Compassionate Coding with April Wensel

April Wensel started a company named Compassionate Coding, which aims to "humanize the tech industry." We discuss why she started the firm and how she goes about making the tech industry a better place to work. We also learn that using the term "soft skills" is not the right way to talk about the people side of things if you want to earn buy-in towards change.



Megan Schemmel: Welcome to CTO Think, a podcast about leadership, product development, and tech decisions between two recovering chief technology officers. Here are your hosts, Don VanDemark and Randy Burgess. 

Randy Burgess: uh, This week we have a guest. Um, I'd like to introduce everyone to April Wensel. She is the founder of Compassionate Coding which is described from her website: "A conscious business helping technical teams cultivate sustainable, human-centered software development practices, built on a foundation of emotional intelligence". So welcome to the show, April. 

April Wensel: Hi. Thanks for having me. Um, so let's just dive right into the description. Um, what is Compassionate Coding? And what is the mission? Where do you hoping to achieve with the practice and at a greater scale? What are we looking to improve in the technology leadership realm? 

April Wensel: Yeah, so at a high level Compassionate Coding is really about humanizing the tech industry and uh more specifically my way to accomplish that is teaching emotional intelligence and relate it kind of competencies to software engineers just because of the role the kind of the strong role that they play in the tech industry. I feel like we can make a lot of change by changing how software engineers specifically work including uh, people involved in engineering leadership as well. Um, but yeah, I started Compassionate Coding after 10 years of working in the tech industry as a software engineer and engineering leader.

And um, I saw a lot of gaps in terms of um, where people uh, there was a lot of stress and burnout was a problem. I saw projects failing because of communication issues you look around and you see the lack of inclusion and diversity in the tech industry. It's hard to miss that and of course building unethical products and you know products that take advantage of people so combined all together the common denominator there is just a lack of concern for human beings and the human element and so that's what Compassionate Coding is really about is bringing the human element to the focus in the tech industry 

Randy Burgess: Makes perfect sense. So you have a blog post like I guess I saw one of your talks at NG Atlanta and you made the statement from the beginning like you first you apologize a bit for hey, this is soft stuff, but

April Wensel: well, I wouldn't say I apologize.

Randy Burgess: Well, yeah, it was more of you were just saying that this is not about code. This is about the emotional, you know, the people side of things which you know for whatever reason a lot of leaders in our industry still don't get that that's an important piece. What moved you into this focus in your career because you worked as both a coder and a leader. You've been on both sides of the fence. What moved you into focusing on this? 

April Wensel: Yeah. So part of why I started my talk that way is um, just to because I I used empathy and knew that people in the audience would be resistant to something like this and so I thought it would be better to anticipate it. Um, and you know, I really don't see there being a fence to be honest between leadership and coding I see just these are just a set of skills out there and people have different degrees of experience and all these skills. So I don't consider myself like, oh, I used to be a coder and then I was manager and then now you know, I just I'm a like a coach or something.

It's more like you know, like I still code I still you know, I feel like even individual contributors have an opportunity to lead projects to lead. Um, you know their own career even so I see these leadership skills as being kind of more, uh, widespread and more applicable than most people give them credit for.

Um, so for me, it was just a natural progression of like I saw a problem in the industry I want it to solve it. I didn't feel like it was um, I was making uh, like a change in terms of um, my role. It was just being able to use even more more skills basically 

Randy Burgess: makes sense. Um for I got the way that I learned about you online was through Twitter, which is always a scary place to ever meet anybody I think but I basically made a comment out loud, before I realized there's this huge but I guess the pushback on the way StackOverflow and how they treat new developers. Yeah, and because I teach students I have a bunch of students that I taught last year in a bootcamp and I I would say to them, you know, you should definitely go to StackOverflow to find answers.

You should not go there to ask questions and it was around the lack of empathy that the moderators had, the lack of a like of consideration that was going on for people and our industry. So I guess what I just want to focus on that one item you were making a pretty big statement which I agree with on StackOverflow. What? What did you how do you see that experience and how the StackOverflow experience relates to how some teams are running poorly with handling the emotional side of software development. 

April Wensel: Yeah, for sure. I mean StackOverflow. I feel like it's just it's such a great example of kind of this, uh hostility toward people asking for help that is just so widespread. Uh people it's just such a lot of times I say that egos the biggest problem in tech. I I do I do believe that's the case. And so I think you see that at play on StackOverflow, um, like the moderators some of them and even just people answering questions. They're motivated sure some of them to help people, but a lot of times it's more about you know, winning those points those reputation points and trying to look smart and and that's how the site was designed. You know, I mean even in Joel Spolsky's recent retrospective. he said "we wanted to site where developers could show how smart they were," you know, it's like that was it was designed that way.

