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Ls and Ws – Practice Makes Progress with Iheanyi Ekechukwu

Relicans host Danny Ramos talks to Senior Software Engineer at PlanetScale, Iheanyi Ekechukwu about how when breaking into tech and starting the interview process, everybody takes Ls over Ws at first, and that having a way to set yourself apart from other candidates is always good.

Additionally, he talks about learning and creativity and even about his own failure in trying to learn music, but that he also doesn’t necessarily consider it a failure. He recommends keeping a log of your progress, so when you get frustrated with yourself, you can go back to early moments to see how you've grown.

Should you find a burning need to share your thoughts or rants about the show, please spray them at devrel@newrelic.com. While you're going to all the trouble of shipping us some bytes, please consider taking a moment to let us know what you'd like to hear on the show in the future. Despite the all-caps flaming you will receive in response, please know that we are sincerely interested in your feedback; we aim to appease. Follow us on the Twitters: @LaunchiesShow.

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Launchies, proudly brought to you by New Relic's Developer Relations team, The Relicans. The Launchies podcast is about supporting new developers and telling their stories, and helping you make the next step in what we certainly hope is a very long and healthy career in software. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. We're so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.

Danny Ramos: What's up, everyone? This is Danny Ramos with another episode of Launchies. And today, on the opposite side of the mic, I have...

Iheanyi Ekechukwu: Iheanyi Ekechukwu, Senior Software Engineer at PlanetScale, where I work on building one of the best databases for developers.

Danny: Perfect, perfect. There we go. I like to start off with just to throwback to the initial interview process. And their favorite question right off the bat is, "Tell me a little bit about yourself." And so [chuckles] tell me a little bit about yourself.

Iheanyi: Hmm, where do I start? Where do I start? So like I mentioned, I work on PlanetScale, where we're trying to build the best database for developers. I'm a South Carolina native, born and raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I don't live there anymore.

I went to school at Notre Dame, where I majored in computer science and graphic design. And yeah, I used to live in New York City. I lived in Austin for one year after college, in New York City for five years. Now I live in Houston, Texas, where I've been since May of this year. And yeah, I'm getting acclimated back to the Texas life.

Danny: Texas life, nice. I always like to ask that question because it's initially really hard and daunting at first. You're like, where do I even start? So for you to begin with the like...let's say you're going back into the interview process and someone asked you. Or what are some tips that you have for people who are just starting out? What do you want to focus on answering that question?

Iheanyi: It all depends on what they're looking for. I think it all depends. My advice for people interviewing for maybe their second or third job is different from somebody that may be interviewing for their first job out of college or interviewing for an internship. But usually, I guess given that we're talking about breaking into tech, tips are first things first; everybody takes Ls.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: I took so many Ls before getting my job at GitHub. I had a whole spreadsheet of rejections, and I had probably at least 25. And it's fine. It's part of the process. From failure, you learn more about yourself and what you can improve on. And you also learn about other companies, interview processes that you are good at, interview processes that you're not necessarily as strong at and need to improve on.

When it comes to also advice, I think also having a way to set yourself apart is always good, especially if you're trying to break into the industry. I think in college...backtracking to what I mentioned earlier; I majored in computer science in undergrad. And I think in some ways, the job process for college new grads is different from bootcamp grads, right?

Danny: Right.

Iheanyi: Because it's kind of a different environment. So I guess what do you want? Like, general advice for people in both camps or more towards people that maybe come in after bootcamps, et cetera?

Danny: I love what you said that everyone takes Ls. I can't imagine a time where I was like, oh, yeah, I accomplished this one thing and got it done the first time.

Iheanyi: Nobody's code compiles right on the first time or rarely does. So yeah, we all take Ls eventually, and you'll learn.

Danny: Exactly. Literally, before we started this call, you're just like, "Today, everything is breaking." [laughs] And so you went to Notre Dame, and you started off in computer engineering and then pivoted, correct?

