Episode 4 - Zach Inglis

Ben is joined by Zach Inglis to discuss his sleep schedule, nomadic life, and how he approaches making the world a better place.

Ben is joined by Zach Inglis to discuss his sleep schedule, nomadic life, and how he approaches making the world a better place.

Zach is a designer and developer, perhaps best known for organizing HybridConf.  He runs a studio with his best friend.  He also enjoys losing at poker.

Links - 

Transcript -
Ben:
All right. Welcome to the latest episode of the More Than Code podcast. Today I'm super excited to have Zach Inglis here with me. Zach, how's it going?

Zach:
Oh, it's going well, thank you. How are you?

Ben:
Oh, I'm good. Getting settled down here in Georgia.

Zach:
Nice. Nice.

Ben:
I guess you recently moved as well. Where are you at now?

Zach:
I'm in Wales right now. I moved from Malaysia back to Wales which is nice. It wasn't completely my choice. I think the situation we're all in right now has dictated we have to do some things we don't necessarily want to do such as moving. It's really beautiful, very rainy. I'm happy to be back.

Ben:
Nice. Are you from Wales are where are you from?

Zach:
I'm from around the U.K. My parents are Scottish. I was born in London and I moved to the southwest. A place called Devon which, I guess you could say is the Iowa of the U.K... All farming. Wales, I've got the most affinity for. It's got the city, the sea and the countryside all at your doorstep. Which I think you can understand, right?

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah, that's great. We actually just drove down to the beach for just a day this past weekend because it's a couple hours away. That was super, nice for mental health right now in these COVID times.

Zach:
Yes. I'm living by the water right now and it's just so calming.

Ben:
Yeah, awesome. Tell us a little bit about what you do for those that don't know. Yourself, Superhero Studios, the whole story.

Zach:
I run a two person studio with my best friend who I live with. We've been doing that for six years now. I'm a designer and a developer. I've had a successful career in both over the years. I think I've been doing it for around about 20 years now... A mixture of things. I tend to stick to design mostly nowadays. My business partner Laura, she tends to do the development. I'm grateful for knowing both. It means that I can foresee the problems coming before they come, stuff like that.

Ben:
That's very cool. I think that's pretty rare. Do you feel like you're stronger in one area or the other? How did that happen?

Zach:
Yes and no. I feel like overall I was weaker for being a generalist rather than being focused. However, having had two decades in this industry I've got to where I want to finally. It was a slower start but I think I'm stronger for it now. It's been good with work. Being able to bill yourself out as both means clients can feel a bit more relaxed knowing that you can communicate with the rest of the team.

Ben:
Makes sense. When I've done consulting, I've always had to be pretty upfront that I can make it work but I have no idea if it's going to look good or if it's not going to look good. It's always a hindrance.

Zach:
Yeah. I mean, having the smallest bit of knowledge about it is always helpful.

Ben:
Nice. You're in Wales. Is your family nearby? Where's your family nowadays?

Zach:
My family are all in London. In spite of loving big cities like Kuala Lumpur or New York, London just isn't for me personally so I'm out here. Yeah. Not as expensive and not as stressful.

Ben:
Excellent.

Zach:
Yeah? My brothers all live there and my nephew and niece and stuff. Unfortunately, I'm not getting to see them much but chatting every day.

Ben:
Oh, that's good. Pretty close to them?

Zach:
Yeah. Very, very close to them. I personally am not somebody who wants kids but having a nephew and niece is perfect. I can hand them back and get on with other things.

Ben:
Yeah. I like it. You were in Malaysia for a while and now you're back. How was the experience of being in Malaysia for you?

Zach:
I originally moved to Malaysia the first time 15 years ago. My ex-fiancee was from Malaysia. We'd go back and forth between America and Malaysia and I missed it. I missed the food and I missed the people. It's ridiculously beautiful, the jungle everywhere... Even in the city. So, I was super happy to go back. I made sure to stock up on all the food that I missed over the years. I miss it still every day. It's one of those things though. I think the grass is always greener. No matter where you are, you'll always miss something from the other side.

