React Podcast

120: Tyler Mcginnis on and Early React

Episode Summary

Tyler McGinnis takes it back to the first few years of React and the birth of the modern JavaScript ecosystem. He shares what he's doing at to help new developers get a foothold in modern web development, and how put in the daily work of reaching a goal. Correction from Michael Chan (11/30) This episode has been edited from its original release on November 26th. In the original version, I made insensitive comments about someone I deeply respect. It was far too casual a comment for this show and steeped in envy. I've reached out to those that my biases most directly harmed. With their guidance and permission — we have edited both the audio and description of this episode for the benefit of future listeners. I am ashamed that my words caused harm to friends, colleges, and listeners of this show. I am committed to learning from this mistake and continuing to work toward the welcoming show listeners and guests deserve.

Episode Notes


Tyler McGinnis — Twitter, GitHub, Website
chantastic — Twitter, GitHub, Website


Join the discussion Discord 🎉🎊🥳

Listeners of React Podcast are chatting on Discord!
Join us Friday at 10am CT for a friendly chat thru the latest episode with Tyler McGinnis.
It's fun, interactive and all are welcome!
Discord invite


Get 25% off this Black Friday!



When you push code with errors, and those error makes it all the way to a user, you want Honeybadger monitoring at your back.

Get 30% off for 6 months Honeybadger by mentioning React Podcast at sign-up. There's no credit card required.

Just visit

Infinite Red

In over your head with a React or React Native app?
Infinite Red can help.
They are React Native core contributors who've been designing, building and shipping apps for over 10 years.
Learn more at

Get involved

Black Lives Matter

Please join us in donating to the Equal Justice Initiative

Episode Transcription

Chantastic: Tyler McGinnis, welcome to "React Podcast."

Tyler McGinnis: Oh, it's so good to be here. I've been doing React for a while and I've never been on. I'm glad we're getting into this.

Chantastic: It seems unfathomable that you haven't been on the show. Yeah, I can only apologize really. I'm sorry that I haven't had you on the show yet.

Tyler: That's OK. No, it's not your fault. I am a recluse and just move to the woods and did not anybody for years besides like creating content. It's not it's just me it's more me than you know. Actually funny story, just because I'm in this whole content game two, I have the React.js podcast...

Chantastic: Oh, nice.

Tyler: ...Twitter handle. You have the React podcast when it turns out React.js isn't cool anymore. It like used to be the thing, but now it's just React. Unfortunately...


Chantastic: You could have it done, right?

Tyler: If you ever want that, it's all yours.

Interviewer: Thank you. I appreciate it. It's so funny.

Tyler: I have React Conference. This is going to be like maybe people are looking too far into my personality now just because you were there too in the early days. I have, obviously I'm not super rich yet. I'm hoping React gets even more popular, so I could just dump all those in the fire but here we are.

Interviewer: I wish there was a more obscure name because React is a popular verb, right?

Tyler: It's the worst.


Tyler: Whenever I do live streams, which is rare, but if I do a React live stream, I always get trolls coming in because they think it's a reaction video like that's what it is. Those were super popular a few years ago. I always get people thinking, "What are we reacting to? It's just some boring dude talking about code."

I'm just like, "Hey. Please..." I'm not trying to moderate the chat as I'm live streaming. It's the worst.

Interviewer: That is the worst. I remember I was doing a podcast one time. Someone was like, "Hey. What are you reacting to?" I'm like, "Oh, no. This is a podcast. Sorry to disappoint you."

Tyler: You're trying to explain that React isn't even a...Even from a software perspective, that's not even a thing either. We're not reacting. It's not reactive at all. It's like the whole thing is broken, the whole thing.

Interviewer: It's just this troll to have this name that no one can get like you're decent [inaudible 2:26] handle for and whatnot.

Tyler: Exactly.

Interviewer: I'm curious. We talked about this on the show a bunch. You have a war chest of domains, obviously.

Tyler: Yes.

Interviewer: To your degree of comfort, what's the one that you love the most that isn't activated yet?

Tyler: Hopefully, I can look this up. Let's see. I'm always way too transparent, too. After I have conversations, I'll be like, "I was probably way too transparent."

Here we are. It's just me and you, so let's see what domains we have. My favorite one I don't talk about, I've tweeted about it once, is I've never told the story of that one. Obviously, I acquired for way too much money.

Chantastic: You didn't get in on that on the...?

Tyler: No, of course not. I'm not the dude writing bot scripts in my free time, trying to scrape these domains. No, I didn't get in on the early access or whatever. Even at the time when those came out, I was like, "Oh, this would be cool to have one of those." There was the early access, and they were super expensive. I was like, "Ah, screw that."

Then we started thinking about rebranding. I was like, "Oh, crap. I probably should have done that." I got, and then before we launched the rebrand, I was browsing domain names, as one does, not even normal domain names, second market domain names. I feel like I'm talking to a therapist right now.

Chantastic: How does that make you feel?

Tyler: Yeah, exactly. I see, and then it was $7,500. Imagine this is the scenario I thought in my head. You're like, "Oh, cool, That's cool." I don't know if anyone's ever done this. I hope so because this is the thought I had in my head. Then you go, "I wonder who owns" You type in It then redirects to, and that's the ultimate flex. That's it.

