FounderQuest

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Summary

This week, Josh and Ben talk crypto with Mike Mondragon! They cover the technology rather than the hype behind Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and NFTs. Yep, crypto on FounderQuest, pigs are flying! Don't miss creating Commit Coin to make NFTs out of merged PRs and Mike gives away some solid crypto business plans. Also, did someone say Honeybadger was acquiring Heroku?

Show Notes

Show notes:
Links:

Mike Mondragon
CRDT
Ship of Theseus
Exceptional Creatures
Shiba Inu

Full Transcript:
Ben:
I'm just gonna dive on in there. I'm so eager. I'm so excited. It's actually weird because Starr is the one that typically starts us off.

Josh:
Yeah. I thought we were just going to start with our just general banter, and then not introduce the guest until 30 minutes later.

Ben:
By the way.

Josh:
It is also our tradition.

Ben:
Yeah. Well we're getting better at this thing.

Josh:
Where we say, "Oh, by the way, if Starr doesn't sound like Starr..."

Ben:
Right, yes. Today Starr doesn't sound like Starr because today's star is Mike Mondragon instead. Welcome Mike.

Josh:
Hey Mike.

Mike:
Hey.

Ben:
Mike is a long time friend of the show, and friend of the founders. Actually, Mike, how long have we known each other? It's been at least 10, maybe 15 years?

Mike:
Probably 2007 Seattle RB.

Ben:
Okay.

Josh:
Yeah. I was going to say you two have known each other much longer than I've even known Ben.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
So you go back.

Ben:
Way back.

Mike:
Yep.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
Because I think Ben and I met in 2009.

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:
Or something.

Mike:
Okay.

Ben:
Yeah, Mike and I have been hanging out for a long time.

Mike:
Yeah.

Ben:
We've known each other through many, many different jobs, and contracts, and so on. It's been awesome.

Josh:
Yeah, Mike, I feel like I've heard your name since... Yeah, for the last, at least, 10 years just working with Ben. You've always been in the background. And we've realized this is the first time we've actually met face to face, which is crazy. But it's great to... Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah.

Josh:
... have a face to put with the little... What is it, a cat avatar? Is a cat in your avatar? You've had that avatar for a really long time I feel like.

Mike:
Yeah, that's Wallace.

Josh:
Okay.

Mike:
So I'm Mond on GitHub and Twitter, and that cat avatar is our tuxedo cat, Wallace. And he is geriatric now. Hopefully he'll live another year. And if you remember in that era of Ruby, all of the Japanese Rubyists had cat icons. And so that was... I don't know. That's why Wallace is my icon.

Josh:
Yeah. Nice.

Ben:
So, so do Wallace and Goripav know each other?

Mike:
No, no, they don't. They're like best friends, right? They had to have met at Seattle RB.

Ben:
Yeah. Internet friends.

Mike:
Internet friends, yeah.

Ben:
Yeah. So, Mike is old school Ruby, way back, way back, yeah. But the other funny thing about the old Rubyists, all those Japanese Rubyists, I remember from RubyConf Denver... Was that 2007? Somewhere around there. I remember going to that and there were mats and a bunch of friends were sitting up at the front, and they all had these miniature laptops. I've never seen laptops so small. I don't know what they were, nine inch screens or something crazy.

Mike:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
I was like, "How do you even type on that thing?" But it's a thing. So I guess... I don't know. I haven't been to Japan.

Mike:
There are laptops that you could only get in Japan and they flash them with some sort of Linux probably.

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah.

Mike:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:
Okay. I wonder how long it took them to compile C on there.

Mike:
Yeah. So, about the orbit with the founders. So, I think I'd put it in my notes that I... And I consider myself a sliver of a Honeybadger in that I did have a conversation with Ben about joining the company. And then in 2017, I did do a little contracting with you guys, which is ironic in that... So we're probably going to talk about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. So the Bitcoin protocol is, essentially, on a four-year timer. And in 2017 was the last time that we were building up to, I guess, an explosive end to that cycle. And I had just been working at Salesforce at Desk.com, And I left because of Bitcoin. And then this year, four years later, I, again, just left Salesforce, but I just left from Heroku. And I didn't leave so much because of Bitcoin, I just got a better opportunity, and I'm a principal engineer at Okta, and I'm in the developer experience working on SDKs, primarily, the Golang SDK.

Mike:
So I think one of the things that they were happy about was that I had experience carrying the pager, and knowing what that's like, and they wanted to have an experienced engineer that would have empathy for the engineers to main the SDK. So I'm really excited to be here, because I'm not going to be carrying the pager, and it is the fun programming. What I imagine, listening to the founders, about the kind of fun programming that you guys get to do, working with different languages and whatnot. So, obviously right now, I'm starting out with Golang. We don't have a Ruby SDK, because OmniAuth provider is the thing that most people use. But, there's also PHP, and some Java, so I'm just looking forward to being able to do a bunch of different languages.

