370: Creative Expression in Software Development

Episode 370 · February 7th, 2023 · 38 mins 52 secs

About this Episode

Stephanie shares that she's been taking an intro to basket weaving class at a local art studio, and it's an interesting connection to computer science. Joël eats honeycomb live on air and shares a video that former Bike Shed host Steph Viccari found from Ian Anderson. It's a parody to the tune of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," but it's all about the Ruby 3.2 release.

In this episode, Stephanie and Joël shift away from literature and lean into art. Writing code is technical work, but in many ways, it's also aesthetic work. It's a work of art. How do you feel about expressing yourself creatively through your code?

This episode is brought to you by Airbrake. Visit Frictionless error monitoring and performance insight for your app stack.


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JOËL: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Joël Quenneville.

STEPHANIE: And I'm Stephanie Minn. And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way.

JOËL: So, Stephanie, what's new in your world?

STEPHANIE: I'm really excited to share that I've been taking this intro to weaving class at a local art studio. I'm actually a few weeks in, and it's wrapping up soon. But one thing that I found really cool at the very first class was that the instructor mentioned that weaving was, in some ways, a predecessor or inspiration to modern computing. And he said that, and I got really excited because surely that meant that I would be good at this thing [laughs] and this craft, and then I promptly kind of forgot about it.

But I was inspired the other night to look up this history to just learn more about weaving and its connection to computer science. And I learned that, in particular, the invention of something called the Jacquard loom really led to early computing machines because, basically, weaving involves threading horizontal and vertical fibers. And the way you do it if you thread the horizontal fiber, also called the weft, over or under the vertical fibers, called the warp, you get different patterns.

And so with the Jacquard loom, this invention utilized punch cards as instructions for basically binary code, and that would tell the loom how to raise and lower those vertical threads, which would then lead to a beautiful pattern. And after that invention, this previously very laborious process became automated. And that also had a really big impact on the textile industry. And fabric became a lot more available at a much lower cost. So that was a really cool little history lesson for me.

JOËL: That is really cool. So are you saying that punch cards, as we know them from early computing, were borrowed as a concept from the weaving industry?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, that's at least what I've read. I can see now how complex weaving tapestries and patterns set the stage for more complex computations. And I don't know if I'm going to keep going down this weaving journey. I liked the intro class because it was very chill, and I got to use my hands. And I had a little bit of fun making, I don't know, like ten by 12-inch little tapestry. But yeah, I've definitely seen other more advanced weavers make really beautiful textiles and fiber arts. And it's really cool to see the application of that detail-oriented skill in different formats.

JOËL: Are you going to try to make your own punch cards?

STEPHANIE: That's an interesting evolution of this skill [laughs] for sure. I think what I really did like was the hands-on approach. And so the punch cards did make this process automated. But I personally enjoyed the switching of the threads and pulling them through and doing it with my hands instead of something that's kind of turned into automated machine work. Does that inspire you in some way?

JOËL: I think sometimes it's interesting, right? As software people, we sort of have the two urges. We work in so much automation. When we see a process, we would love to try to automate it ourselves, even if it's been done before. So, oh, could I build a small, automatic mechanical loom using punch cards? That sounds like a fun automation challenge. At the same time, so much of my daily job is automation that sometimes it's nice to kind of remove automation entirely from the picture and, like you said, just work with your hands.

STEPHANIE: That's a really interesting way to think about it. I do believe that people have different reactions to it, like you said, where they're like, "Wow, I can use my skills to do this really cool thing." On the other hand, you might also respond with, "Wow, I've done this automation code-writing work for eight hours. So now I really want to do something completely different." And I think that's the camp that I was in, at least when I first signed up for this class, just having space, like three hours a week, to sit and not look at a computer and deal with the physical realm.

JOËL: So here's the other route that I think a lot of software people take, and that is, here's a fun mechanical process that can be automated. What if we simulated it virtually? So what if I create a program where you can sort of create your own punch card, like, decide where you want to punch the holes?

And maybe these are just radio buttons or something or checkboxes in a grid on a webpage. And then, the program will output an SVG that is the thing that would have been woven if you'd used it in that pattern. And so now you can kind of play around with, like, huh, what if I punch here? What if I unpunch here? And you get all these patterns out, and you could just get to try it around.

