THE OMNI SHOW

Get to know the people and stories behind Omni’s award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS.

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Nov. 22, 2017, 6 a.m.
Brian Covey, Support Manager

Brian Covey studied computer science at The Evergreen State College — which your host also attended, but back before computers were a thing. After some normal young-person-bouncing-around a little, Brian came to shore at Omni in 2001, where he became the leader, dear and fearless, of Omni’s Support Humans.

Show Notes:

You can find Brian @hidvorak on Twitter. (You can contact Omni support at support.omnigroup.com.)

You can also find a video of Brian doing the worm in an Omni commercial from 2006. Absolutely not to be missed!

Some other people, places, and things mentioned:

Transcript:

Brent: You're listening to The Omni Show. Get to know the people and stories behind Omni's award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS.

Music.

Brian: Such a good radio voice.

Brent: I love that music. That music, by the way, is by Aaron Cherof, am I pronouncing that right? Cherof? He does a lot of music, and I'm gonna link to it in the show notes.

Brian: That's awesome.

Brent: Anyway, I'm your host, Brent Simmons. In the studio with me today is Brian Covey.

Brian: Hello.

Brent: You jumped the gun, and I forgot to tell you, here's what we do. So, I say, "Hello, Brian," and you say, "Hello, Brian."

Brian: Got you.

Brent: All right. Say hello, Brian.

Brian: Hello, Brian.

Brent: Very well done. Thank you. We're just doing that every episode.

Brian: All right.

Brent: Just because.

All right. So, Brian, you are the support manager here at Omni.

Brian: That is correct.

Brent: So, one of my favorite things, it happens every single week, is we have a weekly company meeting, 11:30 on Tuesdays. Go around the room, talk to PMs, department heads, we get to Brian and he's got stats. So, Brian, can you replay your stats? In the recent meeting?

Brian: I can. It's true. This company loves numbers, so I try to give them numbers.

Support was red two days last week, and green on three after factoring out a support load bug. Support updated 569 tickets last week, resolving 537 of them. Folks outside of support updated two tickets, resolving one of those. Thanks very much. We took 68 calls last week with an average call length of 12 minutes and 10 seconds. That's 13.8 hours total talk time, which is pretty comparable to October of last year, but our call times were a little bit longer.

Brent: Wonderful. Thank you so much.

Mark Boszko: Wow.

Brian: I know, right?

Brent: So, here we are in the Mac and iOS, nowadays, community, and Omni's 60, 70 people army. Yeah, we're bigger than many Indie companies, but we're still a pretty small company, and people in this community have prioritized and prided ourselves on great support. Omni, however, seems to take it a step further, even, than most companies. I wonder if you could talk about Omni's support philosophy.

Brian: I think in a lot of ways it just has to do with really good luck and having a boss that — The founders here really, really get it. There's a very good conference for people that do this kind of work that I've been taking people from Omni to for about the last five years, it's called Elevate Support. For the first three or four times I went to that conference, I sat there and watched a lot of talks, and I was just like, "Wow. I am really, really lucky," because a big chunk of the talks were things like, "How to get your boss to understand that support is a revenue generator, not a cost center that should be done as cheaply as possible," or "how to get engineers to believe that bugs that affect your customers are important." So, yeah. A lot of the talks that I watched, I just kind of walked away from the conference, and I was like, "Wow. Yep. I'm really lucky to have the job that I have and work with the company that I do."

Brent: It seems in some ways the founders created a company that, if they had to be customers of, they'd be happy being customers.

Brian: Yeah. I think the "Just do it the way you want to ... Like, do it the way you think it should be done," is kind of, is Omni kind of top to bottom. There are a lot of choices that we make are essentially just like, "Do what we like, and hopefully enough people are like us that that will work out."

Brent: Yeah, right.

Brian: Thus far. So far, so good.

Brent: It's in some ways like the golden rule of support, of software.

Brian: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brent: So, we were lucky with great founders and early great people. How do you keep that going, because there is some turnover over time as we get bigger.

