Dave Hoover: Learn Through Apprenticeship
Dave Hoover is a developer formally trained in child and family therapy, crafting open source code while working at Obtiva, Consensys, and using the Ethereum blockchain.
Mr. Hoover co-founded Dev Bootcamp, to empower anyone with skills useful in tech-related fields. He co-authored “Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman” with Adewale Oshineye, a book about the learning skills needed to be come a great developer. Apprenticeship Patterns also approaches software development as a means to personal fulfillment, with advice on how to make the best of life and career.
"When we think about the Internet we don’t think about the web. We think about Google. We won't think of Ethereum: we’ll be thinking of whatever successful thing is built on top of it. "
— Dave Hoover
Dave Hoover (guest): I would compare Ethereum to something more like Linux. This kind of strange thing that comes along and disrupts something like Microsoft. How does a company full of money fight against something that’s free and being built by people who aren’t getting paid? There’s thousands and thousands of installations use Ethereum privately already. We’ll be thinking of whatever successful thing is built on top of it. When we think about the Internet we don’t think about the web really. We think about Google. I think one interesting application of of blockchains is voting because it’s immutable and nothing can change it. It’s public. It’s you know, everyone can see without having to really reveal who did the vote and I know there’s there startups that are working on voting solutions that are already doing votes. Understand that like you’re not going to be able to stop block chains. You can. You can try, but it just won’t. They will not be stopped.
Simone Salis (host): I am Simone Salis and this is Hoomans with today’s guest, Dave Hoover. Dave Hoover is a Code Crafter, interested in understanding code development and how people can become great Software Developers. Formally trained in Psychology and Family Therapy, Mr. Hoover left his career in child and family therapy to code, releasing many open source projects while working at companies like Optiva and Consensus. Using technology like the Ethereum blockchain. He co-founded "Dave Boot Camp", a project to empower anyone with the skills useful in tech-related fields, and he also co-authored Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the aspiring software craftsman, with Adewale Oshineye. A book about learning the skills needed to become a great developer. Apprenticeship Patterns also approaches software development as a means to personal fulfillment with advice on how to make the best of life. That's a lot because you are a person that comes from a background, and again informal training in Humanities, so that where you start, as probably in college and then I think also a Masters Degree in Family Therapy.
D. Hoover: That's right.
S. Salis: But you were with Tech and Intech, how did the change happened in your mind and in your life from one career shifting to the other? How did the code surface in your life?
D. Hoover: Actually it started very early, I mean that a lot of people stories is like I have been, you know I was coding when I was 12 or something and I did have that same interest when I was very young. I just didn't know anybody who had done it before and when I tried to teach myself when I was 12, I tried to teach myself basic on my Apple 2E. First I saw Tron…
S. Salis: Okay
D. Hoover: On the Disney Channel when I was a kid, and they played it over and over again and I watched it over and over. And I go I want to be like that guy like in the computer doing cool stuff because I was already even... yeah as soon …I grow up right when video games were coming out, like Pong and the Arcade Games and I would ask my parents for quarters you know, so I was fascinated by computers. And then I was like, all right I am going to teach myself, I got a book on basic, when I was 12 and I tried to teach myself and I learnt somethings. And then I gave up because I couldn't make cool looking games, and I didn't know anybody who would like take me over the next step. I had no one to ask question of.
S. Salis: What did your family do? What did your Dad and Mom do? Because sometimes, kids you know have that... coders have coder family stuck in them.
D. Hoover: Exactly! No, it is true, I mean it’s a natural thing with families as we tend to, if you have mentors around but, you know my Dad was, he worked in retail, he worked at Eddy Bower and he was into like, especially like outdoor hardware like backpacks and knives and all sort of stuff like that. My mom... growing up, was home with us, raising my Brother, and Sister and I, and later got into Psychology and ending up getting a similar Masters Degree that I had or have in Family Therapy and then got her Ph. D. in Psychology.
** S. Salis**: Is that what sparked your interest in Psychology?
D. Hoover: I think my Mom and I have pretty similar personalities. At least that part of our personalities, I also have like this natural interest in technology and computers. So for me that even though it was a strange transition when I was 25 to 26 years old, after getting all this education and training in working with children and working with their families. And helping them through hard times to go from that to like coding, which seems like a very strange transition. But I had multiple times throughout my childhood and early adult years, tried to like dabble and I was interested in technology, so that transition for me happen from an attempt when I was 12, and then another attempt when I was around like 24, 25. I bought myself a Java for dummies book and I just type in all the code they told me to type in, and it kind of worked and sometimes it didn't. I wasn't actually learning anything; I was just kind of typing stuff in. Another movie again, kind of got me all fired up, The Matrix.