That was the story I told myself to justify the price tag. Anyway, so I own both of them. I'll never use Let's see what we have here. My son's name,, that's a good one.

Chantastic: That's good.

Tyler: That's not a bad one. There was a codecombat that went to ycombinator, and I was hoping for years that they would get big and throw me money. It never happened.

Chantastic: The whole buying domain land defensively, it never pays off. I've had one real person ask me.

Tyler: Never, not once.

Chantastic: One person asked me, and they wanted it for free. [laughs]

Tyler: Exactly. "Then I'll give you 20 bucks." "I've been paying $12.99 for this for a decade now."

Let's see. I'll go real quick., that's a decent one. My wife's name's McKenzie but it's spelled a little bit weird so I have her first I can't believe we're doing this right now. I can't believe you suckered me into reading which isn't even a thing now. They pivoted. It's ReScript or whatever. That one's worthless now.

Chantastic: I need to offload my Reason domains then, too. I totally forgot that they changed it to ReScript.

Tyler: They're worthless now.

Chantastic: I went through a period of time where...One of the only things that I've actually made in the world beyond this podcast is which is like 10 short chapters on how to write React.

Tyler: No, no. Hold on. Hold on. I'm going to call you out here. You own I don't think a lot of people know this, but I know this because I'm crazy and I like all these React vids. You've had that thing forever.

Chantastic: Yeah. I think I might have programmed my first line of React code and then, I was like, "I'm not going to do it."

Tyler: This is it. The thing is, I'm pretty sure I tried to buy it back in the day, and even that was taken. That was before was taken. You were even earlier than I was. It's impressive. Sorry. Keep going. I cut you off because I remembered you're the one who stole my domain which I would have never used.

Chantastic: It's so funny. I feel like the Learn domain names are not ergonomic. It's a nice thing to have in theory, but they don't sound good. They don't sound good. They don't look good. When you try to write it out, L is a really weird character to work with. Learn is an ugly word. It just doesn't work.

Tyler: It's like whenever you're in a small town...I'm in St. George, Utah right now. You can go to like and they'll try to hijack the SEO for it. It used to work in 2002. Now, it doesn't really work as well.

Chantastic: Totally, yeah. It's the same thing. It's just a little bit funny. I have so many just stupid domains. One of my favorites, every year it renews and I get a kick out of it, is

Tyler: I like that. I like that. Yeah, you're going to keep sitting on that one.

Chantastic: Yeah.

Tyler: That one's coming around. I can see. I can see it coming around sometime soon.

Chantastic: I thought it would be fun to just talk about those early days of React. I'm curious, what are your first memories of getting into React and really thinking like, "This is going to be a game changer. This is what I'm staking the next phase of my career on."

Tyler: My secret is to find really smart people and just copy or just listen to what they say. If you want to be successful, I really think that's the most underrated way to do it. 2014 probably, mid-2014, obviously, guys like Ryan Florence, Merrick Christensen who's brilliant, they all started talking about this thing called React.

At the time, I was doing AngularJS. You hear all these things about React. People are loving it, people are talking about how it's going to be the future. It only takes a few of those to be, "Oh. There must be something here." Just like you, I like creating blog post and whatnot. Tried it out, loved it. At that point, it was like, "All right. Well, clearly, if this is going to be the future, I might as well just go all in with it."

That's when I recruited Ryan to do React week way back in the day. That was March of 2015. Those early days, it was fun. No one knew what they were doing. Everybody was a new name. It was just like the Wild West of development. Everyone thought we were crazy and weird for this whole JavaScript and HTML thing, but we were like the rebels.

We're like, "No, this is great. You don't understand it." Then you had Sebastian who's like, "How do you order components?" Everyone was like, "What is this?" We all just run with it. It was great because it was literally no one knew what they were doing but we all just did it.

Chantastic: It's so funny you mention Sebastian. It's so funny because Sebastian particularly...We're a bunch of front end devs that have never even heard a lot of these higher mathematical computer sciencey terms. [laughs]

Tyler: Composition.

Chantastic: Sebastian just repeatedly blown our minds with, "Oh yeah. No, this is algebraic effects."

Tyler: We're like "What is that thing?" We're like, "We don't know what it is, but we know that. You do this and then you have a function or a component that returns another component and you like throw stuff onto it." It's the best time.

Now, it's still like that, but it's much more...If probably for good, but they're rewriting the React docs to be more, "This is what we recommend," while back in the day, it was like, "No, screw everything. Do what you want. Ship it, like," you had Ryan Florence doing crazy stuff. It was the best.

Chantastic: I remember the React docs. The first time that I went to them, it was basically that post that Pete Hunt wrote, which was thinking in React.

Tyler: Exactly, and then you're like front of masters had a course by Brian Reinhold, who's great. Even if you look at that, it's long gone now. I remember even trying to learn, turn to back then. The problem is ES6 was brand-new back too. All the cool React kids were using ES6.

It's like, "What the hell is this like import thing?" Like, "What is this?" It's like your brain didn't know what was ES6 and what was React and it was all great.