Iheanyi: Yep. I started with computer engineering, and I switched to computer science. As a kid, I always liked fiddling with electronics. I don't know; I was that weird kid out of my siblings who would always be taking apart the gadgets in the house, seeing how they work.

Danny: Unscrewing everything.

Iheanyi: Yeah, my parents hated buying me toys because like, you're just going to break it, or you're just going to take it apart. So I was like, I really liked it. I didn't really get heavy into it. But I liked electronics and fiddling with them a little bit. So I'm like, you know what? I'm going to major in computer engineering.

And then, I went to college and majored in computer engineering. And after I got through the prereqs and got into my first electrical engineering course, I remember I was up until 2:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m. doing the first homework assignment for that course. And I said, forget this. I am not about this life.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: I like computers, but I don't like them this much. And I was more interested in the software side of things anyway. So I ended up switching to computer science, and I realized while I majored in computer science, like, wow, I really can't build really good UIs. Everything that we were using, I didn't like how they looked. I wanted to learn the primitives about design and how it works and getting that knowledge. I still don't think I'm a good designer, but at least I got the skills to communicate. And at least I developed a good enough taste to know that what I produce is not good. But hey, it is what it is.

Danny: I think there's something to be said about design because I consider that to be an art form as well, where artists are always their biggest critic. They're like, oh, I'm trash. I'm not a good artist. And that hunger for trying to get better and better and better is what makes you get better.

Is there someone in your life that pushed you to go into technology or a mentor you had, or a family member that was like, you should get into computers?

Iheanyi: Actually, when I was younger, I wanted to be a game developer. I thought I was going to go to a game dev school and program video games. But in my senior year of high school, I was just researching the industry. I noticed that game devs are underpaid and overworked, and the industry is pretty toxic and just exploitative.

And one of my cousins is from Nigeria went to college in the United States. But he went to college in my hometown at a local university before going to do his master's in CS at Cornell. And he did an MBA at MIT. And he worked at Microsoft as an engineer. He's just somebody I really respect and admire. And I knew he majored in computer science.

So I talked to him about it. And he said, "Hey, you should probably major in computer science if anything because the difference between that is if you want to build a game, you can build a game. If you don't want to build a game or you find out you don't like game dev, well, you have the skills to do something else." He strongly pushed me to major in computer science because I would have more versatility or add more versatility to my skill set. And I'm really glad I ended up going down that path.

Danny: Yes. Shout out to family members who completely changed the trajectory of one's life. [laughs]

Iheanyi: Yeah, yeah. For real.

Danny: Are you first generation?

Iheanyi: Yeah, my parents are from Nigeria. They immigrated to America in the '80s. Both my parents came here for educational reasons. My dad got his Ph.D. here. My mom also did her nursing degree here. And yeah, then they settled down in South Carolina where I grew up like...there in '91. I was born in '92.

Danny: Wow. We're the same age. I just went to code school last year, but I was looking at all your things, just your website and all the things that you've accomplished. I was like, I need to get on this guy's level. Oh my God. [laughs]

Iheanyi: If it makes you feel any better, I have an existential crisis and feel like I'm not doing enough. So it's okay.

Danny: [laughs] The only reason I asked if you're first generation is because I feel like there's this thing in immigrant parents that it's like, you either become an engineer, a doctor, or a lawyer.

Iheanyi: Doctor or a lawyer or a failure.

Danny: Or a failure, yeah.

[laughter]

Iheanyi: Yeah, it's funny. My brother is a PharmD. My sister actually went to the IT security business side of things. And my little sister's a consultant. My parents are iffy on the business thing. And they're like, "Oh, when are you going to go to law school?" And then after she got her MBA or whatever, they are like, all right, cool, whatever. But yeah, I hear you.

Danny: Wow.

Iheanyi: If I didn't do CS, I thought about becoming a biomedical engineer actually because prosthetics seemed cool to me. And I thought that'd be a fun thing to work on. And then I realized how much physics it required. And like, I'm cool with math, but physics is no joke. So I was just like, yeah, forget this. So I just ended up going back into programming and staying in that lane.

