. So, which basically means it's packaged, or APIs packaged nicely, and it makes it easier for you to get your speech and put it into text.
And so, I, the, the point is we're, we're kind of a small team. We're a new team and we're, we're working on doing all of these things, but we are, you know Kevin and Tanya have been well, Kevin's definitely been in devrel for a while. And so, he has a lot of experience and Michael, I should mention is the head of devrel does a really good job of supporting all of us and making sure that we're all happy doing what we're doing and
[00:35:37] Todd: Yeah
[00:35:37] Bekah: And helping to guide us and protect us if we need to be protected, you know? But the, the point is we, because we know so many people in the industry, I think there's also a lot of that collaboration that happens too.
[00:35:55] Todd: Yeah, it's good to have a team like that. Definitely the, the support and, you know, the, the collaboration. I am on a team that is, that is like, that is a lot of support.
A lot of collaboration. It is a team that I just, I have to mention that they are a matter-of-fact other teams I work with too, the development team, the design team, the design systems team they're very receptive when it comes to accessibility. So
[00:36:23] Bekah: Nice.
[00:36:23] Todd: I know that that is a great thing to have as a team like that, that is, you know, op the openness and willingness.
So, yeah, definitely. So, my last question, before we get into the last three.
The, the, the weightlifting. I gotta ask about the weightlifting. How's that going?
[00:36:44] Bekah: Good. This, so I had a back, well, no, it was a hip injury in December. It was like a fluke accident. I was on a fitness ball in my basement. And so, this is like, I, I lift heavy weights. Right. But was not lifting any heavy weights.
I stood up, fell over it and landed on my hip. And it hurt to walk for days.
[00:37:08] Todd: Yeah
[00:37:08] Bekah: And then I felt those impacts for a while. So, I feel like I'm finally getting back into it and doing things. I, I might be doing a, I think it's called a Spartan race.
[00:37:21] Todd: Okay, yeah
[00:37:22] Bekah: With my friend, which is not really weightlifting, but it's like obstacles and things.
And so, I'm adding a little bit of cardio in there to go with my, my lifting. But I, I, because of my injury in December, I didn't get to hit my deadlift goal, which was 235 pounds. And so, I'm hoping to make it back there. I am I'm close. I would what did I. I think I hit 220 last week.
[00:37:51] Todd: Okay
[00:37:51] Bekah: And so, I feel, I feel it coming and I feel stronger now than I did then.
So that is, that is my favorite thing. Favorite way to start the day.
[00:38:03] Todd: Yeah, definitely. I have got to I had two surgeries in what August of last year. And I just finally started, I guess it was daring myself to go to a gym. So, when I moved out here, plus there was this, the move from Maine to Arizona.
I, I go to a Planet Fitness. Now, when that place is packed, I don't have anything to do with it now. I just, I wanna stay away from it.
[00:38:35] Bekah: Yeah.
[00:38:36] Todd: The old gym that I used to have, it was so nice to be able to go in and do what I needed to do. And I was, you know, setting goals for myself there. One being the leg machine because, you know, it was my knees.
My knees have been, I've chronically, you know, bad knees. And, you know, I was getting to that point where I was reaching a thousand pounds on the machine before I moved. So yeah, those goals are those goals are good to have. And hopefully I can get back into the gym find a time to get back into the gym where it's not busy.
And I think we follow each other on Instagram. So that's where, that's where I'm seeing that. So,
[00:39:17] Bekah: yep.
[00:38:18] Todd: I, I
[00:39:18] Bekah: I started out journaling my coding journey and now everybody just gets to see me lift. So sorry.
[00:39:24] Todd: Yeah, no, definitely. You know, I, I, I gotta admit when I see people doing stuff like that. And when I see your videos, you know, your little, short, excuse me, short videos on there, I'm cheering you on because you know, it's good to see people doing that.
So, getting to the point here where I ask the final three questions kind of like a lightning round, kind of like, you know, this is the hard-hitting heavy stuff that I
[00:39:51] Bekah: Got it
[00:39:51] Todd: that I have to do. So, first question is, what about the web these days excites you and keeps you excited in what you do? And when you know, it's, I guess, you know, it can be even devrel for that matter. Or have something to do with that.
[00:40:06] Bekah: Yeah, that's a, that's a good one. I, I really just love the potential to solve problems in ways that we haven't before. And so, one of the things that I want to do sometimes soon is I have a postpartum wellness app. That's an open-source project in React native and it, you know, it's on a back burner right now, but I really love it.
And I see so much potential in it now that I'm learning more and I and in having talked to so many other people and hearing their experiences, I keep thinking like this, this could help someone. Right. And there's there was a study done where a, an I think she's an engineer. I think she is a PhD in computer science, but she, or data science maybe.
Anyway, the point, the point is she ran a test study where she early predicted postpartum depression based on tweets and Facebook posts. And so, something that seems like it wouldn't be a huge thing or big impact looking at things differently and thinking, you know, how can we support people or help people who haven't had that support who have been excluded or ignored by the medical community. That, that is always, always exciting for me.