Chantastic: Now, do you remember the first React conference that you went to?

Tyler: I missed out on the cool one. I didn't get a ticket to that one. The GraphQL React Native one. I'm still bitter about that. I still am. I've been to the all the other ones. The one you wanted to go to where it was like, no one got a ticket unless you knew Ryan Florence, and he was graceful enough to lend you tickets. That's how it was. First one I went to was the year after that one. It wasn't the cool one.

Chantastic: That's so funny. I was at that one.

Tyler: I know. You tell everyone is there because I'm so bitter, because I was not there.

Chantastic: It's true. There were only 200 people. You could memorize a list that short? It's nerdy.

Tyler: This is why I'm still bitter to this day. They've obviously fixed this. Back in the early OG days, it was you either knew one of the members, and they gave you a family ticket or a friend ticket or you were screwed. I was in Utah, trying to run the "React Newsletter." Like Twitter and newsletter, getting all these second hand things. It was the worst.

I'm still bitter about it. Obviously, it worked out. I heard it was awesome. Tell me about it. How was that first conference?

Chantastic: [laughs] It was great. I got a ticket legitimately.

Tyler: Did you from the raffle?

Chantastic: No, it wasn't a raffle then. They thought that there wasn't going to be enough interest. They're like, "Oh, yeah, 200 seats is enough." I was there on midnight or whatever time it was. I was there. I got a ticket.

Tyler: I respect you more now. I appreciate.

Chantastic: Thank you. I got a ticket.

Tyler: I'm still bitter.

Chantastic: I knew it was going to go fast. I didn't know how fast. It was so crazy, because I was like, "Oh, maybe I should get one for my co-worker." Even the amount of time to register my ticket to then try to get another ticket, they were gone. It was an absolutely nuts.

Tyler: My first, one memorable React moment I did attend, thankfully, it was React Europe, the next year. That's when Dan gave his Redux talk. You were there.

Chantastic: That's where we met at the speaker dinner or something?

Tyler: Yeah. Probably Ching Lu gave his cool, that was his name, gave his interesting talk. It was the hottest, do you remember this? It was the hottest day in Paris ever.

Chantastic: Yes.

Tyler: They didn't have AC in the building, because it's not the United States. It's fine. If you don't have AC, it's fine. It was hot that day. I remember I was jet-lagged. I was trying to drink Coca-Cola to get caffeine in me, because I'm falling asleep. It was so hot.

It was like, there's so many brilliant people around. You're finally meeting all these people you'd seen on Twitter and on speaking and stuff. That was a cool moment, too.

Chantastic: It was a wild moment. I remember that was back in, I want to say 2015. Is that about right?

Tyler: I think so. Actually July 2015.

Chantastic: July 2015. I remember that. I was giving a talk on Inline Styles, which is like...

Tyler: You had stickers.

Chantastic: I had stickers.

Tyler: Did you pass those stickers?

Chantastic: Of course, I did. It said, "My style is in line," but I wrote it as JSX element, I'd to post a photo or whatever. It's still some of my best work. It's all in comics to drive the knife in.


Tyler: The prop filling one, that came out later. The prop-filling sticker. I don't know. That was later, that was a good one too.

Chantastic: I should make a little collection of these little stickers.

Tyler: It was cool and it was uncool. Now it's cool, because they're vintage now.

Chantastic: All those laptop bins, all those laptop tops have definitely been recycled by Apple at this point. They are long gone.

Tyler: That's very true.

Chantastic: That was the conference that Dan introduced Redux, which is nerdy.

Tyler: It was so interesting. Being there, it was like, "Oh, this is cool." I remember he quit his job for a few months and worked on it. Then he became a celebrity, essentially.

Chantastic: He became Dan Abramov as we know him today.

Tyler: He became Dan, exactly. Even before that. He was working on React router with Michael Ryan. Then he had his, drag and drop thing. Do you ever remember that?

Chantastic: React DnD?

Tyler: Yeah, I think so. It was way better than it should have been, the document. It was like a very Dan thing, where you see it, and you're like, "Who the hell spent this much time on, like a drag and drop library?" Later it comes to find out it's Dan and it all makes sense because that's how he works. It was amazing.

Chantastic: Those good times, I did feel everything was ahead of us. It was before, I remember at the time, Angular was massive. Nothing was taking over Angular in our minds. Ember was coming for it. It was pushing hard. It was gaining traction.

Then, React came. A lot of us got it. Those of us who had been, using Backbone, using Angular, experimenting with Ember. It was like...Did you remember what the moment was for you when you were like, "Oh, this is, this is better?"

Tyler: The thing is, and I promise I'm not lying. It was smart people are saying it's the best. I don't even need to think about it. I'm on the ship, regardless. There are certain people, if Merrick Christensen tells me something is the best and is the future. Like, "Geegeez," because like, "Game over, I'm getting all the domain names. I'm getting the handles." Like, that was it.

It wasn't even like I used it. I was like, "Oh, this is really nice because like composition, yada, yada." It was like, "Oh no, Merrick says he uses, it's like, that's good enough for me." That's how I roll. It's worked out so far.

