Paul Everitt - Early Python, Coaching

- Well, hello, Paul.

- Hello, Brian.

- How's it going?

- Very well, you were just talking about getting yourself ready for the intro.

I've got a laptop full of me cursing in my microphone 'cause I botched something.

So you can't do that in live, right?

- Yeah, but this isn't going straight to live, but pretty close.

So this is the second episode of a new podcast called Python People.

So thank you for agreeing to be the second guest.

- It's a joy to be asked.

It really is a joy to be asked.

I appreciate it.

- Well, I think I went in the proper order.

So yeah, so this morning I talked with Michael Kennedy and I think it was appropriate to have him come on as the first guest because we do Python Bytes together and he does TalkPython and, or TalkPython to me, sorry, the full name, but he also does TalkPython training.

And he's been very influential to me and to lots of people, but on my path and getting involved with the Python community, I kind of did it with him as a, like a, an exit buddy or an entrance buddy or something.

'cause my first PyCon was when he and I did a PyCon, and we went together and we had a booth.

So I don't know if that's normal for the first time you go to a PyCon is to have a booth, but whatever.

So you're at PyCons a lot, and you are, so you're Paul Everett, and you were influential to me because early on I went back to look, I think we got introduced to each other like in 2016 or 2017, it's been a while.

So at least in Python, in internet time, that's forever.

- You are a very memorable introduction for me.

I took a pre-release, maybe Kindle version or something of the book, on vacation to the beach.

- Oh, right.

- Yeah, and read your book, like couldn't put it down, which says something about my life choices, you know, isn't there anything better to do at the beach than pytest, but apparently not.

It was riveting, it really was.

- Oh, you're so kind.

And I think that you were claiming, and I have no way to dispute you, that you were the first person to buy the first edition of the pytest book.

- My stories usually have some percentage basis in truth and it sounds good, so let's stick to it.

- Yeah, but you were supporting me even I think before, but anyway, thank you for encouraging me in my journey in Python.

But you, so right, I know you as, so my introduction to you was in that, that you picked up the book, but I also wanted help in understanding how I could use PyCharm effectively, because when I've, in previous times I've tried to pick it up, I've tripped a few times.

So it was a couple of things you pointed me in the right direction to use VI, 'cause there's a VIM mode.

And then also we worked, I think we worked together a little bit to try to iron out some of the kinks with using PyTest and PyCharm together.

And that was a lot of fun.

So I guess thanks for letting me come along for that ride.

- And thanks for doing that.

In fact, another kink got ironed out a couple of betas ago with a really accurate fixture support, something you and I had talked about.

- Yeah.

- And it's funny how you're in a job where you're supposed to be like, hey, Paul, you're supposed to be the face of PyCharm.

And I wake up every day and like, damn, I only know like 1% of this product and it's gonna change 2% during the day.

You're always feeling like you're behind the curve.

And the same was true for our testing support.

I kept trying to explain to people, "Man, it's bad-ass, go use it.

" And then I listened to you explain it once in one of your episodes.

And you said, "It's the UI for pytest that you always wanted.

" And I thought, "That's what I should have been saying the whole time.

" - It's a nice interface.

So you said you're the face of PyCharm, but you do more, so you're a developer advocate for JetBrains, right?

- Yeah, and I shouldn't be associated with a product.

As an advocate, we are in the business of making developers better, however that may be.

And I cover web stuff and Python stuff like you.

You're fairly recently, since the last time you and I saw each other, you're getting back into Django and Django testing.

- Yeah.

- And I'm getting back into the world of Django as well.

And it's joyful when you focus on technologies rather than products, because you get to focus on communities and places like PyTest and places like Django are just really joyful, aren't they?

- They really are.

And partly you're right because of the people around it.

There are, I mean, I also really like a lot of other frameworks.

I like Flask, I like FastAPI, and FastAPI has got some, and there's some great people around those projects.

But it doesn't really have the community, the huge community that Django has, but it also, I mean, there's reasons behind that.

There are more lightweight things, but.

And you, so other than, so I see you mostly once a year at PyCon.

