Today Corey talks with Linda Vivah, newly employed as developer advocate at AWS. Linda talks about using Tiktok for education and community, and then about her recent career move to AWS. Corey and Linda discuss what it might look like for AWS to transition to offering more short form content, as well as the Tiktok algorithm and “going viral.” They wrap up the interview by talking about the potential challenge of moving from short form content back to long form.
Episode Show Notes & Transcript
Full Description / Show Notes
- Corey and Linda talk about Tiktok and the online developer community (1:18)
- Linda talks about what prompted her to want to work at AWS (5:29)
- Linda discusses navigating the change from just being part of the developer community to being an employee of AWS (10:37)
- Linda talks about moving AWS more in the direction of short form content, and Corey and Linda talk about the Tiktok algorithm (15:56)
- Linda talks about the potential struggle of going from short form to long form content (25:21)
Linda Vivah is a Site Reliability Engineer for a major media organization in NYC, a tech content creator, an AWS community builder member, a part-time wedding singer, and the founder of a STEM jewelry shop called Coding Crystals. At the time of this recording she was about to join AWS in her current position as a Developer Advocate.
Linda had an untraditional journey into tech. She was a Philosophy major in college and began her career in journalism. In 2015, she quit her tv job to attend The Flatiron School, a full stack web development immersive program in NYC. She worked as a full-stack developer building web applications for 5 years before shifting into SRE to work on the cloud end internally.
Throughout the years, she’s created tech content on platforms like TikTok & Instagram and believes that sometimes the best way to learn is to teach.
- lindavivah.com: https://lindavivah.com
Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.
Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by Honeycomb. When production is running slow, it’s hard to know where problems originate. Is it your application code, users, or the underlying systems? I’ve got five bucks on DNS, personally. Why scroll through endless dashboards while dealing with alert floods, going from tool to tool to tool that you employ, guessing at which puzzle pieces matter? Context switching and tool sprawl are slowly killing both your team and your business. You should care more about one of those than the other; which one is up to you. Drop the separate pillars and enter a world of getting one unified understanding of the one thing driving your business: production. With Honeycomb, you guess less and know more. Try it for free at honeycomb.io/screaminginthecloud. Observability: it’s more than just hipster monitoring.
Corey: Let’s face it, on-call firefighting at 2am is stressful! So there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that you probably can’t prevent incidents from happening, but the good news is that incident.io makes incidents less stressful and a lot more valuable. incident.io is a Slack-native incident management platform that allows you to automate incident processes, focus on fixing the issues and learn from incident insights to improve site reliability and fix your vulnerabilities. Try incident.io, recover faster and sleep more.
Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I’m Corey Quinn. We talk a lot about how people go about getting into this ridiculous industry of ours, and I’ve talked a little bit about how I go about finding interesting and varied guests to show up and help me indulge my ongoing love affair on this show with the sound of my own voice. Today, we’re going to be able to address both of those because today I’m speaking to Linda Haviv, who, as of this recording, has accepted a job as a Developer Advocate at AWS, but has not started. Linda, welcome to the show.
Linda: Thank you so much for having me, Corey. Happy to be here.
Corey: So, you and I have been talking for a while and there’s been a lot of interesting things I learned along the way. You were one of the first people I encountered when I joined the TikToks, as all the kids do these days, and was trying to figure out is there a community of folks who use AWS. Which really boils down to, “So, where are these people that are sad all the time?” Well, it turns out, they’re on TikTok, so there we go. We found my people.
And that was great. And we started talking, and it turns out that we were both in the AWS community builder program. And we’ve developed a bit of a rapport. We talk about different things. And then, I guess, weird stuff started happening, in the context of you were—you’re doing very well at building an audience for yourself on TikTok.
I tried it, and it was—my sense of humor sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. I’ve had challenges in finding any reasonable way to monetize it because a 30-second video doesn’t really give nuance for a full ad read, for example. And you’ve been looking at it from the perspective of a content creator looking to build the audience slash platform is step one, and then, eh, step two, you’ll sort of figure out aspects of monetization later. Which, honestly, is a way easier way to do it in hindsight, but, yeah, the things that we learn. Now, that you’re going to AWS, first, you planning to still be on the TikToks and whatnot?
Linda: Absolutely. So, I really look at TikTok as a funnel. I don’t think it’s the main place, you’re going to get that deep-dive content but I think it’s a great way, especially for things that excite you or get you into understanding it, especially beginner-type audience, I think there’s a lot of untapped market of people looking to into tech, or technologists that aren’t in the cloud. I mean, even when I worked—I worked as a web developer and then kind of learned more about the cloud, and I started out as a front-end developer and shifted into, like, SRE and infrastructure, so even for people within tech, you can have a huge tech community which there is on TikTok, with a younger community—but not all of them really understand the cloud necessarily, depending on their job function. So, I think it’s a great way to kind of expose people to that.
