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Joseph talks to co-worker Connor Ruhl about his life

Conner is that guy at work who is always one step ahead of the game. He's a veteran at Carfax although he is only 22 years old. He's responsible for a fair amount of direction in the technologies we use because he is passionate about new stuff and understands how it fits with our current architecture. This passion for new stuff carries into his personal life; at the lunch tables you'll always find him engaged in serious conversation about crazy futuristic ideas. So I wanted to explore him and the context that made him in an interview. Thanks Conner for granting me the time.

Recorded on 2018-09-16

Speakers: Conner Ruhl and Joseph Weidinger

Okay. Connor rule. Am I pronouncing that right? Yeah. I know you because we're both co workers at carfax, here in columbia, missouri. When I interviewed for this job a year and a half ago, you were on the panel for the phone interview. And although it's ridiculous to say I still hear your voice as the voice of carfax because of that. But why? I'm really interviewing you here today at shakes shakespeare's pizza downtown, september sixteenth, two thousand eighteen is because you're always you always seem to be full of interesting ideas and thoughts.

And you're really good at articulating them. So thanks for joining me, connor. And with that, we'll start. So how do you get I am twenty two. Twenty two? Yeah. And how old were you when you started at carfax? I was nineteen, I started october. It would've been, I think sixteenth, and it's going to be three years coming up this october, which No. Is really bizarre. And how did that? Hey, that's exactly a month now.

Yeah. How did that job happened? How did the car fax thing happened? Well, colombia kind of happened to me as one cohesive event at this point, and it really starts with me coming to colombia. I was in, I got rejected from like, all these different schools. And soma zu was the one I like desperately thought I could get into at the very latest impossible opportunity and rushed into that admission process.

And they're like, hey, will take you and here's some money. So I was like, all right, guess massoud is. And I really I'm kind of happy. It turned out that way because I wanted to be close to parents and, you know, this is two and a half hours away. Its the right distance for it's, you know, spontaneous visits, but also a good amount of privacy, I guess, and Okay? But carfax Yeah. Happened because I really hated school.

I just hated it. I love the people. I love the community. I love everything No. About it except the actual class work. I have been programing forever when I came to my zoo and I really wanted to go to one of the schools where the computer science program is still like a generating. Interesting new stuff. But this was less of that. More of just we're goingto grained you into being some kind of java developer who knows four years from now, but it's really going to five.

I was just like, I can't do that. So sorry. Yeah, it was like the last I would say last quarter of the year where I basically just knew I was going to leave, and I Because decided that before I knew what I was going to do next. So carfax actually came from basically a mad scramble to find a job so I could not go to school. And I didn't even know about carfax in colombia until, I guess two weeks before I was really supposed to ground interview with some other places.

And I think the reason I picked carfax, to be honest is just I wasn't ready to leave this, you know, like one of the coast away from parents and family. That's a big deal for me. So, ah, I applied on a monday, I think, and it was a week long wait, and I got the offer on friday. So, like, that was crazy. It was just like, wow, all of a sudden, welcome to adult and yeah, that's how that happened. And what were you doing from like when the school year ended in may to october?

Like where you're just freaking out or playing the different jobs or slacking off and just saying i'll figure it out? You know, I have this really awesome job. That was a part time thing where I worked at this advertising company and we did some morally gray stuff. But it was a good experience. Like everything in advertising is morally great. Like at the end of the day, you're stealing people's attention and trying to sell them stuff like nothing about it felt good.

But it was a really No interesting programming right. Problems. So that's what I did part time over the summer. And, ah, I was going to continue doing that for a little bit longer than I end up doing, but basically turned out that my boss didn't have enough money for me, so that was the end of that, and that was a pretty hard exit. So Cool. So when you decided not to go back to college instead of opting to go right into here.

The industry, was that a a hard decision for your parents to accept? Yeah, I remember I called them. Virginia avenue parking structure. Mazu. I was walking from there No. Back to backto hudson, which is the dormouse in, and I No. Stopped right in front of the I think it's like the black cultural center on campus, and I basically just decided like, I don't remember what the final trigger was, but I was like, I need to let them know what's happening because I'm not going back in the school next year.

I hadn't been doing any other like stuff for it. Please. So I end up calling them right in front of that, that cultural center and just pacing Please. Around the entry like patio for I don't know, like it was a while and telling them about it. They were, like, not happy that I didn't have a plan yet, but they also weren't really, I guess, worried too much like, I guess I did a good job of convincing them.

Thing is No, gonna be okay. Trust me. It's I know a slightly no. What I'm doing. I didn't really yet. I didn't know if I was going to be able to find something, it but they yeah, they they weren't stopping me or actively trying, so And at some point you started at carfax sitting on interview panels for new hires, but may not do that too much anymore. How many people do you think since you started in october of two thousand fifteen, did you interview for a job at carfax?

Huh? I I don't I could actually tell you this if I was looking at the interview board we used, but it Wait. Feels like twenty in total. That's what it feels like. And they've all been for weird in different positions. Like it all started when I was interviewing for this one security position and because I was on the dev ops team You that were interviewing. Oh, someone else, okay? Yeah. So I think the first interview I did was, like, sporadic and somebody and infrastructure Great.

Was like, hey, help us interview somebody because Yeah. You do dev stuff too. And then I was like, okay, I kind of want to keep doing this, so just started participating. When you interview someone for a tech job, what's the most important thing that you want to know? No generally. Bad timing. I'm going to this pizza. It's delicious. You're fine, man. Do you don't have any hand in actually making this one, did you?

I made it. You did. I made it with my own hands. That's cool. I didn't bake and I can't bake. I don't know how to do that. Yeah, I never want to know. That special. But I don't really know. But the biggest thing I've consistently looked for gets argued for, and interviews, um, is something that's really hard to measure for. It's just like if I can find any inherent signs of real passion like, does this person care enough about this thing to want to do it and get better at it on their own?