Josh:
Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. We don't know anything about SDK teams, Honeybadger. But yeah, it sounds like we have very similar jobs at the moment. So that's cool. We'll have to trade tips at some point. Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, I'm excited that you're there, because I'm definitely going to hit you up on the SAML stuff, because SAML's a pain in the tuchus yeah, I'm sure you'll have some insights from your time there.

Mike:
Well, that was how I was even open-minded to talking to Okta, was the recruiter had contacted me and I think actually it was the recruiter... I don't know the structure of how this works, but a lot of companies have a prospecting recruiter. And I think that a veteran oriented prospecting recruiter contacted me. And so being a veteran, I'll usually entertain those cold calls. And so then when I was at Desk, I wrote... So Desk was a big Rails monolith. I wrote a microservice to break some of the SSO off of the monolith itself. And in writing the API documentation that was on desk.com, I actually used Okta as one of the examples as a SSO identity provider using SAML. So yeah, I have had a little bit of experience from the outside of Okta with SAML. And so maybe I'll have more experience here to answer your questions.

Ben:
Yeah. We'll have to have you back and we can just do a whole hour on that. It's a fun world.

Josh:
After we do an hour on SDKs.

Ben:
Yeah, and your code that you wrote for us still lives on in Honeybadger.

Josh:
Yeah. Was it the webpack? That was some of the work, right?

Ben:
Some of it, yeah.

Mike:
Yep.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
And some GitHub integration work.

Josh:
And the integrations, yeah.

Mike:
Yeah, well if I remember correctly with the GitHub integration, I did do some GitHub integration, and it tickled your enthusiasm, Ben, and then I think you went in and like refactored that a little bit.

Ben:
Well, if you have a monolith like Redo that's been around for as long as ours has, things don't... It's like, what was that Theseus' ship, it's goes around the world but you replace things as it goes, and it's never the same app, right?

Mike:
Yeah, that's the thing, we had discussed this in the prelude around just software engineering in general and how hard it is to maintain a monolith, especially as a company grows and as developers come rolling into a project, you get all of these... Over time you get engineers with different goals, different techniques, different styles of touching your code base, to the point that it becomes very hard to maintain a project. And I think, I don't know if we're going to talk about Heroku at all, but I think that Heroku suffers from a little bit of that, where there's very few original Heroku that are involved in the runtime at least. And I just came from being on the runtime in the control plane. And, definitely, the code base there is... There's maybe one or two people that are still around that have touched that code base from the beginning.

Ben:
Yeah, let's dive into that, because that's fascinating to me. I know that there's been chatter on Twitter recently that people feel that Heroku is stagnated. That they haven't really brought a lot of innovative stuff to market recently. I remember, actually a funny story, I'm going to tell it myself. I can't remember what year this was, it were way... I don't know, I don't know, early 2000s. I was sitting as part of a focus group, and I can't reveal a lot of information because secrecy and stuff. But anyway, I was part of this focus group and I was asked as part of this group, what as a developer working on Ruby applications and Rails applications, what I thought about this new thing called Heroku. And had it explained to me, "Oh, you just get push", and "Blah, blah, blah", and I poo-pooed the idea. I was like, "Nah, I'm not interested", because I already know how to deploy stuff. I've got Mongrel, I got a DVS.

Josh:
Say Mongrel.

Ben:
I know how to use SEP, why do I need this? Like Math, never going to catch on. And so don't follow me for investing advice.

Mike:
Yeah, totally.

Josh:
I got my Linodes.

Mike:
Yeah. Or even back then, I wrote all of my own chef, so I got my own recipes I can-

Ben:
Right, exactly.

Mike:
... bare metal at will.

Ben:
Exactly. So, what do you think, you've been at Heroku, you've seen this process of people having to maintain this code base over a long period of time. What are some tips for people who might be a little earlier on the process? Looking down the road, what do you suggest people think about for having a more maintainable application?

Mike:
That's interesting. I really think that there is not one size fits all, and actually some of the things that are specific to Heroku, and actually to desk.com when I was there previously, that some of the issues actually stem from Salesforce culture and the way that Salesforce manages its businesses. And so, I guess the thing that I've always liked about Rails, specifically, is that the conventions that are used in Rails, you can drop an experienced Rails developer pretty much into any Rails app and they're going to know the basic conventions. And that saves you so much time to ramping up and bringing your experience into a project. Whereas when you get into bespoke software, then you run into well what were the architectural design patterns 10 years ago compared to now? How much drift has there been in libraries and the language, depending.

Mike:
And so that is... I don't... That's a very hard question to nail down in a specific way. I would just say in spit balling this, conventions are very important, I would say. So as long as you have a conventions using a framework, then I think that you'll get to go a long ways. However, if you start to use a framework, then you get the everything is a nail and I'm going to use my hammer framework on that. Which is its own thing that I've seen in Ruby, where if you start a project with Rails, I don't think everybody realizes this, but you are essentially going to be doing a type of software development that is in the mindset of Basecamp, right? And if you have an app that is not quite like Basecamp, and then you start to try to extending Rails to do something different, then you're going to start running into issues. And I think that... It makes me sad when I hear people talk poorly about Rails, because oftentimes people are just pushing it into a direction that it's not built to do. Whether they're, like in the old days, like monkey-patching libraries, or whatnot.