S. Salis: Sure.
D. Hoover: Another movie about this…
S. Salis: That’s where we are now?
D. Hoover: [6: 12 inaudible] Glitches in the Matrix but yes that movie got me excited. It was another; you know an exciting movie about a guy, always a guy, who is kind of in a computer.
S. Salis: Well, to be honest, Trinity though is the one that she introduces Neo. So, it’s always a guy but the girl was the one with the original, at least that; at least that.
D. Hoover: There is that; there is that, but yes I was fired up about that, and that kind of... that plus like the dot-com mania basically at the time really pull me into it and I was living in Seattle at the time, where Amazon was, there was a lot going on. So, and then I had a baby, my daughter was born 1999 and I was 24, and I needed to earn a little extra money because I was in Grad School. And so that's when I was like all right, necessity is the mother of invention, I learnt a little H. T. M. L., got a side job and for a year I did both. I was a Therapist by day and I would kind of like code up. It is really an advice column, but I had to know H. T. M. L. in order to do it.
S. Salis: Okay.
D. Hoover: I was on this website.
S. Salis: So, you start, wait a second, you start to write for a website?
D. Hoover: Yeah.
S. Salis: But the fact that you had H. T. M. L. skills helped you to publish it on your own.
S. Salis: Where do you think that comes from for you?
D. Hoover: Now, that's how I referred to it back then, now I just know its dopamine.
S. Salis: That's how your receptors work.
D. Hoover: Yes it is the same, chemical that gets released into my brain when I am playing video games. It is totally different; programming is lot more frustrating than video games, usually, unless you get totally stuck.
S. Salis: How do you manage your dopamine in tack like, do you also get dopamine kick from Tweeter or Facebook?
D. Hoover: I used to, I mean I was on Tweeter really early, it was written in Rails, Ruby on Rails, so that was really fun at the very beginning I really got into Tweeter. These days I don't get much of a kick out of it. It is not like this kind of game or you know, winning sort of feeling that I had in the past, where I was like "Oh, my goodness I got 50 retweets, I feel like I am on top of the world." That would probably still feel good if that happened on a regular basis or something, not that it ever did happen on a regular basis. But if it happens it would feel good but I just don't care about that right now, for whatever reason. Honestly, because I am just having a lot of fun with Ethereum.
S. Salis: How do you program? Like why is it different from a classic programming language? Why is it of public interest?
D. Hoover: Yes, lots of questions, good questions, we will start with that, like why is it a public interest? And I guess because money itself, the invention of money, of currency like from tens of thousands or thousands of years ago. I am not much a student of History but like that, itself was a technology, we just take it for granted that money is just this thing like rules our lives or this necessary evil or whatever. But it is actually a technology in of itself; it is just kind of baked into our like culture, civilization. So, bitcoin was a huge innovation in terms of creating a new form of money. It wasn't controlled by anything other than software and cryptography. It is kind of secured by cryptography.
S. Salis: Right, distributed leisure thing, right?
D. Hoover: So there is no bank, there is no government.
S. Salis: Can Bitcoin run apps?
D. Hoover: It’s really difficult to run to create software and apps to run on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, it's not what it was designed for and that's why Ethereum was invented. This young guy, Vitalik Buterin kind of grew up in Bitcoin as a teenager’s Dad was a Software Engineer. I believe in Russia and kind of introduced him to it and Vitalik was like wanting to build apps on Bitcoin because he was just fascinated by the decentralize technology. And eventually he was like, it is just too hard I am going to start from scratch and create my own blockchain and that is where Ethereum came from. And so, Ethereum is created basically all the same properties of Bitcoin except it also has a programming language on top of it, a virtual machine. But you can just think of it as a programming language.
S. Salis: Okay, so it has a virtual machine, so it runs other languages?
D. Hoover: You can, there is a language called Solidity, that's the language I spend most of my time on these days, and many languages run on lithium virtual machine but what Ethereum brought was this more abstract concept of smart contracts that run…
S. Salis: Yes, what are those? I read about those all the time.
D. Hoover: So yes, they are really just programs that you deploy to the blockchain and the bizarre strange thing about these things is that they can't... the code can't change once you have deployed it. You have to have a very simple basic code and try not to do too many things that are too fancy because that is where bugs live. As in like clever fancy code.
S. Salis: There must be some elegance to it.
D. Hoover: If you want to create updates you have to design your smart contracts to be updatable.
S. Salis: What does that mean, like where is the code? Is the code distributed? And there is a copy of the program on each computer there is connected to these Ethereum blockchain. So, if I have one at home, there is one here at home and then my friend in Shanghai also is running, I don't know, has a copy of the blockchain of the Ethereum and it is running at that part and that place, it doesn't look too efficient.