Danny: My parents...I don't want to speak for every immigrant parent out there, but they are toxic with education. They're like, you need to go back to school. [laughs] I went to...just to add on from immigrant parents thinking that you are either a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer or a failure, I went down the failure route for a while.

I went to film school and was an artist for quite some time. And my dad would just leave me voicemails being like, "All right, Daniel. Don't be Pinocchio. When are you going to go back to school? I love you. Okay. Goodbye." [laughter] I'm like, dang, okay, I got to do something.

Iheanyi: Yeah, man. Nigerian parents are similar like that even when it comes to humanities and all that. Traditionally, I think they respect the STEM fields more so than they do the humanities and liberal arts and creative industries as well, which is frustrating in a sense because it stifles creativity in a way. People can't be...at least it stifles creativity if you seek your parents' approval. And a lot of people whenever they're young, that's what they want; it's their parents' approval.

I mean, if you're rebellious, you'll be like, forget you, mom and dad. I'll be an artist or whatever. I'll be a musician. But it's like, culturally, I feel like that's a very...cultural type of personality differs. Some cultures promote that individuality in some sense, or at least it's more common. But as a Nigerian child, I don't think I could ever think about saying that to my parents.

[laughter]

Danny: I get it too. I understand it because my parents just really had to hustle and grind. And they're like; we don't want that for you. Just go to school. If you're going to go to school anyway, spend your time learning something that you can make some money. And it makes sense. It makes sense. There were a lot of fights, but we came to a conclusion. [laughs]

Iheanyi: And now you're an engineer, so life throws curveballs.

Danny: My dad got exactly what he wanted. My sister is in code school right now. My brother is teaching himself.

Iheanyi: That's dope.

Danny: And we're like, man, look what he did to us. [laughs]

Iheanyi: That's tight.

Danny: Yeah, it is tight. I don't think I had a similar mentor like you. But I got a mentor later in my life where someone had showed me how cool and creative tech can actually be. That actually is a good pivot to one of your blogs on your website about learning and creativity. I'm curious about the process of failure of you trying to learn music.

Iheanyi: Yeah, failure in trying to learn music. I played drums for a year in a middle school band. But drums are easy. Like, it's a snare and to be able to keep rhythm and play and read the notes was pretty easy in comparison to being a full-blown music producer.

It's hard to say fail versus succeed in terms of music. Because unless you're trying to be a full-time musician and it's your day-to-day hustle and what pays the bills for you, I don't know. It's hard to consider failure. I think failure can be if we're defining failure as what you create not meeting your expectations, then that is a lot.

When I first started, even I made things. I made beats that were somewhat cool, but there are a lot of things that were missing. I didn't have any music theory knowledge in terms of knowing chords or knowing how to make a bassline, how to make things that are in key or in tune with my samples or melodies, and all that other good stuff.

Danny: Yeah. And I guess what I mean is process of failure is not necessarily a bad thing. You're going to go in and try to learn something new. And of course, you're going to be bad at it the first time.

Iheanyi: Yeah, it's like that one Adventure Time quote by Jake whatever, sucking at something is the first step at getting good at something. I think it's just a matter of just...I actually started a community what I call Bits and Beats. It's people in tech that are interested in music or music production and that also code or work in the tech industry and just a bunch of us throwing beats together and asking for feedback.

I think that's also how I grew is I listened to what...a lot of them have been doing it for ten years or even longer. And so listening to those experienced musicians dissecting their music and coming back to my music, and seeing what I'm missing, and learning from them or pair programming on music. We would hit up the studio on Discord, share our screen, and listen and give feedback as somebody mixed a beat.

Danny: Oh, that’s sick.

Iheanyi: That also helped me grow a lot. And I learned from them and their style, taking notes on their process for making music. And I think as I learned more about it...and also going back and listening to music that I enjoy listening to like my favorite music producers, Dilla, Kaytranada.

