Episode 12

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Published on:

28th Jul 2022

S1 E12: I Don't Know What is Wrong With My Mind (Francesco / @francescocuill4)

Francesco Ciulla joins the show to talk about his origin story, how he went from being a sports coach to becoming a developer. From learning programming on difficult mode to championing Daily.Dev as a developer advocate, he's been a whirlwind journey.

We discuss his joy for creating content in order to teach other developers. We talk about how and why developers should get out of their comfort zone and work on public speaking, and why we don't have to match the stereotype of a programmer in a dark room wearing a hoodie.

Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to Episode 12 of the WebJoy podcast.

Speaker:

I'm your host Eddie in this podcast, we interview guests about their origin

Speaker:

story and what makes them excited and joyful to be part of the tech community.

Speaker:

I hope you enjoy today's episode.

Speaker:

"I Don't Know What is Wrong With My Mind" with Francesco Cuilla.

Eddie:

Welcome to the next episode of WebJoy.

Eddie:

I'm excited to have Francesco with us today.

Eddie:

Hi, Francesco.

Eddie:

How are you doing?

Francesco:

I'm doing well.

Francesco:

I've worked all day.

Francesco:

Today we had a launch for my company.

Francesco:

So it has been a kinda tough day but thank you so much for inviting me.

Eddie:

Well, thank you for joining us.

Eddie:

For those who don't know you, do you wanna just give a brief introduction

Eddie:

about yourself, who you are, what you do, where you work, that kind of stuff.

Francesco:

Yeah, sure.

Francesco:

I'm Francisco from Rome, Italy.

Francesco:

I'm currently a Developer Advocate for Daily.Dev.

Francesco:

I'm also Docker Captain sort of an ambassador and I'm very active on social

Francesco:

media, especially Twitter and YouTube.

Francesco:

I have a podcast with about 200 episodes done in about two years.

Francesco:

So I love podcasting.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

I love that 200 episodes in two years.

Eddie:

That is very consistent.

Eddie:

What did that feel like to have to be that consistent?

Eddie:

Have you gotten burned out on it?

Eddie:

Are you excited for it?

Eddie:

How do you kind of keep the stamina up with that?

Francesco:

This is great.

Francesco:

Usually I don't even talk about the podcast because it's a podcast itself,

Francesco:

so about this specific podcast, called "Talking With" it's basically me

Francesco:

talking with some friends of mine doing similar streams sometimes are recorded,

Francesco:

sometimes they are live streams.

Francesco:

The first 100 episodes have been done in 100 days and now I'm slowing.

Francesco:

So now I'm slowing down, but it has been a really an incredible journey.

Francesco:

And it's one of the reasons why I also now like this love, this kind of format.

Francesco:

I also improved my English.

Francesco:

My way of communication improved a lot, I learned a lot and I've

Francesco:

also met many people, many friends.

Francesco:

Also famous YouTubers, but it's really a podcast about tech.

Francesco:

I love this format and I love being on the other side.

Francesco:

So thank you.

Eddie:

Yeah, absolutely.

Eddie:

So how did you get involved in all of this?

Eddie:

What's the short version of your story.

Francesco:

To be honest, I've not been a developer for all of my life,

Francesco:

but just in the last seven years, but I've been a volleyball coach.

Francesco:

So I've been in the sports world for about 20 years since I was 15 to 33.

Francesco:

I've done a switch of career.

Francesco:

And to be honest, I thought that I were one of the few people who've done this

Francesco:

switch of career I felt like different.

Francesco:

Talking with people talking about their stories in my podcast and also in person

Francesco:

and also on Twitter and social media, I felt less alone because 95% of the people,

Francesco:

they are career switchers they were doing something else before being developers.

Francesco:

So in my case, I've always loved the computers.

Francesco:

I started with the Commodore 64.

Francesco:

If you know what I'm talking about, it means that you are old

Eddie:

oh, no.

Francesco:

Yeah, nice.

Francesco:

I always loved math science, but for me computers, they

Francesco:

were a way of play or relax.

Francesco:

I never seen this as a job.

Francesco:

Like I felt this a boring job, I also computer science degree

Francesco:

just to have just an idea of the background, but I didn't like coding.

Francesco:

So it was kind of strange, but at some point in 2015, I decided to switch

Francesco:

career and to really step into tech, the initial reason it was professor in

Francesco:

university said that I could not become a developer because I didn't like to code.