D. Hoover: It is incredibly inefficient.
S. Salis: Okay, but is that how it works?
D. Hoover: It is how it works, so like when I deploy that code, and when I say deploy that code I really just mean send a transaction into the network.
S. Salis: Okay.
D. Hoover: There is Bitcoin side, there is one kind of transaction, I am sending you Bitcoin, and that is pretty much it.
S. Salis: End of story.
D. Hoover: With Ethereum you can do three different kinds of transaction I would say, same thing I could send you ether and we are done or I can send a transaction to the network that deploys a smart contract. And the third transaction is I can interact with a smart contract that's on the blockchain. So, once it's out there it's almost a website it has an address and now it is like I can interact with it.
S. Salis: So, the second transaction is you deploying the code and their transaction is a user interacting with the code with inputs and outputs?
D. Hoover: Correct, and you can send it money and that contract can hold money, the reason why it is an advantage or like an innovation is because now that contract can hold money.
S. Salis: Okay.
D. Hoover: And it is secure, assuming the code is secure or it doesn't have bugs. And so you can create these smart contracts, it’s like you and I are going to have a contract that says I am going to pay you.
S. Salis: 3 Ether.
D. Hoover: 3 Ether after these other three people agree that you have done this service for me.
S. Salis: Okay
D. Hoover: And so I put ether in there, you can see that it is there and you see that it is going to, you can read the code and you can see that it is going to go to you. And now all that has to happen is these three other people have to interact with the contract and give their thumbs up, and then it will get released to you.
S. Salis: So, the very least it would be great for rental contracts with roommates.
D. Hoover: Yes, sure, and it doesn't even have to involve money really but just the fact like there are contracts out there that hold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of money of ether, is pretty interesting. I think one interesting application of Blockchain is voting because it's again immobile. Like once that vote put in there nothing can change it, it's public, everyone can see what the votes are without having to really reveal who did the vote.
S. Salis: Right
D. Hoover: And you can create, I know there are startups I have talked to them in the past that are working on voting solutions and are already doing votes.
S. Salis: Steve Wozniak, he said like it's going to be the next Apple in the next light...
D. Hoover: The Next Apple that's interesting.
S. Salis: That's his own words.
D. Hoover: I wouldn't... that's so interesting because it’s like Apple is a big private company and Ethereum is a big public.
S. Salis: I think he... I believe he meant with the level of disruption in the field and innovation.
D. Hoover: Okay, I mean to me I would compare Ethereum to something more like Linux.
S. Salis: 15: 08: Okay.
D. Hoover: This like kind of strange thing that comes along and disrupt something like Microsoft and Microsoft can't stop it.
S. Salis: Yeah, it's interesting to see Microsoft to the planned Linux distributions in their own stores.
D. Hoover: There was this most interesting thing in the 90s to watch Linux and in 2000 to watch Linux just disrupt Microsoft. And how does a big money fold company fight against something that’s free, and built by people who aren't getting paid? You cannot stop it, and it’s the same way with people that understand the way Linux works and kind of the economics of it, understand that like you are not going to be able to stop Blockchains. You can try in all sort of different ways but it just won’t. It will not be stopped.
S. Salis: It’s going to be…if these analogy and I think you might for my limited point of view because I am not into this. But if this analogy proves to be real, it is going to be interesting also to see how private variation of it gets deployed and use. Because Linux technology open source, (inaudible 16: 17) systems, unit systems, and free BSD and that stuff end up becoming Micro OS or IOS or Android.
D. Hoover: Sure, all of that stuff ends up underline all sorts of like some very successful platforms.
S. Salis: Yes, exactly and they are all private but they are like privately developed and upon this kind of technology, so if the same thing happens with the different Blockchains or principles behind that it's going to be interesting to see.
D. Hoover: That’s a really good point. I mean there’s thousands and thousands of installation of Ethereum privately already, ultimately we won't think of Ethereum will be thinking of whatever successful thing is built on top of it.
S. Salis: Yes that is true, that might be
D. Hoover: Just like, we don't think about the web really, we think about Google
S. Salis: In code, is there any ethical imperative to be followed or any ethical value, should we start as a society to see code has a social commodity? Something’s, might in the future need to be public and open source to make sure that they work towards equality and they do not discriminate anybody.
D. Hoover: So, to me, that comes down to our government being more technically literate and savvy about not just delegating or like deferring really too private institutions or like private companies to create this technology. I am thinking of my friend Brian Ford, who is running for Congress right now in California. It's a crazy story but like he's actually the one that got me into Blockchain. He was involved, he is very much into that, spacey understand the technology really well; he is also just very passionate about our country. And has decided to run for Congress, and so we need more people like him, involve who can require and understand that the best way to create responsible transparent algorithms. Like that is my mandating that it will be open source. Mandating that it could be paid for by the government to have it developed. But it needs to be developed out in the open and take contributions from the open source community. To me the best way and honestly the only viable way to build like great; great software by getting thousands of eyes and brains. Like looking at it has opposed to like trying to find five people, lock them away, you know, in a government building somewhere and like they are going to build something really interesting probably innovative but they will have all these blind spots.