Danny: Oh, Kaytranada is so good.

Iheanyi: Yeah, Madlib, et cetera, et cetera. Dissecting their beats as well, I can listen to it differently and listen to how they chop samples, how they do their drums, how they do their basslines, and try and take that and mix it into my beats or try to mimic them. And that's how I grew. And I realized after six months...I listened to my first beat I ever made at the beginning of the pandemic to where I was at now. And I'm just like, oh, wow, you see growth.

And that's I think also important; you have to keep a log of your progress. So when you get frustrated with yourself, you need to be able to go back to those early moments to see how you've grown, even as an engineer. I went back to the code I used to write in college for class projects. I look at that code now and just seeing these...I don't even know. I just look at it, and I'm like, what the hell was I thinking when I wrote this?

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: Like, 20 if…else clauses. And I was like, what was I doing? You just have to learn, you know. [laughs]

Danny: Exactly. And that's why I think it's such a great metaphor for just people who are just going into tech or learning how to code because you're going to run into these kinds of brick walls where you're just like, what am I doing? I don't know how to do any of this.

And then if you log your failures or if you log your different growth, then you can look back and be like, oh, I'm learning. This is where I started, and this is where I am now. There are so many times where people will tell me like, "Oh, I could never do something like that." No, you can. You just have to do it every day and stress cry a few times, and you'll learn. [laughs] You'll get it.

Iheanyi: Yeah, exactly, exactly. You got to stick with it.

Danny: No, absolutely. Do you ever mess with Sonic Pi?

Iheanyi: Oh, no. But I've heard of it.

Danny: Yeah, Sonic Pi is dope.

Iheanyi: The creator gave a talk or something at GitHub or something internally, and it was pretty dope to see. Or maybe it was one of the GitHub Universes. I can't remember.

Danny: Yeah, Sam Aaron is a cool dude. Sonic Pi is cool. If you're already using Ableton, it would probably be like a learning curve. But it just uses code, so it's really sick. I like playing with it. It's been fun to stream it on Twitch and things like that.

Iheanyi: That's dope.

Danny: Who's your go-to...because I know some people just like to listen to...I don't know, like, I’ll listen to instrumentals when I code because I don't want to hear words.

Iheanyi: Words. Yep.

Danny: Who's your go-to artist or song right now that you're like when you're getting ready in the morning, or you're cooking dinner?

Iheanyi: Man, it really depends. But usually, when it comes to instrumentals, Knxwledge is a great producer. He has so many beat tapes on Bandcamp that I have bought, and I listen to. And I love, love listening to his music. In the 7O, the first O is an X. He's really good.

Then usually Madlib is good. Really it's usually like my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist normally has a lot of good things on it. But usually, I just go to Bandcamp or even to SoundCloud and see what SoundCloud has to offer. There is a lot of good music on SoundCloud that goes undiscovered.

Danny: There's definitely a rise in the SoundCloud artists where it's just like, they'll have one big hit, and then they're signed. [chuckles]

Iheanyi: Yep, exactly.

Danny: I mean, not even instrumentals. I've been listening to a lot of Kid Cudi. Like, Man on the Moon III, I think is just so good and Kaytranada. They're just like my go-to’s-go-to’s right now.

Iheanyi: Oh, for real?

Danny: Yeah. Kaytranada, Channel Tres is really good. And I tend to listen to the same music over and over until I hate it. But I haven't hated these yet.

Iheanyi: Yeah, Kaytranada doesn't really get old, man.

Danny: No, so good. I'm seeing him live at the end of this month.

Iheanyi: Oh, me too. I'm seeing him live on November 12th.

Danny: I was about to say are you going to Outside Lands? Because I am.

Iheanyi: Oh no. I wish.

Danny: It's going to be fun. It'll be fun. I've seen him four times already.