Brian: Yeah, definitely as you grow... When I came on board way back in the year of 2001, I think I was the 14th person on the team. I wasn't the 14th employee, but the team was 14 people at that point.

Brent: Okay.

Brian: And we're like 60-something now, so we've definitely grown. As you add more links in the communication chain, it does sort of naturally get like to be one of those things you have to encourage people to think about, and to do and carry out. Because, I think a lot of people show up at Omni expecting it to be like a typical company, so they figure like, "Oh, this is gonna be a company like my last company that I worked at was." Or, "The CEO is gonna be like a typical CEO", so when you say things like, "Oh, you don't know how to answer this ticket? Just go knock on the CEO's door." They actually look at you kind of confused.

Brent: Yeah, no kiddin'.

Brian: Yeah, but it's one of the things that, I had to figure out that I just took it for granted, right? Cause when I came on board, we were a bunch of like college age dorks in a weird house, that had stained carpet, and weird wood flooring, and it was kind of fun and ridiculous.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: So, we just did stuff. I like to say that I'm in my 16th year of making it up as I go along.

Brent: I like that. That's the only way to go.

Brian: Yeah, exactly. But, you definitely do have to ... Like, the last couple folks that I've ... My relatively recent hires, I've had to actually say to them like, "I totally understand why you think like the CEO might be intimidating. I swear to God he's the least intimidating person on the face of the planet. It'll be okay, I promise."

Brent: Listeners, I will eventually interview Ken Case. I haven't yet, not because I'm afraid of him, because he's not not scary, he's a super nice guy.

Brian: Yup.

Brent: So, you're able to keep that culture going with the new hires, and that's a really important thing.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Cause here we are now, in these really nice offices, with a view of the lake, and we have conference rooms and a cafeteria.

Brian: Yep. We moved into this building 3, 4 years ago, and it felt very much like “kid in big person clothes,” like grownup clothes, and confusingly we seemed to have filled it out quite nicely and now it actually fits us. Which is one of those, just to revise my mental model from time to time.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: Like, "Oh, yeah, we're a real company. The thing we should, yeah, not screw up."

Brent: But still at the size where everyone can know everybody's name.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: It's like a very, very small town, or a very, very large family.

Brian: Yeah. I hang out with a couple of friends who work at several of the other very large tech companies here in Seattle, and like one of them is literally across the street. It's very nice to have conversations about work, and realize that there is literally no one at the company that I dislike. As I hear them regale stories of like, "Oh, Bob from whatever, that guy really—" Anyways.

Brent: So, it's Bob.

Brian: Yeah, just liking your coworkers is a massive, intangible, good.

Brent: I remember when I interviewed here in fact, I can't remember how exactly this came up, but Chuck said something like, "During Christmas break he misses his coworkers and wants to come back to work."

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: I'm like, "That's a pretty strong endorsement."

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: One of the cool things I noticed, is support people come to the product meetings.

Brian: Yep.

Brent: I've found that very valuable, and I think other people do too. I like that support is well integrated with the company.

Brian: Yeah. It's a huge---

Brent: How did that come to be? What's your thinking behind that?

Brian: Yeah. It's a thing that we started doing somewhere back in, over a decade ago, and a manager who was working with us for a couple of years talked me into it. It was not a role that existed, this product manager role, we just had support folks and we tried to figure out how to make products that people would buy. She kind of helped us formalize a few things in a way that's been really helpful. She just said like, "Look, support people are the people who talk to your customers, so you want them in those meetings. Like, you will reach a point where — it's good to have engineers and marketing folks with good instincts for what they like, and what they think customers will buy, but at a certain point, you need to have an actual conversation with a customer. Because, if you're gonna make a product and sell it for a profit, you probably need to take into account customers whose preferences aren't your own.

That's where the product manager role came from, and since then ... That was originally just like a person, who would go to a particular meeting, but we've kind of scaled it up so that everybody in support goes to at least some of the product meetings, because we talk to folks and we're there to answer questions when the PM has a question about it, or if the engineers are not really sure how ... Like, there's a bug that they're trying to fix, but they don't really know how the customer is using ... “How did you get the app in this weird state?” They can fill in some of those blanks, it's really nice.