Because if there isn't some kind of passion, you're just stagnant. You know, if you don't No. Have some and ate like or any enjoyment out of what you're doing, you're not going to spend your own time that's necessary to keep getting better at programming. You're just going like stalin place. So I'm just like with when you interviewed when I saw Good, the resume sight, I didn't really right? Even care how if if it would help you do it or whatever it is the fact that what I saw and what you articulated.

The biggest thing is when Please. You were describing some of the code, I could tell there was actual passion about it. So that was what was pretty exciting. Thanks. And, I appreciate that. Yeah, no, that's the thing. I looked for it just ah, people, people who No. Actually care about the thing they're going to be working in tend to do a better job and, you know, stay up to date. I don't care about certs. No.

Education obviously doesn't matter to me. It really is just like, do I feel like you're as excited about this thing? A zai am, because I think coding is really crazy, so Cool. What's one thing at carfax. For one thing, that carfax as a company does well to keep developers happy. For the most part, I think. I think probably the the greatest benefit carfax has provided for me, and I think this is true of other people don't want to say it just generally because I haven't been in everyone else's shoes.

But, um, the opportunity to do things that normally require way more politicking or way more ladder climbing like steak on new responsibilities like just I'm gonna be on the interview team now, cool, or I'm What? Gonna do this thing and like it seems like the barriers to new ideas is very low. So if I have a new idea, there are many people I have to go to to Please. See if that's ok or can't actually execute normally, it's just like, have No.

At it and so that that's giving me a huge amount of opportunity to do stuff I think would take forever in other companies, like being on the recruiting team. And I would say, so the stuff I did for like going out conference travel education, that they've given stuff like that You they really are are you willing to please, say yes, I guess no. Lots of different scenarios I think wouldn't just happen if I was a code monkeys somewhere else.

So Right? So I want to dive into your upbringing. What was your childhood like was would you say that it was a fairly conventional upbringing? Yeah. I don't really know how I would. What conventional looks like? Like so I feel like my childhood. If I were to tell the whole story about it, there wouldn't be any, Okay. Like, particular moments where somebody would say, oh, that's bizarre. But again, that's just me, you know, guessing.

I think I had a fairly straightforward childhood. I will say the one big thing I've noticed, as especially when I got into columbia, is that the relationship I have with my the immediate family is I really haven't found other people who have that close of, ah relationship. So that's something that over time has just gotten way more important to me as I've started realizing that's not normal. Well, I must say not normal, but it just And seems like every time I mention how often I go visit them or like how engaged we still are with each other, it's always around people who, you know, maybe visit once over a break or something.

So, um, I don't other than that, I don't really think anything was abnormal about it. I had a I've really enjoyed being a kid. I had a great time in camps. My school experience was what's having camps to go to. So I used to be in these these there's this lutheran camp, and I think it's waterloo, illinois, called camp warbird, which, like was extremely formative because it was, ah, it was just such a different place from everywhere else in my life.

I mean, for a week, you go to this place away from your parents. You, I'm like, thinking. Developed this over the span of seven days, this little community Yeah, of whatever bill. Camp you're in like, there's a paintball camp and then there's caving camps, all these things, but you all like rove around independently of each other. These groups thie campsite. And then there's the giant fueled games. So, like I played enormous games of capture the flag over a giant property in the country.

And those kinds of experiences, I think, are really kind of hard to come by unless you do You. Something like a camp. But I did stuff like that. I was always hanging out with my cousins and other family at my grandparents have this place to the ozarks. So that the ozarks alive. Lake of the ozarks Yeah, are lake like of the springfield ozarks. Area. Okay. Yeah, done of the lake And how were you when you went to those camps?

And did you go, like every year? Yeah, it was pretty much every year. It was There. Pretty much all throughout elementary school, like a god died off. Ah, I think in or before middle school, but, you know, kind of that age, I guess. Like maybe fifth grade toe sometime in middle school? Um, yeah, I those air. If I if I ever had a kid, like I would make sure they end up. It's something like that, which is just such an interesting experience.

There's nothing like it. Why do you think it is? Because it's like being away from your parents makes Huh? You more fortified as an individual or something I think like it's that. Just because every day there's something totally crazy outside of the norm of the schedule, like a giant field game, like capture the flag or we'd have all these bizarre giant camp spanning games. And, you know, in my adult life I've never with my very True.

Short of the life. But like I've never I played field games that large. Since, you know, like the experience of being surrounded by two hundred people on your side, tutor people on the other side, all going Really? After like flags and going through the forest And and cam, oh, and like having a partner and tryingto win on that scale hey! For a whole night is just a crazy thing. Andi, it's just the little things like that over a span of a week that add up and you get back in your life, that is very different in All right?

Fun. So Who are some of your favorite teachers in high school? Or did you did you take school? Seriously? Let's start with that. Did I take school seriously? Like, let's say, starting at high school. Were you a good student? Did your parents put Yeah. Pressure on you to get good grades, for example, possibly? Oh, yeah, so depended. On the class Yeah. And whether I cared about it, like if I cared about the subject usually did just fine.

Um, but there were definitely times where I just did not do what I'm supposed to do, cause I just did not care. So, like, I failed one class in middle school, and I remember that was, like, one of the most traumatic experiences ever, because every time I did something wrong growing up, I would come home, and we have these two couches that are facing each other in the little living room. And I would walk in and, you know, there would be mom and dad on one side of the couch, and I would just immediately know, okay, we're talking about something and that one was about failing english class because I just literally didn't turn my stuff in, and that was pretty crazy.

I mean, I don't get really yelled at it was just like the sheer disappointment was like piercing but my parents basically decided, I guess that ah, they didn't want to put me in a public high school. My sister went to I don't really know all of their reasonings behind it, other than they just thought it wouldn't work out. So your sisters older than you? You Yeah, have one sibling. His yeah, system? I got one one sibling.

She's four Yeah. Years older than me. So she went to belleville east high school, and I went to this really tiny place called the governor french academy in belleville, illinois, like, right downtown. And it's tiny. I mean, I had twelve people in my graduating class that was a k through twelve, like college preparatory school, because that's what they were worried. If I was going to go to belleville east, I just kind of wouldn't get into college.

