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Margo McCabe for HarperDB

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🎙️Select* Podcast: For Devs & Tech Leaders

We’re already almost halfway through season two of Select*, the podcast hosted by HarperDB, and it seems like a good time to do a quick recap. We have once again been able to get some super smart and interesting people on the show -- it’s so fun being able to chat with them! Below you’ll see a summary of this season so far, including a few paraphrased moments from the episodes that I really enjoyed. You can find all of our episodes on the Select* RSS feed, on the podcast landing page, on YouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

S02 E1: TensorFlow.js, Building Community, & Coding for the Greater Good w/ Bekah HW

We started season 2 of SELECT* with BekahHW, a Software Developer & Technical Community Builder. Bekah talks about how learning to code can be therapeutic, what it was like building the Virtual Coffee community, and more recently becoming a Technical Community Builder. We also touch on what is TensorFlow.js and why it's important, as well as some really cool use cases for Machine Learning.

After spending ten years as a college English instructor, @bekahhw pivoted to coding and graduated from the Flatiron School Software Engineering program in May of 2019. She has spent most of her tech career specializing in front-end development, but has also created the developer community Virtual Coffee, spoke on podcasts and at conferences, and continued to mom her four kids. She's excited to be joining her first DevRel team with Deepgram as their Technical Community Builder.

Show moments:

When talking about how you don’t have to be an expert on a subject in order to teach it, Bekah mentioned:

It can sometimes be hard to ask questions because we’re not used to it, but we’re all looking up stuff all of the time. It’s not gonna look the same all the time, tech changes too quickly, so ask those questions because you will learn much more and much more quickly if you’re willing to ask. There’s always something new to learn out there.

S02 E02: Life as a Front End Engineer at an Early Stage Startup w/ Annie Liew

Episode 2 features Annie Liew, also known as @anniebombanie, a Front-end Engineering Lead at Pastel, for a discussion on life at an early stage startup. In this episode we learn a bit about Annie's journey, as well as the following topics:

  • Tell us about the company you're at and their product
  • What's it like working at an early stage startup? Were you scared to take the plunge into the startup world?
  • Pros and cons of being on such a small team? Tips for folks in a similar position?
  • What are you focusing on at the moment, main goals for 2022?
  • What technologies / frameworks / tools are you currently learning or really excited about right now?

Annie comes from a multidisciplinary design & teaching background. She's currently the Front-end Engineering Lead at Pastel and is active in both the design and developer community. In her free time, she reads, travels and makes CSS art! You can see Annie's website here.

Show moments:

When talking about overcoming challenges related to being on a smaller team:

I was concerned about mentorship on a small team, which I do have with my CTO, but at Pastel me and my CTO are the only two devs. So I’m not able to have my decisions challenged all the time, and sometimes it feels like everything is up to me. What I’ve done is get involved with a lot of communities so that I can get an outside perspective. If you’re at a very small startup and want to hear different opinions, just ask an external community so you can bounce your ideas back and forth.

S02 E03: What Web3 Means for Developers w/ Pratham Prasoon

In this episode we chat with Pratham Prasoon, a Programmer, Student, Developer Advocate, and web3 super genius, about what is web3 and what it means for developers. Some additional topics covered include:

  • How do NFTs work?
  • What are potential concerns or downsides of web3 and NFTs?
  • What tools and technologies should people be learning who want to move towards web3?
  • What are you working on next / what side project are you excited about?

Pratham is 17 years old. Building in web3 and machine learning and sharing his journey.

Show moments:

I asked Pratham to define web3 in his point of view:

Typically when you’re in the web2 world, creators are putting their heart and soul into making content, basically working for the platform if you think about it. It’s the platform that benefits and makes all the money. The web3 world is about the creators and the users of the platform being the main ones benefiting from the system. It’s mostly about decentralization - meaning everyone has the power to participate in the network and be a part of the platform and they can get tangible benefits out of it.

(Side note: You can also read about what web3 and decentralization mean for data storage in my recent blog).

S02 E04: Why I'm Excited About Machine Learning & Python w/ Patrick Loeber

In this episode we chat with Patrick Loeber, a Software Engineer & YouTuber who is teaching the community about Python and Machine Learning. Topics covered include:

  • Why are you excited about machine learning, why is python your framework of focus?
  • Is there a difference between AI / ML / deep learning, how do they intersect?
  • Top tips / biggest mistakes you see for folks learning python? Challenges with machine learning?
  • Where do you see machine learning being used now and 10 years from now?
  • Favorite technologies / tools, things you're learning now?

Patrick (@pat_loeber) is a Software Engineer and Developer Advocate with a passion for Machine Learning and Data Science. He’s the founder of and the corresponding YouTube channel where he creates programming content for over 100k subscribers.