STEPHANIE: That's fascinating. I can't believe your brain went there. [laughter] But yeah, the idea that it's not actually about the pattern itself but the holes that you make, that part being the creative process and then what comes out of it then being a bit of a surprise or just something organic that's a really interesting take too.

JOËL: Something that I find is really fun about software and things created from software is this sort of really short feedback loop in terms of trial and error. So if you were actually having a weaving machine and you made a physical punch card, and then you try something, and you realize it's not quite right, the machine weaved something you didn't quite like, now you've got to set it up again.

You probably have to start from scratch with a new punch card because you can't really unpunch holes unless maybe you can put tape over it or something. That trial-and-error feedback loop is much shorter. Whereas with a program, you just pause the simulation, punch-unpunch some holes, restart, and then you just kind of keep trying. And there's something fun about that creative exploration when you've got that really tight feedback loop.

STEPHANIE: That's fair. I think perhaps that actually might be why doing it manually, and by it, I mean weaving, gives you a little bit more room to [laughs] debug if you will, because you can see when something goes wrong. And this actually happened to me in class earlier this week where I didn't thread the fiber over instead of under. And I was like, oh, this doesn't look right. Like, that's not the look I'm going for.

And then I could kind of quickly see, oh, I missed a thread over here and unravel and do it again. Whereas what you just described, if the punch card is wrong and then you create this big piece of fabric, at that point, I'm not really sure what happens then. If someone out there is a weaving expert and knows the answer; I would be very curious to know.

JOËL: Now I kind of wish we'd had this conversation last month because, in early January, there was a game jam event that happened. It's a yearly or biyearly Historically Accurate Game Jam, and they select a theme, and then everybody has to submit a game, or a simulation, or something, an interactive program that fits with the theme. And this year's theme was the Industrial Revolution. And I feel like simulating an old automated loom with punch cards would be the perfect fit for something that's small enough that I could build it in a week without spending 10 hours a day working on it. It fits within the theme, and it's still kind of fun.

STEPHANIE: Wow, that would have been a really great idea. If there was an award for best fitting the theme, I think that would have won because then you're also tackling the history of computing. I was talking about earlier the loom obviously being...or the automated loom also really playing a big role in the Industrial Revolution. And, I don't know, maybe this is our future club, Joël, and we're going to get into video game development. [laughs] What's new in your world, Joël?

JOËL: There are two things. One is that today former Bike Shed host, Stephanie Viccari, shared a video with me from Ian Anderson. This was made last December to the tune of All I Want For Christmas Is You. But it's all about the, at that time, upcoming Ruby 3.2 release. It is amazing. The lyrics talk about the different features that are upcoming. It rhymes. It's set to meter. I am just blown away by this. And I'm just really hyped [laughs] about this video.

STEPHANIE: You sent it to me and I gave it a watch before we sat down to record, and I also loved this video. It was so fun. And I think Ruby has a bit of a tradition of releasing new versions around Christmas time. So if this became a tradition, that would be very fun, and maybe instead of singing Christmas carols, we'll be singing new Ruby version carols around the holidays.

JOËL: I feel like if Ian wants to do another one next Christmas, now that you have the precedent, it'd be a great space to try something to the tune of Last Christmas because now you can reference back last year's song.

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I might as well just go all in and create a whole Christmas album of Ruby anticipation carols.


JOËL: Yeah, really excited about that. Kudos to Ian. And for all of our listeners, we'll link the video on the show notes of the podcast. Go and check it out; it is worth the two and a half-minutes of your life.


JOËL: The other cool thing, for the past few episodes, we've been talking a lot about hexagons and how they show up in nature, and bees, and how they build their honeycombs and whether that is sort of by design or sort of just happens by nature through sort of external forces. And so this week, I went out to the store, and I bought some real honeycomb. And I'm going to try it on air.

STEPHANIE: [laughs] Oh my gosh, I didn't realize that's what was happening. [laughter] Okay, I'm ready.

JOËL: All right, I'm going to take a slice.

STEPHANIE: Wow. For research.

JOËL: For science.

STEPHANIE: Wow, that is a big bite. [laughs]

JOËL: Hmmm, it's basically crunchy honey.

STEPHANIE: So I've enjoyed honeycomb in that raw form on ice cream. I really like it on there and oatmeal and stuff like that. I think it's a little bit waxy. Like, once you get to chewing the bits at the end, that part is a bit of a less pleasant mouth-feel [laughs] in my opinion. What are you experiencing right now?