Ben:
Yeah. I'm definitely feeling that. and the lack of travel right now.

Zach:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Ben:
How long were you in Malaysia this time?

Zach:
This time, a couple of years. Two years. I had a base in Malaysia and I traveled around Asia going to Thailand and stuff like that. I was very, very fortunate to be able to do that with how I work and my work schedule. To try to decompress I would then go a beach island and I'd go diving. That was my present to myself for working hard.

Ben:
I like it. What does diving do for you? Is it mediative? Is it physical? Sell me on it. Give me a pitch.

Zach:
Okay. Diving is the only place in the world where I do not think, where my brain does not run at 150 miles an hour. I go under the water and I'm just blank. Yeah. It's like meditation. I just feel relaxed and chill, and nothing else worries me except watching out for fish. I'm a water baby. Just being in the water makes me happy.

Ben:
Yeah. There is something just really special about water.

Zach:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
Do you get to dive there in England or is that not a thing in Wales?

Zach:
Sorry. It broke up.

Ben:
Do you get to dive where you're at now in Wales or is that not a thing there?

Zach:
There are diving experiences here like going to the quarry. The water's freezing, it's not great visibility. So, not really. When this all opens up again, who knows when, I'll go diving again. I'll travel to do so because it's very important to me. My whole left arm is tattooed with an underwater scene because of what it means to me.

Ben:
Awesome. Love the tattoo by the way.

Zach:
Thank you.

Ben:
I saw a picture of it. You mentioned it wasn't a big deal to be in Malaysia with the way you work. What is that way you work? I would especially think working with clients with the time zones could be weird. How do you manage that?

Zach:
Okay. I have a very weird sleep pattern. It doesn't matter where I live in the world, my body naturally pushes towards it. I have a delayed circadian rhythm. My body is always pushing me to sleep a little bit later every day. I've done a chart once and it just goes diagonally down as my sleep drifts so I tend to stay up at night until 7:00 or 8:00 A.M., and I go to sleep. I like it because there's no one else around with me and I can just focus. Whether it's work, or video games, or whatever I want to do personally. There's such a culture for eating food at random times of the day. It's a Muslim majority country, drinking is not as strong as the U.S. or the U.K. You can go get tea at midnight or at 2 A.M. and that's a very normal thing to do. People go and watch soccer at 3 A.M. in the morning because that's when it's on and stuff like that. There's lots to do and it fits into my lifestyle like that.

Ben:
It's cool that you're able to just honor that rhythm because a lot of people have to force themselves to work certain hours regardless of what their body wants to do.

Zach:
Yeah. I mean, that's one of the reasons why I think I work for myself because there's not the expectations. With client work, I tend to run off and do the project by myself. I tend to be very hands off which is one of the things that I sell myself for. Where they can just say, "Hey, I want this work set done. Here's your brief. Off you go." I think that's why it works so well. I try to keep meetings down to a minimum. I think we've all worked jobs or with clients where every day there's a couple of meetings. You lose the productivity and no one really wins from that.

Ben:
Does that get isolating though? Working by yourself at night most of the time?

Zach:
Sorry, can you repeat that.

Ben:
Yeah. Does that get isolating working by yourself at night?

Zach:
Yes, but in a good way. My work schedule sort of splits up where I'll do a few hours in the evening when Laura's about, when she's doing her work. Then I will do a few hours later when I'm by myself. That way if I need any questions answered I can get help but then I can just focus at night. I'd rather focus strongly for two hours then work for four or five hours where I'm not getting anything done because I'm getting distracted.

Ben:
Yep. That makes sense. Easy to have focus time when everyone else is asleep, right?

Zach:
Exactly. Exactly.

Ben:
The hardest question, are you a Star Wars person or a Star Trek person?

Zach:
It's a hard question to answer. I'm both; but if I have to pick, I'd pick Star Trek. Star Wars is about fighting evil and I like that side of it; but Star Trek is about individuality, and about kindness and compassion, and finding your own way with friends. It's more about uplifting each other rather than fighting in evil, and I like that aspect personally. I like the kindness. Yes.