Iheanyi: Yeah. I saw him back in 20...How old was that? I was in college, so I think it was in 2014 in Austin, Texas, before he blew up. Before that, I think there was Lollapalooza or something like that. No, it was Coachella that he blew up after. I saw him the year before he did that set and blew up. But he was awkward. His music spoke for himself. I'm just like, as awkward as his stage presence was, Janet Jackson remixes and all of that were just classics.

Danny: So good. I saw a video recently where he's like talking into the mic and saying a little bit. I was like, I've never seen him do that. He must be getting comfortable.

Iheanyi: Yeah, we're having a good time. [laughter] Back to the software. I could talk about music for ages.

Danny: [laughs] No, you're right. I love music. So once you got done with your education at Notre Dame, did you have any companies in mind that you wanted to go to? Or were you just on that grind where you were just like, I just need to find a job? You had an internship setup.

Iheanyi: Yeah, I interned at IBM two summers in a row. In IBM Systems, I did a couple of cool projects while I was there. And then, internally, I started getting offers from the Innovation Lab in Watson. And I ended up going to IBM Watson doing R&D work. I kind of interviewed at other companies, but I had an offer early on. So I interviewed at Facebook, Google. I did that whole rodeo of interviewing at these companies.

The way I saw it, I wasn't really pressed because I just had an offer in hand from IBM. I think I took the lazy approach. If I could go back and do it, I probably would have interviewed at more startups. But I didn't really know about startups back then because my alma mater didn't really...Notre Dame didn't really promote working at startups. Even at the career fair, you had maybe Google would come sometimes. But even then, they had bigger fish to fry in terms of engineering schools. So yeah, I was lucky I had an offer in hand, and that took a lot of stress off of my final year of college.

Danny: Would you recommend going into a startup to someone who is a new grad from a code school or a CS program?

Iheanyi: It depends on the stage of the startup because would I suggest going into a seed-stage startup when a product hasn't fleshed out? You may be one of the early engineers, and you may not have mentorship. And you will be drowning and learning on the go. Sure, if you're a self-learner and you step up to the challenge and you're motivated and a really good self-learner, that may be good for you.

But honestly, I wouldn't suggest it because, at a bigger company, you have a lot more structure, I think, and a lot more structure when it comes down to it. And you can at least get the lay of the land and get comfortable before going to work at a startup. After I worked at IBM for a year, I went and worked for a startup. And I really preferred that. I went to work for DigitalOcean. I worked there for two and a half years.

I think that coming straight out of college to DigitalOcean, I may have been able to learn, but honestly, I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I had learned a lot on my own the year at IBM, but yeah, it all depends. And later-stage startups have 200-plus people, 400-plus people, et cetera. They can grow to a really dope size and give you the resources and mentorship that big companies could offer. So it all depends.

Danny: Yeah. I was for...people that I tell them I'm just like, think about what do you want in life, or what do you want in your work or the company that you work at? If you want mentorship and you want someone to be there to help you and kind of...I don't know. With startups, every time I talk to someone that works at a startup, they're always just like, "Oh yeah, I worked all day," or "I'm working through the weekend." But there could be a nice payout at the end. And if that's what you're looking for, that could be a good thing.

Iheanyi: Right. Yeah, exactly, exactly. But startups are crazy. They're wild. Luckily at the startup, I work now, our product is pretty stable. I'm not getting paged that often. When I was at DigitalOcean, man, I had many at 4:00 a.m. at night. [laughs] So people got to know what they're signing up for.

Danny: Right. No names for the companies but any startup horror stories?

Iheanyi: Oh, nah. Not really. I haven't had any startup horror stories. My filter for working at startups is usually working for people that I know, and respect and I'm friends with. If they are there, it's a pretty good, strong signal for me. That'd be fine. That's how I ended up at my current company. But yeah, every company has their skeletons in the closet. Every company has their pros and their cons.

I think the thing that I want people to prioritize is to find a place that values and respects psychological safety when it comes to working in your team. Because the mental and emotional effects of just having to deal with toxic environments or disrespect does have longer-lasting effects that takes a lot to bounce back from, and it affects how you interact with others in a professional capacity because...or it can because you have that trauma or those scars or emotional wounds. So yeah, psychological safety after being in toxic work environments became a really important thing for me. And yeah, I've been glad to ask about that in my interview processes.