JOËL: Yeah, so like you're saying, the honey kind of dissolves away in your mouth. You had this really fun mix of textures. But then, in the end, you do end up with a ball of [laughter] beeswax in your mouth.


JOËL: Which I understand is completely safe to eat, so...

STEPHANIE: Yeah, that's true.

JOËL: I'm just going to eat the whole thing.

STEPHANIE: I think it's kind of like swallowing gum. [laughs]

JOËL: Which apparently does not last for seven years in your digestive system; that's a myth.

STEPHANIE: Wow, debunking myths, trying honeycomb. You're welcome, to all The Bike Shed listeners out there. Investigating the important things.

JOËL: What is interesting is that we're talking about the structural power of hexagons. I can cut a pretty thin slice of the comb, and it doesn't fall apart. It still has a lot of strength to it, which is nice because it means that the honey doesn't just go splashing everywhere. I can cut up a fairly thin slice, pick it up, it still holds the honey, put it in my mouth, and it doesn't make a mess.

STEPHANIE: The bees know what they're doing. [laughs] Cool. Would you eat raw honeycomb again?

JOËL: Well, I got a whole block, and I had one tiny slice. So, yes, I will be eating the rest of this.

STEPHANIE: [laughs]

JOËL: I don't think this will be a regular thing in my weekly groceries. But I would bring this out again for a special occasion. Or I can see this fitting nicely, like you said, on maybe certain breakfasts, even on a charcuterie board or something.

STEPHANIE: Oh yeah, that's a really good use for it.

JOËL: In some ways, it's nice because it's a way to have honey without having to have it on something else or having to eat it with a spoon. It's honey that comes with its own carrying vessel.

STEPHANIE: That's great. Yeah, like a bread bowl for soup. [laughs]

JOËL: Exactly. Bees make their own bread bowls for honey.

STEPHANIE: [laughs]


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JOËL: So, for the last couple of weeks, we've been joking that this is turning into the Stephanie and Joël book club because we've been talking about a lot of articles and books. Today, I'd like to shift a little bit away from literature and lean into art. Writing code is a technical work, but in many ways, it's also an aesthetic work. It's a work of art. How do you feel about the idea of expressing yourself creatively through your code?

STEPHANIE: So this is interesting to me because it's actually quite different from what we've been talking about in recent episodes around the idea of writing sustainable code, code for other people to read. Because if you are writing code purely for creative expression and just for yourself, that will look very different than what I think folks have kind of called boring technology, which is choosing the patterns, the tools, the frameworks that are tried and true, and just kind of sticking to the things that people have solved before.

And so, in some ways, I don't know if I really get to express myself creatively in the code that I write, which I think is okay for me because I don't really consider myself someone who needs a creative outlet in my work. What about you? What thoughts do you have about this?

JOËL: I think it's interesting the way you described it. I'm almost wondering if I'm making maybe a comparison to physical architecture; maybe you almost have a sort of brutalist perspective on the things you construct.

STEPHANIE: [laughs]

JOËL: So they're functional. They're minimal. They are not always the prettiest to look at, but they're solid. Does that metaphor sound about right to you?

STEPHANIE: I feel like I have to make a pun about SOLID, the design patterns, and code.

JOËL: Ooh.

STEPHANIE: [laughs] But I think I like brutalist, I mean, the term itself. I don't know if I necessarily identify with it in terms of my work and output. But the idea that the code that I do is functional is, I think, particularly important to me as a developer. And I don't just mean, like, oh, the code works, so it's done, but functional for whatever need I'm solving and also for the people who are working with this code again in the future.

I mentioned boring technology. There's a talk that I'm kind of referencing by Dan McKinley, and you can check out his slides at boringtechnology.club. And he talks about this idea of decision-making and how that relates to writing boring or creative code. And he also references Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And so, ideally, if you're working in an existing codebase, all the low-level decisions have been made for you. And then you can kind of traverse the hierarchy and focus your creativity on the high-level problems that you're trying to solve.

So maybe you're not necessarily expressing your creativity in the syntax or whatever pattern you're using, again, because a lot of those things have been solved. But where the creativity comes from is the particular domain or business problem you have and the real-world constraints that you're faced with. And how do you figure out what to do given those constraints?

