Episode 679: That Championship Sesason

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle Bo Burnham’s Netflix special “Inside” and how we process our experiences of the last year.

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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather overthink Bo Burnham’s Netflix special Inside, and try to make sense of their own ambitions for and reactions to that championship season.

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6 Comments on “Episode 679: That Championship Sesason”

  1. John C Member #

    Terminology: I call “the time” “the pandemic parts that we worried about.” The maybe-not-comedy production, pioneered by Maria Bamford, is a “special special special,” who got there before the pandemic started…and is worth a watch, as is everything Bamford works on.

    If Pete is really looking for volunteers, I’m generally more of a superhero or sci-fi game person and have never been an “actually pose as the character” sort, but I’d tag along to help find the holes.

    To Matt’s point about shifting to teaching (yes, it’s teaching), I’ve similarly been looking to find someplace to recycle my lecture notes from the days that I taught the majority of a school’s graduate Computer Science curriculum. It was fun, but the school no longer exists, which makes it hard to continue when there isn’t even a single whiteboard in the Panera that has replaced the classroom I was usually assigned, and when you pass out exams to people just trying to eat their preprepared sandwiches, suddenly that makes you the bad guy. But the graduate programs, historically, have been that intermediate training, though there was usually not much room in the schedule for hands-on work except in specific situations.

    I was going to get into my version of “the quarantine for single people,” but I’ve gone on long enough to start gazing into the abyss of my navel…


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      Yeah I’m not talking about teaching I’m talking about being a fAmOuS sTrEaMeR oN tHe TwItCh!!!

      But when you were teaching graduate school, were you teaching computer science or the practice of software development? I think of the difference as analogous to the difference between, I dunno, physics and bridge building.

      This may be too romantic, but I think of being mentored by cranky older programmers in my early days and I wonder where all that knowledge goes when your “senior engineer” is 24 years old and was in a “learn Javascript” bootcamp like eighteen months ago.


      • John C Member #

        So, it depends on your definitions, but I went to an engineering school, so other than a computational theory class (algorithms is a borderline case), it was mostly talking about development in the abstract. Students could slip by without writing a line of C by carefully picking electives, but there was going to be a lot of pseudocode and everyone’s database class required writing more SQL than a typical pre-dot-com boom job would need.

        That education is also what turned me into that cranky engineer before I was 24, taught by the prior generation. But yeah, there’s no replacement for someone with the confidence to say “I know you WANT to rewrite everything, but that’s a waste of time and we have more to do. No, your case isn’t special…”


        • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

          I once interviewed for a director or vp job and one of the CTO’s questions was, “How do you deal with a programmer who says they need to rewrite everything.”


          • John C Member #

            Ha! I can’t speak to what the corporate-approved answer is, but my favorite solution comes from the worst job that I’ve had: If the developer can justify it with a cost-benefits analysis, including a detailed and plausible schedule, they can get the task on the roadmap.

            It’s tedious, but I’ve also found it one of the most useful ways to propose changes, too, since the marketing people understand “X developer-hours to eliminate Y support calls per month.” Likewise, the developers who love to rewrite things almost never realize how much their time actually costs…

          • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

            Yeah, that’s funny. I try to explain to people: “I’m not here to build software. Building software is terrible. I’m here to achieve a goal, and if there were a way to do it other than building software, I’d do that instead.”

            This should be a bonus podcast. I have to imagine our audience overindexes in tech workers and nerds.

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