Ben:
All right. We talked a little bit before we started about your ridiculous monitor. For those who are listening, tell us a bit about your current work from home setup. What does it look like?

Zach:
Yeah, I have a giant monitor as you mentioned. It's a 49" Super Ultra Wide so it's like having three screens without the bezels. I use that for putting four different things on my screen at once. When I'm designing, I'll have multiple libraries open, and the wireframes up, and stuff like that. Maybe I'll have Netflix up on the side. When I'm coding I'll have my terminal, and my code editor, and the output, and stuff like that. I think for me that really, really, really works. Otherwise, I've been experimenting a lot in the last few years about what sort of computer to use. I've used Mac a lot over the years and I do still sometimes for programming. Rather than Ubuntu, it's been the most reliable development environment for me. I spend most of my time in Windows because I mean, I video game as well. I have a nice computer so I spend a majority of my time on Windows.

Ben:
Are you driving this ridiculous monitor with Windows or can you drive it in the Mac as well?

Zach:
I can drive it with both. Yeah, often Windows. I'm just waiting on my new graphics. I've got to update my computer. I'm going to do the full water cooling which will be a fun experiment.

Ben:
Awesome.

Zach:
Water and computers is always a fun mix.

Ben:
What has your approach been with work/life balance? How do you find balance in your life?

Zach:
This is something I care a lot about. "How do I find it?" is a hard question because I don't know if I can say I do find it. I try to, and I topple one way and topple the other. I think that's something a lot of us probably feel. I try to take it slow. I try to bill myself out as quality over quantity. I try to take on shorter jobs where I can just really delve deep into them and then I'll try to take a break. I try to work in that sort of pattern. I'm very conscious about burning out. I've burnt out a few times and anyone who has burnt out will understand that doing so you'll lose far more than just a few weeks. I've got friends who have burnt out years ago and still are feeling the effects... At least a little bit. For me, I'll work solidly. I'll even work weekends. I don't recommend it for anyone else; but for me I'll work solidly for weekends and a couple of weeks, and then I'll take a week or two off. That's my rhythm.

Ben:
Yeah. Do you think burnout is inherent to computer science or to programming, or do you think it happens in other fields as well?

Zach:
I think it's just inherent in goal oriented businesses where you have large goals that people have to meet. I mean, the video game industry is inherently bad for it. The video game industry eats people up and then leaves them to sort of burn out by themselves. I think this industry is not good at dealing with it. I think we set big goals for ourselves. We see big companies producing big projects where it's not really discussed how big of a team that it was. It's not inherently a tech problem but it's a problem that tech can probably address better than other industries.

Ben:
Yeah. I wonder myself how much just the unnatural nature of staring at screens all day affects it. If you're working with your hands all day, there's the natural feedback of, "I'm physically too tired to keep doing this thing."

Zach:
Yeah.

Ben:
You really don't have that with screens. It's more the mental exhaustion that builds up over time.

Zach:
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I think that's a very good point.

Ben:
What can people learn from poker?

Zach:
Okay. This is a hard thing to talk about without sounding too boring. I'll try. There's a concept in poker called EV which is Expected Value. That is when if all things normalize, what you expect in return for a dollar. To be plus EV is to say, "If I do this, it won't work out every time; but in the longterm it should average that I make 20 cents extra on my dollar." That's a positive thing. I personally look at life and I look at business opportunities like that. I say, "Sure. It might not work out every time; but I'm fortunate enough if I spend this amount of money, I should get a positive return in that way." I think I did it with opportunities too outside of my [ESA 00:16:44]. "Well, this is not going to give me anything in return this time; but if I do multiples of it, it should all eventually come back to me," if that makes sense.

Ben:
Yeah, it does. Sounds similar to trading.

Zach:
Yes.

Ben:
One thing trading really just ingrained in me, which I don't think I've learned any other way, it's just process for outcomes, right?