S. Salis: Of course because there's no like a public pair checks.
D. Hoover: Yeah and there’s only five people and they probably have bias into their hiring process…
S. Salis: Great, makes sense.
D. Hoover: So, there might be five white guys’, who knows.
S. Salis: Have you had a chance to see what Emanuel Macron, the President of France saying about AI and algorithms?
D. Hoover: I didn't hear nothing.
S. Salis: He just made a public statement in conference saying I put together a team of experts in AI and algorithms, we are going to deploy this technology in the next two or three years gradually. And every time we do introduce them, we are going to… the code is going to be open source, anything that is developed by the France government the French government is going to be open source. And it is going to be, everybody is going to be able to see it and every time we introduce it we are going to explain what it is about. We are going to make the code available…
D. Hoover: That’s great. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
S. Salis: Just to citizens. Yeah, and that’s I was really proud, I was like this guy has knows where things are going and he wants to be a leader in making sure that people do not hate their government for being discriminated with this technologies in the future.
D. Hoover: Sure, that's leadership, that is great, you know. I look forward to it when we have a President who can understand stuff like that.
S. Salis: What about the…you talked about the auditing process, a thousand eyes are better than five guy's closed in a basement. And that is kind of the process that you have been partially reviewing and writing your book if I am not wrong you started like collecting information through Awiki. And then got lots of Luke feedback from the Oriley forms. O’Rilley is the publisher of your book, the book that you guy's published and how did that go? When did you have the idea, how did the theme come out?
D. Hoover: I alluded earlier to the fact that I was competitive; I am a very competitive person, in a lot of different ways. I also really love collaboration, it's not like, I just want to beat everybody all the time but there is this part of me that loves winning or feeling like I am doing well. As a twenty-six-year-old who literally just wrote their first line of code, I have felt really behind and insecure, about like me compared to my pairs, you know. The other twenty-six-year-olds have been doing this since they are eighteen or sixteen or whatever they have been doing it for ten years….
S. Salis: A bit of imposter syndrome.
D. Hoover: Oh, big time. Yeah, I worked really hard. I was obsessive and you know I didn't sleep very much for the first four years of learning this stuff, it wasn't necessarily healthier or good I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But I did work really hard and I read a tone of books and I eventually read a book call Software Craftsmanship. I think one of the reasons, or I know one of the reasons that I got that book resonated with me was the fact that it used the terms apprentice, journeyman, and master. When people talked about Computer Scientist or Software Engineers I always felt like that didn't apply to me. How could I be a Computer Scientist? I am not really into science, I don't know much about computers, I just know how to code a little bit, and I am not really an Engineer, that sounds like a very disciplined highly educated person. But the more I heard the word apprentice and journeyman and master, I was like that sounds nice, that sounds like kind of medieval, and I kind of like medieval stuff. And also it just gave me a title, it gave me a progression. Like Computer Scientist just like you either you are or not but I can be an apprentice because that means eventually I can be a journeyman.
S. Salis: You talk about this in your book too like to choose your own little.
D. Hoover: Oh, sure. Yeah but that label just like it was something I could grab on to and be like yes! That is what I am, I had been looking for it for a couple of years, I was like what am I? I am not either of these things, I am not educated in this formally so apprentice like really hit me and it gave me a lot energy I guess you could say. Yeah, and I have always been into writing and so, I ended up getting asked through just me, like me getting out there and blogging and stuff. Ending up getting asked to write a column for this random website called Sticky Minds, and the mind-boggling to me was that they had also just asked these two guy's Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt, the co-authors of a very famous programming book call the Pragmatic Programmer. They asked them to write also a column on the website and I was like those guys are writing a column and you asked me to write a column and they wrote a book called The Pragmatic Programmer: Journeyman to Master. And I am like, what am I qualified to write about? I have only been writing… in this for like four years at this point, who am I? That’s three years I can't remember, I said, oh okay I am qualified to write about one thing, been an apprentice. Because that is what I am, so that started it off and then I had also been reading like I said a lot of different books and I read a book called A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander.