So StackOverflow is a great example of that, but yeah, we see it all the time and teens, I mean, um, you know Google did the they had this project Aristotle recently where they found, you know, what makes for successful teams and they identified this key element which was psychological safety and I think.

The reason that's so important and that's the idea that you know, you can make mistakes on the team and and you know, you won't be ostracized like you feel safe to makes mistakes and to learn and I think that the reason that's so important they call that out is that's just so missing from most of the tech industry.

It's like if you make a mistake, you know, you're you're potentially seen as incompetent. Um, and you just because ego again is so is so central. It's like, oh, I don't want to see him you hide mistakes right a lot of times that happens on teens is people hide mistakes because they don't you know, they don't want to be embarrassed.

They don't want to be shamed in the industry because shame again. Really what happens the most on StackOverflow is just people trying to say, oh, how could you not have found this answer for yourself? You know, you should be ashamed. Do you know if somebody even I wrote a blog post specifically about StackOverflow somebody commented like whoever wrote this should be ashamed and everybody who's liking it should be ashamed it's like, okay.

Yeah, you're kind of making my point for me. 

Randy Burgess: Yeah exactly and the weird thing about the Internet or in Twitter is that people can be anonymous and they get a little more, I guess they get a little juice to feel protected when they knock others, but StackOverflow actually identifies the people and so the culture is almost completely not anonymous, but the people still act the same in some cases, which is even interesting.

It's also the irony of it all is you mentioned Spolsky. Fog Creek. for years was one of the top companies, software companies, that talked about this stuff. Like they basically anything you would read from Spolsky in the past talked about people side of software development yet, they created a tool that has grown into this completely heartless type of mechanism for users.

So I think it's interesting how it evolved and it didn't really evolved the best way. Um, Yeah, so have you heard from the StackOverflow founder or the people running it about because I know that a blog post came out later by one of their managers about recognizing there's some things that need to change.

I don't know if you've heard more on this. 

April Wensel: Yeah, they um, a few people at the company and leadership have like publicly like thanked me for writing the blog post and for calling these issues out. Um, so that's been nice and like they're the blog post they wrote was encouraging, you know, that they do want to make StackOverflow more welcoming.

Um, but I would say it's interesting. Although Joel Spolsky has always been you know writing about the people side of developmental that I will say that you see a lot of the seeds of the culture in some of his older blog posts that talk about, you know, this differentiation between the mediocre engineers and like the really good engineers and that some people will just never be good engineers and that sort of that's the elitism that we see happening on StackOverflow.

So although Fog Creek is in some ways was progressive I would say also they put some things in the culture that maybe not be the most healthy and that we still do have to overcome and I just want to clarify that because I think it's what's dangerous is that people still pass around Joel's articles and and some extent the other founder, um, Jeff Atwood, as if they're like, you know the gospel right there shared around like oh this is how you do it and things you know, they got a lot of things, you know, right but they also you know show that they didn't really have the key empathy piece, uh early on.

Um, so I think it's important to read those with, you know, a filter and like uh and a critical sort of way. But yeah, so sorry guys. 

Randy Burgess: I know I was just I was totally agreeing with you. I think that those folks including people like Uncle Bob are from an old guard and it's not that some of their insights aren't right on about how to be a quality developer, but they the culture that they were a part of is not something that we're trying to keep in place for not trying to have just a bunch of alpha males run everything and be the only part and that's where they that's where they grew up. And yeah, so we're I think it's fine to call out like, hey you guys were right about this, but we need to change some of the sentiments coming out of what you said before.

So, yeah for sure so Kudos on taking that on because I know anybody not just women but anyone that stands up to a the community the size of a StackOverflow is going to get blowback, especially on a medium like Twitter. So I applaud what you're trying to do there because I want it to be a place that my students can yeah questions and maybe accidentally write a duplicate question without suddenly getting closed and shut down and then instead being like, you know, hey, we know you're trying to learn and we're gonna have a process for you to ask questions when you don't know how to actually search for them at this point because that's usually the worst the hardest part in that but. 

Don VanDemark: Well, yeah, let me so April. Let me jump in here real quick based on based on some of the reading I did on your blog.

I do want to talk a little bit about a about history, right so and learning from from from experiences. So based on some readings I was doing on your blog you you didn't come to this necessarily this hasn't been your mode from day one, um, there's been some learnings along the way as well as far as within your own crib.