And whatever s o this place was, like, extremely one on one super small classes. Why did they worry that you think, like because Evidence. There's too much distracted, just too many distractions in a public setting. I think they were worried that in a public setting I could get away with stuff like if I didn't have somebody kind of on my case about it, I would definitely find those opportunities to not engage as much as I should be.

So is that like the kind of person that you are still are like you. You need to be nudged them doing something or you need to have. Well, it depends if I want to be doing it or I think it's like important. It's like unstoppable, like theirs. I will. S so you're adamant about that? Like Yeah. I'm going to stop going to college because I think it's dumb. I can't stand it. And that's the final answer. You know, Yeah, you're I mean, it wasn't like this is dumb.

No It was just like I knew what the cost was going to be in both dollars and time and opportunity, and I knew that I could probably build a better path. And in school, I mean, I in high school, I tried extremely hard on our science fairs, which was like this year long project and all of my science fair projects were software projects, and they did really well. I went to the international fair four years, but then in other no.

Subjects, I would just completely not care like I basically I'm probably going to regret admitting this at some point. But I cheated my way through all of the math in in high school. No. There's a big distinction Okay. That I like. Well, it is turning one lesson every day. And the lesson was twenty five. Questions was a lot of old questions trying to reinforce stuff and a lot of just a couple new questions on the nukes.

You know, concept. And then by the end of the week, you take a test on it. So the test was every friday, every single friday night. What I did my parents don't know about this is I bought the home school edition of the book that we were way were doing so I literally would write down all of the answer's ahead of time. And when I would come in the next day, I would write in the work to get from a to b. That way I could finish math early, but still spend some time on it to, like, make sure I kind of got was happening.

But mainly, I spent all we have three hours of math everyday, a governor, french. And when I finished early, Yeah. I would just go in the computer lab in program. That was my whole stick. So yeah, I mean, I I got educated a governor french, but a lot of it came from me finding ways around the system. Tau learn the things I wanted to learn and So. Think. Thank goodness I did. I mean, I wouldn't be as good of a program or if I had actually done three hours of math everyday.

Yeah. You always seem to be on your own like our there's something that drives you that that makes you different. Like, for example, in college, I think that's kind of rare for people just to say, you know what? I know I can do better than this on my own or whatever. I know myself like it's not worth the time, but like most people just go with the flow. Me included. You know, you just of course you're going to go to college.

Course you're gonna graduate, then you'll figure it out like you are already being independent enough at that age. It's just to know what you wanted and what you didn't want. Even in high school courses you were interested in what courses? You weren't interested in a time out. Are there mile time that you spent on them? Like, where does that sort of independence come from? Mmm. I think a lot of it has to do with anxiety.

I'm just very anxious about how I spend time. I mean, I literally for the last couple or two or three months now, I've been working on a time tracking system, so I can, like, truthfully, answer, did you use the time you have to the best you could, or at least did you. It's not about time tracking to the point where it's like, hi, I'm is productive is khun b. It's just being able to truthfully say, everyday you will did a little bit better than the next, you know, the earlier day and that What?

The trend stay up, Who you know. Inspired you to even get fixated on that that time is precious. It's I a dream. Don't really know. So I was reading this book about the I'm really interested in, like systems of habit and just, you know, one of the things I learned really quickly after getting a full time job was about month three. I suddenly had this moment right, like fully understood that this schedule and like lifestyle was going to be what I do until I retire.

And I was like, holy cow, like that is a lot of time that I need to figure out what to do with. And not waste this opportunity. I did. I mean, I took a risk and not going to college. Who knows if that's still going toe, come back to me or not, but at least I should be able to answer that. I'm doing the things Thank you. With my time that justify these kinds of, I don't know, No. There's no, there's no. I guess underlying reason for why I and it's not always right.

Also like Is it your parents? So like the parents and still listen to you or it is just by the example that they light that they lived, that you picked this up. And this is just how you think because of that? Couldn't answer. Yeah. Like what parts come for my parents. I know that I get my moms. I got a lot of anxiety for my mom, but she's she does the same kind of things. She sees like a problem and goes out until it's just done.

And they've both been entrepreneurs forever. I mean, a lot of my family is entrepreneurs, so no, it's, I guess, from their perspective, it was also hard to tell me to not like to continue down the traditional path, given their backgrounds of You being know? Not very traditional, like they, Okay. They both started their own businesses. My mom had my sister when she was really young, so, like nothing was very on course for them.

And they turned out really? Okay, so it's kind of hard for you to say, well, if you don't do this thing that everyone says you should be doing things going to turn out badly because their direct evidence against that. So I don't know, I I would say I do a lot of the things I do like personal projects, especially because I think a lot of it is actually fear driven to fear anxiety just of doing the wrong things with opportunity.

Mom probably make me way quicker, toe, say, noticed something that's taking up my time or that I feel obligated No. To do all remove that obligation if I feel like it's an opportunity, cost very little tolerance for that kind of stuff. So I don't know why I couldn't I couldn't turn that down. Now you answer. It will. So speaking of programming and personal project snow lets up. When did all that begin? Do you remember?

Like, the first language that you Yes, started learning and why? Yes, I the first programming experience. Quote unquote. I had it wasn't programming at all. It was making power point video games, which is Hey, this? Hamm. Power point. A meeting, but power Look, point video games, yes. So okay. I the salt came from in middle school. We we basically had these, you know, when I when I was going in a middle school.

This is something that is kind of strange to me. All the computers we had, I had Yeah. Kind of the internet there, but I don't know how to use it. We were really supposed to go do internet stuff, but power point totally okay, it's like microsoft office stuff, so you could do is much power point on the computers as you wanted, and you know, a lot of other people wouldn't get as much. Computer time is me because they were doing like ruin.