Francesco:

So if you say something to me, it's over.

Francesco:

I want to prove that you're wrong.

Francesco:

But of course I don't do this anymore for that reason, but

Francesco:

it was the spark just to start.

Francesco:

I had zero in presence.

Francesco:

My online presence started just in 2020.

Francesco:

So we are talking about 2015.

Francesco:

So I decided, okay, so now I want to code how I do that.

Francesco:

And I started with Unity 3D, so C# and game development, because

Francesco:

I found it more funny and engaging instead of just some boring stuff.

Francesco:

For me it was boring before.

Francesco:

I worked a lot, learning private a lot.

Francesco:

Every single day I stopped going to the gym as a coach.

Francesco:

So also some harder decisions for my life.

Francesco:

And then long story short in 2017, I found my very first job.

Francesco:

And I've been kinda lucky you can say, because I started working

Francesco:

for European Space Agency.

Francesco:

I had been working there for about three years as a full stack developer.

Francesco:

but it was super strange.

Francesco:

Think about going from six hours in a gym.

Francesco:

To sitting on a chair.

Francesco:

Like every 30 minutes I was going to the toilet.

Francesco:

People thought that I were like having rags or something like that, because

Francesco:

you can't go to the toilet every 30 minutes, but I really couldn't sit.

Francesco:

I still can't sit for long.

Francesco:

I always have to walk, but that was not the hardest part of being a developer.

Francesco:

The hardest part of being a developer for me was that I missed teaching.

Francesco:

I've been a coach.

Francesco:

I've also taught math physics and chemist in high school.

Francesco:

Both of my parents are teachers.

Francesco:

So for me, teaching is a mission.

Francesco:

So when I become a developer, I said, okay, so, I will not be a teacher anymore.

Francesco:

I will not teach something to someone.

Francesco:

I stepped on social media on Twitter in 2020.

Francesco:

And after one, two months I started creating content.

Francesco:

And when I started creating content, something clicked in my mind, because

Francesco:

I could finally teach something, share my knowledge with someone else.

Francesco:

So this was really what made me do everything I did.

Francesco:

I was also very shy.

Francesco:

Maybe you don't trust me, but trust me.

Francesco:

So for me, even making a audio to my colleagues, it was super awkward

Francesco:

but then I made the social media videos, on YouTube I have about

Francesco:

320 videos in less than two years.

Francesco:

So I've been pretty active now.

Francesco:

I'm also a public speaker.

Francesco:

I just back from the We Are Developers conference, I've

Francesco:

already been in four conferences.

Francesco:

I've already two more scheduled.

Francesco:

So it has been a very long journey.

Francesco:

Eddie But I can say that it has been totally worth it.

Eddie:

That's very interesting.

Eddie:

I love that you were in the sports world and you were teaching and

Eddie:

coaching, and development is something you started to get into,

Eddie:

but you realized you missed a piece.

Eddie:

And I think a lot of times people think that stuff is binary, right?

Eddie:

Like, oh, I can do this, or I can't do that.

Eddie:

And they don't think about designing the job that they are interested in.

Eddie:

Right?

Eddie:

Like designers can learn programming and be UX engineers, where they're really

Eddie:

close to the front end and people can do developer relations and teaching

Eddie:

content online and things like that.

Eddie:

You don't have to be someone who's playing with databases in

Eddie:

a dark room to be a developer.

Eddie:

And I love that the expansion of what's possible is really coming out there.

Francesco:

I made there tweet exactly about this because when I made

Francesco:

this tweet, I got like 5,000 likes.

Francesco:

I dunno why, but it was me saying, like, I went from coding in a dark room

Francesco:

with a black hoodie to jumping on a stage as a public speaker and someone

Francesco:

said, oh, you could turn on the lights.

Francesco:

So thank you for that reply.

Francesco:

Who said that, but you get what I say that.

Francesco:

It has been a very long journey.

Francesco:

And I think that when something is hard for you, you want someone else

Francesco:

also to try that, because if I can be a public speaker, everybody can do that.

Francesco:

I'm sure you just need to put some daily effort if you want.

Francesco:

Of course.

Francesco:

But I think that there are many people.

Francesco:

Who like to be more communicative as the developers.

Francesco:

I think it's something that it's a stereotype, but it's something

Francesco:

that I think we are missing.

Francesco:

I would love to help everybody to focus more on this activity.