Ben:
Yeah, I think we saw that with the rise of Elixir and Phoenix, right? José just got frustrated with wanting to do some real time stuff. And that really wasn't the wheelhouse for Rails, right? And so he went and built Elixir and Phoenix, and built on top of that. And that became a better hammer for that particular nail than Rails, right? So now if you come into a new project and you're like, "Well, I'm going to do a lot of highly concurrent stuff", well, okay, maybe Rails isn't the best solution. Maybe you should go look at Elixir and Phoenix instead.

Mike:
Yeah. Yeah. So, with Heroku, I just want to say that it was so awesome to work at Heroku, and the day that I got a job offer to work there, it was like... I still, if I'm having a bad day, I still think about that, and the... I've never used hard drugs, but I would think that somebody that was cocaine high, that's probably what I was feeling when I got the offer from Heroku. I started using Heroku in 2009, and it has a story within our community, it's highly respected. And so I just want to say that I still think very highly of Heroku, and if I was to be doing just a throwaway project, and I just want to write some code and do git push main, or git push Heroku main, then I would definitely do that.

Mike:
And we were... And I'm not very experienced with the other kinds of competitors right now. I think, like you pointed him out, is it Vercel and Render?

Ben:
Render. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike:
Yeah. So I can't really speak to them. I can really just speak to Heroku and some of the very specific things that go on there. I think one of the issues that Heroku suffers from is not the technology itself, but just the Salesforce environment. Because at Salesforce, everything eventually has to be blue, right? And so, Heroku, I don't think they ever could really figure out the right thing to do with Heroku. As well as, the other thing about enterprise software is that if I'm selling Salesforce service cloud or whatever, I'm selling, essentially, I'm selling seats of software licenses. And there's no big margin in selling Compute, because if I'm buying Compute, I expect to be using that.

Mike:
And so, as a salesperson, I'm not incented to sell Heroku that much because there's just not margins for me in the incentive structure that they have at sales within Salesforce. So I think that's the biggest thing that Heroku has going against it, is that it's living in a Salesforce environment. And as, I guess, a owner of Salesforce being that I have Salesforce stock, I would hope that they would maximize their profits and actually sell Heroku. Who knows, maybe a bunch of developers get together and actually buy the brand and spin that off. That would be the best thing, because I think that Salesforce would probably realize a lot more value out of Heroku just by doing that, even if there's some sort of profit sharing, and then not have to deal with all the other things.

Ben:
Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah. The thing about billing, and then selling per user, versus the compute- That's definitely a different world. It's a totally different mindset. And I think Josh that we have now been given a directive step. We should acquire Heroku as part of Honeybadger.

Josh:
I was going to say, maybe we can acquire it with all of our Doge profits in five or 10 years from now.

Mike:
Well, yeah. Somebody spin a Heroku coin, a ERC20 token on Ethereum and get everybody to dump their Ethereum into this token.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike:
Get that pot of money together. And then that is the Heroku Foundation. Yeah, exactly.

Josh:
Okay, yeah.

Mike:
The Heroku Foundation that buys the Heroku brand. I know that we're laughing about it, but actually this is what is possible today. And, I was telling Ben... Well, let me just say a couple of things about the FounderQuest and how it relates to me, is I've been listening to FounderQuest from the first episode, and I'm an only child, and I like to listen to podcasts. So I'll be on my afternoon walk, and I'll be hearing you guys talk, and I'm having this conversation along with you guys listening to the podcasts.

Mike:
And so, I think, in January, you guys were talking about, or maybe Ben was talking about, $30,000 Bitcoin, and you guys just had your yucks and laughs about it. And it actually made me think critically about this, because I've been involved with Bitcoin since about 2012, and it's like, "Do I have a tinfoil hat on?" Or what do I think? And so, I'm not joking about this, listening to you guys actually has helped me concretely come up with how I feel about this. And first off, I think, I'm bullish on technology. And this is the first epiphany that I had, is all of us have had a career close to Linux, close to Ruby, building backend services, close to virtualization and orchestration. Fortunately, that's been my interest, and fortunately that's been where our industry has gone. And so, when Bitcoin came out, as technologists, all you ever hear, if you don't know anything about Bitcoin, you just hear currency. And you're thinking internet money, you're not thinking about this as a technologist.

Mike:
And so that was the thing. I wish that Bitcoin had been talked about as a platform, or a framework.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike:
And not even called it coin. Because that confuses the issue-

Josh:
The whole coin thing, just... Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah, totally. And mining the metaphors-

Josh:
That alone.

