Episode 101: 100 Episodes with Josh Birk | Salesforce Developers Podcast

We’ve reached an incredible milestone: 100 episodes of this podcast have been recorded, produced, and released. Today I take a little victory lap to celebrate all that has happened over the past couple of years.

In this episode, I reflect back on the early episodes, talk a little bit about how we got here, and thank a few people who have helped me out along the way. Tune in to celebrate with us and hear some of the background behind our show.

Show Highlights:

  • The origin story of the Salesforce Developer Podcast.
  • Gratitude for the many people who have supported the show.
  • How the format of the podcast came to be.
  • Why diversity is so important to us.
  • Exciting things coming up for the podcast.

Links/Shout Outs:

Episode Transcript

Robert Sösemann:
Code quality matters and it’s readability, testability. It’s not only that people should understand it. They should also be able to refactor it.

Josh Birk:
That is Robert Sösemann, the first-ever guest that we put on the Salesforce Developer Podcast. I’m Josh Birk, your host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast, and here on the podcast, you’ll hear stories and insights from developers for developers.

Josh Birk:
Now, today, we’re going to do a little bit of a special episode. It’s going to be a shorter episode. We’re going to take a little bit of a victory lap as far 101st episode. What I’d really like to do is be able to reflect back on those last 100 episodes, talk a little bit about how we got there, and use that as an excuse to thank a few people along the way.

Josh Birk:
Now, whenever I think about the podcast, I think about a night in New York City. I am walking back to a hotel with my good friend and then manager Mary Scotton. We have just left the developer group meetup, and we are just talking about some of the things that people had said and what we had heard and some of the stories and some of the projects, and Mary was like, “You know, that would make a great podcast.”

Josh Birk:
That’s not the origin story of the podcast. That is one of many reminders that Mary would give me that, in her mind, this was a good idea, it’s something that the community would like, and we should keep it in our mind and keep it moving forward. I also want to thank Mary for being instrumental in helping us launch.

Josh Birk:
Now, the origin story of the podcast really goes back to conversations I would have with the formerly known as ButtonClick Admin, Mike Gerholdt, currently the cohost of the Salesforce Admin Podcast. I remember sitting across from a fire pit with Mike at one of our departmental all-hands, and we just started chatting about what would a counterpart to the admin podcast look like if we produce something like that for the developer podcast?

Josh Birk:
Speaking of Mike and cohost of the Salesforce Admin Podcast, I definitely want to give a shout-out to the great Gillian Bruce. I shadowed Jillian in the early days when we are trying to figure out what we’re going to do and how we are going to launch. So she really taught me how to prep guest, research guest and, eventually, interview guest.

Josh Birk:
Now, speaking of format, we didn’t really know what we are going to do in the early… We’ve actually been talking about doing a podcast for, at this point, I believe, years, and originally I wasn’t even intended to be the host, necessarily. We went through a couple of iterations of trying to see people who might be interested in it. Fun fact, one of the people that we talked to was the wonderful Leah McGowen-Hare. To this day, I am not entirely sure that Leah wouldn’t be doing a better job than I am at this right now, because she’s amazing, but I’m also so happy that Leah got to go off and do incredible things over at Trailhead.

Josh Birk:
Now, other people I’d like to thank, I’d like to thank Arabella David, Ariana Faustini and Karen Datangel, and Karen, I’ve always said your last name like that because that’s how it looks like on texts and so I apologize if I am mispronouncing it. Those are people over in developer marketing who really helped start crafting style and giving constructive feedback and criticism and just helping figure out what worked and what didn’t work.

Josh Birk:
I would also like to thank Peter Chittum and his wonderful team of developer advocates/evangelists who are also in there in early years to help give feedback and have also been a great source of content for the podcast itself.

Josh Birk:
Now, I really needed all those people in the early years because at one point we weren’t even sure would we go weekly? Would we go biweekly? Or would we go monthly? Would we do a seasonal thing? Eventually, I decided we’re going to try to mirror the admin podcast so we’re going to go weekly.

Josh Birk:
But we weren’t sure what the podcast was going to sound like at that point, and there are a lot of interesting avenues we went down the way. At one point, we thought maybe we would do a long format, not an interview-style necessarily, but two people sort of talking to each other. I sort of decided the ecosystem has that already, and the whole goal was not to compete with any of the community podcasts but, if anything, hopefully help uplift them in the long run.

Josh Birk:
So we wanted to try to do something unique. We thought about a little Q&A between developer and evangelists. There was one format involving a metronome, and I want to thank Arabella for talking me out of that one. I won’t go into details, but I mean, metronome kind of speaks for itself.

Josh Birk:
Eventually, we started talking about these conversations that we wanted to have about internal products, community people, MVPs, people who are putting together interesting products. If you go back to the launch, we finally launched Dreamforce 2019, we started working on that at the beginning of 2019. So it took us almost a whole year in order to get enough episodes that I was happy with how the podcast was going to sound. If you go back to those first four interviews, so that’s Robert Sussman, it’s Dan Harrison, it’s Phoebe [Anatolian 00:05:02], that’s Jessica Murphy, those were intentionally indicative of the kind of diversity that we wanted to have in speakers, that we wanted to have in topics, that we wanted to have between highly technical content, to talking about how the community helps itself teach and learn Salesforce. So we had tried to keep that kind of diversity rolling as we went through those 100 episodes.

Josh Birk:
Speaking of those 100 episodes, I want to thank, I guess, I especially want to thank my early guest who were very patient with me learning the ropes of this. We had some long interviews that we cut down to short interviews. We are looking at possibly rerelease some of the long versions of those early episodes. Those early episodes were really reflective of me learning how to get a good podcast out and trying to have a lot of good control over how the episodes were actually being put together.