Scape was the big thing for a long time and minecraft for awhile. But like I was always doing power point stuff like that. And I used to. I used to be just crazy with this stuff like I would make. It wasn't just power point video games like, one of the first things I did is when vista came out. Windows vista. I try to replicate, like how the the operating system worked in power point, like I would attach triggers two shapes that I like grady and defied to be the exact start button and would have this little panel come up.

And when you when you clicked on the internet explorer icon to take you to a slide that emulates And internet export explorer and the games, please. I would make eventually. From that we're all like mouse games where you got to take your mouse along this path and maybe, like click a thing and you transition to the next slide. Um, so eventually, power point was like, obviously not good enough s. So I had to do some visual basic scripting to get scores was the first time actually think wrote code was to get numerical scores in power point that we're going up.

Ah, so and then the first serious for e I had the code was when my dad got me to make a website for the motorcross track usedto be involved with. So that's when I first got a web development. And then from there it was java script, and javascript became so many different things. That's just I mean, it's my first real language, so I made a whole bunch of stuff with it. That's hilarious. You know, when I remember, it wasn't power point, but it was something that you download an e mail that you shouldn't you know, fifteen years ago, where it seemed like power point, it would track where your mouse was and when your mouse over hovered over a certain point, we're going to the next image Yeah, so they would say hover over the red dot yeah.

It was this big red dots. You go the red that and you click and it takes the next light. Is the And, jump scare one. Yeah, it's a Oh, jump scare I know it's one. Like about They get the dots, get smaller and smaller. But every time you have to hover over and click and then on the final one, and they're all like pretty pictures of, like yeah, a lamb in a field or yeah. Something, and in the final one, you hover over.

But before you have a chance to click. And by the way, that dot is so tiny, your head is like an inch Yes. From the screen. It, like, goes to some scary image and screams at you. Yeah, that that Yeah. Is exactly what my power point games were like, except Yeah. Without the scaring. Like so, what I do is I'd create this path where you can use the shapes and vectors where the background of the slide would automatically on hover get you to the next slide, which would be a big game over screen.

And while For you me. Were on that path, you weren't touching the background. So if you if you straight off of it or one of the moving things touched you, that would automatically trans transition you to a death scene, and then Oh, no. Well, that's a we'll put this on pause. So you were talking about making power point games and yeah. This how great lengths you went to great lengths to make these games out of like nothing.

Basically, It because was obviously so much fun. We not design. And so you were trying to make, like, game mechanics and stuff from this. Did Yeah. Other people do this? How Come did on. You discover that you could make games of power points? There were actually quite a few people who were doing it. I think I discovered No. Them after I started doing it myself, because I I saw No. When I was doing the, like, original thing.

There was this moment where I saw it was some kind of, like tank. I don't remember what game it was, but I saw one of these because I was downloading. I was downloading. Yeah. There's a single power point viewer because like I was, I was intent. I was going to release these games, so I didn't want to release it in power point, you know, uh dot whatever file extension it is because then you could edit stuff.

If you use powerpoint viewer files, you can't edit it, and then it only works. And it's really like this really watered No. Down thing. That's just for viewing presentations you have to have a license for so my whole my whole desire was okay. I'm gonna make these power point games and put them out, and people are going to go play them because that's realistic. And, uh, people are definitely looking for power point games, but in trying to find out how to like release them for viewer.

I found Right? A whole bunch of other people who are doing it, too. Not a whole bunch of other people. There were some Ruth people doing it, and no. I saw some really good examples and, you know, just kept that that lasted for a while. But, you know, I didn't stay in the power Yeah. Point land for too long. That's basically before I learned any programming language was the only thing I had to do. Right. So what is your biggest strength, connor?

As a human being. Huh? What? Men. That's I don't know if I know yet at all. I know that I am pretty good at introspection. That's one of the things that I think I do a lot more than other people have noticed where I will actually, like. Stop what I'm doing, like really hardcore. Evaluate how I'm spending time, for instance, like time tracking stuff for like when when I've been in, like, really intense fights Wait.

With friends, I guess like I've always managed to turn that around. Just buy like having a hard I guess. Talk with myself about what happened, why, you know, stuff like that? I think I think just that reflective trade has been helpful. If you don't have some kind of scoring mechanism for yourself or ability to look back on what you do, you're going to keep doing stuff, even if it's the wrong thing. So I guess I'm grateful for that.

But I don't know. I think I've always been able to have a goal and learn the bare minimum to get there. Like with programming that's really crucial. It turns out like I want to do this thing. How how can I get from a to b in the least amount of steps like just that general problem solving, plus an education Get in. Aspect to it. Like, I know, I think I know how to solve the problem, but I also know the parts I don't know and have to go learn those.

You know, if you got that down, you could be a programmer. Congratulations. So you see the big picture, in other words. I guess maybe I I'm just I'm pretty good at just compartmentalizing a problem down to the things I can actually do. That's why for a while at carfax, I usedto I dropped those big mind maps everywhere because No. That helps people take something huge. Like we did this for one of the big products were trying to put in the cloud, and we broke it down, like the central question on this mind map.

And this is a technique I really think more people should learn for note taking or whatever is start with something just enormous, something that's, like, too big Yeah. To answer easily. And they just keep Thank breaking you. It down until at the every single edge of that map, you got something you can either do or something you need to go learn. And what that looks like is literally draw a big circle around a question like in our case, it was what was what's needed to move this thing into the cloud like move this application from the servers at carfax, too eight of us, and then, you know, you could draw a branch off that that says networking and the networking is going to come fifty different branches Hey!

With tons of little details. And, you know, I could do that my head pretty fast on dh when programming that's pretty crucial. That's pretty much all programming is. You start with some big goal and you break it down like in a tree like form. And so the very smallest things you can do, so No. I don't know. Biggest strengths. Do you remember taking that strength finder at carfax I do. During orientation? I thought it was the goofiest thing ever.