JOËL: I think that lines up a lot with my own experience as well. I think as a newer developer, syntax is sort of the thing that's top of mind. And so, maybe trying to get clever with syntax is something that I would focus on more. Sometimes that's trying to get code really short and terse. Sometimes it's because I want to try. Can I do this thing with a particular piece of syntax, or even just does it look pretty?

I think now, in my code, I am actually kind of boring with my syntax. I, probably when I write Ruby, mostly use a kind of slimmed-down set of syntax and don't use the full expressive power of the language for most of my day-to-day needs. So basic things with objects, and methods, and blocks, sort of the basic building blocks that we get from Ruby regular conditionals, if...else, and a few other nice things that the language gives us. But, in many ways, it almost feels like...I don't know if you've ever seen the simplified English Wikipedia.

STEPHANIE: No, I haven't. What is that?

JOËL: They're treating it, I think, like a separate language, but it is a version of Wikipedia in English with a more restricted vocabulary to try to make the content more accessible to those that might struggle with more standard English. So it's a sort of smaller subset of English. And, in many ways, I feel like a lot of the day-to-day Ruby code that I write is simplified, Ruby.

STEPHANIE: Wow, that's really interesting. I think this also goes back to the specialized vocabulary episode we talked about. And is there value in keeping things accessible, and straightforward, and boring but at the cost of being able to express yourself with everything you have available to you? This is a bit of a tangent, I guess, but I grew up speaking Chinese with my parents, but since then, I have really lost a lot of that vocabulary.

And, in some ways, I really struggle with communicating in Chinese because I feel like I'm not able to express myself exactly the way I want to in the way that I can in English. And when I'm talking to my parents, yeah, that's been a bit of a challenge for me because I do really value being able to say things the way that I mean, and I'm not able to have that with my limited vocabulary. So I can also see how people might not enjoy working within these confines of boring syntax and boring frameworks.

JOËL: Sometimes it's nice to give yourself a sort of syntactical restriction, but they're very low-level when it comes to most of what we do for programming. And I think that's sort of what I've learned as my career has evolved is that programming is so much more than just learning syntax. So kind of like with art, maybe it's nice to restrict yourself to say, oh, can I do something with only a particular brushstroke technique, or restricting myself to a particular palette or a particular medium? And that can foster a lot of creativity. So, similarly, I think you could do some things like playing Code Golf, not on production code; please don't.

STEPHANIE: [laughs]

JOËL: But as an experiment in a side project or just almost as a piece of art, that can be a really interesting problem to solve and give you a deeper understanding of the language. And I'm sure there are plenty of other syntactical limitations you could put on yourself or maybe fancy things you would like to explore and say, "Well, this is over the top. We don't need to structure it in this way or use this syntax. But I want to sort of push the boundaries of what can be done with it. Let's see where I can take it."

STEPHANIE: That's really fair. And I think it relates back to what I was saying earlier about perhaps creativity when writing software products comes from the constraints of the business of, in some ways, physical aspects of development. In the Dan McKinley talk, I mentioned about choosing boring technology. He generally recommends against bringing in a new language or framework because of the costs, the carrying cost of doing that, and the long-term maintenance to consider.

But he instead suggests turning the question on its head and being like, how can we solve this problem with the current technology that we do have? And I think that relates to what you were saying about being able to push the boundaries of a particular medium or tool and in a way that you might not have considered before.

JOËL: Exactly. And I think going back to the analogy with art; sometimes it is nice to restrict yourself to a particular brushstroke or something like that to try to foster creativity. But oftentimes, you want to explore creativity in much higher-level ways. So maybe you're not restricting things like brushstrokes and color, and, instead, you want to explore lighting. You want to explore maybe certain ways of mixing colors.

There are all sorts of, I think, higher-level ways that you can be creative in art that's not just the mechanics of how you apply pigment to canvas. And we see the same thing like you were saying, in code where there's a lot of higher level business problems. Generally, how do we want to structure large chunks of the code? How do we want to build abstractions? Although that can also be a dangerous place to get too creative in.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, absolutely. Do you consider yourself a creative person or need a creative outlet? And how does writing code or software development play a role in that for you?

JOËL: I would say, yes, I consider myself a creative person. And I would consider coding, in general, to be a creative endeavor. I sometimes describe to people that writing code is like building something out of infinite legos. You're constrained only by the power of your imagination and the amount of time you're willing to put into constructing the thing that you're building.