Brent: It's a good reminder, engineers don't always learn this, but a good lesson to learn is that people don't use your products the way you do.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: They use them in very different ways, and they're not wrong.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: It's one of those things, they're different. So, how do you get into that mindset, that very open mind of: people will do things very, very differently, even ways that I think might be strange? But, you're not judgmental, you just help them.

Brian: Well, I mean, you will occasionally have a conversation with a customer or see an email from a customer, where you're just like, I think ... And I can't think of the truly head scratcher use cases off the top of my head, but you will occasionally see future ... Oh, heres one from way back in the day. "You should really change the way this icon looks in Omni Web, because it looks way too much like British Columbia and it's really distracting." It's one of those ones where you're like, "I totally see where you're coming from, that is absolutely not a thing that I would have thought of, but okay." I think you just kinda have to ... I wish, well, anybody can learn to adopt a mindset that they aren't naturally inclined to.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: It's like a skill, you have to practice it to a certain degree.

Brent: Oh, and the thing is, with every ticket or every person, that's another mindset, right?

Brian: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that's the other thing, you're having so many conversations where ... If you looked at a ticket where a customer was stating an opinion that you disagreed with and had a negative reaction to every single one of them, you would last about a week in this gig.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: Just because it would be emotionally exhausting, right? You just have to be able to go, "Okay," you know? "Your preference is not my preference, but your preference is okay."

Brent: How did we come to the name support humans for the people who run the support department? Because we don't have engineer humans, we don't have PM humans, the only humans here are support humans.

Brian: Support humans, yeah.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: So, way ... I need to stop saying way back in the day, but it was way back in the day.

Brent: Of course it was.

Brian: We referred to ourselves as support ninjas, because it was funny, and because we were 20 somethings and we liked things that were funny, and you work in tech to be irreverent, right? Somewhere about, maybe about 2010 ... Well first of all, like there was this phase that the tech industry went through, which I will point out, we predated, where the hip thing to put on your resume was to be like, a coding ninja, or a coding guru, or database rockstar.

Brent: Ah, yes.

Brian: So, we did a little bit of like, "You guys have showed up and started using the cool term that we were using, but we don't wanna use it anymore." But, we also had got an email from a customer that, let's just say that they made some cultural assumptions on the basis of our use of the word ninja, that we didn't necessarily think we wanted to be sending that message out into the world.

Brent: Fair.

Brian: So, we decided to have a conversation about rebranding ourselves, for lack of a better term. It was kind of a whole team conversation, and we messed around with stuff like support droid, or whatever, because again---

Brent: Droids are cute.

Brian: Droids are cute.

Brent: And smart.

Brian: Yeah. But eventually, I think Curt, one of our engineers, just said like, "What about just human? Like, that's kind of exceptional in this business." Like, a lot of people have a lot of, kind of that negative assumption baggage thing we talked about earlier. Where people figure that if you ask for tech support, you're gonna get some sort of call waiting, or you'll get an email that was obviously generated by a script, and we just wanted to like put it front and center that, "Hey, if you reach out to us for help, a human is gonna be the one that you're interacting with."

Brent: Actual human.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Yeah. That's a cool thing, I love support humans.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Was that Curt Clifton that came up with the name?

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Curt was last episode.

Brian: Oh, nice. Okay, cool.

Brent: I did not know that about him.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: It's cool. So, we do phone support.

Brian: Yes.

Brent: Which like not only are we doing all of this crazy amount of support, we're also doing phone support.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Which is rare I think, especially for a company this size, and we've got four apps that are very deep.

Brian: Yep.

Brent: But phone support, how did that happen? Because if I had been running the company, I would have nixed, I would have stopped right there and said, "No."

Brian: There are a lot of companies that don't do it, because it is incredibly resource intensive. Like, per unit of time talking to one person on the phone, I could probably answer three or four support emails, just depending. Like, well, so our average phone call is about 12 minutes long, so maybe like 2 emails, but still. Essentially, when you get on the phone you're cutting your ... If you're a productivity wonk, you're cutting your productivity in half by talking to another person on the phone.