[00:41:43] Todd: Do you have anything up with that has to do with the app or,
[00:41:49] Bekah: yeah, it's on GitHub. I can send you the link to it,
[00:41:52] Todd: Okay
[00:41:52] Bekah: but it's under my I'm Bekah HW on GitHub and its postpartum wellness app.
So, hoping to get back, maybe do some live streaming with it.
[00:42:02] Todd: Yeah, we'll definitely put that in the show notes too. So, second question I have is this, if there were one thing you could change about the web that we know today, what would that be?
[00:42:12] Bekah: It's hard. Make every site accessible. Can I say that?
[00:42:16] Todd: Yes. I like that answer. I've had a lot of answers, but I haven't had that one yet. Oh, that's a great one. That's a great one. There's a long road ahead. As far as that goes. Last question that I have is what's your favorite part of front-end development design that you really like to most that you nerd out over?
[00:42:41] Bekah: I'm a really terrible designer, but I'm working on this project for a blog post for Deepgram coming up. And it's upgrading a free code camp project. And so, I decided I'm gonna do it from scratch and revisit JavaScript, which I remember now why I almost quit but I made a gradient border and I know that's not big, but it's just so pretty to see that happen.
So, I guess I just like, love how it comes to life on the screen and you can make it your own and, and it, it can just be at a house for whatever you're doing. I have two blogs. And so, for me, I love to be able to tell the stories of the things that I'm doing and then also, you know, be, be able to create those things.
[00:43:38] Todd: Yeah, definitely. That was the one that was the main reason I got into programming was watching something come alive that you've created from an idea that you had originally. Way back in the day when I had was on a Commodore 64, I got into programming Basic by taking those little choose your own adventure books, coding them out into a text-based game and then putting 'em onto a five and a quarter inch floppy disk.
[00:44:14] Bekah: Nice.
[00:44:15] Todd: And that's how I learn. And, and I was like, if you know, if I can do this, what can I do? And then it just grew from there. So yeah, that, that thing about creating something, seeing it come to life, no matter what it is, gradient border. That's, you know, that's a win.
[00:44:33] Bekah: Yeah,
[00:44:34] Todd: That's a win. You know centering a div is a win, you know?
[00:44:40] Bekah: It for sure is a win.
[00:44:42] Todd: Yeah. Making something accessible, making a website accessible that's, that's a win. So yeah, that's, that's a great answer. So now we've come to close. I like to close the podcast with letting my guests let the listeners know what they currently have going on and where people can find you. So, the floor is yours.
[00:45:04] Bekah: Thank you. Well right now I feel like I have a lot going on, but that's because we're running a hackathon with Deepgram and Dev Two, and there's actually an accessibility category.
[00:45:15] Todd: Perfect
[00:45:15] Bekah: So that's something that I'm really excited about, we also have a no code category, which I'm excited about because then that opens it up to such a, a wider audience.
So maybe somebody doesn't have that much time. You know, like when I, as a mom of four kids, I don't have that much time, but I know that a blog post is doable rather than create this whole thing. And so, and, and also, so, you know, folks don't know how to code it doesn't matter. It's just, what's your, what's your big idea for using speech to text.
And so, I I've, we've got that going on until April 11th. So, I don't know when the podcast comes out, but that is what I'm busy with writing a lot of blog posts right now. Doing actually, we've been, we're holding Twitter spaces every Tuesday at noon Eastern and live streaming every Friday at 1:30 PM Eastern and Virtual Coffee.
Although membership isn't open right now. We are still doing that twice a week. And you can find me in, in all of those places @BekahHW. So, it's B E K A H and then another H and then a W. I'm always on Twitter posting on Dev.To, Instagram. Yeah. If you wanna see me throw some weights around every once in a while, I'm there too.
And I'm just excited to be able to support everybody.
[00:46:42] Todd: Definitely. Bekah, thank you so much for coming on today.
[00:46:46] Bekah: Thank you, Todd.
[00:46:47] Todd: I truly appreciate it. Sharing your time with me the today. I keep it's the time zone thing. It's, it's almost afternoon here. I know it's a little after afternoon there.
[00:46:58] Bekah: Yeah.
[00:46:58] Todd: But again, thank you for coming on and sharing with us.
And yeah, it was great having you on.
[00:47:06] Bekah: Thank you so much.
[00:47:08] Todd: You're welcome. Thank you, listeners, for tuning into the Front End Nerdery Podcast. I'll be back next time with a new guest, new conversation about front end design, development and other topics. So, if you would please rate this podcast on your podcast device of choice, like, subscribe and watch on the Front End Nerdery YouTube channel. Links to transcripts and show notes are there.
There I'm Todd Libby, and this has been the Front End Nerdery Podcast. Thanks. And we will see you next time.