Zach:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
Your outcomes might vary due to randomness but if your process is consistent and good, then you'll have a good expected value over time.

Zach:
Exactly. For me, it's a good way of understanding risks and how in theory, and I use "in theory" in quotation marks, short term failure doesn't make that huge of a dent to longterm plans. Again, yes... It's risk. Knowing that if you can take a few risks and some of them do work out, it's a way of understanding whether or not that those risks were worth it.

Ben:
All right. You heard it here. Everyone go play poker.

Zach:
I'm not saying that. Yeah. I love poker a lot, but it's made me very fearful of any amount of percentage... 99% chance to win does not mean you're going to win, and it does not feel like 99%, it feels like 20% when you're actually in the moment.

Ben:
Yeah. Good advice. How did you get into tech and what jobs did you have before tech?

Zach:
I was sitting at home. I was bored so I went to the shops to buy a magazine to read. I saw on the shelf a disk for Macromedia Flash 3... A demo disk. I was like, "I'll find out what that is and I'll buy it." I took it home and I made some terrible cartoons. I think this is a path for a lot of people. I made animations and stuff like that; and I really, really enjoyed it. No one else was seeing them except for me. Then I looked online for other people who were in the creative industry and I ended up building a forum with a friend... An art forum. That was sort of just it. I didn't like school. I'm not somebody who works in academic conditions, I'm not somebody who thrives. For me, I ended up dropping out of school a bit and just working on this because I enjoyed it. Before long, it was just part of me and part of who I am.

Zach:
During college times I did try a few different jobs just to see what else there was. I did telesales during college, something I'm not very proud of because it was not a fun job having to disturb people. I don't think anyone in the world has gone, "I'm so happy I do telesales," but it was a job to get me through college. I briefly worked doing CADD design for a company that made timber frame houses. I would turn the architect's drawings into a plan for the builders and workers to produce the walls to then ship prefab houses. That was fun. I can't say I was good at it and I'm glad I no longer do that, but it was an interesting job.

Ben:
It seems like it would be rewarding because your digital thing turns into a physical thing at the end.

Zach:
I never got to see the thing at the end.

Ben:
That's a missed opportunity.

Zach:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that was it really. I've been lucky enough to do just this mostly.

Ben:
That's awesome. How has having ADHD affected your life?

Zach:
It's a hard thing to answer considering I don't know what it's like without ADHD. I'm not great at organizing, and I know that's something everyone struggles with whether they have ADHD or not. It's one of the reasons that I teamed up with my best friend, that she's great at organizing in lists. I find it hard to focus. Often sometimes things like overstimulation helped me focus. That's why I watch YouTube or TV while I'm working because that can help me go back and forth. Darting from one side to the other, and it keeps me focused. I tend to work in small doses rather than at long continuous, patterns. I think people in offices tend to do this without realizing too, anyway. I think when you're in an office you'll tend to talk to somebody next to you, or you'll ask questions, or you'll go to meetings. I try to replicate short bursts at home.

Zach:
The rest of my life has been a very continuous circle trying to focus and finding small things that work. It's probably one of the reasons why my sleep pattern's so strange. It is what it is. I don't notice it but I suspect my business partner notices it far more because she has to rein me in, and kick my butt, and tell me to focus.

Ben:
Yeah, maybe I should ask her that question.

Zach:
Indeed.

Ben:
How does Zach's ADHD affect your life?

Zach:
I think she'll have a lot to say.

Ben:
I hear you're a sandwich aficionado.

Zach:
I guess you could say that, yeah. Yes. Yes. I love sandwiches. I don't trust anyone who doesn't.

Ben:
What is your favorite sandwich?

Zach:
That's a hard question. If we're talking about sandwiches at home, the Cuban sandwich with plantains from Sophie's in New York's financial district. I don't know if you've had that one, but it's an amazing Cuban with a giant plantain throughout. It's fantastic. If you talk about what I make... Something called [Hazzerts 00:23:22], which is, I guess you could say, herby bologna, cheese, mayo, English mustard, pickles, and crisps or chips, whichever you want to call it for the crunch. That's my sandwich.