But, like many good ideas at Omni, was something I was initially resistant to, but got talked into by my boss. So, yeah, he was like, "Look, it's just gonna be a better customer experience, and so we should add it." And, it is. It's a better customer experience.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: It clearly hits a different kind of customer. Like, there are folks who, they have different needs than the folks who just want to fire off an email and then not worry about their problem for a couple of hours and wait for us to get back to them. Either they're in a crunch and they need help right then and now, or they're just more comfortable talking to someone as opposed to like, writing a bunch of stuff down and hoping that they get back a response that's helpful.

Brent: Yeah, cause different people are different.

Brian: Yeah, yeah.

Brent: And when you say your boss, it was Ken who wanted---

Brian: It was, yeah.

Brent: Phone support. Even though he's CEO and responsible for the bottom line, he's like, "This is better and we're gonna do it."

Brian: Yep, and he's actually hopped on the phone and done phone support.

Brent: I love that, that's great.

Brian: Which is, it's one of the things that people really push the idea of at that conference I referenced earlier. It's a thing that ... We started doing like, a modified version of that here, where instead of, like, we're pretty good at what we do, so we don't wanna plunk you guys down in front of a phone and just say, "Here, talk to a human being, who," Ya know. It's a different skill, and you guys haven't practiced that skill. What we've been doing instead is something I call a support ride-along, which is essentially where somebody from outside of support will sit down next to a support human. It's kind of like a pair programming idea, where-

Brent: Okay, so I, an engineer, could sit down with somebody and then be on the phone, or just any-

Brian: Usually on email tickets, just because it's easier.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: But the big advantage there is, you guys are gonna see stuff that we're totally gonna miss, right? Like, we're gonna help the customer and we're gonna answer their question, but we may not realize, "Oh, this is literally like a 5 minute fix, we could just do this right now." Like, we're gonna put it into our bug tracking tool, and the right outcome will probably come out the other end. But, having you guys right there, to provide that perspective, just totally changes the customer experience, and also just means that we get better results out the other end, than we would have by ourselves. It's kind of a win-win.

Brent: Yeah, makes our apps better, and so on.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: That's cool. Support needs to not be its own separate enclave, and I love so much that it isn't.

Brian: Yeah, yeah it's huge.

Brent: That's a great thing, yeah. How is, so in general then, the relationship with the rest of the company? You don't, I haven't seen any kind of problems. That would be more with test and engineers, right? Are typically the kind of at odds groups, and here at Omni they're not.

Brian: Yeah, yeah.

Brent: But, support and engineering are also not at odds, which is great.

Brian: Yeah, cause we're constantly asking for stuff, right? Like, customers ask for things and we try to ask for those things too, so because they want them. We don't know what's easy or hard, we don't know if there's room on the schedule. So, we're probably like desperately trying to shove three more fixes into a release that's overstuffed with work already for you guys. But, we have the real advantage of, I think just because, we are still ... Founder effect is a huge thing, and there's a certain degree to which Omni is still like this house full of weirdos making software. I think the biggest advantage we have is legitimately, everybody feels like they're all on the same team. Like, we may not, I certainly don't always see eye to eye with everybody that works here, but we're just trying to accomplish the same goal.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: I wish I had some like, magic ... If I could write a business book, and let every company out in the world do this, well I wouldn't have to work, but I wouldn't do it.

Brent: First line in your book would say, “in 2001, join Omni.”

Brian: Exactly, yes.

Brent: Go from there.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Yeah, no doubt. One of my favorite things is when we're in a product meeting, and you or somebody from support argues, "No, we better not do that. And like, heres why." Everyone's like, "Oh, yeah. I think that would actually-

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: We better not do that."

Brian: Yeah. I mean, cause stuff that makes sense to ... We have to have the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of somebody who doesn't have as much technical expertise.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: So, sometimes stuff will totally make sense and I just sit there and look at it, and I'm like, "I can see somebody's gonna get this confused in exactly this way," and then it's gonna get ... Yeah, it'll just make for a bad experience, that we'll end up undoing 6 months later.