Mike:
... just totally throws everything off. Because we are talking, we're laughing about it, but this is really possible today. We could come up with a Foundation to buy Heroku with a cryptocurrency, and it would... Yeah. So that's one thing that Ben helped me realize in my thinking around Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. And I think I'm just bullish on technology. And so to me, again, across our career, there's been so much change. And why would we look at Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies any differently than any other kind of technology? Even a hundred dollar bill with all the holograms on it, that is a kind of financial technology. And so we're just talking about a digital technology, we're not talking about coins I guess.

Josh:
That's the appeal, a lot of the Altcoins, right? They give everyone a way to invest in those companies, whereas before you would have to... Whatever, be an accredited investor or something to be able to get involved. Is that part of the appeal? I'm probably showing what I know about crypto, which is very little, but I'm excited to... Yeah, maybe you can...

Mike:
Yeah. Yeah, so I feel like these projects are... I'm not a VC, and I'm not an insider, but from what I can see from afar, in Silicon Valley there's a close group of people that have access to all of these ideas. And there's Angel clubs, and VC clubs, and whatnot, that are funding these startups. And to me, I feel like these crypto projects are the same kind of thing, except for they're just available to the public. And so, I think if I was speaking to another technologist that was interested in cryptocurrencies, is you probably need to get your hands on some of the technology in order to get experience with it.

Mike:
And so if that means you figure out how to maybe mine some coin on your laptop, or whatever, or you actually pay for it, you should at least have some in your possession, and at least learn about the custodial part of it. Also, there's different software libraries now to actually do programming against it, and platforms, I believe. So that'd be another way to at least tickle your curiosity, is by actually touching the technology and not thinking about the value. So yeah.

Ben:
Yeah. That, to me, that's one of the most interesting things about the whole coin thing. My younger son is really interested in the crypto space, in the coin and in the other parts of a distributed ledger, and what does that mean, and how does that work? And before I heard about NFTs, he was talking about NFTs. And so it's really interesting to me to see this coming from him. Just yesterday, we had a conversation about CRDTs, right? Because we're talking about how do you merge transactions that are happening in distributed fashion? Right? I was like, "Oh yeah", and it's so weird to have my teenage sons' world colliding with my world in this way.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
But it's a lot of fun. And I've got to say, Mike, I got to give you back some credit, talking about the whole coin thing. As you've heard, we're pretty coin skeptical here at Honeybadger, the Founders, but you made a comment in our pre-show conversation. And maybe you didn't make this explicitly, but maybe it's just a way that I heard it. But I think... Well what I heard was, and maybe you actually said this, was basically think about this like an index fund, right? You put dollar cost to averaging, right? You put some money into coin, you put a little bit, it's not going to be your whole portfolio, right? But you don't treat it like a gamble, and you just treat it like an investment, like you would other things that may appreciate in value. And of course you may not.

Ben:
And so, as a result, I decided, "Okay, I can do that. I can put a little bit of my portfolio into coins". So just this week, and this is the funny part, just this week-

Josh:
I'm just finding this out now, by the way.

Ben:
Yeah, yeah. Josh is like... I told my wife about this last night and she was like, "What's Josh going to say?" "Like, I don't know". So anyway, just this week I put a little bit of money into Bitcoin and Ethereum. And that was... When did Elon do his thing about Bitcoin? Was that Thursday morning?

Josh:
Oh yeah.

Ben:
I bought, two hours before Elon did his thing, and Bitcoin lost 15% of its value.

Mike:
That's awesome.

Ben:
I'm like, "It's okay. It's okay, I'm just putting-

Josh:
Yeah, you don't sell, it doesn't matter.

Mike:
What was your emotion? What was your emotion?

Ben:
Yeah, totally. Yeah. In fact, my first buy, I used Coinbase. And Coinbase was like, "Oh, do you want to do this periodically?" I'm like, "Yes, I do. Every month". Boom.

Mike:
Oh.

Ben:
I went ahead and set that up like so, yeah.

Mike:
Oh, I did not know you could do that.

Ben:
I'm in it to win it, man.

Mike:
You should get a hardware wallet. That's the next thing, is you need to learn how to handle your own custody, so-

Josh:
Right, yeah. You got to... Yeah.

Mike:
Not leave it on the exchange. Interesting.

Josh:
Get those hard drives.

Mike:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah. Ben's a veteran indexer though. So you can handle some dips. Some volatility.

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah.

Josh:
I actually, I did make some money off of Bitcoin back in the day, and probably if I would've just held onto it, I would've made a lot more, of course.

Mike:
Same.

Josh:
So I accidentally... Back, I don't know when this was, it was maybe five years ago or something, when Bitcoin was going through one of its first early hype cycles, and I was like, "I'll check it". I was learning about it, of course. And so I went and bought some and I think I ran a blockchain Elixir app that someone made, to see how the transactions work and stuff. Read some books on Bitcoin. But I bought some Bitcoin, I can't remember how much, but just left it. I think this was after Coinbase had launched, I'm pretty sure I bought it through Coinbase. But yeah, I just left it, and then that was when it was in the first huge push of Bitcoin where it went up to 20,000 or something. And I remembered that I had it, and I went and looked and oh yeah, I made five grand or something. I put hardly anything into it initially. So I forget what I actually bought with that money. I just sold it and it's like cool, free money.