For me, my exposure came from community. I met somebody at a meetup who was working in cloud, and it wasn’t even on the job that I really started getting into cloud because many times in corporations, you might be working on a specific team and you’re not really encountering other ends, and it seems kind of like a mystery. Although it shouldn’t seem like magic, many times when you’re doing certain job functions—especially the DevOps—could end up feeling like magic. So, [laugh] for the good and the bad. So sometimes, if you’re not working on that end, you really sometimes take it for granted.
And so, for me, I actually—meetups were the way I got exposed to that end. And then I brought it back into my work and shifted internally and did certifications and started, even, lunch-and-learns where I work to get more people in their learning journey together within the company, and you know, help us as we’re migrating to the cloud, as we’re building on the cloud. Which, of course, we have many more roles down the road. I did it for a few years and saw the shift. But I worked at a media company for many years and now shifting to AWS, and so I’ve seen that happen on different ends.
Not—oh, I wasn’t the one doing the migration because I was on the other end of that time, but now for the last two years, I was working on [laugh] the infrastructure end, and so it’s really fascinating. And many people actually—until now I feel like—that will work on maybe the web and mobile and don’t always know as much about the cloud. I think it’s a great way to funnel things in a quick manner. I think also society is getting used to short videos, and our attention span is very low, and I think for—
Corey: No argument here.
Linda: —[crosstalk 00:04:39] spending so mu—yeah, and we’re spending so much time on these platforms, we might as well, you know, learn something. And I think it depends what content. Some things work well, some things doesn’t. As with anything content creation, you kind of have to do trial and error, but I do find the audience to be a bit different on TikTok versus Twitter versus Instagram versus YouTube. Which is interesting how it’s going to play out on YouTube, too, which is a whole ‘nother topic conversation.
And it took me a long time to come around to that. You started with the front-end world and then basically approached from the exact opposite end. Let’s be clear, back in my day, mine was the common path. These days, yours is very much the common path.
Corey: I also want to highlight that all of those transitions and careers that you spoke about, you were at the same company for nine years, which in tech is closer to 30. So, I have to ask, what was it that inspired you, after nine years, to decide, “I’m going to go work somewhere else. But not just anywhere; I’m going to AWS.” Because normally people don’t almost institutionalized lifers past a certain point.
Corey: Like, “Oh, you’ll be there till you retire or die.” Whereas seeing significant career change after that long in one place, even if you’ve moved around internally and experienced a lot of different roles, is not common at all what sparked that?
Linda: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s such a good question. I always think about that, too, especially as I was reflecting because I’m, you know, in the midst of this transition, and I’ve gotten a lot of reflecting over the last two weeks [laugh], or more. But I think the main thing for me is, I always, wherever I was—and this kind of something that—I’m very proactive when it comes to trying to transition. I think, even when I was—right, I held many roles in the same company; I used to work in TV production and actually left for three months to go to a coding boot camp and then came back on the other end, but I understood the product in a different way.
So, for that time period, it was really interesting to work on the other end. But, you know, as I kind of—every time I wanted to progress further, I always made a move that was actually new and put me in an uncomfortable place, even within the same company. And I’m at the point now that I’m in my career, I felt like this next step really needs to be, you know, at AWS. It's not, like, the natural progression for me. I worked alongside—on the client end—with AWS and have seen so many projects come through and how much our own workloads have changed.
And it’s just been an incredible journey, also dealing with accounts team. On that end, I’ve worked alongside them, so for me, it was kind of a natural progression. I was very passionate about cloud computing at AWS and I kind of wanted to take it to that next place, and I felt like—also, dealing with the community as part of my job is a dream part to me because I was always doing that on the side on social media. So, it wasn’t part of my day-to-day job. I was working as an SRE and an infrastructure engineer, so I didn’t get to do that as part of my day-to-day.
I was making videos at 2 a.m. and, you know, kind of trying to, like, do—you know, interact with the community like that. And I think—I come from a performing background, the people background, I was singing since I was four years old. I always go to—I was a wedding singer, so I go into a room and I love making people happy or giving value. And I think, like, education has a huge part of that. And in a way, like making that content and—
Corey: You got to get people’s attention—
Corey: —you can’t teach them a damn thing.
Linda: Right. Exactly. So, it’s kind of a mix of everything. It’s like that performance, the love of learning. You know, between you and I, like, I wanted to be a lawyer before I thought I was going to—before I went to tech.