Brent: I've noticed in my career, it's easy to forget the customers are people and they're doing other things too.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: They're not living in that one app you make all day long, and they know everything about it, they don't, they totally don't.

Brian: Yeah. One of the other things that we have to think about is the fact ... Because sometimes customers will call or send an email, and it's like, with OmniPlan, right? We'll see an email from somebody and they're like," I'm using this to plan my $1.3 billion pharmaceuticals company launch." I'm like, "That's great. I know OminPlan, I can't answer any of your questions." They will actually ask you those domain-specific questions about like, "How would you use this for pharmaceuticals," and I'm like, "You do not want me answering that question, because it would be a disaster." You just have to go to them like, "I'm not the expert in your topic, or your subject area, but I can help you use this tool that we make."

Brent: Tricky, wow.

Brian: Yep. Cause the tools that we sell them aren't the things that they want, they're the means to the end, right? Like, "I need to build this company, OmniPlan will help me get there."

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: How'd you get here? Why are you at Omni? What happened?

Brian: Well, we can go back a little bit further than we talked in the prep. I made the decision to go to college by the best possible criteria, which is to say the final season of Babylon 5 has moved to TNT, and I wanted to make sure that there was cable in the dorms.

Brent: Of course.

Brian: Brent and I actually share an Alma Mater, I don't know if, the listeners may not know that, but we both went to the Evergreen State College, which is here in Washington. It's a weird school that denies the validity of grades.

Brent: Right.

Brian: Rather than a grade, you get a big fat stack of paper that basically says, "Well, you'll never get into grad school with this, but I hope your four years here were spent very well." Another way in which Evergreen is non traditional, is that I pretty much had the same instructors and the same classmates for every class I took for the 2 years that I was there. One of those was a gentleman by the name of Corwin Light-Williams, we were friends and roommates in college. He and I both moved up to the Seattle area. He ended up at Omni as an engineer, and I ended up working as an engineer for a couple of companies, like a small educational soccer company that got acquired by a big Canadian educational software company. I did spend 30 days working for... not NetZero, but the other free internet company that eventually got gobbled up by NetZero.

Brent: Yeah, I don't even remember NetZero.

Brian: Yeah, nobody does. Including me, and I worked there for a month, but it was fun to ask the CEO on the day that the place shut down like, "You hired me a month ago, what happened?"

Brent: Did you know?

Brian: Yeah. So, basically after a year of scaring my mother by having a new job every 3 months, Corwin was like, "Look, we don't need any engineers at Omni right now, but they need a support person. You up for it?" That was actually my first gig out of college, I ended up ... I stated out in tech support at that education software company.

Brent: Okay. So, you had done some support.

Brian: Yeah, I'd done some support work.

Brent: You knew how to talk to people.

Brian: Yeah, and this was in the heady days before Mac OS X had officially released.

Brent: Oh my.

Brian: Yeah. That was like 99', 2000. Anyways, I came on board in I guess, July of 2001.

Brent: Hmm.

Brian: I've been here ever since.

Brent: Hence the 16 years, making it up.

Brian: 16 years.

Brent: The math works out.

Brian: Yes, and I did the math. I realize that when I'm 52, I will have worked here half of my life, so.

Brent: Wow.

Brian: Yeah. It's nuts. It's bananas.

Brent: I would have to work to the age of like 90 or something to be half my life.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: I'm not gonna.

Brian: Yeah, I don't wanna work till the age of 90 either.

Brent: I'm gonna retire by 85.

Brian: Exactly.

Brent: Evergreen. My favorite, well maybe the only joke I remember from my Evergreen days, there in the mid 80's was, why did the greener --- greener is an Evergreen college student --- Why did the greener cross the road? The answer?

Brian: Oh, you even told me and I already forgot.

Brent: To get 16 credits.

Brian: Right. There literally was a course in underwater basket weaving when I was there. It had to have been a joke.

Brent: People got credit for throwing boomerangs, we threw a lot of boomerangs when I was there.

Brian: That's true, yep. I was both very glad and incredibly bitter to be studying a subject with verifiable right and wrong answers.