Mike:
So you just sold it this year? Or you sold it...

Josh:
No, I sold it back-

Mike:
In 17?

Josh:
I think I sold it at 20... Yeah, this would have been at 17 that I actually sold it, probably.

Mike:
Did you report it on your taxes, your capital gains?

Josh:
I did, yes. Yeah, I did.

Ben:
That's the benefit of having an accountant, because your accountant reminds you, "You know what? You did have some Bitcoin transactions, you should probably look at those".

Josh:
Can I say on here that I actually put some of it through a Bitcoin tumbler though, just to see how those work?

Mike:
Yeah, I mean...

Josh:
And that was a very small amount of money, but I didn't actually report that on my taxes. Because I think I actually forgot where it was or something.

Ben:
You'll have to explain what a Bitcoin tumbler is.

Josh:
So a Bitcoin tumbler... Well, I'll try, and then maybe Mike might explain it better, but a Bitcoin tumbler is basically how you anonymize your Bitcoin transaction. If you have some Bitcoin and you want to buy some drugs on the dark web or something, you go and you send your Bitcoin to this tumbler, and then it distributes it to a bunch of random Bitcoin addresses that it gives you. And then you have those addresses, and they're anonymized, because they've been sent through a bunch of peoples' wallets, or something like that.

Mike:
Yep. That's basically it.

Ben:
So it's basically money laundering.

Josh:
Yeah, it's laundering.

Mike:
Yeah. But if your privacy... I mean, okay-

Josh:
Yeah, no, I get it. Yeah. I mean, yeah. Because part of the appeal of Bitcoin is some people are just like, "Oh yeah, good money, credit card transactions are so... The governments are recording them and stuff, the NSA probably has a database of them". So Bitcoin is anonymous, but it's not. It's not anonymous. And yeah. So that's why people do this, right?

Mike:
Yeah. Well that, to me, that's if you want to... So the value of Bitcoin, if you want to get bullish on the value of Bitcoin, the traditional outlook is yeah, the silk road was going on and there's all this illegal stuff going on. Therefore it must be bad. But actually, to me, that's the thing, you know it's good if there's illicit stuff going on, because what's the number one currency that's used right now for illicit transactions? It's dirty US dollar bills. And if you're a drug dealer in central South America, you are collecting, dollar bills United States. You're paying some sort of transport probably at 10, 15% cost to get those dollars back to wherever you're going to hold them. And so, if you're using Bitcoin, you're probably not going to pay that fee. So, to me, it's like okay, that actually proves, at least in my mind, that there is value. That it's being used, right?

Josh:
Yeah. And you also, you don't want to see... Some people are fanatics about cash going away, even just because as more people move to digital transactions, whether it's just through, whatever, traditional networks, or through crypto. People are using less and less cash. And I feel like, whatever... Like Richard Stallman, he pays for everything in cash though, because he thinks that cash is going to go away someday. And that's a problem for privacy, because you do want a way to pay for things in private in some cases.

Mike:
Yep. I agree.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
My only real beef with Bitcoin, well, aside from the whole requiring power plants just to do a transaction, is that there is Badger coin. This company that is named Honeybadger, it's all about Bitcoin. And they have these ATM's in Canada, and we constantly get support requests from people.

Mike:
Oh really?

Josh:
Is this the reason that we've been so down on cryptocurrencies in the past?

Ben:
I think so.

Josh:
Because ever since the beginning, since people started making coins, Badger coin came out and then it's been our primary exposure to be honest.

Ben:
It has been, yeah.

Josh:
Throughout the past... I don't know how many years it's been. Has it been six-

Ben:
Yeah, six-

Josh:
... to eight years?

Ben:
Yeah, something like that. It's been nuts.

Josh:
I'd say.

Mike:
You should send them an invoice, and they actually-

Ben:
Yeah, so what happens is they had these kiosks where you can buy Bitcoin, right? You put your real money in, and you get your fake money out, right? And the name on the top of the kiosk is Honeybadger. So, someone puts in some money, real money, and they don't get their fake money, then all of a sudden they're upset, right?

Mike:
Yeah.

Ben:
And so they... For whatever reason, it doesn't go through, right, I don't know how this works, I've never bought Bitcoin at a kiosk. But so, they're like, "Okay, Honeybadger". And so they Google Honeybadger, and the first result for Honeybadger is us. And so they're like, "Oh, here's a phone number I can call". And they call us. And they're like, "Where's my Bitcoin?" That's like, "Uh, I really can't help you with that".

Josh:
They do.

Ben:
"You stole my Bitcoin". It's like, "No, that's not us".