Of course, then you have all sorts of business constraints. And there are things you want to do on a work project that are probably not the same as what you would want to do on a client project or on a personal project. But there's still creativity, I think, at every level and sometimes even outside of the code itself. Just understanding and breaking down the business problem can require a ton of creativity before you even write a single line of code in your editor.

I was reading a Twitter thread the other day by @GeePawHill that sort of proposes that there are sort of four steps in evolution of kind of the mindset that programmers go through over their career. And I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this evolution if you kind of agree with it or disagree with it if that maybe lines up with some of your experience.

So this Twitter thread proposes four levels of thinking that we go through. I think we can kind of jump between these levels at various points in our work. So we might do all of these in a day, but to a certain extent, they also follow a little bit of a progression in our career. So the first level is thinking in terms of syntax; that's just knowing the characters to type in the editor.

The second level is thinking in terms of code, that's, thinking a little bit more semantically. So now, instead of thinking, oh, do I need if then curly brace, then closed curly brace? Now we're thinking more in terms of, okay, I need a branch in the flow of control for my logic here. And at that level, maybe you don't even need to think about the syntax quite so much because you're so comfortable with. It kind of just fades away.

Building beyond that, now you're thinking in terms of your paradigm. So Ruby is an object-oriented language, so you might be thinking in terms of what objects do I need to represent this problem and how do they need to talk to each other? And the sort of underlying semantics of, oh, do I need a conditional here or not? Those might start fading away because now you're thinking at a slightly higher level.

And then, finally, thinking in terms of change sets. Now you're thinking less in terms of the language itself and more in terms of the business problems and how the current behavior of the software is different and needs to change to get to where we want the behavior to be.

STEPHANIE: I think I disagree a little bit with the idea that it's a progression. And I'm thinking about how when you have a beginner's mind, anything is possible. And in some ways, if you are new to coding, before you have that understanding of what is and isn't possible, anything is possible. And so, in some ways, I've worked with people who are super new to coding, and the ideas that they come up with for how to make a change at that highest level that you were just describing, in some ways, make sense.

You can be like, oh yeah, that actually is something we can do and an idea that you might eventually get to from someone more experienced, having followed those different levels of progression and reaching a place where you're like, I know exactly what tools or the details about how to do this. But when you have that beginner's mind, and you don't have the details of the how, I think you can still think about those problems at a higher level, and that is valuable, and maybe they'll need help implementing along the way.

And I think that that could be a really interesting area of collaboration that perhaps we don't do enough in this industry because it's very mentorship-focused where it's like, okay, I have more experience, and so I'm going to teach you what I know. Whereas if you bring someone with a totally fresh perspective along, what ideas can you generate from there?

JOËL: I think we definitely exist in all of these layers every day as developers. I think, looking back at myself as a newer developer, I tended to maybe work bottom-up when I tried to solve a problem. And I think that now I probably tend to work sort of in the reverse order, start by thinking in terms of changes and then work my way down. And so syntax, at that point, is the last thing that I'm thinking about. It's really an implementation detail. Whereas I think as a new coder, syntax was super important. Was your experience similar to that, or did you have a very different journey?

STEPHANIE: It's funny that you mentioned it because I think when I was new to development, there were so many syntactic things that I didn't understand that I just kind of like blurted out of my brain when I was reading code and was then trying to latch on to the important pieces of information that I needed to know, which often meant class names or method names. Pieces that I could grab onto and be like, okay, I'm seeing that this method then calls this other method or whatever.

And, yeah, what you were saying about implementation details falling away, I kind of did that at the beginning of my career a little bit, at least at that syntactic level. So, yeah, I think I'm with you where we all exist at different parts of this framework, I suppose. And that journey could look different for everyone.

JOËL: So we're talking about ways to be creative at higher levels. And one way that I find has been really fun for me but also really useful has been bringing in dependency graphs as a tool for design. You knew I had to mention dependency graphs.

STEPHANIE: We got there in the end. [laughter] Cool, go on.

JOËL: I think it's been really good sometimes in terms of modeling change sets because dependency graphs can be a great tool for that, but also sometimes in terms of trying to understand what the underlying business problem is and how it might translate into code structures where things might be tightly coupled versus not. And so, drawing it out visually is a really powerful design tool.

And because now I can look at it in two-dimensional space, I can realize, oh, I see something that feels like it's maybe an anti-pattern or might be a problem here. There's a cycle in my graph; maybe we should find a way to break that. Maybe we need to introduce some dependency inversion and break that cycle, and now our graph is acyclic.