Brent: Oh, yeah. Totally messed up. I was on the Art, Literature, and Music interdisciplinary track.

Brian: I did a little miniature CS, like I did 2 years of the CS thing, and like I'd be trudging across campus with my very heavy math textbook, and somebody would be complaining about, "Oh, I had to go to class at 10AM, and I took a paperback." I was just like, "I'm... Yes, you're having a very difficult time ,it's true."

Brent: Geez. I didn't touch a computer the entire... I was there 2 years.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: Cause it was mid 80's, whatever. I think there were some somewhere, maybe.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: I don't know.

Brian: I mean yeah, by the time I was there, I was there in 97' to 99', and there was a lab in the same building that had the library. I need to go back there one of these days just to see how the place has changed.

Brent: I don't remember a ton, for reasons I don't need to go into.

Brian: That's also a thing that sometimes happens at Evergreen, it's true.

Brent: But, I did see Nirvana play.

Brian: Oh, man.

Brent: Outside K Dorm.

Brian: That's amazing. I went to the Nirvana exhibit at the Experience Music Project a couple blocks from here.

Brent: Oh, yeah, I saw that too.

Brian: They've got photos taken of that show, and I had no idea that had happened.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: I remember that dorm, and I was just retroactively very jealous.

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: All right, fantastic man.

Brent: The one and only time, I recall, that I spoke to Kurt Cobain, while they were playing, and they were very boring actually.

Brian: Sure.

Brent: They weren't really the best band at that time.

Brian: At the time, yeah.

Brent: It had been a sunny day, brilliantly hot, 90 degrees, and sometime around when night started to fall, it started to rain a little bit. I'd been inside K Dorm for first half their set, and I come out and I'm walking through the sliding glass door, big... something, and they're coming in and I didn't know it had started raining. So, I'm like, "Oh, why you coming in?" Kurt says, "Cause we don't wanna die." I'm like, I look out, "Oh, cause it's raining and you're using electrical things. I'm the dumb hippy, all right, fine."

Brian: So, for the folks who haven't been on the Evergreen campus, when Brent says K Dorm, don't think like, big, massive building full of students. It's like, maybe like a 6 unit.

Brent: Yeah, something like that.

Brian: Like 6 unit, imagine a mildly down market, 6 unit apartment building full of students in their teens and twenties.

Brent: Yeah, built in 86' or 87'.

Brian: So, yeah. When he says he saw Nirvana in K Dorm, that means he was like 3 feet from Kurt Cobain's face, it was pretty amazing.

Brent: They were really, really boring. Dave Grohl wasn't in the band yet. I saw them, there was something, another house party and a party somewhere else. Yeah, I saw them a few times. People would say, "Oh, you wanna go to this party, they're playing." I'm like, "Really? All right."

Brian: Those guys.

Brent: "If everyone else is going."

Brian: Those guys aren't going anywhere.

Brent: "So dull", yeah. The big band was nomeansno.

Brian: Yup.

Brent: They were fantastic.

Brian: My little brother was a huge nomeansno fan. He's got better taste in music than I do.

Brent: So, when you're not supporting, you're killing imaginary people.

Brian: It's true. We've got a little ... I don't actually have any creative hobbies, or skills, like many of the people that I work with. Instead, myself and several other Omni employees / other folks working at other software companies around Seattle, we sit in dark rooms wearing headsets, talk to people who aren't physically present, shoot imaginary people and take their imaginary stuff to make numbers get bigger. Turns out, skinner boxes: really awesome for certain personality types, and I'm that personality type.

Brent: Cool. There will be in the show notes, a Wikipedia link probably to skinner boxes, for those of you who don't know.

Brian: If you like video games do not read the skinner box article, because it will take your fun away and, yep.

Brent: It's weird. Course, whenever anyone rings a bell I salivate.

Brian: I actually have an item filed on my OmniFocus database to ring a bell in a bar, cause Seattle's kind of a sailor town, and if you ring ... Most of the bars, at least in certain sections of the town will have bells, and if you ring it you're buying a round for everybody.