Josh:
Something just occurred to me. I wonder how many of them are just confused over the fact that Bitcoin transactions can take a while to arrive now, right? It's not always instantaneous, where it used to be a lot faster, but now I know that it can take a while to clear. So I wonder how many of those people are emailing us in the span... Maybe that's why they eventually always go away and we don't hear from them again. Maybe it's not that they're getting help, but it's just that their Bitcoins are arriving. Yeah. I have a feeling that there's some sort of... I'm guessing these are mostly regular normies using, and interacting with this very highly technical product and experience, and even if you're walking up to a kiosk, but there's still a highly technical aspect of it that, like you said Mike, people are thinking coin, they're thinking... The way this maps to their brain is it's like dollar bills. So they're looking at it like an ATM. Yep.

Mike:
Yeah. When it comes to cryptocurrency and the technology, I don't want to have to think about custody, or any of that other kinds of stuff. It'll be successful when it just is happening, I'm not thinking about it. They're already... In some... I don't know all of the different mobile devices, but I do carry out an iPhone. And so, the wallet on iPhone is pretty seamless now, right? And so I'm not thinking about how that technology is working. I had to associate an Amex with it originally, right? But once I've done that, then all I do is click my button to pay. And there you go. And so I do think that the cryptocurrency technology has a long way to go towards that, because if normal people, the non nerds, have to think about it, then it's not going to be useful. Because in the end-

Josh:
Yeah.

Mike:
... humans use tools, right? And so, whatever the tool is, they're going to use it especially if it's easy and it makes their life easier.

Ben:
So what I really want to know, Mike, is what are your feelings about Dogecoin? Are you bullish on Doge?

Mike:
Well, I'll answer that, but I wanted to come back to the bit about the NFT, and just talking about the possibilities with technology. And I think that you guys could profit from this.

Ben:
I like where it's going.

Mike:
You'll have to do some more research. But I think what you could do... See, I love the origin story of Honeybadger. And maybe not everybody knows about the Honeybadger meme from what is... When was this, two thousand...

Ben:
2012? 2011?

Mike:
Yeah, okay. So not everybody... Yeah, bot everybody knows about the meme. I guess, just go Google-

Ben:
I can link it in the show notes.

Josh:
It's long dead. This meme is long dead.

Mike:
Is it? Well it's still awesome. I still love it.

Josh:
It is.

Mike:
So, there's so many facets of this that I love. The first one is that... Can I name names on competitors-

Ben:
Of course.

Mike:
... in the origins? Okay. So the first one was is that Airbrake, an exception reporting service, was doing a poor job with their customer service. And you guys were like, "We're working on this project, we need exception reporting. It's not working". It's like, "Well, can we just take their library, and build our own backend?" Right? And to me, that is beautiful. And in thinking about this episode, in Heroku, the same opportunity lies for an aspiring developer out there where you could just take the Heroku CLI and point it at your own false backend until you figure out all of the API calls that happen. And I don't know, you have that backed by Kubernetes, or whatever orchestration framework is...

Mike:
There is the possibility that you could do the same Honeybadger story with Airbrake SDK, as there is with the Heroku CLI. So that's the first thing I love about the Honeybadger story, and the fact the name goes along with the fact that Airbrake had poor customer support, and you guys just were like, "F it, we're going to build our own exception reporting service". Now, in the modern context with NFTs is... I have old man experience with the NFTs in that GIFs, or GIFs, and JPEGs, this is BS that people are gouging for profit. However, the technology of the NFT... This is the thing that I think is beautiful, is that... And I'm not sure which of the NFTs does this, but there is the possibility that you could be the originator of a digital object, and then you sell that digital object. And then as that digital object is traded, then you, as the, I guess, the original creator, you can get a percentage of the sales for the lifetime of that digital asset.

Ben:
Yeah.

Mike:
And, I'm not sure which of the NFTs allows that, but that is one of the things, that's one of the value propositions in NFT. So what I was thinking is if you guys did an NFT on the shaw of the original Honeybadger Ruby SDK check-in, that this could be the thing that you guys have an experiment with, is you have real skin in the game, you're playing with the technology and see if that works. And, let me know if you do that, because I might try to buy it. So, we'll see.

Josh:
Well, we've already got a buyer, why wouldn't we?

Mike:
Yeah, so..

Ben:
Indeed, yeah.

Josh:
See I was thinking maybe you could own various errors or something in Honeybadger.

Mike:
Yeah, I mean... Whatever digital signature you want to... Whatever you want to sign, and then assign value to.

Josh:
Yeah, we could NFT our Exceptional Creatures.

Mike:
Yeah.

Josh:
Have you seen that, Mike? Have you seen that project?

Mike:
Yep, yep.

Josh:
Okay.

Mike:
I'm well aware of that. Yep.

Ben:
Yeah. I'm thinking what about open source maintainers, right? Let's say you have this project and someone really wants a particular feature, right? Or they're really happy about a particular feature that you've already done, right? You can sell them that shaw, that commit, that put it into name, right?

Mike:
Yeah, totally.

Ben:
You are the proud owner of this feature. Thank you.

Mike:
Yeah, totally. Yeah, I was hoping that I would come with some ideas. I hope someday in the future that I run into somebody and it's like, "Oh, we heard that podcasts were where ideas were free ideas that were worth a lot of money were thrown about. And I did this project, and now I'm retired. Thank you, Mike". Honeybadgers.