Really? What do you remember? What? Your five words. No, not at all. I Not at all completely you don't remember? Checked that out of my brain So like you I took disagree that question. With them, basically. I just think that it's a useless exercise like, No. That's all like, I don't remember it. I've never looked at somebody else's and made decisions based off of what their stuff was. Yeah. Its never been something that's helped me achieve anything, you know, like Right, harry.

But when you saw those five on the list, you thought that doesn't make any sense to me. This is dumb. I think I was like, well, yeah, I mean that those all makes sense, but Over there the most. The obvious to you like oh, well, that's right, but I Well, can help there's me. Such general words like some of them were few. I think one of them was futurist or something Yeah, like that. Yeah, definitely. And I was just like, okay, I didn't doubt that the system was doing something and getting some amount of information, but at the same time, it helps me or I don't think anyone else now that they have those traits.

I mean, I've never I've never seen them anywhere else. A carfax at least. So Some people put on their emails, it's that's the only place I've seen. That's literally it. I see them on the e mails, and I always think to myself, like, man, I'm never gonna have a signature on my emails in my life, like I refused to do that. That's funny. What's your biggest priority for your life? Like what's the one thing that you need to accomplish?

Right now, it's really simple. Right now. It's creating the system of essentially time tracking it's it's bigger than that, though. It's ah right now. It's just this thing I use every Yeah. Day to track what I'm doing with my time, but it helps me with literally everything else, like since I've started time tracking. I keep more awareness of where my time goes, like how I can answer questions that usually Years.

Are subjective with objectivity. And it really helps me make sure and feel confident that what I'm doing is, if not the right thing close to it or moving in that direction. So beyond right now, I don't really know where I'm going. I don't really have any giant plans. I guess the biggest long term goal for right now is to become Yeah. Self sufficient income wise. I absolutely despise the idea that somebody else controls what I'm doing with my time.

That's just literally the worst feeling in the world to me. If if I have to do something, I feel like I'm compelled to do. And I can't convince myself is a good thing to be doing or like. I just disagree with the reasons and I have to for let's say, a job I don't know, like going through school like a degree. I'm not going to do it like I I will not. I hate having to spend time in ways that don't make sense to me completely, because time is time, you know, so becoming self sufficient on income is a Here.

Huge. I had ideas about starting a company or something, but that was all in furtherance of a much smaller goal. I realized, like becoming self sufficient. I want to be able to live every day according to my own choices, and that doesn't mean No. Always working alone, like I work with people all the time on stuff. But because I want to because we know it's good for us. You know, I don't I'm not forced into that.

So feels much more genuine anyway. I think those are the only really long term goals I have right now. I would also like to not die alone, so that's ah, finding somebody is going to be Yeah. A an ongoing challenge. But that's everyone's things, so it's not really unique to me. I learned that I don't really know. I'm I'm I'm happy to be working on things I don't think you get to work on for a long time like it.

Sometimes I feel like people don't get to answer the question. What do you do with your time? Honestly, until they're in their forties. You know, like in there, they're in the middle of the career where they don't have to work crazy hard. And, you know, their kids are already gone or whatever. You know, somehow I manage tto end up in this content state where I Yeah. Can really think about the things that matter this early, so getting that right now is important to me.

Yeah. Cool. What's your definition of success or when a human being is successful, they Yeah. Are. Um, are you saying just generally when what I say, somebody has been a success or Yeah, like that could be a good interpretation. Mmm. Like that person successful. What do they have? A quality they have. What is success mean to you? In other words, You know, no. I don't. So success for me up until about a year and a half ago, usedto mean personally, like starting a company.

I don't know why I've been so hellbent on that specific idea. I think it does go back to I just want to work on my own. And now that I realized that, oh, I can probably do that without starting my own company, that's become less of. Ah, I guess a success metric for me. Um, I think my most you know this is going to change for me over my whole life. What I do find this to be. But right now, I guess the best definition I have is no, eh, the amount of autonomy you exert over your time has to be large, like people who are successful do the Yeah.

Things they do because they want to do them. Now, that again, that doesn't mean a selfish thing. Like the other thing about success is that you're doing things with that time that you, khun, genuinely feel good about, like with the best knowledge you have. You can actually feel good about how you're spending time. And I think as long as those two metrics are met. You know, that's pretty good. You can't. Really?

If you have a lot of control over your time and you're pretty confident, at least to the best of your ability and truthfully, you're using that time. Well, Wait. Um that doesn't mean you have to be rich or anything. You can just, you know, even somebody who's doing something they love and making no money can be successful by that. So That will change the way that definition for sure. Good. I'm glad we captured it here in this moment.

So you're pretty good speaker, presenter and articulator, even off the cuff. Especially for someone who's twenty two. And I'm sure you've been this way for a lot longer than just now. Ah, where did those skills initially come from end or when did you get a lot of practice developing those skills of speaking skills? Well, so I think it comes from when I was in my middle school years there, there At the was public really?

School. Yeah, the public school. There's really kind of none of that happening. I never got the chance. And then governor french happened. And in the very first Chris. Thing, I I don't think there's a moment where I was like, No. Oh, aiken, speak or whatever. I just was doing that a lot, and people kept telling me that I have good speaking skills and I'm just like, I'm talking to you and there happens to be more than one person in this room.

I don't understand why this is some spectacular scenario. Like the first thing I did governor french was I just got out of middle school and then this robotics club that I really loved and I wanted to keep doing that. So the first thing I did before I knew any of the teachers before I was in any of the class is literally on the first. The first time most people in the staff No. Ever met me at that school was when I went into one of their staff meetings and gave this this presentation.

They still have which is hilarious about like why we need a robotics club and how much money I needed and how much money I would raise. And this is what it will take. And this is why Right? You should care. And please let me do robots. And, uh, like after that, a governor french. There was, like, lots more opportunities to do that. So I also was in drama there. Yeah, and drama was not because I cared that much about drama.

I started to it didn't at first. It's because you could choose between p And and drama and p e for a long time was just like a game like baseball for a whole quarter or running around a lap. And I was just like, no. So I what? Escape to drama. And now the first things I did there was thie. I totally redid their their lighting system and made it crazy. And then, ah, and then I started actually acting in it.