Chantastic: I liked this as a strategy. Kobe Bryant was popular for this too. He would see something that somebody else was doing, it's like, "Oh, that's mine now. That's my, that's my thing."

Tyler: He would do better than they did. It is even from a life principles' standpoint, find people you respect and who are doing well. Copy what they do, not literally if it's IP infringement or whatever, but theoretically. From a principle standpoint, it's worked out fairly well for me.

Chantastic: I like that. I feel there was a popular thinker, there was Mark Twain or Einstein or something, said something that effective. Brilliance is...

Tyler: What's great is, every quote gets attributed to those two.

Tyler: You're good. It's probably one of those two.

Chantastic: Maybe it was Jesus. Let's just cover my bases like one of the three.


Chantastic: Something to the effect of like how you...Be it could have been Gandhi. The how you -- shoot, what was it? -- How brilliance is hiding your sources?

Tyler: Yeah. I like that. I can see that.

Chantastic: I'm curious now like, we talked a little bit about the past, but I'm curious you pushed hard like talking to that point of doing it better than anyone else. I feel you have really just gone full tilt on React and JavaScript in front-end like modern front-end development.

Tyler: Yep.

Chantastic: I remember at a time when we met at that conference React Europe in 2015, you had maybe one course on React Native on egghead.

Tyler: You got that right. Yeah.

Chantastic: Yeah, something like that. It was just by the next React conf you were all in. You had courses. You had a strategy. You had your branding and everything. Can you tell me what that process looked like behind the scenes? It's easy to think like, "This just happened overnight," but it's a lot of work.

Tyler: Totally. It was a lot of work. You nailed it. I was doing stuff on Egghead and had a React Native Course. At the time, I was teaching full time at a Boot Camp called DevMountain, which is in-person traditional boot camp. I loved Egghead because they gave me my introduction to teaching online. The problem was, I'm very used to long-winded, 40-minute lectures, for good or for bad.

John and Joe were like, "That's not a thing here because you got three minutes." They've gotten a little bit better at that because obviously, Ken's doing brilliant with Egghead. At the time, I feel like I need longer to express what I'm trying to teach. They're like, "Just chop it up." I'm like, "I can't just chop it up."

I decided to do my own thing, launched if you remember that way back in the day.

Chantastic: Yeah.

Tyler: That was sometime in 2015, did that for a while. Eventually pivoted that into just being, joining the React training guys for a bit. We'll skip that. We'll skip that section of the chapter.

They're still great, still love them. Eventually, pivoted this was doing courses. At that time you had a React course, Modern JavaScript, Advance JavaScript -- Redux, I think. It's been interesting. Even up to now, it's fun because of a lot of education, a lot of content.

Also, as we talked about before we started rolling a lot of weirder stuff that developers don't typically do, which are lot of marketing, a lot of growth stuff, so it's fun.

Chantastic: Why teaching? There are so many directions you could've gone. You could've gone consulting, you could've made applications, freelancing, whatever you wanted, but you chose teaching. Why education?

Tyler: Here's a fun thing no one talks about. If you look at your favorite JavaScript teachers, probably 80 percent of them serve Mormon missions. Let's get on this route, because no one's ever talked about this, or at least I never heard anyone go.

It's always something on the back of my mind like, "This is so interesting. Ryan Florence, Kent Dodds, Michael Jackson, Brian Holt, me, West is the exception, Wes Bos Canadian. I don't think he served the Mormon mission. Basically, what happens -- we don't get too religious here, but when you're 19, I think it's 18 now, you tell the church -- The Mormon Church -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as long-term.

You want to go on a mission to talk about Jesus for two years. A bunch of guys get together, old guys, and they say, "OK. He's going to this place." All my friends get called cool places - Brazil, South America. I got called to San Fernando Valley, California...

Chantastic: No way.

Tyler: ...which was like, I grew up in St. George, and there is a spot in San Fernando in Southern California, where it's three hours away from my hometown, which is kind of weird being in a mission when I have friends everywhere, so anyway.

Basically, all you do for two years is teach people about Jesus, and also become an incredible teacher and an incredible salesman. You don't really realize that what you're doing until you get home and you become older. Learned to love teaching during my mission in San Fernando.

It was fun because it was...I taught people pretty much...In San Fernando, it's everyone, all over the world. Love teaching there, got home, started learning the program, and then figured out, "Hey, I could take my love of teaching and apply it towards software." It's a cool mix of I get to learn something and then I get to teach it, which reinforces the learning.

You always hear people talk about that. It was natural for me. That's why so many return missionaries are teaching software, because you get such a solid foundation for teaching.

Usually, it's not in your same language. I taught a lot in Spanish. You just get a love of the people, but you also get a love of teaching, so it stems from that. It's always funny, because so many of us are former missionaries, right?

Chantastic: Yeah, I'm glad that you brought it up, because I have definitely noticed the trend. I have talked about it with a couple of you, but not in a podcast before. I'm glad that...

Tyler: There we go. I've been holding that in for years. Someone needs to ask me about this. "The Office" was so funny, because good comedians are able to see things no one else sees, but everyone is able to relate to. That was one of those things, where it's like, "No one else sees this. Why is no one talking about this? Here we are, I finally got it out."