Do you want to talk about that a little bit about how you got to this place? 

April Wensel: Yeah. Yeah for sure. Um, so that's something I've started talking about a lot because I think it people it helps people to see that. You know, we're all kind of on a on a learning journey here. Um, but yeah, so I have this blog post that I wrote about how I used to be kind of a jerk programmer and I just I say it pretty openly um, because.

I think it's beneficial to talk about these things openly and basically what I mean is just the way the industry is set up. You can go through it being pretty rough around the edges and being kind of ignoring how you're affecting people emotionally and you're still rewarded like even though I was you know, pretty direct but not just direct but um direct without any sort of consideration for people's feelings and yet you know, I would keep getting you know doing well keep getting hired.

You know, I never got really much pushback for that and I think that that I just had to come to some you know, I came to an awareness on my own of just you know, I'm not happy being this way, like I don't I don't like who I am to succeed in this industry. I don't like that. I have to be aggressive and that I have to be.

Um, you know, so competitive which I really have been really competitive and I thought you know because I I also uh, like teach um kids to code and I teach other adults to code, too and it just when I was in those modes, it was just so much more pleasant, you know, when you're everybody's just supportive and uh, it's okay to make mistakes.

It's okay to admit you don't know something. It was just a totally different environment. And so I was like, why can't all of tech be like this like, there's no reason there's no like inherent reason why tech can't be like this. So, um, you know, I did a lot of personal growth on my own. Um, which I one thing that helped me there was doing personal retrospectives.

So kind of like agile retrospectives for teams, but for myself, where I reflected regularly on, you know, what was important to me and how I was meeting those goals and what I could do differently and so I made changes and I I learned emotional intelligence, um a certain aspects of it. And so I realized that it was a teachable skill, um, a lot of times there's this myth like programmers just aren't good with people and so that kind of they have no responsibility to be, you know people decently and it's just you know, that's just nonsense.

It's just ridiculous. Um, they you can learn these skills, um, and you know, I've worked as people across the spectrum, um, you know of emotional intelligence skills and every, using the growth mindset no matter where you're starting you can always get better. So, um, it may take time they take practice but people can make gains in you know, improving their communication skills.

Uh, no matter where they're starting from 

Don VanDemark: sure sure. So I wanted to set that background just so that that we came everybody had that understanding that this is this is something that can be learned and and in general, in in your career and in life if something's not going the right way. You can change your viewpoint on its and that because we're talking about something that some people would consider a little soft. I wanted to I want to make sure we framed it just right that that this is not something that that can't be learned from experience. So I thought it was real important to get that out there. 

April Wensel: Yeah, I think you're totally right. It is something that can be learned and um, you know in my eye often, I don't really like this term soft because I feel like people use it to dismiss things.

Um, like. Like why would you want to do anything soft if you know there's this hard thing that you really should be doing. Um, and so I try to avoid that because again these skills, you can learn them systematically. I mean, that's what I teach in the workshops that I do, you know, we actually like break down so it's like psychology here and it's just it's it's actually and they're like frameworks we can use and it's actually, you know takes um a lot of focus and a lot of effort and they're definitely.

And it's not always soft as in you know, you're going around being fake-nice to people either like that's really not what emotional intelligence is either and I think sometimes soft gives that impression that it's like everyone's just happy and smiley all the time and that's not really it either because um to really communicate well you sometimes do have to be very direct with people but emotional intelligence just gives you strategies for presenting it in a way where it's going to be heard. It's going to be received. Um more likely than you know, if you just come in here and say oh, well, your code sucks and this sucks, you know what I mean? So, um, you can still be direct. So in that sense to it's not always soft sometimes. I mean if you look at my criticism of StackOverflow, I have to say I think I was pretty fiercely compassionate there. I don't think I was I was soft by any means 

Randy Burgess: well, um on the track of learning and you just mentioned workshops, um, if a company, if a business leader wants to make a change, um where did like, how does your program work what can someone expect if you come into a company and you are teaching what Compassionate Coding is about? What are they doing Day One? How does your process work? What can someone expect I guess? 

April Wensel: Yeah, so, um my philosophy is that people will only change if they see how that change will benefit themselves.

Uh, so a lot of times I think trading at tech companies are just a companies in general is like here's what you need to do because this is the rule and this is what you have to do and I just feel like those just don't work and I know as an engineer like I would tune out most trainings that I had to do that had nothing to do with code.