So Yeah. Probably some of it comes from drama. I would say, um, I was in charge of the student. I created Oh. The student council governor french. This may sound impressive. Just the number of clubs, if I would have actual list them off that I was involved in creating. Yeah. It's on ly because nobody was there. It was an empty like nobody was there. And, uh, they aren't as intense as they sounded, you know? But I was I was a student council president for a while, so my job was running these meetings and stuff, and that's directly translated to like work.

You know, I felt like the first meeting I was in a car fax was a bizarre heist like carfax. And I guess this would be any corporate place I've ever worked at. Feels Yeah. So much like high school to me because it's like the fifty Yeah. People you actually interact with and all these little personalities and, you know, little politicking going on. And it feels, you know, I didn't go to a big public school where everyone was faceless.

I'm used to that fifty or so crowd, and so maybe some of it's come from that, too. I'm not sure. Uh, No, I like yeah, how you very related. You're high school experience, carfax, because it sounds like another similarity in both experiences is that you had opportunities to kind of like inventing your own schedule or your own job role. And, um, you've made the most of it self. Were you raised a particular religion, and if so, are you still practicing?

Yeah, I was ah mentioned this earlier. I went to those lutheran camps. I was raised No. Protestant lutheran and I used to go to zion lutheran. Church went through confirmation, went through all that. I am not religious anymore. No, but I did go through that whole experience, like of religious education. I wasn't really, like, educated at a religious school at all. But it was in my life enough that, like, I was around it pretty Hey!

Often while I was growing up. So yeah, not not religious anymore. I think my whole family is kind of going that way. Ah, yeah. And is there a particular thing that changed the tied for you as faras thinking religion was a part of your life and then saying I don't want to be apartment? Yeah, so there's two big things. The first one that I really ran into them. It was when I was just discovering the internet when the first places I somehow ended up at was thie.

Edgy Emmett. Is all hell, reddit atheism board. And I don't remember how I got there, whatever. But originally it was just a quest to, like, And I think, yeah. Fight down some arguments. I had my own head and then, like there was I feel like there was this moment where sort of the curtains dropped and during during confirmation, especially like when I had to have these questions. Please. Nobody wanted to engage with me on them, and I'm just like, okay, well, I'm here to get confirmed, and I feel like I need to confirm that these beliefs, Yeah.

The rial, before, hey, and my, the one guy pastor downs, I would ask all kinds of stuff, like and I cannot when somebody any answer anybody gives me this isn't just religion that that basically boils down to trust me. And I don't trust that person, eh? That's just know like, I'm not going to deal with that answer. So that's what I got all the time. You know, here's thie thing that we believe and I'm like, okay, but why?

Well, you know, we have faith, and I'm just like, well, that's problem. And I want I want something a little bit more. And then, um and that was actually Sir. Really awkward during I used to go to those lutheran camps over the summer, and I was not religious for like, the last part of that experience. So this all happened this transition from you, not believing essentially or whatever happened in middle school that early.

Well, no, it really didn't happen fully until my freshman year of high school. Where? I mean, I guess No. It started there. I was just, like, really not into it all and completely lost. Like, I guess, thie internal identification Yeah. As religious. And then in high school, I lost the external. You know, identify or so now is because of basically one dude, who was this guy named isaac who was one of my really good friends in high school like we had.

Lunch is at governor french, where it's on main street, belleville. So we're just during lunch hour. You can walk out where everyone get food on main street, walk back and on. I think like three of those talks. We basically ended up talking about religion. I was like, oh, Well. My god, yeah. This is so freaking dumb. Blah, blah, blah. And to hear somebody talk about it like that, I think just broke kind of the the social above allows in where everyone was religious, so Right?

That You made it easier to finally found out that I'm not alone here. Yeah. And the other big factor is I don't know if I've told you this, but I'm gay. So Now that's you tell me that. A yes, that that was also problematic. Like In particular for the lutheran religion. I don't know ah, much well, optimism. You know, it's not just the lutherans. It was like, pretty much I mean, the biggest thing is like I've actually read the whole bible.

When I was in camp warburg, I was very proud of that. Like I read that the whole thing. So, you know, obviously to come across some of the passages in there about that, particularly, or even hear what other religious people were saying about it, made it really Yeah. Hard. Tio. No, I guess first, first off, it slowed me down, Really? Probably in accepting that. And secondly, Yeah. When I did it made it extremely hard to reconcile.

You know, like, now, here's this thing I am, and I can't be because, well, crap, it's just not allowed. All right? I guess what's easier to throw away your entire system, a morals or just say, like, ah, go on believing this crazy thing, because, you know, like And it was easy to throw away that crazy system of morals, right. You know? You didn't have enough reasons to keep it. Yeah, When did you come out, or at least acknowledged yourself even that you were gay?

I don't remember exactly. I think the first there's a couple of times. I do remember that. We're like where it was. Ah, main focus of what was going on. I was in this thing called civil air patrol. Civil air patrol. Civil air patrol. I was chief master sergeant rule and I used to teach aerospace classes Wait. What? What? In command How drill. Old are you during this? It's like a thing for people. Pretty young. I mean, I think I stopped doing it in high school, basically, Okay.

If not a little bit earlier, but it's basically Agent. This. It's this airforce auxiliary where a lot of people don't know this. But most the air search and rescue in the country is done by this group. They have the largest amount of cessnas of any organization. They do a lot of search and rescue stuff like that. They're probably down there helping with the hurricane right now, invited guests. But I was No.

Signed up for that because there's one side of my family that's like a warrior Yeah, clan. Almost. They all go to the military, and yeah. That's what they do. So they suggested this to me, and it was way cooler than boy scouts for sure. And you got to fly planes, Here. Which was awesome. So yes, I did. That s I I I worked really hard, became a chief master sergeant. And one of the things I know that was really bizarre Yeah.