Ben:
I shouldn't have asked you this before I had lunch. Sounds good.

Zach:
Yeah.

Ben:
All right. What inspired you to organize HybridConf?

Zach:
HybridConf, the story and what inspired me are slightly different. I came back from BUILD Conf in Northern Ireland. Half the speakers were people I hadn't heard before, and I had realized that I was getting bored with the local scene because they kept using the same speakers over and over again because they were seasoned professionals and they knew how to do it. It was an easy no risk solution. I wanted something different. People I hadn't heard before, people who had different opinions and people who came from different backgrounds.

Zach:
I decided rather than complaining about it for the fifth time, I should just do something about it myself. Look, I wasn't going to change anything by saying that it was frustrating me. I wanted a really welcoming space as well. I wanted somewhere that felt like a community rather than going to watch lectures. As on who is the designer and developer, I wanted the combination of the two to come together. I've worked with many clients where there's been a disconnect between the teams. The reality is we're all problem solving in our own ways and we're all working towards the same goals. Being able to share each other's language, being able to share each other's understanding, and frustrations, and celebrations, is much more of a positive thing. I wanted to get people together to say, "Hey, look. You say you hate developers because they make your life hard and they don't fix your designs properly," or, "Hey, you say you hate designers because they're just trying to make your life hard by making complicated things." The reality is, you're just both trying to do the best you can.

Zach:
So, I went to my best friend and said, "Look, I want to build this conference and I want it to be grand. I want it to be five days. I want it to be this." She's like, "You get two days, and I'll help you," so that's what we ended up with. Yeah, it was such a wonderful experience. I generally don't recommend running a conference to people. We ran it for four years. I can tell you after every single day of those four years, I went somewhere, I sat down and I cried from over emotion. Not stress or upset but just everything finally coming out. We'd worked for seven months of the year on this project not knowing if we were going to make any money, and over the four years we didn't. We about broke even every year.

Zach:
It feels very self-aggrandizing to say we made a difference in people's lives, but we did. We did. We helped bring people together. I know friends who are best friends with each other because of the conference. I know couples from the conference, I know people who generally felt stronger from it and that was what really rewarded us. Trying to be, in a small way, making a difference in peoples lives. In the world I think there is six or seven HybridConf tattoos from people who came and felt like it made a difference... Myself included, who decided to permanently put it on themselves. It's a reminder that we did it. It's what I'm going to be most proud of on my deathbed. I mean, monetarily we didn't make any money. We lost money. It cost a lot of money to put it on for ourselves but I have zero regrets. It was a lot of fun.

Ben:
The tattoos speak a lot. I've never once considered getting a tattoo for a conference that I went to.

Zach:
Exactly. Yeah. In this industry, it can be very isolating. You mentioned earlier about isolation, especially when you work online. Having an outlet for people that is safe and full of good people was what made it what it is. As corny as it is, the people who came made it what it is.

Ben:
Yep, that's awesome. Several projects now, you've worked really closely with Laura Sanders. How is that, working so closely with your best friend? Is it good for a friendship? Is it bad? Of course, don't get yourself in trouble here.

Zach:
Ultimately, it's great. Living and working with your best friend can become strenuous, but giving it some time for it to equalize out has made us a dream team. I'm really grateful that I get to work with her. I feel like you have to accept expectations and boundaries early and say, "This is work time, this is what's acceptable in work. This is off time, this is what's set for off time." If you think the other person's slacking off or if you think the other person needs some help, it's really good to have that communication already there. To be able to say, "Hey, look. I'm struggling right now, could you help me with this?" I think it's harder to do when it's a purely professional relationship.

Zach:
We also know what's going on in each other's lives a lot more. If somebody's a little bit grumpy, we know why. I mean, we may be the source of that, but that's another thing. We both know how each other's minds work. We both know whether my ADHD... And so forth. It's really handy to have that in place. I like it. I think it can break a friendship. I think we've had several times where it's been hard, but I think it's been worth it for sure.