(laughing) And then we talk a couple of times a year, hopefully for various other things, but we keep in touch.

But other, so most people probably do know you from, or at least current new people from your involvement with PyCharm and JetBrains, but you go kind of farther back with Python, right?

You've been- - Indeed.

- What was that web framework that you were using?

(laughing) - Zope.

- Zope, that's it.


- Yeah.

You haven't used that for a while.

- I got to tell that story to someone today.

I was talking with someone about what we plan to do with Django in the next year.

And I was explaining that Django, when it was created, was the thing that killed my thing.

So if you think Django's old, it was really new when it killed my project, so.

- And then hopefully, I don't think Django needs any introduction, But you, so did you go, was there stuff between your involvement with Zope and your involvement with JetBrains and PyCharm?

Did you go away from Python for a while or have you been with Python?

- No, I lived in Europe for four years, which kind of took me out of the going to PyCon crowd.

But I got involved with Chris McDonough and Trey Seaver in Pyramid.

- Okay.

- Which was kind of thought of as a successor to Zope, the framework.

I got involved with Plone, which was a content management system built on top of Zope, which is still going, has a foundation just like Django has a foundation.

I find that movement fascinating whenever an open source community is mature enough, thoughtful enough, strong enough to build a foundation, assign all the intellectual property to it and outlive its founders.

That's pretty cool.

So to answer your question, yes, Pyramid and Plone were things I did after Zote.

- Okay, and you, anyway, so you've been, you've been around for a while, man.

- I've been around for a while, yeah.

- But you seem, you're still a positive influence and you're pretty excited about what's going on with even new developments.

And that's pretty cool.

And I guess I do see that more in Python than I see it in other places.

I mean, C++ has changed a lot in the last few years and some people are along for the ride and some people are kind of curmudgeonly about it.

But anyway, I guess thanks.

But you brought up the Outlive Foundation, open source projects that outlive their founders.

And I don't think that we've really outlived Guido, he's still involved, but that's kind of, we did go through one of those transitions with Python as a whole of going from the BDFL to a steering council sort of model.

What do you think about that transition?

It is, it's fantastic.

Multiple things I think about it.

You'll have people on board like Brett, who I adore and admire and respect.

He'll have better things to say than me about it.

But I remember going to see Guido when he was at Google, this is after I came back from Europe, and he was already kind of in the mode of turning over a lot of decision making to people.

And it already felt at that time, gosh, I don't know, maybe that was 2010 or something like that.

It already felt like he was starting to get out of the business.

Now, the thing that prompted him to really make the move, not joyful.

The walrus episode, right?

- Yeah.

But even though he was in a spot, the way he conducted it was really interesting.

It almost has this feeling of like Dr.

Manhattan going to Mars or something like that.

He chose to say, I'm out, you're going to replace me and I'm not gonna tell you what with.

And there were, I think three different models for what was going to be like just a different BDFL or a this or that.

And he wound up coming back for a while and then getting back out for a while.

And he's doing what he wants on his own terms.

And he's doing the things that he finds joyful.

Not a fantastic outcome.

- It really is.

And I, so I jumped in like the first, I don't even remember what the first icon I was, I came, it wasn't that long ago.

So I've only been to a few, but the, I think it was the second one that was important.

But there was, and I can't remember where we were on that transition.

I don't think we were, I don't know if there's, so this is the fifth year of the steering council.

So I lost track of time.

- Five years, man.

- I think it's the fifth year, 'cause I think I heard Brett talking about that.

So there was, I mean, of course he's a, it's an interesting thing meeting Guido for the first time, if you haven't, because he's not, he's not like an extrovert.

I mean, he's not like walking up and meeting Steve Jobs or something like that.

I've never met Steve Jobs, but, you know, he's not like an outgoing, he's kind of quiet.

And it's hard to read that a little bit.

Is it quiet because he doesn't want to talk to anybody or is he just not gonna like shout, "Hey" to you or something?

So I was, I of course wanted to meet him.

So I think I went up and said, "Hey, just say thanks" and everything.

And then most recently when I saw him in person was at PyCascades.