I thought I was going to be a lawyer purely because I loved the concept of going to law school. I never took time to think about the law part, like, being the lawyer part. I always thought, “Oh, school.” I’m a student at heart. I always call myself a professional student. I really think that’s part of what you need to be in this world, in this tech industry, and I think for me, that’s what keeps my fire going.
I love to experiment, to learn, to build. And there’s something very fulfilling about building products. If you take a step back, like, you’re kind of—you know, for me that part, every time I look back at that, that always is what kind of keeps me going. When I was doing front-end, it felt a lot more like I was doing smaller things than when I was doing infrastructure, so I felt like that was another reason why I shifted. I love doing the front-end, but I felt like I was spending two days on an Internet Explorer bug and it just drove me—[laugh] it just made it feel unfulfilling versus spending two days on, you know, trying to understand why, you know, something doesn’t run the infrastructure or, like, there’s—you know, it’s failing blindly, you know? Stuff like that. Like, I don’t know, for me that felt more fulfilling because the problem was more macro. But I think I needed both. I have a love for both, but I definitely prefer being back-end. So. [laugh]. Well, I’m saying that now but—[laugh].
Corey: This might be a weakness on my part where I’m basically projecting onto others, and this is—I might be completely wrong on this, but I tend to take a bit of a bifurcated view of community. I mean, community is part of the reason that I know the things I know and how I got to this place that I am, so use that as a cautionary tale if you want. But when I talk to someone like you at this moment, where you’re in the community, I’m in the community, and I’m talking to you about a problem I’m having and we’re working on ways to potentially solve that or how to think about that. I view us as basically commiserating on these things, whereas as soon as you start on day one—and yes, it’s always day one—at AWS and this becomes your day job and you work there, on some level, for me, there’s a bit shift that happens and a switch gets flipped in my head where, oh, you actually work at this company. That means you’re the problem.
And I’m not saying that in a way of being antagonistic. Please, if you’re watching or listening to this, do not antagonize the developer advocates. They have a very hard job understanding all this so they can explain that to the rest of us. But how do you wind up planning to navigate, or I guess your views on, I guess, handling the shift between, “One of the customers like the rest of us,” to, as I say, “Part of the problem,” for lack of a better term.
Linda: Or, like, work because you kind of get the—you know. I love this question and it’s something I’ve been pondering a lot on because I think the messaging will need to be a little different [coming from me 00:10:44] in the sense of, there needs to be—just in anything, you have to kind of create trust. And to create trust, you have to be vulnerable and authentic. And I think I, for example, utilize a lot of things outside of just the AWS cloud topic to do that now, even, when I—you know, kind of building it without saying where I work or anything like that, going into this role and it being my job, it’s going to be different kind of challenge as far as the messaging, but I think it still holds true that part, that just developing trust and authenticity, I might have to do more of that, you know? I might have to really share more of that part, share other things to really—because it’s more like people come, it doesn’t matter how much somet—how many times you explain it, many times, they will see your title and they will judge you for it, and they don’t know what happened before. Every TikTok, for example, you have to act like it’s a new person watching. There is no series, you know? Like, yes, there’s a series but, like, sometimes you can make that but it’s not really the way TikTok functions or a short-form video functions. So, you kind of have to think this is my first time—
Corey: It works really terribly when you’re trying to break it out that way on TikTok.
Linda: [laugh]. Yeah.
Corey: Right. Here’s part 17 of my 80-TikTok-video saga. And it’s, “Could you just turn this into a blog post or put this on YouTube or something? I don’t have four hours to spend learning how all this stuff works in your world.”
Linda: Yeah. And you know, I think repeating certain things, too, is really important. So, they say you have to repeat something eight times for people to see it or [laugh] something like that. I learned that in media [crosstalk 00:12:13]—
Corey: In a row, or—yeah. [laugh].
Linda: I mean, the truth is that when you, kind of like, do a TikTok maybe, like, there’s something you could also say or clarify because I think there’s going to be—and I’m going to have to—there’s going to be a lot of trial and error for me; I don’t know if I have answers—but my plan is going into it very much testing that kind of introduction, or, like, clarifying what that role is. Because the truth is, the role is advocating on behalf of the community and really helping that community, so making sure that—you don’t have to say it as far as a definition maybe, but, like, making sure that comes across when you create a video. And I think that’s going to be really important for me, and more important than the prior even creating content going forward. So, I think that’s one thing that I definitely feel like is key.
As well as creating more raw interaction. So, it depends on the platform, too. Instagram, for example, is much more community—how do I put this? Instagram is much more easy to navigate as far as reaching the same community because you have something, like, called Instagram Stories, right? So, on Instagram Stories, you’re bringing those stories, mostly the same people that follow you. You’re able to build that trust through those stories.