S. Salis: It's an architecture…
D. Hoover: It's an architectural book. A very long book it's like a thousand pages of just basically like architectural and kind of societal and cultural recipes, 255, 000 of them to kind of build, like use these patterns to build a society or a house or bathroom these are the common solutions to common problems. That's where I ended up combining a pattern language with apprenticeship and like seeing my experiences from the four or five years of my career as a series of recipes that I could potentially put together and share with people. And one of the catalysts was this column that these people had asked me to contribute to. Anyhow, so, yeah I got connected because I worked with a company like (inaudible 26: 04) so it was full of very passionate intellectually curious people, a good number of them sort of giving me feedback on like when I was writing and one of them, Auday, who end up becoming my Co-author was just prolific in his feedback, eventually I am like this guy has so much to say like he just need to jump into…
S. Salis: So, you just connected, remotely.
D. Hoover: Yes, we have me three or four times in our life.
S. Salis: Okay, did he come to Chicago, where he is original from?
D. Hoover: He did, he lives in London, and yeah we both work at (inaudible 26: 37) at the time. He has been at Google ever since, and I have done a million things ever since I can't stay still, so anyway thankfully because it wasn’t hopefully like not time sensitive book. Yeah, I was able to come back to it, and we are able to publish it later. I wouldn't say that it is entirely timeless.
S. Salis: Sure, yes in a thousand years.
D. Hoover: I still think it is, even just now I think it is already showing its age in the fact that, there is a lot of unexamined privilege in the book.
S. Salis: Okay what do you mean by that? Especially like general in the tech field.
D. Hoover: Yeah I would just say in the last five to ten years the demographic has started changing finally in software development. And there is many more women and people of color in the field, interestingly Auday is of African descent and is a Blackman. But I still feel like he and I both didn't really spend quite enough time or maybe we just weren’t thinking in the future enough or hopeful enough about the future to spend enough time thinking about some of the privileges that a pattern like. So, there is an apprenticeship pattern called Exposer Ignorance. Which is a really great pattern, and it’s one of my favorites about, you know… so what's the fastest way to learn something is to let people around you know that you don’t know this thing. But that is really hard, for most of us we want to hide our ignorance and like, okay I’ll go figure this out later.
S. Salis: Right.
D. Hoover: What if you don't you just keep faking it, you know indefinitely. But you don't ever learn the thing but the fastest way to learn it and also a really great way of showing people that you can learn fast is by exposing your ignorance and just leaning into it. That is really so much easier to do if you look like a stereotypical Software Developer, and all you are doing is confirming someone else bias if you don't look like a Software Developer, like a stereotypical one. And you are exposing your ignorance and they are like of course you don't know that as oppose to…
S. Salis: Yes you can become a prejudice, you can become like confirmation of a person with a prejudiced mind.
D. Hoover: It took me a while to like to have that hit me, like expose your ignorance and it really wasn't until I had some female students at the boot camp.
S. Salis: Did they tell you?
D. Hoover: Well, it came up. Yeah, there is this one fantastic alumni from the Bootcamp named Loren Scott, who is now creating apprenticeship programs at Brain Tree here in Chicago, yes she has given some talks at conferences about not especially about my book. But just about like be careful of the advice you give to people, you know and that’s what really sort of walking me up to it. It was like, it would be very interesting to go back through and have it be critiqued.
S. Salis: What is a skill or a set of skills that you have to learn in therapy that you used in your current jobs and career?
D. Hoover: Yeah, so within the first year or two, I discovered this amazing author name Jerry Weinberg and he wrote a book called, The Psychology of Computer Programming. And he was writing about people writing software using punch cards and things but it still resonated like what he was talking about. And, so that was very inspiring to me to know that someone had already done this long ago before I got here, that there was already this interesting connection between family therapy and software development. At first, there wasn't a ton of application of my previous training; probably the first most obvious one was just crisis management. One of my first paid job, post-college in Psychology was been a Crisis Counselor, I had wear a pager and there would be a crisis at some kids house, who's kind of in the system in some way and I would show up and try to, not to centralizes...
S. Salis: Yes, decentralize emotions.
D. Hoover: Deescalate…
S. Salis: Deescalate…
D. Hoover: The situation and I was pretty good at that, I am pretty calm under pressure and so I got a pretty intense job up until the moment I switch careers and I remember the first crisis that happens at my first job was like a server went down and some people were kind of freaking out. And I was just like, “why are they... nobody is going to kill themselves, there is no one physically in danger”. “No one is heading to the hospital; it's going to be okay”. You know, so it helps because I kept my wits about me even though I didn't really know what was going on because I was technically pretty incompetent at that point. I still was just like, oh we are just going to solve a problem, it's just the server going down.
S. Salis: But you can keep like a cold-minded, well in a good way because at that point a person that is about to retain his mental ability is the one that can bring order.
D. Hoover: So, that’s has always helped to some extent, not that I haven't lost my cool my cool at times or whatever. But that was one thing I really struck me hard when it first happened. All of those things were totally helped by my previous training and experience has a Therapist, just listening, being empathetic, just looking at things from other people’s perspective. Asking open-ended questions you know because all Therapists ask question and don't tell you what to do.