And I was just, what was kind of, it was so cool.

I was just kind of standing around in one of the, there was a talk going on and I just needed time to just hang out for a little while.

And I was standing there and he walked up to me and said, and started asking me about testing and stuff.

And he just seemed to relax.

So- - Oh yeah, that's a great way to put it.

- He's just seems like he's having fun with it more.

And like you said, he gets just to do what he wants.

How about you?

Do you get to do what you want with Python?

- Unfortunately, yes.

But if I could follow up on the last point and then come back to that.

- Sure, yeah, yeah.

- When I first started thinking about this open source projects that are able to outlive their founders, a lot of times you think of it in terms of this semi crazy open source leader.

And we've all seen projects with people who really got kind of a Messiah complex going on.

But that's not what I mean.

I mean the ones that get successful.

And one of the common ingredients when I first started thinking about this, it was in the content management system space in the 2000s, 2005, up into 2010.

And that was a time when during the course of this conversation, someone would launch a new CMS.

CMSs were like where web frameworks are now, where people just wrote them over and over as vanity projects.

And some of them would break through for each language, whether it was Ruby or PHP or whatever.

And the ones that got successful would get venture capital funding.

Oh, right.



And for me, um, that's a little bit symptomatic of American culture, particularly West coast, Silicon Valley culture.


And this feeling that you as a founder, aren't successful unless you go hockey stick.


And when your project goes hockey stick, you want to milk the cow because you think it's your cow, but I hope the source project is our cow 'cause we're all feeding the cow.

And if you decide you're gonna get all the milk out of the cow, no one else feeds the cow, no more milk.

And when you look at some of these that have gone kind of from a BDFL founder model to having a organization or an instrument that survives it, that supersedes it, I should say, that sounds a little feverish.

Then some of those have some characteristics where it doesn't, it never had the culture of Silicon Valley, VC, IPO, let's go mega scale.

- Yeah, yeah, also, I mean, there's a lot of open source projects that if they're gonna do that with the venture and that we're seeing some now that where there's some backing around open source projects.

And I guess we'll have to watch and wait and see how those do.

But for instance, Django didn't start in Silicon Valley.

I think it was in Kansas or something like that.

And I wonder if that's one of the differences.

And Python didn't start in Silicon Valley, but I don't know if there was a Silicon Valley one.


But that is interesting to see some of the different aspects of the things that move on.

So some of the-- I'm paying a lot of attention to Django lately.

Django has done that transition as well.

But they had two people at the beginning with, didn't they?


An interesting lifecycle of its history.

It would be great for you in this podcast series if you're kind of doing the historian role, to bring on Jessica McKellar and talk about the launch of diversity in the world of Python and PyCon and others involved in PyLadies at the beginning.

I personally would love to hear the authoritative version of that, but also the origin story of Django and how, what was it at the beginning of Django that would lead you to believe that in 2023, me, the Zope freaking guy, would be extolling the virtues of how they did it.

I'd love to hear that story.

- Oh, that's a good idea.

I'll try to dig up the right people.

- By the way, Zope did have venture capital and I did give speeches, open source business model speeches at venture capital conferences.

And that's another episode.

- I hadn't thought about like some of the history stuff, but I do think that's one of the things I wanna try to capture is a lot of these stories, these history stories, because they, well, just to be dark and blunt, people still remember them right now.

And they might not in a 10, five, 10 years, but who knows?

So Jess McKellar would be a good one.

Anybody, and I have a couple of contacts in the Django world so I can reach out there.


- But definitely the origin of pi, ladies.

What an incredible success.

- Yeah, I don't know why I'm writing notes.

I'm recording this.

It's a habit.

Plus I have this really cool new pen that they got for publishing.

- That is.

- I gotta ask you a Django question 'cause I'm still in like the newbie process.

I've gone through a few tutorials.

I've got a thing that I wanna build.

So I'm like looking into Django.

But there's one, it's like a, it's not really pipe test versus unit test sort of a controversy, but it's a class-based versus function-based views.

- Ooh, spicy.

- Where'd you fall there?

- You just had Will and Carlton on.