On TikTok, they just released Stories. I haven’t really tried them much and I don’t play with it a lot, but I think that’s something I will utilize because those are the people that are already follow you, meaning they have seen a piece of content. So, I think addressing it differently and knowing who’s watching what and trying to kind of put yourself in their shoes when you’re trying to, you know, teach something, it’s important for you to have that trust with them. And I think—key to everything—being raw and authentic. I think people see through that. I would hope they do.
And I think, uh, [laugh] that’s what I’m going to be trying to do. I’m just going to be really myself and real, and try to help people and I hope that comes through because that’s—I’m passionate about getting more people into the cloud and getting them educated. And I feel like it’s something that could also allow you to build anything, just from anywhere on your computer, brings people together, the world is getting smaller, really. And just being able to meet people through that and there’s just a way to also change your life. And people really could change their life.
I changed my life, I think, going into tech and I’m in the United States and I, you know—I’m in New York, you know, but I feel like so many people in the States and outside of the States, you know, all over the world, you know, have access to this, and it’s powerful to be able to build something and contribute and be a part of the future of technology, which AWS is.
Corey: I feel like, in three years or whatever it is that you leave AWS in the far future, we’re going to basically pull this video up and MST3k came together. It’s like, “Remember how naive you were talking about these things?” And I’m mostly kidding, but let’s be serious. You are presumably going to be focusing on the idea of short-form content. That is—
Corey: What your bread-and-butter of audience-building has been around, and that is something that is new for AWS.
Corey: And I’m always curious as to how companies and their cultures continue to evolve. I can only imagine there’s a lot of support structure in place for that. I personally remember giving a talk at an AWS event and I had my slides reviewed by their legal team, as they always do, and I had a slide that they were looking at very closely where I was listing out the top five AWS services that are bullshit. And they don’t really have a framework for that, so instead, they did their typical thing of, “Okay, we need to make sure that each of those services starts with the appropriate AWS or Amazon naming convention and are they capitalized properly?” Because they have a framework for working on those things.
I’m really curious as to how the AWS culture and way of bringing messaging to where people are is going to be forced to evolve now that they, like it or not, are going to be having significantly increased presence on TikTok and other short-form platforms.
Linda: I mean, it’s really going to be interesting to see how this plays out. There’s so much content that’s put out, but sometimes it’s just not reaching the right audience, so making sure that funnel exists to the right people is important and reaching those audiences. So, I think even YouTube Shorts, for example. Many people in tech use YouTube to search a question.
They do not care about the intro, sometimes. It depends what kind of following, it depends if [in gaming 00:16:30], but if you’re coming and you’re building something, it’s like a Stack Overflow sometimes. You want to know the answer to your question. Now, YouTube Shorts is a great solution to that because many times people want the shortest possible answer. Now, of course, if it’s a tutorial on how to build something, and it warrants ten minutes, that’s great.
Even ten minutes is considered, now, Shorts because TikTok now has ten-minute videos, but I think TikTok is now searchable in the way YouTube is, and I think let’s say YouTube Shorts is short-form, but very different type of short-form than TikTok is. TikTok, hooks matter. YouTube answers to your questions, especially in chat. I wouldn’t say everything in YouTube is like that; depends on the niche. But I think even within short-form, there’s going to be a different strategy regarding that.
So, kind of like having that mix. I guess, depending on platform and audience, that’s there. Again, trial and error, but we’ll see how this plays out and how this will evolve.
Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Vultr. Optimized cloud compute plans have landed at Vultr to deliver lightning-fast processing power, courtesy of third-gen AMD EPYC processors without the IO or hardware limitations of a traditional multi-tenant cloud server. Starting at just 28 bucks a month, users can deploy general-purpose, CPU, memory, or storage optimized cloud instances in more than 20 locations across five continents. Without looking, I know that once again, Antarctica has gotten the short end of the stick. Launch your Vultr optimized compute instance in 60 seconds or less on your choice of included operating systems, or bring your own. It’s time to ditch convoluted and unpredictable giant tech company billing practices and say goodbye to noisy neighbors and egregious egress forever. Vultr delivers the power of the cloud with none of the bloat. Screaming in the Cloud listeners can try Vultr for free today with a $150 in credit when they visit getvultr.com/screaming. That’s G-E-T-V-U-L-T-R dot com slash screaming. My thanks to them for sponsoring this ridiculous podcast.