So, um, so I use that knowledge I start from that. So I start by presenting, you know, the benefits to the individuals into the company and everything kind of making the case for it and that's something that a lot of times traditional because there's you know, traditional emotional intelligence programs out there that are meant for managers and stuff like that.

Um, but they don't always, they don't really frame it in a way where it's like okay I'm a software engineer what does this have to do with what you know my work so that's kind of the biggest thing is just getting people motivated because that's the way to win them over right? Um, so usually what happens is I'll speak with somebody uh in leadership and we'll talk about the issues on the team things.

They'd like to see Improvement on um, and for every engagement that I do I design a custom Training schedule, so it's not I don't just have like a set kind of deck that I run through and oh, this is the train. I really try to understand what's gonna appeal most to the audience that I'm dealing with um and how to how to make the like metaphors that resonate with them and um understand the values of their specific culture and all of that.

So I work with them come up with kind of a customized workshop program and then I come on site and work with the team and uh, it usually works best when you get as many people of the team in the room as possible just so we can make big changes, but it's just a really interactive session. So we do practice like reframing conversations, uh understanding when you've had like an emotional episode kind of breaking it down and understanding like what it means and how to how to use it productively and so it's um, it's a really kind of interactive fun kind of experience. I try to keep it engaging because again, like that's something that uh, because engineers aren't used to talking about this stuff. It really has to um engaging to keep their attention 

Randy Burgess: what so you've been doing this about two years now, there's a May 2016, so what have you like after you've gone into a company that has a little least bought into the need to change, what have you seen on the other side? What have you seen the positive effects of making changes like this in a team culture? 

April Wensel: Yeah, and that's been kind of the most magical piece of it is just kind of seeing because a lot of this is really I just low-hanging fruit. I mean, it's like I'll go in and somebody will say something like.

You know, how do I how do I show this customer that they're wrong? You know because it's somebody doing open source, and they I'm just like, okay, let's take a step back from even phrasing it that way and it's like the very basic stuff. And so then you give them these tools right and then I'll hear from the manager like oh, yeah, you know, I've been bringing this up in the one-on-one and I'm seeing progress with so-and-so and all this stuff.

And so, you know, it's the kind of thing where um, It's it's hard to quantify sometimes. I mean you could I certainly do surveys and you can see like how attitudes changed and whatnot, but a lot of its this just really intangible stuff that makes people um just makes the team run more smoothly, you know, and so hearing those anecdotes hearing those stories about how um, you know, The the how the jerk on the team that used to be like my thing like how they've started to be more open about you know, what they what they are really thinking about why they're behaving the way they are.

I mean, those are the things that really that really keep me going is just um being able to hear those those little stories of how people's lives are changing and of course, it's affecting the bottom line, right? Because like if people are working together better you're going to get things done faster and everything.

Don VanDemark: So another tale from uh Twitter because that's that's uh, that's a good place for conversation. Sometimes the conversation isn't great. Um, but it certainly brings up conversation topics. Um, there was a. Post someone made about um, that they look they think job hopping portrays a negative example to them.

Um, and there was there was a bit of backlash that job hopping can also indicate that the workplace wasn't healthy. Um, and and that they need to they need to move on because it wasn't a healthy environment. Um, but I found more satisfaction in the last five years when I've had three or four different jobs, then in the 14, I worked at IBM, so I I completely get the the mindset of it's time to find something else, especially if you're in a situation that's not a good situation. Um, so I I saw those those. Twitter posts go out and I'm like, no I got to get in on this one. Um because I I do I do think that you've got to find what's right for you.

Um, and and you need to especially get out of something that's that's not right for you. 

April Wensel: Yeah, I think that's that's really well said, um, yeah that conversation was interesting. I think like in a number of different ways like I've had maybe like ten jobs or something over my 10 years in Tech.

Like I I hopped around quite a bit and I just I don't see it as a problem. Like I quit when I was unhappy, I found something new. I learned a bunch. It's actually part of why I was able to start my company as I got such a range of experience that like so many different types of places like research labs like big companies small companies and so it was really good market research.

I didn't know it at the time I started my company. So, uh, you know, I think that we can make gains by improving the culture but it's also it's really time to recognize that some people are going to want to move on to, you know, do something new to to expand their horizons and I think that companies, um can do things to make that that transition easier, you know to have mentoring programs so that it's easier to onboard people.

Um, I think so, I think that you know, I don't think the goal is like to keep people as long as you possibly can it's more like yeah provide a healthy culture, but also when people want to move on wish them well, you know and help them make that transition. 