Brent: Yeah. I've seen those bells.

Brian: I've not done it yet, it still remains frustratingly unchecked.

Brent: That's what credit cards are for.

Brian: That's true, there is that, it's true.

Brent: So, you're household has, now a lot more legs than it used to have.

Brian: It's true. It's true.

Brent: How many legs precisely?

Brian: I live in a 20 leg household.

Brent: Geez, that's a lot of legs.

Brian: That's a lot of legs.

Brent: And does that enable you to run a marathon any faster?

Brian: Oh, no. One can not run a marathon any faster-

Brent: The mythical cat leg, month whatever.

Brian: Exactly, yeah.

Brent: Yeah, okay.

Brian: Yeah, so there's my wife and myself, and we had quite a reasonable number of cats, which is two. But, a few years down the road, one of her siblings got into a situation where he was not able to... he needed to change his living space and he couldn't take his cats with him. So, she was like, "Well, we'll bring Steve's pets over from Spokane, and then we'll get em healthy, and then we'll take them to the shelter." I was like, "Sweetie, four cats is completely ridiculous, and there's not a chance in hell that we're taking your brothers cats to the shelter," so, that's how we become a 20 [leg] household.

Brent: Ridiculous wins.

Brian: It's yeah. It's just ... It turns out being greeted by 4 hungry cats, first thing in the morning, does cross a barrier that I didn't know existed, which is say 3 cats cute, 4 cats, "Oh god, you guys really?"

Brent: Yeah.

Brian: Who are all like, "Feed me now! I have a brain the size of a walnut and I haven't eaten in 8 hours!"

Brent: Right. Man.

Brian: Yeah.

Brent: So, it's 20 legs-

Brian: 20 legs.

Brent: With 4 tails.

Brian: Yes.

Brent: And the math seems weird if you think about it that way.

Brian: That's true.

Brent: So, we won't think about it that way.

Brian: Yes.

Brent: Where can we find you on the web?

Brian: I am on Twitter, which is a ... Well, it's a service. It's a service that has not failed yet, and that's a good thing, I suppose.

Brent: Depending on how you define failure.

Brian: I have a complicated relationship with Twitter, but anyways, I'm on Twitter. @hidvorak, when you see the profile with the burning flag, you'll know it's me.

Brent: Okay. So, Dvorak, you're a fan of the Czech composer clearly.

Brian: No, but people, when I'm gaming online a lot of people will say, "Are you Czech?" It took me a while to figure out why that was happening, and then I realized that Dvořák was actually Czech. I also found out, that the composer ... So, the keyboard guy, his name is pronounced like you think it's pronounced. The composer pronounces his name like you would think it was pronounced if you were Czech, but if you pronounce the keyboard guy's name like the Czech composer's name you're doing it wrong.

Brent: Okay.

Brian: Which is a thing, it took me far to long to figure out.

Brent: Right. You still use a Dvorak keyboard?

Brian: I do, cause I didn't learn to touch type till I was 19, 20. Like, I was still hunt-and-pecking until that point. Again, if you have a personality type that is prone to like, "ooh, I can optimize this." Like, "Well, I could learn to type like everybody else does, or I could learn this weird alternative keyboard that nobody actually uses, but is ‘better,’” and you should see that I'm making air quotes with my fingers. It is better, I mean it's ... I manage to type on, I type for a living and I've been doing it for far to many years, and I managed to not get RSI yet, and I actually do attribute that to the keyboard.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- I've never had RSI, and I---

Brian: Well, that's because-

Brent: Contribute it to not using Dvorak keyboard.

Brian: That's because you're a naturally superior human being. I don't have that advantage.

Brent: I always forget, which is another part of my advantage.

Brian: Yeah, exactly, cause that makes you humble.

Brent: Thanks, Brian.

Brian: Always a pleasure, Brent. Are we using our names now?

Brent: Yes.

Brian: Okay.

Brent: I'd also like to thank our intrepid producer, Mark Boszko, say hello, Mark.

Mark: Hello, Mark.

Brent: Well done, thank you. Especially, I want to thank you for listening. Thank you. Music.