Danny: Is there anything that helps you with your mental health that you do on the side besides coding all day?

Iheanyi: I'm working on it. I think music was my outlet for stress and creativity. When I was younger...like I'm an old man, but I'm not that.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: But when I was fresh out of college, I was always learning. I'm still learning. But I was always building side projects, checking out the newest JavaScript framework and all this stuff. I wasn't really stepping away from the computer to do other things. So getting hobbies is good.

When I lived in New York City, way more walkable of a city than Texas, I liked to take walks. I’d go hang out with friends, play Call of Duty. And that helped me to stop thinking about work. I used to think about work all the time, even after I was off the clock. But nowadays, I have a pretty healthy boundary between my personal life and my work life.

Danny: And I think that's something to always keep in mind is just how often one can spend in front of the computer. And just taking that moment to just go outside for a walk, go run or something, or go do another thing that's going to actually restart your brain where you can actually work better because you have a new mindset of how you're approaching a problem or going about your workday.

Iheanyi: Yeah, exactly.

Danny: I loved the quote on your website from Kanye that was "My life is dope, and I do dope shit," which was, I think, a reference from...or Dave Chappelle.

Iheanyi: Dave Chappelle.

Danny: Yeah, telling a story on Jimmy Kimmel.

Iheanyi: Years ago. I know Dave Chappelle is in hot water. So let me just say that quote is from years ago.

[laughter]

Danny: I know.

Iheanyi: I try to live that. Kanye has also gone off the deep end. Once again, I can talk about music and Kanye, especially that guy is an interesting case in and of itself. But yeah, man, I try to keep life interesting, whether it's through traveling, through interesting experiences, through public speaking, like, just trying to keep improving. [laughs]

Danny: And I totally agree. We could still appreciate the quotes from back in the day. And I agree with that. I thought it was funny because that's always been something that I would tell my friends even when I know I'm not even doing dope shit at all. [laughter] But I think there's a certain mentality with that. Is there anything from your upbringing that you're just like, I just want to accomplish as much as I can because of this or this happening in your life?

Iheanyi: Yeah, things like hardships. I was lucky to have some stability growing up. I don't take things for granted like a two-parent household, parents to have my nose in the books when I was young and had a focus and value on education, and never really had to go hungry, stuff like that. But there are hardships like financial hardships, whether it's like the economy back in 2008, some other family stuff.

But it's also just like grinding hard and getting this accomplishment so I can feel kind of...not just being able to support myself. I know I always want more, but I feel like I've also made it in the sense that I'm at a financially stable enough point in my life where I can support myself and have a very decent and comfortable lifestyle while also supporting my family members whether it's my siblings or my parents which means a lot to me.

It's funny because I think with all the successes that I've had, it's funny because my little cousins or whatever that are out here are saying, "Oh, I want to go into computer science because of you. I'm majoring in computer science because I really like what you're doing and what you do."

And I've had people, high schoolers, back when I did the podcast more frequently with Romeo email us, "Oh, really loved your podcast. We don't see many black engineers in tech," and stuff like that, and being that voice and I guess a role model. I don't think I'm a good role model, at least from a respectability standpoint. But professionally, I'm trying to be out here and just help others make it as well that look like me or that try to be out there.

Danny: And I totally agree with what you're saying. It's like a beautiful thing to just have someone who looks like you that's younger than you be like, "Hey, how do I do the thing that you're doing?" I think it's really cool. Or, "I want to be like you." You're like, oh my God, straight to the heart. Yeah, I love it, man. That's really cool, especially like little cousins. I think they're like, "Oh, I want to get into tech." I'm like, "Do you? Yeah, let's get started today. Let's go." [laughs]

Iheanyi: Right. Right.

Danny: It seems like you've had multiple jobs throughout your career. I'm always curious about it to ask, how do you know when to leave a company?