Ben:
Sounds like that would be a fun way to live, being able to work that closely with your best friend.

Zach:
Yep. It helps because we both know when we want to take holidays as well. We can both take holidays together so there's no scheduling issues and stuff like that. Yeah. I don't know if I recommend people try it; but if people are lucky enough to be in the situation, I think it's a good thing.

Ben:
It's pretty much impossible to discuss mental health without talking about the current environment with COVID.

Zach:
Yep.

Ben:
How has COVID affected your life and how are you holding up with your mental health?

Zach:
Such a long winded answer I'm sure. I moved because COVID affected my ability to get a VISA and so forth. Kuala Lumpur's a massive city, it's absolutely huge. I was going out with friends several times a week, going out for trying a new amazing food place... Drinks. Friends were coming to visit from around the world. Then suddenly of course, it happened, and everything went dead. It was weird for me because it was a time in my life where for once I wasn't a homebody. Usually I can spend months alone and be happy but I was starting to just enjoy living in a big city. As I'm sure, living in New York, you know what I'm talking about. Despite the fact that I'm happy living by myself for weeks and not seeing people, the moment I'm told I'm not to, and the expectation is on me not to, I get resentment of course.

Zach:
I've been out once since this whole thing started just to see some friends at a socially distanced coffee. I think everyone can relate to this. It's kind of hard to relearn how to socially interact. It's as if you've never seen other people before. I don't know all the correct ways to be human anymore with other people around. I'm looking forward to it all being over one day, I think as we all are. It's been tough. I'm lucky that I'm not an extrovert. I suspect extroverts are struggling the most right now. As an introvert, I'm happy. I make sure to carry on with my therapist to chat every week. I've got a therapist from New York which is a fantastic focus. I guess it's more like an online service. We chat every week. Honestly, I've been okay. I've been doing better than a lot of people I think.

Ben:
Good to hear.

Zach:
Thank you.

Ben:
Little lighter topic. What is the favorite thing that you've ever worked on or ever shipped?

Zach:
I would be amiss to not say Hybrid, obviously. Otherwise, there's been quite a few things we've done recently that's made me happy. We've been working on projects that have been like books, but online. That includes actual books. We did a bunch of book designs for GatherContent, that was a lot of fun. I really enjoy trying to make something long winded and hard to read into something that's very beautiful and easy to consume. I mean we all know the difference between having a bad reading experience and a good reading experience. I think trying to help people consume content and help the authors show off their work in the best light was really fun.

Ben:
Is there anything you're struggling with right now?

Zach:
I just got a dog about five weeks ago. I'd always grown up with dogs, but I've never had one of my own. My regime has obviously had to change. Having to walk all the time, as you well know. Having a yappy... Well, he's not really yappy, but he's a boisterous, little thing, constantly relying on me. Trying to make sure that he's happy all the time has been an interesting change. I'm used to no one else relying on me throughout the day. I've had friends and so forth but no real dependents. It's been a fun challenge.

Ben:
How is he adapting to your sleep schedule?

Zach:
Because Laura has a normal sleep schedule, there's a dark room always for him at night time. He can go off in it, but if he wants to come to see me, he can do so. He'll often be sitting next to me snoring very loudly. He's a very happy dog. He's a very, very happy dog. We look after him and I think he knows it. Big struggle for me was noise. We got a Frenchie and Frenchie's have airway problems. Snoring is constant, awake or asleep and I'm somebody who likes my quiet. I don't regret it at all. It's been five weeks and I already adore him. I would do anything for him, so no regrets at all.

Ben:
Aww. Dogs are great. You probably won't even notice the snoring soon.

Zach:
I'm hoping. He's not sleeping in my bedroom anytime soon.

Ben:
What do you do for fun away from the computer, either now or pre-apocalypse?