Chantastic: It's so funny. I've talked with Michael quite a bit about how...I am not Mormon, but that is one of the best things that you can do for human development ever, that notion of mission.

Tyler: 100 percent.

Chantastic: You leave your family. You go, you become an adult. You learn how to speak to people. Like you said, those secondary effects of being able to sell and be comfortable around people.

That's the thing, it's wild. Everyone that I know that has gone on a mission is an adult who knows how to have an awkward conversation with someone, and just be comfortable in their own skin, and I love that.

Tyler: You're a machine when you get back. If you do it right, for two years, you wake up at 6:30, no matter what. You don't have people whipping you if you don't do it. You just do it because that's what you're supposed to do. For two years, you wake up at 6:30. You study for three hours. Then, you basically go knock doors and just help people the rest of the day. You go to bed at 10:30.

You repeat that literally every day, seven days a week for two years. You don't talk to your family. You're just focused. You come back, and you're just this machine. Nothing has been harder than the mission.

Ironically, right after React Europe, I went to London to go through Techstars for a startup there. The first day, they're like, "This is going to be so hard. You're going to be working so hard." Then, this is like, "This is very easy compared to the mission."

That's why guys like Kent, who are just absolute machines, because nothing is harder than that. Also, you learn that there's a lot of reward that comes from these very difficult situations regardless of your religious stance and how you feel about the Mormon Church. That's a whole another conversation.

It's true where you come back, and you have all these guiding principles -- hard work, discipline. It works out.

Chantastic: The secondary effect is that have...What's interesting...I have noticed that, that just being drive, being a machine, being able to just put in the work.

I'm curious how those other things have impacted your ability to create and continue to sell and convince people, and push that forward from a branding and marketing perspective.

Tyler: That one's tricky. What's funny is Utah. There's a lot of summer sales companies, and they go all over. [inaudible 26:46] a big one. All these kids go on missions, they come back. They're used to knocking on doors. They just go on. Basically, instead of teaching about Jesus, they teach about some stupid pest control company, unfortunately.

For me, it comes natural. I don't do a lot of in-person sales. It doesn't help me directly. It was more of just the discipline aspect like, "Can I get up at a certain time?" We talked a lot about this. Whenever I hear about anything in this realm.

I always message you, because I know you find it super interesting. Even watching your battle with it, has been super fun too over the years. It's the war of art vibe. "I don't feel like working today, but I'm going to work because I'm a professional, and that's what professionals do." It's that same vibe.

Seth Godin is one of our favorites too, has a bunch of quotes about that. It's just that mentality of, "I don't really feel like writing this blog post or creating this video today, but it doesn't really matter how I feel because I can decouple my actions from my emotions and just get it done, anyways."

Chantastic: That's interesting. I'm curious about your strategies for doing that. I grew up very lazy, and I didn't have a point where I went through mission boot camp. I feel like I'm always fighting lethargy. I never want to do anything.

Tyler: Resistance as a war of art.

Chantastic: Resistance, yeah. I'm curious what your strategies are. For me, it does come down to, "I need some type of external thing." We have the sponsors. They keep the show going for React podcasts.

It's surprisingly expensive to produce a podcast that has transcript and whatnot every week. For me, the sponsorship is more than paying the bills. It's like I have to be responsible to someone else or I wouldn't do it.

Tyler: That's fine. That's how it is for me sometimes too. I don't think that's a bad thing as long as you acknowledge that. What's interesting too watching again, watching your journey -- I don't want to get too personal here -- but watching your journey of...Did you start a few things? They feel fizzled out and you start them again.

I wrote you an email a few years ago. I was like, "Hey, I don't know what happened, but I've been loving your new consistency essentially." For me, what happens -- and it might've been the same for you -- you are the React Podcast guide now.

People wake up, and they expect to see this. For everything, there's a lot of bad that comes with it, but the good of it is there's an expectation, and you have to meet that expectation.

I've been training for an IRONMAN the last year, basically this year. I was going to do one in Utah that got canceled obviously. Now, I have one next year. It's that same idea, where once you make the decision to do the thing...

You have the sponsors and everything that are helping you obviously do it. To me, I've chosen to do an IRONMAN. I know June 29th in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is going to come up, and I'm going to have to race that day. I either die that day, or I have a good race.

You can get to the point where you make the decision. Every Thursday, React Podcast is coming out. It doesn't matter what's happening. That's the decision. The cliché one growing up in Utah was always like, "If you choose to not drink alcohol, make it one decision that you never have to decide it ever again in your entire life."

It's so true where it's like React Podcast is coming out every Thursday. I'm having my race of June of next year. That's it. The decision has been made. I don't think about it. I do the thing.

Chantastic: That is super interesting. It's funny you mentioned decision, and mention it in such a stark way because I've been obsessed with the word of decision. When you think about it and the etymology of it, an incision with a decision that you're cutting something away.

You're saying, "I'm deciding not to think about that anymore with the alcohol thing. I don't want to have to think about this decision again. I'm making the decision cutting it out of my life. It's one less thing that I have to think about."

It's like Steve Jobs in his black shirt and blue jeans every day for his entire life.