Iheanyi: I think for me, my signal for leaving a company is whenever I don't feel like I'm growing. I don't want to be comfortable resting on my laurels. On my first job, I didn't feel like I was growing. I feel like I didn't have mentorship, or the mentorship I had wasn't necessarily technical mentorship about here's how to become a better engineer. It was more mentorship of like, here's how you navigate the politics of working at a company. And I'm like, that's not what I need. That's not going to help me grow as a software engineer.

So I went to work at a startup and learned more there in a month than I did in a year at my last company. So I think it's continuously growing and growth and given those stretch opportunities or those challenges that may be outside of your skillset or skill level, but you can still play up to the challenge and grow into a role or grow more as an engineer.

And once you start getting comfortable at the job or you're not learning as much as you used to be, it's normally a good sign to leave a company. Especially if there's less room for impact as an IC, that's also time to leave a company. But if you're in a big engineering org like your Facebooks, your Googles, your Microsoft's, et cetera, it may just be time to find a new team because they're big enough that they have...their engineering org is so big that you can find a new team and have a whole new different experience and start the growth process all over again.

But yeah, usually whenever I'm just staying for financial reasons, like, oh yeah, I guess I'm getting a good paycheck, or I guess I like who I'm working with, when that's the case, it's like, well, what am I doing here? I'm just comfortable. And that's why it's normally time for me to shake something up and start something new.

Danny: Right. I like that. I like that because it's very easy to get content with where you're at, and then years pass, and you're like, what happened?

Iheanyi: Yeah, complacent. That's the word. I was looking for complacent.

Danny: What does the future look like for you? Are you trying to retire by the time you're 40?

Iheanyi: Whenever I was in college, I'd say 30. But I didn't really grind hard enough.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: But hopefully...I'm working at PlanetScale, and we're building something dope. And I'm like, I believe in the product. I believe in what we're building, and I think it has a lot of potential. So hopefully, this will be like, not my lottery ticket, but hopefully, it'll be my big break. And I'm just working hard every day to make sure that we do well and we build the best database out there.

Danny: Right. And then when you retire, you're going to be DJing all around the world or what?

Iheanyi: I wish. I don't know, man.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: Honestly, retirement to me is not necessarily not working. It's just not working for somebody else. I probably will still be coding. But I'll probably be working on my own company or consulting or maybe just being a full-time investor. I don't know, man. There are a lot of things to consider.

Danny: So towards the end of this, I got to ask because the world wants to know: when is Two Black Nerds coming back?

Iheanyi: Man, I'll actually take a timestamp whenever this episode gets published, and I'll send this snippet to Romeo and be like, "Hi, yo, we got to talk."

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: I be asking him that question pretty much on a yearly basis. It's hard. Life threw us a lot of changes between COVID, and careers, and life. We'll come back soon. We got to figure it out. I think we got to get back into a routine of recording. I will send this to him and be like, "Hi, yo, the streets want Two Black Nerds. We got to give them what they want."

Danny: [laughs] They do. They do. We all want it. I got so hyped. I was like, yes, we got people of color talking about engineering. It's not the same voices all the time. So I was hyped, but then I was like, 2020, the most recent episode?

[laughter]

Iheanyi: Yeah. [laughs]

Danny: Dope, man. Well, I appreciate you spending your time with me, especially on a Tuesday when things were breaking.

Iheanyi: Thank you. Thank you.

Danny: Even our recording was breaking a little bit. But where can people find you if they wanted to reach out and contact you?

Iheanyi: Best place to reach out to me is on Twitter. I check Twitter more than I do my email. Shout out to the 6,500 unread emails in my inbox.

Danny: [laughs]

Iheanyi: On Twitter, you can find me @kwuchu, that's K-W-U-C-H-U. And yeah, my DMs are open. So just hit me up there.

Danny: Dope, man. Well, much appreciated. This has been another episode of Launchies. And I will see you.

Iheanyi: Take care.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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