Zach:
I do a couple things. Technically away from the computer, I like to build computers for fun. I do LEGO. I'm a huge fan of LEGO I think. It's easy as an adult to be confused why an adult would play with LEGO but there's something really beautiful about building complex structures that somebody else has designed. A lot of LEGO have really intricate architecture. One of their latest sets is a piano a small, little piano that works. I have the Mario TV that you rotate and it actually spins around and stuff like that. In the same way with the Web, watching something you've built come to life is amazing. Watching something that's already pre-scribed for you, that somebody smarter than you or more creative than you has built, is a really, really enjoyable experience. I feel like every adult should at least try it before they come to their conclusions about whether adults with LEGO is a weird thing or not.

Zach:
I said I play poker. I like woodworking a lot and I've not been able to do it for a while. Having that physical, tangible thing that you build in your hands and having to adapt as things go wrong or right... I think in this industry when we create websites we know they're going to last for anywhere between a month and a couple years, and that tends to be it. Having a physical representation that we can see every day that we actually use is a very rewarding experience.

Ben:
All right. This section is, "What is your production function?" I steal this from Tyler Cowen. I mean, I didn't invent this question. What makes Zach unique? What pushes Zach to do what you've accomplished or to be who you are, right?

Zach:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
What is it that drives you?

Zach:
How deep do you want to go?

Ben:
As deep as you want to.

Zach:
In my 20's, I was told that I was going to die by the time I was 30. That changed a lot of my opinions and my views on my life. There was a couple of routes I could have gone down. I could have decided that I'm just going to enjoy myself, or I'm going to work solidly and try to make a name for myself with what time I had. Neither of those worked for me. I liked both of those in some way or another. I wanted to make the world a better place. I wanted to make a positive change to the world more than when I came in. We talked about this EV plus stuff earlier. I wanted the world to be a more positive, stronger, better place for everybody; and I wanted to enjoy myself and build cool things while I did it.

Zach:
I don't mind if I'm remembered or not. That doesn't drive me solely. I totally understand if that drives some people... Legacies, and so forth. For me, I don't mind if I'm remembered just as long as there are ripples... Branch outs, and help other people. The ripples of change are interesting. Sometimes I'm anxious that it's a losing battle that while for all the strong willed, passionate people there are also people who are apathetic who don't believe the same things.

Zach:
There's massive companies getting more massive, not necessarily building positive things in the world. I don't want to stop even with that involved. I think that if I can make a few more people's lives better, then if they can get the same sort of idea and make a few more people's lives better... I guess pay it forward is a very simple explanation. I hope that with the work that I did and the way I behaved, I could do that. I found out that I wasn't going to die eventually, which really was always a nice thing to hear. I've sort of kept that. I've tried to stay along that line of, "If I can do some good, that's the most important thing."

Ben:
All right. Let's wrap this up. Are there any games or books you would recommend? I know you're a pretty avid video game player, right?

Zach:
I'm a good video game player. Like everyone else, I'm playing Among Us quite a bit right now. I'm a huge fan of Werewolf. As one of my ways of playing with friends and talking to friends, I play that every day with a close group of people. Factorio is a big one I recommend to everybody, especially programmers or people who have an interest in programming because it teaches you the big overwhelming tasks aren't bigger and overwhelming if you focus on the small, individual bits. You make a small part of the task, and then another small part of the task, and so forth. Before you know it, you have this behemoth of production chains that you hadn't realized you could possibly build by yourself. I think programming is very much the same. If you look at the project as a whole, it's scary. If you go with the small, individual parts, it will build up to what you want it to be.

Zach:
For books, I'm a huge fan of Terry Pratchett but I tend to read nonfiction. The latest book I enjoyed was a book called The Diary of a Bookseller. It was a guy who lives in Scotland who ran a dusty, old bookshop. It was his literal diary turned into a book. He's grumpy, and he's all the things you expect from a Scottish bookseller. It's fantastic. It's well worth a read as a light way of passing the time.

Ben:
All right. Thanks so much for joining me Zach. This was a great conversation.

Zach:
Thank you.


2020 Ben Edmunds