- Yeah, but I didn't know enough to ask them about that.

- Okay, I will do a HTTP 302 redirect to give props to Trey Hunter, who on Mastodon right now is doing a hashtag Django June.

- Okay.

- And he just talked about this three or four posts ago.

All of his posts are worth reading.

- Yeah, okay.

Trey's a great guy.

I gotta, I'll have to talk with him as well.

So yeah.

- Moral of the story, as the great philosopher Nancy Pelosi said, embrace the suck and go with classmates views.

- Really?

Nancy Pelosi said that?

- Yeah.

She had to have been quoting somebody.

So I should go further back and see.

- Did not know she was a Django developer.

That's amazing.

So I think you're making that up, actually.

- I am not.

- Really, Nancy Pelosi's develops Django?

That's awesome.


Maybe I can get her.

So I wanted to also find out a little bit more about you.

What do you do when you're away from promoting Python and JetBrains and everything?

I have a life passion coaching girls lacrosse.


Lacrosse is a.



My stick is a little.



It's the old wooden stick.

Lacrosse is a sport stick, a net, a ball.

You run around, the ball's hard, you chuck it, it flies up and down the field.

and my daughter started playing and she's now a referee and a coach.

I actually work for her.

I'm her assistant.

She's, if I can be a proud dad for a moment, she's the youngest D1 ref in history.

Oh really?

But it is our platform for fixing the world.

There are things going on in the world that, you know, like politics and society and culture, and as much, Brian, as we feel like rage tweeting fixes everything, it's just a little unfulfilling to go tweet about the problems of the world.

And so we have enjoyed using youth sports as a way to accomplish things that might make a change.

It's super fun.

Our team looks like America, let's put it that way.

Oh, that's awesome.

In a sport that really is kind of a country club from income and diversity perspective.

Teaching young women to be leaders.

We're not in the lacrosse business, we're in the leadership business.

I always tell them one of you is going to be president and fix all the mistakes that we made So it's our job to get you ready for the role And it's also just a fun way for an old middle-aged white Hobbit looking dude to be ridiculous Well, what do you mean?

What's ridiculous about it?

Do you get out there and practice silly to be someone in their lives?

Who's 900 years older that they can joke with and I trash-talk with them They trash talk back with me and it's super fun.

- That's awesome.

That's great.

I actually, so I've got two daughters and I think decent humans, adults that have kids, I think I take it as part of my responsibility to be at least one more positive adult figure in their lives.

- Yeah.

- Awesome.

- And some don't have very many.

So it's good to have one more.

And my wife's the same and it's good to be able to have it not be weird.

So if somebody's asking a question and I wanna take a shot at answering it to have my wife there to be able to say, no, that's bullshit or yeah, that's valid.

It's good.

How long you been doing that?

- Gosh, ooh, since like 2007 or something like that.

- Wow, okay.

- It's something that overlaps in several ways with what we do in open source communities and stuff and what you and I do, you're a good advocate for people.

My daughter sent me something this weekend the head of Nike said, we have this kind of crisis.

First of all, sports in general are great for young people.

When done in a less competitive kind of way.

It teaches a lot of things about working together, working with difficult people, working in difficult circumstances.

If done the right way, it gives a chance for people to be leaders at a younger age.

And certainly for women, I've heard people in positions of high authority say when we're hiring like for CEOs or something, or if we're in the military and we're looking to promote people to a high rank.

When I see a woman who's played a sport, that's like a double plus.

It's something that is a tangible benefit.


And the problem is the head of Nike sent something out.

My daughter sent it to me.

There's a crisis of young women dropping out of sports when they hit puberty and they did a study and the number one reason is 75% of youth coaches are men.

That sounds like a very believable.


And again, in an overlap with my day job, I view it as my job to help the next generation get in place.

Triplett did a bunch of good talking about this for the PSF board elections.

We don't need heroes, we need the next generation of heroes.

And the old heroes need to help the new heroes.

That's not me for Python anymore, but in sports what it means is I should always be subordinate to a woman, particularly a young woman.