S. Salis: 32: 35: Are you, so you said you have been noticing… and before we started I have read your introduction to you and you were like, I don't think craftsmen is the appropriate terminology because we pass a moment that we use gender-specific words. And so, we use the word crafter, and are you seeing disruption... you talked about things changing but are you see like specific disruption organization. I have noticed there is women in Blockchain association. There is definitely a couple of websites that is just female women coders, crafters coders and sharing lots of those experiences. I would be lucky enough to speak to a director of photography at Pixers soon. And see is mostly a Coder; you know she is a physics lightning, and she is great. How do you think we are you doing and where do you think we are going to go with this? Is there room to grow? I mean there is room.
D. Hoover: Yes, for sure. I mean we still have a long way to go, going back to my Dad boot camp, motivation and story, one of the reasons I wanted to get into education, was I was frustrated by just the people... the monotony I guess you could say of the first 12 years of my career. And you know watching the few women that applied and got into our apprenticeship program at Aptiva watching that not really stick for them. And of course, the vast majority of people who have applied through our apprenticeship program were white men. And that was at a fairly small scale though, and then I got to Groupon and we were required by them, and so I went and work there for a year. And from 2011 to 2012, and then I could see… they were like the same demographic scaled up like 10X. And I was just kind of appalled, and just kind of sad about the very; very like lessen, you know five probably women in this group of a 100 Engineers, and so that just honestly somehow just angered me.
And so, that often was a big driving factor in wanting to get into some sort of education that would allow more people, the people that are currently not part of this town pool, into the town pool. Because certainly there is… if I am looking at a 100 Engineers and five of them are women, that means there is a lot of women out there that could be good at this and aren't either here or they are not doing it or probably both. So, that was definitely motivating, I didn't really know how to do about it other than just get involved and do my best and try to be thoughtful about it. And then, yeah I mean like certainly we had I would probably say statistically significant more higher level if diversity in our applicants and in our students. Still, it was majority white men but it was a tick up instead of being 5% or 10% women, we had like, you know a quarter, you know in our kind of most diverse cohorts. But then I hear a statistic from last year and this is just anecdotal but I did hear that 46% of boot camp grads last year were women. And I hope that’s true, I want that to be true. Even if its 30% that still a lot of women who are coming into this field that you know, wouldn't be if it weren’t for educational opportunities like this and programs like this. So, I think there is going to be an interesting and probably difficult transition for this…
S. Salis: The culture…
D. Hoover: Trinity, this ecosystem of an aging group of men like me, who grow up to some extent in this field with a certain demographic and we are going to be getting disrupted, by a group of people that are coming up with an incredible bigger diversity. Like wider diversity of experiences and obviously like a more diverse demographics and it will be interesting to see…you can see it today…
S. Salis: Right…
D. Hoover: It is already starting of course with like cultural clashes.
S. Salis: I think of...
D. Hoover: But the interesting thing, you know at first in order…like the first few years of this phenomenon, all the diversity was in the junior people, right, and they weren't enough senior people who weren't diverse. And that's going to start changing, and it is already changing and it will keep changing, as we are not just talking about like more diverse people who have two years of experience. Now, they have six years of experience and soon they will have ten years of experience and soon they will be everything…
S. Salis: Start to see different results in like what they do.
D. Hoover: So, I think there is…I am feeling hopeful and hopefully, we have reached the point where it is just kind of a flywheel, and there’s enough examples out there of women and people of color entrenched under people. Who are examples to other people that are inspired to do this, and it is not all, you know rainbow and sunshine. Because they are a million, you know kind of war stories of people been discriminated against. And, you know in the worst situations you know assaulted or doused or whatever, it’s terrible. That said it does feel like there’s really good momentum, and interesting like diving straight from boot camps which made this nice tick forward I think in diversity jumping into Blockchain it was like stepping back 20 years.
S. Salis: Really?
D. Hoover: Demographically, especially in the first couple of years…
S. Salis: Okay.
D. Hoover: I think it’s starting to get better; it will probably get better faster than the general software development ecosystem did. But it was incredible white male, or Asian male or just men in general.
S. Salis: That is also the kind of the people like, you know there is the developers and there is the active part of this, and there is the passive investor part. Well, not passive I mean...
**D. Hoover: There's the investing side, and there is the technology side.
S. Salis: The technology, yes exactly. And also the…
D. Hoover: I also have no interest in the investor side.
S. Salis: Okay but I think that if for five minutes try to look into it, you will realize like, oh this is old white male, like just playing on this, most of it. Are you...