Francesco:

We can say that can also help us in our job.

Francesco:

And also think that what we're doing is great.

Francesco:

So podcast talking about our lives, our stories, but we don't have a monologue.

Francesco:

So I'm just thinking out loud basically.

Eddie:

I think that's great.

Eddie:

For developers who want to branch out.

Eddie:

I think there's a lot of different opportunities, right?

Eddie:

Reach out to different podcasts.

Eddie:

There's you know, this podcast, you can reach out to me,

Eddie:

Code Newbies is out there.

Eddie:

Different podcasts who need guests who have thoughts.

Eddie:

A little bit more nerve-wracking but throwing it out there go speak at a

Eddie:

conference, there's Twitter spaces, right?

Eddie:

There's no even video on a Twitter space, hop in.

Eddie:

I know you're in Twitter spaces all the time.

Eddie:

So if you're not following Francesco follow him, when he, you see him in

Eddie:

a Twitter space, hop in one of those Twitter spaces and try to speak, right?

Eddie:

Like just getting yourself out of your comfort zone so that you

Eddie:

can start to experience something new and see if it clicks for you.

Francesco:

Yes, absolutely.

Francesco:

And I can say this that now I have tried everything Twitter Spaces, Live streams.

Francesco:

I'm struggling now because there is nothing that I haven't tried.

Francesco:

I also tried the TikTok Instagram.

Francesco:

Live I've tried everything.

Francesco:

Literally, even if I'm almost 40, but I can tell you that the reward is huge.

Francesco:

I'm not talking about money or job opportunities, which can also be

Francesco:

nice, but the reward, for yourself that you have done something that

Francesco:

you thought that you could never do.

Francesco:

And since this is challenging, this is the reason why I do all of this.

Francesco:

Someone asked me, I think it was couple of weeks ago.

Francesco:

Francesco, why are you doing this?

Francesco:

Because I was not there for my company.

Francesco:

I was not there for getting paid.

Francesco:

The real reason why I decided to go into public speaking.

Francesco:

It is because it's something challenging.

Francesco:

I like do challenges coming over again from the sports world.

Francesco:

I've done 100 interviews in 100 days, I'm doing a challenge of posting one

Francesco:

Web 3.0 content every single day.

Francesco:

I think I'm close to 200 days in a row.

Francesco:

So.

Francesco:

I like challenges.

Francesco:

And I also like to challenge myself and I mean, I can also lose some challenges.

Francesco:

I hate losing challenges, but I think the reward is great.

Francesco:

Everything gets easier once you find a way to do this for the first time.

Eddie:

So one other thing, kind of going back earlier in your story, you mentioned

Eddie:

you learned programming using Unity.

Eddie:

You know, like in the video game world, like easy, medium difficult.

Eddie:

That seems like you chose the difficult option for learning programming.

Eddie:

Was that intimidating to jump directly into programming in Unity?

Francesco:

This is a great question and I don't know what's wrong with my mind,

Francesco:

but when something gets easy, I get bored.

Francesco:

When something is hard, I get challenged.

Francesco:

So my brain like wakes up.

Francesco:

So I don't know why I'm like that.

Francesco:

But I need something hard because I want to prove that I can do that.

Francesco:

It can be a blessing.

Francesco:

It can be a curse having this twisted mind, but I like to do something

Francesco:

that can really challenge me.

Francesco:

Let's try to start with something, which is the hardest one.

Francesco:

So I don't recommend that to do what I do.

Francesco:

I never recommend to.

Francesco:

What I do, because I think there could be an easier path.

Francesco:

I've also done everything basically in private.

Francesco:

It's hard because for example, if you are on social media, if you're using

Francesco:

social media presence, if you connect with other developers, everything's

Francesco:

easier sit alone and, you struggle.

Francesco:

You can struggle like three days on a bug and you can want

Francesco:

to bang your head on the wall.

Francesco:

So, this is why I don't suggest to do the mistakes that I did.

Francesco:

I felt overwhelmed.

Francesco:

But this has been an incredible journey.

Francesco:

I've been using Twitter, like in January and February and March, on the

Francesco:

5th of March, I said, okay, so let's try to use social media a bit more.

Francesco:

I got like thousands of followers and at that point I was still

Francesco:

doing a commute with my car three hours every day to go to job.

Francesco:

Yes.

Francesco:

I was going to work with car.