And if the players can see old Hobbit-looking dude taken orders from a young woman, you know, I can't be it until I see it.

That's actually pretty cool.

That's nice.

Um, I like that.

Is it?

Did you, so did you play lacrosse when you were younger?


Oh, okay.

I grew up in the wrong part of Florida.

We didn't have no lacrosse.

Well, so how do you know what to tell people to do if, uh, you don't know?

I mean, It just does your daughter kind of help you out with that or did I get the beginners?

OK, I know my place in the back.

Well, I've I've never I don't think I've ever watched a cross game.

And I was like, like, Googled lacrosse.

Look at some pictures.

Well, duck, duck, go.

But, you know, there you go.

And there's like helmets and stuff.

Yeah, the women's game is the old joke about America and England are two countries divided by a common language.

Yeah, they both share the word lacrosse, but they're quite different.

They're not hitting each other in the heads on women's.

They're not swinging the sticks intentionally at the head.

Do guys do that?

They intentionally swing at each other?

Is it?

Yeah, there's a lot of content.

It's like hockey, but with.

Kind of a hockey soccer thing, but another thing that I learned when I first got started was whenever you get into volunteer groups, so much comes over from open source.

What do you mean?

You if you want to affect change, there's that African proverb.


Oh, gosh, please get this right.

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

And so whether it's an open source or use volunteer work of any kind, if you want enduring change, you got to get a whole bunch of people pulling on the road.

And that is a skill set that we in open source have gotten pretty good at.

And it doesn't come over from the corporate world very well or the military.

Well I actually I'm surprised that people learn it in sports because I didn't.

I mean you can if like you said if sports are taught right I believe you that you could learn teamwork and you know working together and stuff.

There's also very competitiveness, like not even just with other, like competing with your team, but competing against your teammates that goes on.

- I've seen parents who pay their kids 20 bucks per left-handed goal.


- Why?

- Because their little precious is the one and only important thing.

- But why left-handed goal?

Is left-hand goal a difficult thing or something?

- When you're young, you haven't learned to use both hands very well.

- Oh, okay.

- But you're right, youth sports has gotten worse.

It's become a vehicle for the adults to scratch their egos.

- Yeah.

- It's gotten expensive, it's gotten elitist.

- Well, I don't know if it ever was not.

I mean, I remember, so I, the sports I played when I was young, I played, you know, a little soccer, like it was, you know, too young to remember barely.

I just remember getting rained on.

And then in middle school, I thought football looks fun.

I'll try that.

And first day, the coach says, first day of practice, Coach says, OK, what the like the the back field to go over here and the line line people go over to this side.

And I just I'd never played before.

So I was like, I don't know what you're talking about.

I mean, I mean, I know what those are, but how do I know what I should be?

And so that and that was because, which I didn't know at the time, that there were most of the other kids that played like little league football or something like that.

And I think that-- and I get that at the point where the varsity football and all the varsity teams, they're trying to win.

And they're trying to go on to college and stuff like that.

I think at least beginning freshman year and younger than freshman year, I don't think that we should be weeding people out too fast.

Totally agree.

It depends on which scoreboard you're aiming for.

- Yeah, I'd like to see it be more about having people get, try something out that they may not have ever tried before and see if they liked it and have fun with it and do the whole team thing.

- Everything you just said, I really, really agree with.

And it's also how you conduct yourself in your public role in software.

You are someone who encourages people, brings people together, shines the spotlight that you get on you.

You share it and then shine that spotlight on other people.

- Cool, thank you.

I will, you do get your payment for, agreed to a payment for- - Promotional consideration.

- Sure.

I want one more sport thing that I, now I'm remembering my youth.

I did play, or I was on the track and field team, is that a thing?

For one year, just tried it out.

And I think I did the discus, yeah, that's it.

Where you try to spin around and throw this heavy disc and try not to hit people.

I was terrible at it, but oddly enough, those seem like individual sports and they are, But I felt more teamwork and team camaraderie in that experience because doing poorly didn't drag anybody else down.

They were like trying to encourage me and teach me to do better, of course, and the other kids.