Show moments:

How do AI / ML / deep learning intersect?

AI is like the big buzzword for everything. Machine learning is a sub-area of AI. By definition, Machine Learning is when the computer tries to learn something on its own based on explicit instructions. You do this by showing framing data to the computer and the computer tries to learn with this data. Deep learning is another sub-area of Machine Learning that involves neural networks (another buzzword) which are inspired from human brains where you connect neurons. Deep learning can figure out more complex stuff.

S02 E05 - From Classical Musician to Software Developer w/ Jessica Wilkins

In this episode we chat with Jessica Wilkins, a former classical musician who came across an awesome opportunity in software development through technical writing. Questions we covered include:

  • What do you do now, how did you get to where you are today?
  • How did you transition into tech, how did platforms like FreeCodeCamp help with the transition and create strong connections in the community?
  • What was it like coming from a non-technical background?
  • Were there parallels between being a classical musician and learning to code? How were you able to pull from previous knowledge to assist with the learning process?
  • Other tips for folks just starting out with their dev career?
  • What technologies and/or tools are you focused on right now or excited about?

Jessica (@codergirl1991)is a classical musician turned junior developer and technical writer. Prior to joining the tech industry, she spent her time running her own sheet music company (JDW Sheet Music) as well as performing and teaching in Los Angeles, CA. She now enjoys working as a developer and working with React, Node and Express. She is also a prolific technical writer for freeCodeCamp, and created the Black Excellence Music Project which is dedicated to black artists who have made significant contributions to the arts.

Show moments:

When talking about coming from a non-technical background:

I think the pandemic made everyone really think about what they’re doing, and a lot of people realized they wanted to move into a different career. We’re starting to see much more diverse career changers that are successful developers now working in the industry. If you’re self taught, you not only need to study the code part, but you also need to study how to get a job. A lot of people don’t know how to get that first job, and get the hiring manager’s attention. There's so many great resources out there like Danny Thompson's Linkedin series on Youtube, also the 100devs series on how to get a job. Not a lot of people spend that time to understand how the industry works which is especially important when you’re a career changer.

S02 E06: Decentralized Computing w/ a VP Systems Engineer, José Domingos

In this episode we chat with José Domingos, a VP of Solutions Engineering at Ori Industries, which is a unique edge orchestration and networking solution.

  • In your words, define decentralized computing. Why is it important? Why are companies focused on it? How does it tie into blockchain and web3?
  • How is Ori enabling / enhancing decentralized computing?
  • How are HarperDB and Ori working together?
  • What types of use cases are a fit for decentralization?
  • Are there any risks / downsides to decentralized computing? * What's the best process to move towards this methodology?
  • Looking ahead: what can we expect from Ori next? What are you excited about?

José has 20+ years experience in telecommunications and networking, designing and architecting very large scale monitoring systems, for global and in-country networks. At Ori Industries he is the VP Systems Engineering, responsible for Solution Integration. José has been working on Edge and Cloud Native technologies for the last 4 years and his passion is technology and science in general. José also loves the outdoors, trekking, swimming or cycling, whatever gets him out in nature.

Show moments:

Why is decentralized computing important:

Decentralized computing is not a new concept. I like to think it’s like a cycle. First we had highly centralized compute, then mainframe, then the PC which changed to more decentralized, then came cloud computing. The network cloudification was also in place. Public cloud was effectively centralized compute again. Now with this new cycle with edge computing, where the computing is closer to the consumers and producers of data, that’s where we are with decentralization. The challenge now is harnessing the ease of centralized computing but the distribution of that computing everywhere - how can we make that work as an industry.

That's a wrap for season two so far, stay tuned for more awesome episodes comin' your way. And before we go, let’s not forget the incredible guests we had throughout season one. Shoutout to a few of our most popular episodes from 2021:

Thanks for listening! If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please comment below. Interested in nominating a guest or suggesting a topic? Let me know!

Top comments (6)

hila3000 profile image
Hila F • Edited

All episodes sound great!
I'd love to suggest myself as a guest :) I'm a public speaker and also talked on some podcasts. You're welcome to reach out, my LinkedIn profile (where you can see my lectures and pocasts episodes) -

margo_hdb profile image
Margo McCabe

Hi Hila! Thanks for reaching out. Would love to discuss, please shoot me an email. margo(at)

hila3000 profile image
Hila F

An email was sent, thanks :)

solomonakinbiyi profile image
Solomon Akinbiyi


Sloan, the sloth mascot
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anniebombanie profile image
Annie 🦄⚡

You're amazing Margo! Thanks again for the interview- I had a great time speaking with you!