About civil eventual is the air force is extremely I don't know if it's evangeline. There's some kind of christian like that that goes throughout the whole air force and I used to think it was just kind of look localized to civil air patrol. But I've been reading on reddit and it keeps coming up that, like, the air force is very religious, like all the way through and through. So, you know, what was bizarre to me was when I first started thinking about that kind of stuff, like I might not like girls that I was No.

Surrounded by a very large group of extremely religious dudes my age in No. Civil air patrol. But amazingly, it is the largest still to this day. Concentration What? Of other gay people have ever known Really that we're yes, civil it. Air patrol. Yeah, it was bizarre. That's funny. And I think I know I don't know how that happened exactly, but honestly, it's kind of dumb luck, I would say, based off the people I knew there.

But it's still just very weird to me because, like outwardly, everyone had this certain attitude us and inwardly, that was different. And that's where I know that's where I first started. Like actually, considering, well, this might be a thing No, like mohr sir. Of more than a phase like this might be the thing. And then I had this and there were a couple of experiences where I've basically moments where I was like, oh, shit like kind of a sinking feeling, like okay, you know, things are different.

You know, I'm not going not going to feel the same as that other group of dudes that's talking about girls or whatever. And I had a girlfriend all through high school will not all through just for the first part of it. And she was catholic, so that was kind of a cover. Almost. I didn't realize this while it was happening at all like this was just all very, very convenient that that we weren't really doing much physically.

But outwardly, we got to be this couple. And then there were certain moments where, you know, she would want to take it further. And I just didn't. And then one day, it was just like I'm living a lot. It Right? Was just like, oh, crap. My whole Like life is shattered block and from it started with friends in high school. My parents found out run through a really embarrassing story. Yeah. I'm just gonna leave cheer him as imagination Yeah, you don't.

You do not have s to share o. Embarrassing things. But, yeah, I mean, it was just kind of person by person. And to this No. Day, it's this continual process. I mean, I don't really I'm not a flamboyant person whatsoever. I think that's not very attractive. I would say, like, I don't know. I never understood the whole, I guess culture. But so pretty much everyone I meet, I have to tell at some point. No. So it's just nonstop process of telling people figuring out if they're going toe care, then they're, like, weird about, ok, do you like me?

And I'm just like, no, because you wouldn't like it back. So that's dumb. It's Yeah. Like there's this whole process that keeps happening every it's never gonna stop. I'm ok with that of You're anderson. Okay with it. Well, I have to be. Or else there's no stopping it like It's just going about you. Yeah, I mean, I guess No. I could wear a t shirt that just says, like, hello, this is me like, That's but interesting.

One interesting idea. Well, and I've done stuff similar to that. When I Okay? Go out to bars, I have this stupid. And I really hate this, like, let me be clear. This is not something I enjoy doing or want to do. I I've gotten so annoyed with having a crush it up, but not a crush. But like seeing somebody, I'm interested in talking to a bar, like having to go through this whole process of first feeling comfortable, enough person to even bring stuff like that up.

I mean, normally, that takes forever. If you're going to start most dudes, I would say, if you would've just asked, hey, are you into dudes? They'd be really offended. It's still how it is. So damn, I started wearing this really dumb rainbow bracelet on lee when I'm like, kind of looking at someone and my friends kind of gave me some crap for it, because whenever I have that thing on, they like immediately, no, I'm I don't know, kind of buying someone, Right, so that's right, right.

That's been my solution. It's not a t shirt, but it's ah, it's ah, some kind of shortcut. It's never worked. Okay, it's worked one time, but who knows? Maybe maybe it'll turn a one off encounter into a conversation Prison. That would've taken a week to have. If you're not going to do that in a bar, who knows? So You know, saving time, man. That's what this is all about. So, well, let's see how much time where we got eight.

Fifty one. We got, like, ten minutes left, and we're not even halfway through the questions beyond. So we're going to skip through here a little bit. When do you not mind wasting time? When the experience Yeah. Itself is in joyful like, I mean, not enjoy for so I I do a lot of time tracking, right? But Right. It's not like Thank it's you. Telling me, oh, you were hanging out with friends, you know, that's wasted productivity or whatever that's rated pretty highly like I understand that I need just to experience some dole stuff.

And I don't mind wasting time hanging out with friends. For sure, that's the biggest one. I think just conversations in general, talking to people is probably my favorite single activity, just having a conversation so that I spent a lot of time doing that and talking to people and hanging out. So i'll get addicted to games for about two weeks at a time, um, two to three weeks like a herbal space program.

Planet coaster, city skylines. You know, i'll get really addicted for a short burst and then kind of exit. I don't feel that about that. It's just too much fun. I don't know those games, but are those all games? Are those games all relate to like building things Yeah, and pretty building much. Everything I do cities is or yeah. Whatever? Like victoria was in a minecraft city skylines No. Planet coaster. I liketo make stuff.

So Right, those air making very thanks. Complicated things, you know? So what do you think of health and fitness? Do you eat well? Do you exercise stuff like that Oh, that I do important not. To You you as we eat this meat lover's pizza? Yeah, I am. I would love to improve this, and I'm relying on a coworker todd to help me out. Eventually, he's gonna I'm trying to get him to drag me in the gym and actually, like, teach me how to do it.

Once I get the habit down, it's fine, like I have this treadmill. And I bought this tv stand and he got this crazy like system set up that if I ever wanted to start running at home, would be perfect. And I've tried and I've quit terms of eating, man, I just I eat out all the time. That's all I do. I Yeah, don't me too. It's not good. Yeah, lunches every single lunches out. And then if I cook, it's from this little sue veed thing which let's be cooked like forty for meats that I know when three different ingredients.

So I I have no problem eating the same meal again and again, and I have a very strict workout routine. I'm sorry. Weight loss routine, which is if I noticed some above what the bm Yeah. I for me should be. Or trending toward one fifty. Soon as I breach one fifty, I just stopped eating dinners or a meal a day until impact. It's not a good strategy, but it's kept me from becoming overweight. So, um, like literally, I will notice on the scale, I'm above a certain thing.