But the best person at Discus didn't get worse because I was there.

It was interesting.


- There's a theory that if you take two boys and have them do a sprint against each other, they'll do, they'll run faster than if they ran by themselves, but two girls will run slower than if they run by themselves 'cause they don't wanna show the other one up.

- Probably an overgeneralization, but interesting.

- You also got into skateboard culture, right?

- Yeah.

And I suspect that became a home for you for several reasons.

One, it was a tribe, a culture, and also it was your choice, right?

- It was, it was my choice, but I was just thinking about some of the analogy between skateboarding now and open source and Python, was that one of the, we had that in common.

So the people that I hung out with, we had the skateboarding in common.

We might not be able to talk about anything else.

We might be different music types, different in different ages even.

I remember being a freshman in high school, hanging out with like late year college students.

And then all the way down to like younger kids.

And what was the thing in common?

We were all watching the half pipe to wait our turn so that we could ride.

And then we were talking about stuff and encouraging each other.

There wasn't, I mean, there weren't competition.

There were probably competitions, but not in my circles, but teaching each other tricks and teaching stuff.

And that equalizer of young or old, doing it new, all the old guys are fine in teaching the new people because we have to have a new generation coming along.

And I do see that in the open source world a lot.

My son got into a sport that sounds a lot like that kind of culture, parkour.

And it like specifically eschews competition and a really good fit for him.

He thrived in something like that.

And I actually found myself learning from him about the virtues of that kind of approach.

Um, yeah, I got back into coaching.

I started to focus on the kids who needed lacrosse more than the cross needed them.

I think that maybe we could feed that back to other things as well.

There's, there's, there's some like a kid activities that I wish were less competitive.

Like, uh, early, I don't know if you have any of your kids have ever taken dance.

Um, but dance classes are most, a lot of them that I've been involved with are like the, trying to teach, you get a little bit of instruction and lesson.

and lesson and then it's and then it's like a couple months of learning the same thing over and over again to do a performance so that they could compete somewhere and all the joy of concert piano plus broken feet.

Well also like I'm pretty sure that like 99% of the kids that get into dance at like age eight aren't doing it to become professional dancers.


Just saying.


- There's gotta be joy.

- Yeah.

- I mean, joy and purpose go well together in appropriate ratios.

- And I get the thing of like, you can wanna like do something so that the parents can watch it and go, oh, look what little Jimmy learned or something.

But you know, I don't know.

- I'm hoping that some of your listeners thinking, "Hey, that matches when I got into such and such.

" That they found their tribe and their heads are nodding and they're like, "I know exactly what you're talking about.

A warm, welcoming place where I could be the best me.

" I would love that.

And speaking of audience and people listening and people coming on as guests, so this Python People is a little bit of an experiment.

So my original idea was instead of diving too far into the technical stuff, let's like meet the people and get to know the individuals that are involved with Python a little bit more.

Well said.

But where it goes from there, like you brought up bringing up some of the history stuff, I think that's a great idea.

And I'd like to have other people go, you know what, if we're talking about just the people around Python and the culture, let's talk about other things.

and the tying in other things that they have in life.

Like I'm not a musician, even though I apparently collect guitars, but I know some people are, and I'd love to hear like that, how music relates to software and stuff like that.

So I think I've asked a ton of questions, but I really thanks Paul for supporting the show and for being the second guest.

And anyway, thanks.

- Thanks for having me.

Thanks for talking about the thing we all have in common, which is Python, like Brett says, come from the language state for the community.

And we should all just take time every now and then to appreciate the thing we have.

- Yes, and also keep making it better.

Let's, like you were talking about with diversity, we're not perfect yet and we have room to grow.

So thanks a lot and catch up later.

- Thanks Brian.


Creators and Guests

Brian Okken
Brian Okken
Software Engineer, also on Python Bytes and Test & Code podcasts
Paul Everitt
Paul Everitt
Python and Web Developer Advocate at JetBrains for PyCharm and WebStormIDE. Python oldster, Zope/Plone/Pyramid mafia. Girls lacrosse, running.
Paul Everitt - Early Python, Coaching
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