Don VanDemark: So April. What can we take away from this conversation?

What are some things to go do um moving forward if we all want to improve? 

April Wensel: Yeah, so I think one way is through. Reframing just literally the terminology we use um, like not not using soft skills, for example, um, so, you know in the past I've talked about using catalytic skills with the idea that uh, these skills kind of helped catalyze your uh, use of other skills, you're um, and the application of them and acquiring them.

Uh, so that's one just kind of how you frame it. But really I think to motivate people I mean to really be persuasive is to find out like what are the problems? People are facing because they're certainly facing problems if they're if they're completely ignoring this and they're definitely facing problems and those problems might be that they're burning out that they're stressed, that they're frustrated with their co-workers. That's a big one. Like if people um, especially like engineers dealing with non-engineers if they're frequently frustrated like, you know of stupid marketing person blahblahblah or you know, uh, the product managers doesn't understand, like things like that. So if you get them to start talkin about their problems then, you can talk about how these emotional intelligence skills help solve those problems. So that's one of the um easiest ways in is to find the pain points and that's really what why my company's called Compassionate Coding is because compassion is really about minimizing suffering and so that's really about eliminating pain points.

So you find out what the pain points are give them a path to alleviate them. And then the other way I think to address the skeptics is really with the data because um, there is you know, there are there have been studies out there. Like what makes the successful software engineer, um, even it's like in 1994 there was this paper that came out like about the essential competencies of software engineers and they the top three they listed was like team-oriented the person seeks help and the person helps others.

And so those are all you know, soft skills or these emotional intelligence skills. Um, you know, like I mentioned Project Aristotle by Google that's a newer one where they found how important psychological safety is and all these things. So I think um, And I back in 2015. Uh, the Application Developers Alliance did a study of like what causes software projects to fail and the top ones they found we're all kind of people related things and only like way on the end was like, um, you know immature dev tools or things like that.

And so when you can point to data to I feel like that can really help people see that. Uh, the reason projects are failing, you know, the reason projects are late the reason, you know, people are so unhappy and burning out is because we've been ignoring these skills for like for most of the you know duration of the whole existence of the industry.

Don VanDemark: So the name of your company Compassionate Coding, uh leads one to believe this is an IT problem. Um, is this IT only or is this more you see this in any company across all divisions? 

April Wensel: Yeah, you know it's hard to say because uh because tech now is part of most businesses, um, and so you can't really isolate it and I think the reason people focus on tech, at least one reason is that we're trying to be you know, move the needle push the you know, push the boundaries there and whatever to lead the way do the cutting edge stuff, and so if we're gonna do that in general in tech then it'd be nice if we can also do it in this realm. Um, but yeah, I mean, I think a lot of these things affect, uh, affect the business world in general. Um, I mean healthcare is one, uh industry that at least has done more research in this area because compassion for example, there it's much it's much easier to. People on the idea of caring about that, um in the healthcare industry, but they still have you know, a long way to go as well. I mean, you know, um, you still have issues with like doctors burning out, things like that. So they still have some issues but there they are at least more mindful of that, than I think than we are. Um, but I mean, I would love the tech industry to lead the way, you know, I really would because we we lead the way another you know ways and so, um, why not this one? 

Don VanDemark: This is all really good. What does the future hold for uh this movement and more specifically Compassionate Coding.

Yeah. So I you know, I travel around quite a bit giving these workshops and speaking and you know, there's only one of me and uh, so I don't I don't really have the desire to um, you know kind of train the trainer and get other people to just because the message is so important to me and I just don't want it to get diluted.

Um, so what I'm looking to do is uh scale out by putting a lot of this online. So having some online materials online courses that can help people acquire these skills, uh, because I get requests all the time for people like, you know, or you going to do a workshop in my in my town like a public one I can go to and it's just like I just can't do that sound like you know, this is I think the way to reach more people is really to get this material online and as far as like long-term, mean, I want Compassionate Coding, um, you know, rebranded whatever however it goes through the years. I mean, you know as I got used to in tech, you know, I'm all about that the pivots and the whatnot but really I want this to be a new approach to software development.

Like I wanted to you know, like how what agile did like I want that to be what compassionate coding instead of saying what's the lean thing to do with the agile thing to do I wanted to be what's the compassionate thing to do in this scenario? Like I want that to be um, you know, the thing that comes off everybody's lips, you know, and they're discussing in the projects.