Tyler: I do make fun of people who do that though. I've only seen one person do it. He was my friend, so I made fun of him. If I ever get to the point where my day is so rigid that I have to wear the exact same thing every day, put a gun to my head or something.

That's not the life I want to live. With that said, that's the same principle, where it's like make a decision once. Never have to worry about it again.

Seth Godin, he always talks about this -- this is the quote I sent you -- where he's like a plumber. He doesn't wake up and have plumbers block. They're professional. They go and they work. They're a plumber.

Writer's block doesn't exist. You're a writer. Wake up, it's what you do. You're professionals. Do it anyway. I like that.

Chantastic: It touches on something that's very important. You have to disconnect from the outcome or control over the outcome at least. When you're a pro, you show up and you do the thing, and it may or may not be good.

Tyler: You have to get through the bad stuff, I don't know why this has become a Seth Godin podcast...


Chantastic: ...through podcast.

Tyler: He talks about how you don't get to choose what you're famous for. Some of his stuff that he thought would be popular wasn't, and some of the stuff that he didn't think would be popular became popular.

You don't get to choose what becomes popular, or you don't get to choose what's good or bad. You just write. Some will be terrible. Some will be good. That's how you get the good stuff is by writing the bad stuff and you can't decouple that process. That's how I felt about it too.

Some of my blog posts are terrible, but some of them are good. I don't know if it's going to be good or terrible when I go into it, but it's that process of going through it that forces me...Basically I can't get the good stuff unless I go through that process.

Chantastic: Is there something that totally surprised you? You're like, "I'm just putting in the work today," and then it blew up?

Tyler: No, and that's the point of it. It's consistently doing the little things. There's never been a big moment. I've just been doing this for years now. You've been doing it too. You've probably watched React podcasts slowly grow.

I wish it was overnight. Like, "Oh, we're famous now." That's not how things work especially in our space, whereas it's been slowly creating stuff for five, six years now, no one magic moment. Things have slowly started to grow. It's compounding.

Chantastic: It's a hard reality to live in. I'm being very frank but it is hard to...You see a lot of other people's successes. I'll be totally honest. One of the reasons that I said yes to taking on React Podcast from Michael was to combat my own envy of other people's success. That might be the first time I've admitted this.

Seeing other people be successful and then thinking, "You know what? I don't want to just be rotten with envy about the fact that they're successful." I want to support that and I want to get excited about it, learn more about it.

That's been the journey for me of trying to suppress in because it's so easy to sit in your room, do nothing and it'd be like, "Oh, I could have been West Boss. Why am I not?" Well, I don't know.

Tyler: West is the perfect example. He does so well, and I don't think people understand how well he does. He does so well, and he's so deserving because every day he gets up and he does what's important. At five o'clock, he hangs out with his family.

He does it five days a week consistently for the last seven years. Nothing fancy, nothing special. He's this Canadian guy who likes barbecue, but he's so good at what he does because he's been consistently doing it for seven years now.

Chantastic: That's wild. That consistency, it's so hard because you show up every day and the audience waxes and wanes. You might be...streaming can be so demoralizing because you show up.

One day, someone's super excited about your topic like a hundred people in there but then the next 15, you got one you're talking to one person. Waiting that out and growing it person by person is it takes a lot of resilience. It takes a lot of being OK with what you're getting in not being an overnight success.

Tyler: I think you just got to realize everybody goes through that. Like West, his first thing he did publicly it was a "Sublime Text" eBook or something. I'm sure it like wasn't amazing for a sales perspective.

Chantastic: Sure.

Tyler: Again, he had to get the Sublime Text eBook out, so he can get "React for Beginners" out so we can get all the stuff. He's doing the new advanced React stuff like all the GraphQL stuff he's doing. You have to go through those first early days and it's been fun to watch even to from our industry perspective because back in the day there was a handful of us creating stuff.

Me, you, West, wasn't that many, like technical bloggers it wasn't a thing. Nowadays everybody's writing and it's so fun to see that. I know there are people who write something, doesn't get any views, and give up. You have to write the bad stuff in order to get to the popular stuff.

Chantastic: I'm curious. I know a lot of people are interested in content creation because it does feel an important part of being a developer, particularly and employable developer, it's an area where you have to compete. We've covered that pretty well. I'm curious, how does this apply? How do you see this same thing applying to the actual development skills?

Obviously you're teaching people regular development skills. How do you try to encourage these patterns and repetition, and diligence and resilience in teaching people just the raw skills required to make websites?

Tyler: All of these things we've talked about, you have to look at them from a principals perspective, because even going back to like triathlon and preparing for the IRONMAN, it's all the same stuff. It's I started running, I sucked at running, and then I continued to suck at running and then slowly, that's what's nice about it is with physical things you can see especially with aerobic things, you can see a very gradual progression from the start.

With software it's not even content creation. It's not that black and white, where there is progress being made there. It's not necessarily you can't see your miles, time per mile.

It is not getting too far into the weeds and focusing on the principle which is just love the harvest right vibes. I don't know. What's fun about this conversation is I don't think about this very often anymore. This is the first time I expressed all these things in my head, because it becomes a part of you.