And just until that's fixed, plus some goodbye dinners or lunch like that's all I'm willing. Teo, if that's unhealthy, I think it's better than to become overweight in my bed. Maybe that's wrong. I'm not a nutritionist, No thanks for sharing that. So programming is all about automation. So and I'm asking you this because I know you're you always have lots of ideas and right excitement surrounding the future.

Your e. Future are futurist was one of your adjectives on that list following up a cz you mentioned. But programming is all the automation. So if the world were perfectly programmed and thus perfectly automated, what would that world look like? And what would we as humans be doing? So I don't think the long term future of the planet and us on the planet is particularly good. I think there's a there's a one singular path on which the human civilization and just the way of life we kind of understand right now continues.

There. Um, like I do believe at some point, a lot of people will talk about generally, I and stuff like that. I don't really care what the timeline is. There's, you know, the mathematical concept of a limit I think is instructive here. You know, you never really approach infinity, but you are gonna you're close enough. It doesn't matter like sure. Maybe in the next twenty years we won't have generally I but, you know, if you think the planet's going to be around for Yeah.

Five thousand years or at least our civilization, we won't probably come up with something like that. In the meantime, I don't think the timing matters. It's just the long term limits. The limit of Please. Human human civilization for me is like when we encounter some kind of generally I and the on ly positive scenario is one in which we either a matter so little to that system that we can use its by products, too, sustained our way of life.

Like, let's say it Yeah. Creates vast amounts of energy for itself, and we somehow are able to have a v r network and subsist or whatever. I don't know theirs. We have to survive that next transition, and it's kind of like a phase change. I don't even think talking about automation in terms of like machines Yeah. And factories is even that useful to me. Thank It's you. There's a one scale up higher. You have to go, which is we've had Me?

Transitions like this before. Biologically Yes. Significant transitions. We've we've gone from a planet where everything was a single cell. The next No. Big transition is we added a layer of complexity. That layer of complexity was multiple cells working together. The next layer of complexity was multiple cells working together. Then we have humans introducing language on top of that, and you can share information across individuals.

That's a brand new thing and the next boundary we're going to come up against. I just hope we have room to exist after. No. I mean, there are still single celled organisms on earth. It's not like Good. Humans replaced them all just the same way. There's still places where there is habitat, although not as much Three. As there used to be for nature. I'm hoping Cool. That we can kind of move into an existence like that.

So automation, to me, it's just obviously the human form and chemistry is No. Not as efficient as what we know could be out there in terms of direct like synthetic beings, at some point will outclass us and just raw, productive usefulness for sure, not just like in our factories, but as a concept like No. So I don't I don't really know what's gonna happen, and I don't I'm not sure speculating on that is even useful because it could be so far away.

I mean, it could be many, many millenia for now, before we get a truly, I don't believe. I think it's closer than we think. But you know, the only No. Thing I could do in this life is make sure that the things I am responsible for, our making things better for other people. You know, like for a long time, automation is going to help. So being part of that useful, don't feel bad about it. Nice. All right, so we got a couple minutes left.

Ah, can you? These last few questions here will be pretty fast, so All right? Just go with your intuition and god. Um, here. What's the best thing for a human being? The best Three. Thing. Huh? I don't know if we know that yet. Eso I don't know. We as it is a human race, know that. Yeah, well, like might I'm really into the whole longevity movement. I think that it is likely we were going to find some technological things that that will unlock longer life spans.

I mean, even even if we all get next to eighty years, twenty years, ten years. That's Yeah. Significant. And I guess right now most people answer this question. Yeah. Typically, children like raising kids and a family. I don't know if that's the best thing. Like what if if we all live longer, we can actually solve real problems and dedicate yourself to one thing that a human lifetime you'd have no chance of ever solving on your own.

Like maybe those kinds of experiences are the best things that we can still go through. I mean, if you ask the person from medieval time, they're going to be forty. They would never imagine like having grandkids or something like that, you know, changes so Please tell me something good you've never had and you never want. Good that I've never had and I never want. No. Besides the name or besides this song that's playing on the radio right now, which is by day matthews.

And if I don't know, well, it's a good thing and you've never had it. I'm gonna go with a kind of an easy one. Any addictive drug, like Okay. Any yeah, addictive drugs? I'm All right. Okay. Any drug that's not addictive? I have very little limits on what I'm willing to From try just cause I think it's I mean it. The amount of things you can experience as a person is limited fundamentally, unless you're willing to play around with circuitry in your brain and but any of the drugs that are addictive forming, no way I would touch that stuff ever, so yeah.

That would probably be good. It probably was a lot of fun, but it's so risky that there's no way. Okay. Four questions really fast. Yeah. Ten words or less who started it all? Who started it all. It never started or ended. It's just been happening. Are we going to make it? No. Who's cleaning it up? It. Nature will run its course over thousands of years and will be just another fossil layer. Is it serious? It's very serious, but there will be remnants that outlast the majority of what we recognizes.

I don't know the world as it is now. And finally, if your ruler of the world, what would you do on your first day? If I was ruler of the world, what would I do on my first day? Yeah. The first thing I would do if I was ruler of the world is start, eh? Multi year long process of having all the world's philosophers, legal experts, all the world's experts come up with the best mechanism for generating consensus possible.

You know, I'm I'm I'm partial to the idea that blockchain stuff has a lot of promise here. But even without that, I want to know that I don't trust myself to make huge decisions. I don't trust other people, too. But I do think if we had a chance to start from scratch Here. And really think about what's the best mechanism for as a society declaring, this is the direction we're walking No. In and feeling good about that choice each time that would be important.

That would far outlive me. I mean, the people who created the country had that chance, and it's worked. Okay, so each of them was president for max? Eight years. But their system is still here. That was a way more than ten words. No worries, connor. We talked a lot about time this interview. And so thank you for sharing your time with me to do this interview. Yeah, no Thanks, problem. Man. This is fun.