D. Hoover: I would say it is not all white males because that’s the stuff of fulfilling prophecy if we say that…
S. Salis: You are right…
D. Hoover: I want to acknowledge that there is a diversity problem in Blockchain but the beautiful thing is there is all sort of people that are in this stuff at this point, and also the access to good material for learning is getting better and better. It was really rough a couple years ago, and it just gotten so much better.
S. Salis: So, a wider and more wider accessibility to the materials to them will eventually bring like more different minds with different experiences to the technology in the field…
D. Hoover: And more people just putting diversity as a priority, you know, at first it wasn't people just trying to make it work and it just wasn't…
S. Salis: But you already noticing a difference in this process in this…? Okay.
D. Hoover: I definitely have... I was in California a couple months ago working in the pivotal office there and bizarrely just like someone who is sitting like two seats away at the lunch table was just there and she didn't work there. But she was also just hanging out, and she was sitting there, she was at bootcamp ground, she is learning solidity.
S. Salis: Great, that’s interesting….
D. Hoover: Now, she is blogging and she has just got her first job.
S. Salis: You know new technology; hopefully, we start with the right foot better, like get faster…
D. Hoover: Yes I think it will change.
S. Salis: Are you a spiritual person?
D. Hoover: I am
S. Salis*: Okay, are you a religious person?
D. Hoover: I definitely was raised very religious and I am going through a lot of... I am going through a very transitional time.
S. Salis: Which religion were you raised?
D. Hoover: I was raised Christian Evangelical.
S. Salis: Okay…
D. Hoover: Yeah.
S. Salis: Yeah, and that's all I have to say.
D. Hoover: In America it wasn't a bad experience, it taught me a lot and it was good in a lot of ways but I hit like 2004, and I worked at that works and I started having some friends who really started challenging me, more politically than spiritually but you know, has a Christian Evangelical politics and spirituality tend to be very fused, at least for me coming out of like... if you are for abortion I am going to vote against you and that was just the way I was raised. One issue voter, and yeah so that was an interesting transition to start opening my mind to grays and started with politics. And then in the last two or three years starting to let go and this is difficult and I have been really open with my family and friends about this, about letting go of kind of the one true way to heaven, let’s say. You know the way I was raised that is Jesus everyone else is out of luck, and kind of embracing the fact that I am not okay with that philosophy anymore, that there is still much to learn. And for certain for many Christian, that’s, you know probably means that I don't know what I am talking about or I have lost it at this point.
S. Salis: You have your own …
D. Hoover: I have seen enough of the world and met enough people to know that I just can't reconcile damming you know billions of people because especially when I just so happen to be raised in that environment and how convenient is that. That I was raised in an environment that says that the religion that my parents practiced is the one true religion. And I have had to start, I have definitely gotten through grappling with that but I am not, I do not have a religion at this point and this very spiritually curious an actually have read some books the last year or two that had a pretty big impact on me.
S. Salis: Well, then there is going to be a good conversation for our small segment later, just so you don't identify with anything specific but what do you believe in?
D. Hoover: I would still say I identify with Christianity.
S. Salis: Okay.
D. Hoover: I mean I take my kids to church, my kids certainly, my youngest son is just finishing up at a Christian middle school, yeah, so I have a lot of families who hold strong Christian beliefs and I certainly still mostly. I know that religion and that kind of philosophy better than anything else but I am educating myself in like yogi, not yoga but like yogi tradition as well as Buddhism. So, I feel like I’m in a place of curiosity and self-education when it comes to religion. So, what do I believe? To answer your question…
S. Salis: Yeah, let’s put it this way. Do you hold onto any principles in your life that you think are like something that makes you navigated more easily especially towards the others? What is one thing that you do that you hope everyone else did? And it would make the world a better place.
D. Hoover: That's easy, so I wouldn't want to push this on anybody, because I am passed that, not that I was ever very good at that in the first place I was so shy. That was the other thing about being a Christian, you are supposed to make everybody else Christians but I was so shy and introverted I could never do it. I would never do it, but the one thing that has profoundly changed my life and I think the many; many; many people, if not everybody would benefit from his meditation; I meditate for an hour every day.
S. Salis: Which kind of meditation? How do you specifically meditate?
D. Hoover: That has been an evolution, and I wrote a blog post last year about the first hundred days that I had practice meditation every day for an hour. Put some thoughts in there, these days the way I meditate is, it's basically in three, twenty-minute chunks. On the days I can do it for an hour straight, certain days you have to chunk it up, I mean I can't literally do an hour straight every single day because life happens.
S. Salis: 45: 49: Do you have a favorite position?
D. Hoover: So yes, I sit on the floor on my butt and like just, you know cross-legged. I like if I can like having a candle around, I like having some water next to me like obviously I like been next to like the ocean or something but I really like a bottle of water so I can drink when I am doing this.