Francesco:

Two days after , I started working from home.

Francesco:

I said, okay, so now I have time to do exactly what I decided to do.

Francesco:

I dunno if you remember it in Italy, we also had a very hard

Francesco:

lockdown at the beginning.

Francesco:

We were like the second state after China.

Francesco:

So I was like, okay.

Francesco:

So I got three more whole hours every single day.

Francesco:

I've seen this almost as a sign thing, now or never because again, I've not

Francesco:

been a social media guy all my life.

Francesco:

And to be honest, now I'm very happy that we are going back to reality

Francesco:

because now people say, oh, Francesco is the social media guy is very active

Francesco:

on social media, but Twitter and social media is not the real life.

Francesco:

I would love to meet some people in real life.

Francesco:

Yes.

Francesco:

We have to say this, that there is the real life.

Francesco:

And yes, I'll be in New York, you know, some days.

Francesco:

Maybe after or before, we'll publish this one to meet many

Francesco:

friends that I met on Twitter.

Francesco:

And to be honest, I'm shocked on how you can create a good

Francesco:

friendship also on social media.

Francesco:

Because again, I'm kind of old, I'm almost older than internet.

Francesco:

So for me, it's all start a friendship on internet.

Francesco:

It'll never be natural because this was not what I was doing when I was 13.

Francesco:

So for me, it's something strange.

Francesco:

But I can say that.

Francesco:

I met many amazing people

Francesco:

. Eddie: Awesome.

Francesco:

That's great.

Francesco:

One of the things we like to talk about on this podcast is things that bring us joy.

Francesco:

And so I just wanted to ask is there something whether it's community or a

Francesco:

tool or really anything that you've done or seen or used recently that brought you

Francesco:

a lot of joy that you'd like to share?

Francesco:

Yeah, first of all this question is incredible and I never got

Francesco:

this and I think it's a great way to make a question, but there are many things.

Francesco:

I think the number one thing is that by doing what I do.

Francesco:

So being very active on social media now also going to events, I feel the freedom.

Francesco:

So I feel that I'm free to do whatever I want.

Francesco:

Now I'll take some days off and I'll go to New York, but

Francesco:

it's not even for my company.

Francesco:

It's just to relax.

Francesco:

I go to the Ethereum New York event because I'm into Web 3.0.

Francesco:

So it's an opportunity that I never even thought like some years ago.

Francesco:

I like talking with people, find meaningful conversation, and I

Francesco:

like to help if I can, I like to teach, but this is in my DNA.

Francesco:

I can't change it.

Francesco:

And I like to also try different kind of formats.

Francesco:

So for example, this is a podcast, in person events.

Francesco:

I like to experiment a lot on social media.

Francesco:

We can say that I'm still in the very early phase.

Francesco:

I've been here for 2 years and half.

Francesco:

So I really enjoying this and I also like my role Daily.Dev I work for this company.

Francesco:

Daily.Dev is a tool basically to stay updated as a developer,

Francesco:

by the way, it's totally free.

Francesco:

This makes my life as developer advocate super easy, because I

Francesco:

just have to say, just test it, you don't have to pay no premium.

Francesco:

You don't have to pay a single cent.

Francesco:

So I'm super happy to be an developer advocate of a tool, which is basically

Francesco:

free and it makes my job 10 times easier.

Eddie:

For sure.

Eddie:

Hey, you wanna use this thing by the way?

Eddie:

It's free much easier than, Hey, you wanna do this thing?

Eddie:

It costs a thousand dollars a year.

Francesco:

For sure.

Francesco:

It's easier.

Eddie:

Well, that's awesome.

Eddie:

I love you can definitely tell with the kind of breadth of

Eddie:

different things that you do, how much you enjoy talking to people.

Eddie:

Do you feel like there are certain mediums that you've really

Eddie:

been enjoying more than others?

Eddie:

I mean, obviously, as you said you've tried everything.

Eddie:

Are there one or two that you feel like are the most enjoyable for you?

Francesco:

Usually I always do, what I like.

Francesco:

So if we talk about numbers, for sure, making a podcast on my YouTube

Francesco:

channel is one of the best formats.

Francesco:

And before it were recorded now, sometimes I do also some live streams.

Francesco:

Sometimes I record them, but this is something that I really like to do.

Francesco:

I also do for example, if I have an idea, do some live coding.