Again, you don't wake up on Thursday morning and be like, "Oh, because of all these principles, I have to do React Podcast." Again, it becomes the result of all of those things that are background processes. This is the output of those. I don't know.

Chantastic: I asked because a lot of people that I talked with, who were come early on their JavaScript React journey, we have probably an overlapping groups in that way. People who are starting out.

It seems a lot of people are overwhelmed by the notion of getting it right or doing the right thing the right way, and whatnot. I know that I always say, "Just do it the wrong way a bunch." You've been saying this. "You're going to suck at it, just keep sucking at it diligently. Eventually, you'll be good at it."

Tyler: It's embracing the fact that you suck at it. The thing is to what I always try to tell people earlier on their careers is, "This never goes away. This feeling of there's so much to learn. There's so much to do. You still have it. I still have it."

I haven't jumped on the TypeScript bandwagon. It's overwhelming because it's like, "Oh, am I out of touch? Am I like out of date?" It's literally the sooner you can embrace, you're going to feel pretty terrible all the time as far as your skill set goes. That's a good thing as long as you're progressing. We're chill. We're good. That's the thing you have to get over because it never unfortunately never goes away.

Chantastic: It's interesting that you mentioned TypeScript specifically because I've a friend, and I helped him learn initial React concepts to build this site.

Shout out to you, Fourth, because he knows I'm talking about him anyway. I helped him out. Then he took off with it, totally picked it up. Then there came a point where he was asking me questions about TypeScript.

It was like, at this point in his journey, there was enough resources that he could go into that. I couldn't answer it was like, "I don't know. I don't use TypeScript every day." I can tell you how to use it in place of prop types that's basically it.

Tyler: Literally and being the owner and founder of UI not to have this expectation where it's like, "I'm supposed to do all these things." I'm like, "I don't. I'm sorry." I'm pretty decent in React, good at JavaScript, but TypeScript, I haven't dove into it or even there's so many things.

I've learned to embrace that. It's fine. Same thing with you, it's cool. No one knows what we're doing besides maybe Dan. I'm still convinced he doesn't even know a lot of the times. We're all still here.

Chantastic: Even Sebastian's still figuring it out? I take a lot of solace in how difficult a time the React team has had bringing concurrent mode to market, marketing that well, and communicating it well. I don't mean that in a way to sound like they're having a hard time. I don't mean that at all.

It's comforting to know that the best and brightest people working on this, the thing that we consume every day, are figuring this out. They're figuring it out day by day. Their problems are more higher level, or lower level. They're trying to figure out lower level stuff.

At the end of the day, everyone is struggling to get a little bit closer. We're at different points in that journey, but we're all learning a little bit more and that learning is like a Möbius strip. It keeps going in perpetuity. [laughs]

Tyler: That's a good observation. That's like, we basically just do that, and then we die. That's it. That's fun. That's it. Love a few people along the way, be kind to people, and then you die. You learned with your whole life. Maybe I'm weird. I love that, do not go gentle by. Let's learn, let's go full bore. Then we die and that's fine because that's it. I got dark, I apologize.

Chantastic: I know, it's true. I feel the same way. It's like that. We all have the same inevitable future. When you view it from that perspective, trying to find kindness in your life, trying to find opportunities to share, gain friendships, and have those conversations in a way that are virtuous and bring everybody up, becomes one of the most important things that you can do.

Tyler: Absolutely, I agree.

Chantastic: I want to ask you a little bit about...I feel we've gotten 46 minutes in now. We haven't talked about what is.

Tyler: I'll put on my salesman hat here. Hopefully, people are still listening. They didn't just cut it off when I talked about death.

Chantastic: "No, I came here for JavaScript, bro." [laughs]

Tyler: "I came here for React. What the hell is this?" Hopefully, you're still around.

Chantastic: Tell me about What are you working on? What is in the pipeline? You turned it on. Sorry, I'm stuttering over my words. There's so many directions we could take it. You have been working in quiet for a long time.

Tyler: I had. Is that a bad thing? Here's my problem. Let's talk about this, because I need someone to talk about this. I'm glad you observed that. This is what I do all the time. I'll go years without saying anything and like dump on people. I don't know if that's a good thing.

The problem is I like surprises. It's this weird thing. It's not even like, "People are going to steal my ideas." I don't care about that. It's literally I like surprises. I'll literally move to the mountains in Utah, which I did for years at a time, work on stuff and then release it all in one day. I need to work on that to be honest.

Chantastic: That's interesting. I feel the same way as you. There's people like Shawn Swyx Wang. He talks about this idea of learning in public. I want to be that person.

Tyler: I do too.

Chantastic: I want to be that person.

Tyler: Literally, we talked about it. I have a friend Alex who works with me. We went back and forth for like months about this. Should we be the very public? We're like, "Yeah, we should be." Then, we would never do it. I'm like, "Maybe we shouldn't be. We're clearly not doing it naturally." I don't know.

Chantastic: It is hard. That balance is so difficult. I'm like you. I want to turn everything else off. Sit in a room for a month and iron one tiny little thing out.

Tyler: 100 percent.

Chantastic: Be done, emerge and then start selling it. I don't think that's bad. Both of us naturally are inclined towards that. I do feel it's not how the industry works right now, which sucks for us.