Josh:
Wait, so Ben are you saying that, so as a committer, so say I commit something to Rails, submit a PR, so then I own that PR once it's merged and it would be like I could sell that then to someone? Is that along the lines of what you're saying?

Ben:
No, I'm thinking the owner of the project. So, if you commit something to Rails, and you're really excited about it, and you for some reason want to have a trophy of that commit-

Josh:
Right.

Ben:
... on a plaque on the wall, right? Then the Rails core group could sell you that token.

Josh:
Okay. Gotcha.

Ben:
That trophy, that certificate, like, "Yep. This is your thing. Commissioned by..." It's like naming a star, right?

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
You buy the rights to a star, and it's fake stuff, right? We're naming stars. But that's the same idea.

Josh:
Yeah. So you could use that same idea to incentivize open-source contribution. So if you make the PR to Rails and it gets merged, you get this NFT for the PR merge, which you could then actually profit for if it was... Say it was, I don't know, turbo links or something, whatever. Years later, when it's a huge thing and everyone in Rails is using it, maybe Mike's going to come along and be like, "Hey, I'll buy... I want to own the PR for turbo links".

Ben:
Right.

Josh:
Yeah. And of course then, you, as the owner, would also profit from any sale between parties later on too. You'd get that little percentage.

Mike:
Yeah. Well, so when somebody comes up with committer coin, just remember me, I want to airdrop of some committer coin.

Josh:
We have a name. We've got a name for it. Commit coin.

Ben:
I've got a new weekend project ahead of me.

Mike:
Yeah.

Josh:
Cool. Well, that helps me understand NFTs.

Ben:
Yeah, I really like the idea of being able to sell ownership rights to a digital asset. That I think a good idea. I don't know that the current implementation that we see on the news is a great implementation of that idea. Buying the rights for a copy of a JPEG, it feels kind of sketchy to me. But maybe there's some sort of, I don't know, PDF document that has some sort of value for some reason. And you can give that, sell that to someone. And to me, it's not so much about the profit, or the transaction, it's the ownership. You can say I am the owner of this thing. Yeah, there can be copies all over the place, but I'm the person that has the ownership, quote unquote, of this thing.

Josh:
Yeah, yeah. But then you've got to define value Ben. What is value? Okay, so, what makes a PDF more valuable than a JPEG?

Mike:
Yeah. Yeah. Bring this back to Dogecoin, and value propositions, and whatnot. What is valuable? When you're talking about the value of a JPEG, this reminded me of a conversation I was having with my son. He's 10 years old and he wanted some money to buy, I don't know what it was, and old man voice came out of me and it's like, "That's BS. I don't think that's valuable". And he looked at me and he was like, "It's valuable to me". And it's like, "Oh, you just put a dagger in my heart. I'm killing your dream". And one person's value may not be another person's value. So, on the Dogecoin, that's interesting. Dogecoin is very interesting to me, because I feel like I'm in a quantum state with a Dogecoin where it is a joke, but at the same time it apparently it has value.

Mike:
And I don't know where I stand on that threshold. I know how to trade Dogecoin. And I know the behavior of Dogecoin, and the behaviors, from a trading standpoint, has changed substantially in the last six months. Before it was a pump and dump kind of thing. Well, actually, you know what? When Dogecoin was first created, its purpose was highlighted by the community. People in podcast land don't realize this, but I'm wearing a 2017 Dogecoin shirt from when the Dogecoin community sponsored the number 98 NASCAR. And the thing of the community was like, "Oh, we have all this money, and we're just being altruistic and we're giving it away". And so they were exercising their belief with this currency, right?

Mike:
And from then, till now, there was a bit of a cycle to Dogecoin where you could, if you acquired Dogecoin for say under a hundred Satoshis, this is the Dogecoin BTC pair, that was actually a good buy. Just wait for the next pump when somebody does something, and Dogecoin goes over 200, or 300 Satoshis, and then you dump it. And that's basically what I did on this in the last six months. I had a small bag of Dogecoin waiting for the next pump and dump. And I actually did that, but it kept on getting pumped, and then it would stabilize. And then now we're at the point where apparently Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are saying that there's value to it.

Mike:
And to me, I actually put a lot of credence to that, because these are two public persons that they cannot... If they're pumping things in the public domain, then they have risk, right? And so you can't be those two people, and be pumping, and not run the risk of the FTC of the United States government coming in and saying, "Hey, why were you doing this?" So there's the, I guess for me, a small bit of a guarantee that maybe there is something to Dogecoin.

Josh:
Yeah. See, the way I think, when you first started you were saying it is a joke, but you're in this dual state, and my initial or immediate thought was it is a joke, but this is the internet, and the internet loves to make silly things real.

Mike:
Yeah, yeah.

Josh:
Especially these days.