Francesco:

Have done live streams on Twitch and of course Twitter.

Francesco:

So Twitter spaces, we can talk about what they are, but I think

Francesco:

we need a separate episode.

Francesco:

So yes, everything which involves creating a genuine connection with someone.

Francesco:

I really like that.

Francesco:

I'm really, really enjoying this the last two years have been really incredible.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

As we wrap up today, one thing we always love to do is as a community,

Eddie:

we love to support each other.

Eddie:

And so we're just curious, if there's anything that you'd like to share

Eddie:

that you've been involved with, or that you've worked on, that, you think

Eddie:

the community might find helpful?

Francesco:

Two years ago, I've created, a community called 4C, which stands

Francesco:

for cool community of content creators.

Francesco:

And we are about 2000 people.

Francesco:

And basically it's a community where you can get started with creating

Francesco:

content, making collaborations, making Twitter spaces together.

Francesco:

we have calls every week, we support each other, we talk about equipment, ways

Francesco:

of creating content, articles, videos.

Francesco:

So it's community specific to create content and have created this community

Francesco:

because I think that there are many content creators that don't have the

Francesco:

visibility they deserve because having a social media presence and creating good

Francesco:

content is not exactly the same thing.

Francesco:

And so, especially in development, so maybe you can create a great article, but

Francesco:

nobody watches that because you don't have the social media presence I would like

Francesco:

to give more visibility to those people.

Francesco:

I have to say that creating a community has been the hardest task for me since

Francesco:

I started being active on social media.

Francesco:

Even if I have a decent social media presence.

Francesco:

Because creating a community is harder.

Francesco:

You have to work on this every single day.

Francesco:

At the beginning, I was like, shouting, like, join, join, join, join.

Francesco:

Now I have an opposite approach.

Francesco:

So I work more inside the community.

Francesco:

we organize event.

Francesco:

We organize stuff and yeah.

Francesco:

If someone wants to join.

Francesco:

It's great.

Francesco:

But, for now I don't promote this 24 7, like I've been doing in the beginning

Francesco:

because I think that we are trying to provide more value internally.

Francesco:

So increasing the engagement inside the community, we talk every single day.

Francesco:

And then I dunno, at some point we would make other campaigns we can say, but

Francesco:

I really enjoy this even if probably it has been the hardest task for me.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

I think that's a great approach to say, Hey, I'm just gonna focus on the community

Eddie:

and investing in the community because if people find value in the community,

Eddie:

they're gonna tell other people.

Eddie:

I think that's about it for this episode.

Eddie:

Francesco, thank you for joining us so much.

Eddie:

It's been a pleasure just to talk and get to know.

Francesco:

Nice.

Francesco:

Thank you so much, Eddie.

Francesco:

You are an amazing host and I hope to collaborate soon again,

Francesco:

see you around on Twitter.

Eddie:

Thanks for joining us for Episode 12.

Eddie:

I don't know what is wrong with my mind with Francesco Chula, you can

Eddie:

find out more about Francesco on his website, Francesco chula.com or his

Eddie:

Twitter, Francesco C I U L L for.

Eddie:

You can find links to everything we talked about in this episode,

Eddie:

as well as the link to Francesca's website and Twitter in his show notes.

Eddie:

If you enjoyed this episode.

Francesco:

It's super, super important to support the content creator.

Francesco:

So If you like this podcast, you know what to do share with your friends.

Francesco:

And so we can keep going with this podcast, you know what to do.

Eddie:

That's right.

Eddie:

Help others discover this podcast as well by rating and reviewing it

Eddie:

in your favorite podcast directory.

Eddie:

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter at web joy, F M.

Eddie:

Thank you for listening and have a great day

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About the Podcast

WebJoy
Find your happy place
The WebJoy podcast is an inclusive community centered on celebrating the diverse origins, skills, and experiences that make up the tech industry.

Talking with guests about their origin stories, what they love about working in their roles, and what they find joy in keeps this an upbeat and rather lighthearted podcast.

We approach the world with optimism and hope, while recognizing the flaws and challenges within our own industry and the world at large. We believe that if we work together, we can all find our happy place.

About your host

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Eddie Hinkle

Eddie's mission is to bring joy and empathy to the tech industry. He does this through engineering leadership, mentoring and podcasting. Eddie currently works as an Engineering Manager at Glassdoor, Mentors on ADPList and hosts the WebJoy podcast.