And so I think that's where there can be a lot of creativity that happens, even when you're not writing code at that point. You're just sort of talking about how different pieces of the project or even different subproblems...you're not even talking about if they're implemented in code, but just saying this subproblem is related to this subproblem, and maybe I would like to find a way for them to not have a connection to each other.

STEPHANIE: I'm glad we got back to this dependency graph topic because I stumbled upon something that I'm curious to hear your opinion on. I have been following Julia Evans' work for a little bit now. And she recently released a new zine about debugging. And at the end of the zine, she includes a link to these choose-your-own adventure puzzles that she has created, specifically to teach you about debugging and how to do it.

And so it's basically a little detective game, and you kind of follow along with this bug. And she gives you some different options about how would you like to find a little bit more information about this bug? And what approach would you take? And you make some different selections, and then as you go, you get more information about the bug. And that helps inform what next steps you might take.

And, one, I think this is a great example of a creative project about software development, even though it's not necessarily your day-to-day work. But then she also uses a tool called Twine, which is for creating non-linear stories, or puzzles, or games. And it got me really thinking about the multi-step wizard we've been talking about and this idea of looking at a problem in different mediums.

It also reminds me of if you have a designer on your team and they're doing prototyping, they usually have some kind of user interactivity that they have to codify. And they are making those decisions about okay, like, if you are at this step, then where do you go next? And those are all things that you've talked about doing as a developer, I think, at a later point in the future lifecycle. And I'm now just kind of thinking about how to integrate some of that into our workflow. Do you have any thoughts about that?

JOËL: I had one of the coolest experiences in my career when I was doing a front-end project where we were building a typeahead component that was pulling data from a remote server and then populating a drop-down. And the designer and I sat down and just started to look through all the different states that you could be and how you could move from one to another.

So it looked like maybe you start the typeahead is empty; it's just a text box. And then as you start typing, maybe there's a spinner that shows up. And then maybe you have some results, or maybe you don't have results. And those are two different entirely states that you could be in. And then, if you backspace, what happens? And what if something goes wrong on the server? Like, we just kept finding all these edge cases.

And we built out a diagram of all the possible journeys that someone could take, starting from that empty text box, all the way to either some sort of error state or a final state where you've selected an item. But, of course, these are not necessarily terminal because in an error state, maybe you can just start typing again, and you sort of jump back into the beginning of the flow.

So we did this whole diagram that ended up looking very much like a finite-state machine. We didn't use the term, but that's kind of what it ended up being. And I think we both learned a lot about the problem we were trying to solve and the user experience we were trying to create through that.

There was just a lot of back and forth of, like, oh, did you think about what would happen if we get no results here? Have we thought about that state? Or it's like, okay, so now we're in an error state. What do we do? Is there a way to get out of it, or are we just kind of stuck? Oh, you can backspace. Okay, what happens then?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, I mean, we've been talking about creativity as a solitary process. But I think that that goes to show that when collaborating with other people, too, that process can also be very fun and creative and fulfill that need outside of the way the code is written.

JOËL: In many ways, I think working with somebody else, and that gets made at the intersection of two or more people's work, is probably the most creative way to build software.

STEPHANIE: That actually reminds me of a book I read last year called "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow." And it's about these two friends and their journey creating video games together. And it kind of follows several decades of their life and their relationship, and their creative and collaborative process. And I really loved that book. It was very good, especially if you like video games. There are a lot of great references to that too.

But I think what you were saying about that fulfillment that you can get with working with other people, and that book does a really good job examining that and getting into our need as humans for that type of collaboration. So that's my little book rec. It goes back to our conversation about designing a game. Again, maybe this is [laughs] what we'll do next. Who knows? The world's our oyster.

On that note, shall we wrap up?

JOËL: Let's wrap up.

STEPHANIE: Show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm.

JOËL: This show has been produced and edited by Mandy Moore.

STEPHANIE: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review in iTunes. It really helps other folks find the show.

JOËL: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us @_bikeshed, or you can reach me @joelquen on Twitter.

STEPHANIE: Or reach both of us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email.

JOËL: Thank you so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week.

ALL: Byeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

ANNOUNCER: This podcast is brought to you by thoughtbot, your expert strategy, design, development, and product management partner. We bring digital products from idea to success and teach you how because we care. Learn more at thoughtbot.com.

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