Ben:
Yeah. It's pretty funny for all those people that made a bunch of money on GameStop, right? Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah. Well that's the thing, is in Dogecoin, Doge is, of itself, from a meme from the same time period as Honeybadger, right? The Iba Shinu doggie, right? So, the other thing I don't understand, or the thing that I understand but I don't know how to quantify it for myself, is that, to me... So there's no pre-mine on Dogecoin. There's no one person that owns a lot of Dogecoin from the beginning. Whereas if we're talking about Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, the founder, or one of the founders of Ethereum, they pre-mined Ethereum, and there's a ton of Ethereum that's owned by the founders. Whereas you compare that to, say, Litecoin, Charlie Lee cloned Bitcoin and created Litecoin. He sold all of his Litecoin. I believed in him when he said he's sold it all. He's a software engineer, just like us. He was Director of Engineering at Coinbase.

Mike:
He doesn't seem like he's wearing tinfoil hat out there, doing conspiracies. So when he says that he sold his coin in 2017, all of his Litecoin, I totally believe that. Yet today, he is the chairperson of the Litecoin foundation. And so, to me... I actually do have, I placed some value in the benevolence of Litecoin and Dogecoin, because there's not any one person that actually controls it. I guess Charlie Lee, he probably has a stronger voice than most. But he doesn't control the levers.

Josh:
Not financially.

Mike:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah. And so then with Dogecoin... So Dogecoin, it'll be awesome if it gets above a dollar, but the structure of Dogecoin will be such as they cannot maintain that.

Josh:
Right.

Mike:
Because it's an inflation-

Josh:
There's no cap, right?

Mike:
Right.

Josh:
Yeah.

Mike:
It's inflation. And so, I don't know the number, I think it's a million Dogecoin are minted every day. So, 10 years from now, if Dogecoin is worth a dollar still, then that means Bitcoin will be worth a lot more than that. So I guess that'd be awesome if Dogecoin stays a dollar. However, the point I'm trying to make is actually there is value in having an inflationary currency, especially if we're talking about living in the structure of our current financial... The way that our current financial markets work, where there is an inflation.

Mike:
And so if I want to be transacting with a digital currency, I don't want to have to be, say, like having an Argentina kind of moment where my one Dogecoin is worth $5 American today, and then maybe only $3 American a week from now. So to me, I think there is value in Dogecoin in that it's inflationary, and that it will not be as susceptible to speculation bubbles as other currencies. And so, I don't know if that answers your questions on the value of Dogecoin, but those are a couple of reasons why I think that Dogecoin is valuable. Now, am I going to be holding a big bag of Dogecoin in 2022? Probably not. Just to be honest.

Ben:
We're all about honesty at Honeybadger. I love the episodes where we have to have a disclaimer, this is not financial advice. Please consult competent professionals before investing, et cetera, et cetera. Mike, it has been a delight to have you with us. We appreciate your counterbalance to our coin pessimism that we have amongst the Honeybadger fan base.

Josh:
Yeah, I think we needed this.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
We really needed this.

Ben:
We really did.

Josh:
So thank you.

Ben:
It's been good.

Mike:
Yeah. Oh, I got one more idea out there. Hopefully, somebody can run with this, is I've been trying to get motivated to do some experimentation with the Bitcoin lightning network. We didn't really talk about these a layer two solutions for scaling, but I think that there is a lot of potential in coming up with an interesting project that lays within the Litecoin* network, it has its value in and of itself, but there's a secondary value of being a note on the Litecoin* network where if there's transactions going through your node, let's say, I don't know how you'd instrument this, but let's say that Honeybadger actually was... That you guys were taking your payments across your own lightning node, then all of the transactions that are going across the lightning network, you're getting a small fee, right? So I think that there's the possibility of a micropayments kind of play there, like for instance, paying by the exception. I mean, literally-

*Editor's note from Mike - "in my excitement talking about the Lighting Network I slipped and said Litecoin a couple of times between Lightning Network. Lightning Network is a layer 2 protocol that is primarily intended for scaling Bitcoin and that was what I meant. However, Lightning can be implemented to run on top of Litecoin and Ethereum."


Josh:
That has come up that has come up in the past, I think at one point.

Mike:
You can't do micro payments on a credit card.

Josh:
Yeah.

Mike:
Right? But you can do micropayments on lightening network. And I'm not selling you guys on this, but I'm saying that there's going to be some nerd out there that it's like, "Oh my God micropayments are here, I can do micropayments on lighting network". And then they're going to do well on that product, but then they're also going to do well on the commission that they're earning on payments going through their node.

Josh:
This could be used for usage base software as a service billing model.

Ben:
Totally. And then you get the skim off the top, just like a good affiliate does.

Mike:
Yes.

Ben:
I love it.

Mike:
Yes.

Ben:
I love it. All right. All right, Mike, we're going to have to do some scheming together. Well, any final words, any parting words besides go by all the Dogecoin that you can?

Mike:
Yeah. Don't put all your money into the cryptocurrencies. Yeah.

Josh:
Seems like good advice.

Ben:
Be smart


What is FounderQuest?

Three developers building a software business on our own terms.