Tyler: It's disadvantageous to us, we'll say. Here we are. Let me tell you what I've been working on for six months. We lost you at [inaudible 46:07] , I'd have to...basically the reason for What we're trying to do is instead of being a courses company, which historically it's what we've been in the past. We have courses, you can be taking the courses, you enjoy them, and then you leave.

What we're trying to create is something more of an ecosystem for continuous learning, which sounds very jargony. The idea is to, if you're a developer, there's more to your job than taking a course. The problem with being a courses company, is it's been bottlenecked by knowledge.

For example, I'm not super familiar with TypeScript. If you want to learn TypeScript, good luck, because I'm not your guy. Where with this new pivot, we're trying to get away from that. What we're doing, and we've launched this in July. We have weekly events with JavaScript experts, community members. It's been great.

We'll have people come in and talk about every aspect of the job, whether it's like U3 that came out, or there was one today about imposter syndrome, which is cool, pretty much every aspect.

As a subscriber, as a community member, you're not getting access to the courses. Now you're getting access to every week. We have someone coming in who's going to teach you something interesting.

Chantastic: That's great.

Tyler: There's that aspect to it, which is really cool. Then one thing we're launching, when this podcast comes out, it'll be live, is an entire community around...What's interesting is the vibe of this podcast about growing and building and overcoming resistance, that's essentially the community we're trying to build with developers.

We're launching a brand-new community. We've been working on it for six months, focused on obviously supplementing the courses. If you have questions about the courses, it'll help those. We want a bunch of people who are interested in growing and being their best developer self, even though that sounds cheesy.

If you look at the landscape of developer communities, there's a bunch of interesting ones. You have the toxic one, which is like Hacker, News, Reddit. We have the very welcoming, but also beginner-friendly ones in

What we're trying to build is a space for people in between that, which is to go, if you have questions, ask questions, but more like we're interested in your career and your development, regardless of where you're at in your career. That's the vibe, that's what we've been working on.

The way I look at the company is, we have courses, we have events, and we have community, and all of those things combine to be like what you could access to as as a subscriber.

Chantastic: I love that.

Tyler: That's my pitch.

Chantastic: It's crazy how much community is the thing right now. A lot of people have been talking about these cozy networks. You have Twitter, which is like massive broadcast, whatever. Many people are turning more towards smaller groups of people, whether that's like discord networks, or like fan clubs or whatever.

We're getting to a point where people want that. I love that you're tying that into the notion of continuous learning of we want to help you along the way instead of like, "Hey, you bought the course, learn it. Then, now you're magically a better developer. Go forth with your life."

Tyler: It should be interesting. I'm super excited for it. The courses have done well. There's always been, the other aspect to it. We had a Facebook group. There's a lot with that, Facebook, the company. Facebook groups itself is terrible.

We're excited, should be coming out week, we're going to do a Black Friday sale. Speaking of as well, which ties into the whole conversation we've been having not to be too salesy. We hired Alex Anderson, who's a brilliant developer six months ago. He's been working on a TypeScript course. That's going to come out as well. That'd be cool.

Again, hopefully, I solved the problem of, if I don't know a thing, you can't learn it from me. We have Alex, and he's way smarter than I am, so should be good.

Chantastic: Continuing that trend of finding smarter people than you and bring them into the fold.

Tyler: Exactly, that's the key to success.

Chantastic: I love that. If people want to get in on that, and if I timed everything right, we're going to be releasing this episode on Thanksgiving. People will be listening to this during the fall holiday however you celebrate, the time off that you have in the fall.

We're going to be doing that, then. How do people get involved in what you're going to be doing on in terms of your Black Friday promotion?

Tyler: You just check out We'll probably do...I usually almost never do sales except for once a year. We're going to do a sale. I'm not exactly sure how much off it'll be probably 25, 30 percent off. You are, I'm on Twitter @tylermcginnis. That should cover most of the bases.

Chantastic: This was fun. This was super fun.

Tyler: I had a blast.

Chantastic: I'm glad that we got to spend some time talking about the past because there's so few people, hundreds that were there at the beginning of all this. At least the community side of it. It lived on Facebook for years or whatever. It was good to relive the glory days with you for a minute today.

Tyler: It was very nostalgic. I had a lot of fills doing it, but they were good fills. Absolute bath again, a huge fan of you, huge fan of what you have done with the podcast. Couldn't be in a better person's hands.

Chantastic: Thank you. Mutual fans here. I'm glad we finally got you on the show.

Tyler: It's funny because we talked about, I've been here since the beginning. Here we are 2020. I don't know what episode this is. We finally made it work. It's because I'm not in the woods anymore.

Chantastic: It's hard. There's some people that I want to get that in-person energy, screw this latency...

Tyler: That's fair. I'm with you.

Chantastic: COVID, it knocked those plans out. We're adapting. We'll do...

Tyler: We'll do that, too.

Chantastic: Just get it done.

Tyler: Next time I'm in Southern California, we'll get tacos, set up the recording right there, and we'll bust it out.

Chantastic: Can't wait. Hey, good to see you. Thanks for being here.

Tyler: Of course, man, I appreciate it.