Josh Birk:
We’ve since evolved into a more natural conversational flow, but even as I’ve been working through this, I just want… I mean, I’ve had guests do an interview under a blanket. I have had a guest do an interview in a closet. I’ve had guests go and change out chairs because their chairs were too squeaky. So for everybody who has helped me go the extra mile in this pod, I just really want to thank you, and that includes everybody that I’ve ever put onto a mic.

Josh Birk:
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my current leadership in the form of Christophe Coenraets, he’s just been wonderful and supportive of the podcast and giving us time and bandwidth in order to get it done. I want to thank Heather Storm and her team. Heather’s been a supporter of the podcast since before day one. Fun fact, Heather told me that she wasn’t really a podcast person, but she would try to give it a listen. So a lot of my conceptual work was like how can we win Heather over to the podcast, which I believe we’ve been successful at. Her team also includes Valerie Um, who helps us do things like get things up onto YouTube, Anthony Tavan, who does our social, and if you’ve ever gotten any swag from us that probably came from Nicki Talbot.  Finally, if you heard about us from a Spotify ad – and many of you did – you probably heard that from my colleague, Christie Fidura.

Josh Birk:
Now, I also want to give a shout-out to my good friend, Rick Carlberg, for basically just always being there for me and being a huge supporter, and somebody who’s been a mentor in my professional career. I definitely wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for him.

Josh Birk:
But, of course, finally, I want to thank you, the listeners. The feedback we’ve gotten has been amazing. I cannot tell you the joy that I have gotten out of doing this podcast. I think I’ve tried to say quite a few times, but especially in the pandemic. [Inaudible 00:07:34] I talked to other podcasters, as the pandemic was rolling out, there were basically two forms of thought, one of those basically being don’t talk about the pandemic. A podcast is a safe, happy place, and it’s a place people can go to forget about the pandemic for 30, 50 minutes, so I think that’s brilliant. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy.

Josh Birk:
But it was actually an interview with Marc Braga and Marc had COVID-19 before he joined Salesforce. He got hired at Salesforce and then instantly got COVID-19, and we talked about it so briefly on the podcast. But I went back and I thought about it and I was like, “I think that might’ve been a mistake.” Marc might’ve been able to share some of his perspectives on something that other people are interested in, and he has a unique perspective on it, i.e., being a victim of COVID-19. So it’s just been wonderful to have these conversations with everybody during these times, and I want to thank you again.

Josh Birk:
We are going to episode 200. There’s probably not a lot of huge changes coming up into the near future. Some of the things we’re looking at doing is things like, again, putting in some of those long-form conversations, maybe bringing back some of the audio that you haven’t had a chance to hear. We are also going to start bringing on some guests hosts. So you are going to start hearing a few other voices from this podcast, but trust me, they’re all people that I respect and adore.

Josh Birk:
Now, before we go, I want to play for you a little experiment that never really quite got off the ground. We created these parody radio ads that were intended to be shared with other podcasts and use as sort of a community sort of advertisement kind of thing. The pandemic disrupted everything. These ads were produced by my producer, Danny Ozment, and his team over at Emerald City Productions. I personally want to think Danny and his team for being great partners and mentors and making sure that we have that insanely great high-quality sound that you are currently hearing.

Josh Birk:
We have a handful of these. I want to play two for you today. I might play some of them later on. But the two that I want to play are two of my favorites, and the first one sounds a little bit like public radio.

Audio:
You’re listening to API Public Radio. Next week on Developer Voices for your stay-at-home pets, we will break down the geographic distinctions between regional uses of the semi-colon and the lasting impact that kebab cases made on the development world. Our guest will be two developers with completely different grammatical styles, who will need to answer compelling questions like tabs versus spaces, and whether it is acceptable to use variables named after family members. Catch Developer Voices for your stay-at-home pets every other Sunday, or whenever you happen to download it.

Josh Birk:
That was the first one. I hope you enjoyed it. Fun fact, these originally ended with a cut over to me saying, “Well, that was fictional. Here’s a real developer podcast for you” and cutting those for the sake of time. Also if I’m being frank, my early audio wasn’t that great.

Josh Birk:
Now, this next one, well, it’s one of my favorites because it reminds me of one of my favorite things, which is old-time cereals.

Audio:
Last week on Captain Vapa brought to you by the fine people at General Programmatic. The good captain saved the day by moving code into proper utility classes. But this week she will face one of her greatest foes yet, the Null Pointers. Let’s take a listen.

Audio:
Captain, I don’t understand. Everything was fine until we went to production. Now, every page is nothing but errors.

Audio:
Faithful sidekick, you fool. Your select statement is just pointing to the first index.

Audio:
[inaudible 00:11:05].

Audio:
Of course, it might be an array, but I just need the record the user has access to edit. It’s always the first one.

Audio:
Unless they don’t have access in production. Don’t you see? There’s no first one. You’ve created nothing but null pointers as far as the eye can see. Oh, you’ve doomed us all.

Audio:
Oh, no. How will Captain Vapa save the day? Will faithful sidekick finally use a proper catch statement? Will he learn to check the array size before instantiating? Will production ever be stable? Tune in next week to find out.

Audio:
[inaudible 00:11:36]

Josh Birk:
Okay. Well, that’s our show. Once again, I want to thank everybody who helped get us here, everybody who’s been on the show and, as always, I want to thank you for listening.

Josh Birk:
Now, if you want to learn more about this show, head on over to developer.salesforce.com/podcast, where you can hear old episodes, see the show notes and links to your favorite podcast episodes. Thanks, again, everyone. I’ll talk to you next week.