That's really the goal, because I think. That's gonna help us, um, you know, stop people from burning out. It's going to help our projects be more successful. It's going to help tech be more inclusive. We're gonna get more diversity and inclusive and it's gonna keep us from building so many unethical products and use the people's data unethically and all that because when we actually care about people we're gonna care about all people including the people were building the technology for I

Randy Burgess: I really like the compassionate coding brand just personally when I saw when I saw you on Twitter and then I saw the name of your company, I was like, oh I know what this is about and so many names just don't really strike to "What are you trying to do?" And I it just like I asked a question on here. What are you trying to do? But I really understood

So April if someone is sitting here listening and they are they don't know where to get started. They don't know the first thing they should do. What would what's some advice or what can you recommend that someone that sees Compassionate Coding, they see a need, they don't know. It doesn't have to be some big grandiose thing.

What? What do you recommend people do to become a more compassionate coder, a more compassionate leader and if they want to make this change? What's the first step in your mind that they should try to do 

April Wensel: so, I think the first step and this is going to be hard for engineers and people in Tech who want to know go go go all the time, but I think that the best thing to do, the most important thing to do is to just take a few moments and slow down. And what I mean by that is even if it means five minutes at the end of the day take five minutes, uh, take 3 minutes, if 5 minutes is too long, and just take a few quiet moments and look back at your day and think about think about the things that happened think about the people you interact it with, um, whether that was online through Slack or in person and thank you know, how did I behave in those situations?

Like when what were my over my emotions going on today? Because you know, we're human beings, we don't check our emotions at the door. We have them so even. A few minutes of quiet reflection, um looking back at your day I think would be a great way to start because that's the thing is most of us don't take that time at all.

So we just kind of go-go-going all the time and we're just like, you know, maybe steamrolling over people not really caring what they're thinking. So I think if you can just take those few minutes, uh, that's a great start. Um, yeah, so that's really what I would recommend 

Randy Burgess: sounds that's great advice.

Don what do you have? 

Don VanDemark: Yeah, so so thank you April. I certainly appreciate you being on with us. Uh today. Um, I think one takeaway I'm I'm gonna work on is is the rephrasing of the term "soft skills." Um, I'm I'm going to take that in a different direction. Would EQ skills be a good place to go with that? I do I think yeah, I think that would be a good one.

April Wensel: I agree. I think that that EQ skills is good might be a little more friendly to people than um than soft skills. 

Don VanDemark: Okay? Okay. That's a to learning. Take away Randy. 

Randy Burgess: Uh, well, I guess the final question would be how can people find you. Um, if they want to hire you for their company if they want to if you're going to be giving additional speeches like what's the best way to for people to hear the message that you're providing. 

April Wensel: Yes. I think the best way would be to sign up for my newsletter on I have a form there to sign up for my newsletter. Uh, I'm on Twitter at @aprilwensel, um where you know that I'm active on Twitter and yeah at Compassion Code and um, I'll be speaking.

I'll be doing the full emotional intelligence workshop at a Node Summit in San Francisco in July. It's a Node.js conference. Um, and I'll and I'll be at Pluralsite Live and August and I've got a few other things in the works. So those will come out via the newsletter. So people just go to sign up for the newsletter, they'll be in the "In Crowd" in terms of uh, uh, you know all this stuff. 

Randy Burgess: Awesome. Well, thank you very much for being on the show. We I I truly believe and in what the message that you are sending out there, the mission of compassion coding, I run into so many developers that they will acknowledge how important the people side of this businesses is, like they're very smart engineers and they, they understand it's not all about the code, but then they will scoff at any idea that compassion and empathy is a big piece of what they need to do. And I I really hope that we can break through that and I think programs like yours and the message and what you're saying online is going to get through and improve this industry on that side because I want my students to be able to enjoy a development job career that is improved on improved from what we all have seen it to be. So again, thanks for being on and sharing this message and I really look forward to what you have going forward.

April Wensel: I love that. Thank you so much. And thanks for having me. This has been really fun.

Randy Burgess: Thanks. All right, 

Don VanDemark: thank you April. We'll talk next week. 

Megan Schemmel: Thanks for listening to the CTO Think podcast. 

Show notes on previous episodes can be found on our website at

Reviews on itunes are appreciated and help promote the show.

Email us at

Show music is Dumpster Dive by Mark Wallach, licensed by 

Voiceover work by

You'll hear from us next week!

Join our newsletter

Got it. You're on the list!

Check out our tech-focused podcast, This Old App.

© 2017-2018 CTO Think. All Rights Reserved.