S. Salis: That’s a bottle of the ocean.
D. Hoover: I am the ocean inside that bottle and but yes the three- twenty minute kind of chunks have three different focuses. The first is pretty straightforward it’s a mantra, and I am trying for twenty minutes to do a mantra and say a word in my head or audible like but basically in my head over and over again. And just breathing and just trying to let my thoughts play out, I don't try to quiet my thoughts they just have to keep going and work themselves out. And then any …when you really do focus on your breathing that does tend to quiet, and then the second -twenty minutes is open awareness, open your eyes. Meditate on the raw input of your senses, so it is an easier meditation.
S. Salis: So, you focus on whatever sounds, smells, sensations the more it comes to you.
D. Hoover: Yeah, so it is a little bit, its lessen in some ways less intense, which is good because the third -twenty minutes is feel your feelings meditation. Particularly the negative ones, which is really hard at times and have been very life-changing for me because my biggest problem I would say in my character is...
S. Salis: In your avatar.
D. Hoover: Yeah, is or in my personality or whatever is a denial or avoidance.
S. Salis: Of what?
D. Hoover: Of problems.
S. Salis: Okay
D. Hoover: I am very good at it. I can avoid or deny or just ignore some very big problems in my life.
S. Salis: That’s great. You can write a book on that.
D. Hoover: It's not great, it’s terrible; it’s terrible. And it’s unfortunate how good I became at that, and this third part of the meditation just like I couldn't do it until I started confronted some of the problems that were in my life. I couldn't get through it and the first time, the first practice of this form of meditation I did was six -ten minute sections with those three kinds of repeated twice. Like in the last six months, I have switched it to three - twenty-minute section because why not?
S. Salis: Twenty minutes it's kind of a good time for my mind to start to get quiet.
D. Hoover: Yeah, which is a little less frenetic, I don't know. It just felt like the next step for me, but that third section of focus on how you are doing, like feel your feelings. And that has really been my focus over the last year and a half is, like actually let myself feel my feelings, and deal with it. Including like for long periods of time, no caffeine like let myself feel tired like just feel it, like being tired, deal with it. Of course, they are certain times in your life when you can afford that, you know, like having a baby is not one of those times, right? Or whether you are in grad school or whatever, you know thing to do, and you need that caffeine or whatever in order to power through this time. But with the age of my kids and the situation I was in I could afford to feel my feelings, and really start working through it, and that part of the meditation is the real thing that makes the biggest difference.
S. Salis: What’s one big problem that you have started to acknowledge and not deny to yourself through this process for you?
D. Hoover: Yeah man, that’s some personal stuff, I am happy to talk about it though…
S. Salis: You don’t have to…
D. Hoover: It's not a happy topic, no I will; I will. I made a good amount of money through a series of acquisitions that happen between 2011 and 2014. And so, the problem with acquisitions are getting money like that is they just don't take the taxes out. You got to pay the taxes, and I did this really stupid thing, where I just didn't even do my taxes. Not that I didn't save it…
S. Salis: Right, you didn’t think about that.
D. Hoover: I just like didn't do my taxes for years and nobody comes and gets you. And there’s no bill comes and says, “hey pay this bill”. If a bill had come I would have figured it out.
S. Salis: Eventually….
D. Hoover: I mean eventually they did like years went by, and I like remember getting a letter or something, I'm like, "oh whatever, I can't deal with this right now". And so, that was the biggest thing, it was like I would try to do this meditation first time like I can't do this because there is this thing that is constantly hanging over my head that I basically ignore, and that kicked off the process of dealing with that, which was really painful and...
S. Salis: Complicated at some point.
D. Hoover: Sure, but it got figured out…
S. Salis: Okay
D. Hoover: And then I didn't have anything hanging over my head anymore, you know. But there was all sort of damage done and you know like just, yeah it was embarrassing. And adults are supposed to pay their taxes, and I eventually did but like it shouldn't take years…
S. Salis: To acknowledge that…
D. Hoover: To get caught up on that stuff, so yeah, that was like one big huge step.
S. Salis: Okay, yeah. And you were not able to fully meditate until you sorted it.
D. Hoover: Right, I couldn't do this form of meditation until I did that, so at that point you know after I saw that was a sticking point for me and actually changing my behavior allowed me to do this kind of meditation. I was like well that’s good, that’s a good thing, I would not be in denial about things, and so a lot of things have changed in the last year as I have continued to practice that.
S. Salis: Here is to you acknowledging more smaller things and more personal in the future though that. Dave Hoover, Code Crafter and a meditator who pays taxes, today on Hoomans, thank you so much for chatting here.
D. Hoover: Thanks, Simone.
S. Salis: Thanks.