Corey: I feel like there are two possible outcomes here. One is that AWS—
Corey: Nails this pivot into short-form content, and the other is that all your TikTok videos start becoming ten minutes long, which they now support, welcome to my TED Talk. It’s awful, and then you wind up basically being video equivalent for all of your content, of recipes when you search them on the internet where first they circle the point to death 18 times with, “Back when I was a small child growing up in the hinterlands, we wound—my grandmother would always make the following stew after she killed the bison with here bare hands. Why did grandma kill a bison? We don’t know.” And it just leads down this path so they can get, like, long enough content or they can have longer and longer articles to display more ads.
And then finally at the end, it’s like ingredient one: butter. Ingredient two, there is no ingredient two. Okay. That explains why it’s delicious. Awesome. But I don’t like having people prolong it. It’s just, give me the answer I’m looking for.
Corey: Get to the point. Tell me the story. And—
Linda: And this is—
Corey: —I’m really hoping that is not the direction your content goes in. Which I don’t think it would, but that is the horrifying thing and if for some chance I’m right, I will look like Nostradamus when we do that MST3k episode.
Linda: No, no. I mean, I really am—I always personally—even when I was creating content these last few years and testing different things, I’m really a fan of the shortest way possible because I don’t have the patience to watch long videos. And maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker that can’t sit down from the life of me—apart from when I code of course—but, you know, I don’t like wasting time, I’m always on the go, I’m with my coffee, I’m like—that’s the kind of style I prefer to bring in videos in the sense of, like, people have no time. [laugh]. You know?
The amount of content we’re consuming is just, uh, bonkers. So, I don’t think our mind is really a built for consuming [laugh] this much content every time you open your phone, or every time you look, you know, online. It’s definitely something that is challenging in a whole different way. But I think where my content—if it’s ten minutes, it better be because I can’t shorten it. That’s my thing. So, you can hold me accountable to that because—
Corey: Yeah, I want ten minutes of—
Linda: I’m not a—
Corey: Content, not three minutes of content in a ten-minute bag.
Linda: Exactly. Exactly. So, if it’s a ten-minute video, it would have been in one hour that I cut down, like, meaning a tutorial, a very much technical types of content. I think things that are that long, especially in tech, would be something like, on that end—unless, of course, you know, I’m not talking about, like, longer videos on YouTube which are panels or that kind of thing. I’m talking more like if I’m doing something on TikTok specifically.
TikTok also cares about your watch time, so if people aren’t interested in it, it’s not going to do well, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have. Which is what I do like about the way TikTok functions as opposed to, let’s say, Instagram. Instagram is more like it gives it to your following—and this is the current state, I don’t know if it always evolves—but the current state is, Instagram Reels kind of functions in a way where it goes first to the people that follow you, but, like, in a way that’s more amplified than TikTok. TikTox tests people that follows you, but if it’s not a good video, it won’t do well. And honestly, they’re many good videos videos that don’t go viral. I’m not talking about that.
Sometimes it’s also the topic and the niche and the sound and the title. I mean, there’s so many people who take a topic and do it in three different ways and one of them goes viral. I mean, there’s so many factors that play into it and it’s hard to really, like, always, you know, kind of reverse engineer but I do think that with TikTok, things won’t do well, more likely if it’s not a good piece of content as opposed to—or, like, too long, right? Not—I shouldn’t say not good a good piece of content—it’s too long.
Corey: The TikTok algorithm is inscrutable to me. TikTok is firmly convinced, based upon what it shows me, that I am apparently a lesbian. Which okay, fine. Awesome. Whatever. I’m also—it keeps showing me ads for ADHD stuff, and it was like, “Wow, like, how did it know that?” Followed by, “Oh, right. I’m on TikTok. Nevermind.”
And I will say at one point, it recommended someone to me who, looking at the profile picture, she’s my nanny. And it’s, I have a strong policy of not, you know, stalking my household employees on social media. We are not Facebook friends, we are not—in a bunch of different areas. Like, how on earth would they have figured this out? I’m filling the corkboard with conspiracy and twine followed by, “Wait a minute. We probably both connect from the same WiFi network, which looks like the same IP address and it probably doesn’t require a giant data science team to put two and two together on those things.” So, it was great. I was all set to do the tinfoil hat conspiracy, but no, no, that’s just very basic correlation 101.
Linda: And also, this is why I don’t enable contacts on TikTok. You know, how it says, “Oh, connect your contacts?”
Corey: Oh, I never do that. Like, “Can we look at your contacts?”
Corey: “No.” “Can we look at all of your photos?” “Absolutely not.” “Can we track you across apps?” “Why would anyone say yes to this? You’re going to do it anyway, but I’ll say no.” Yeah.
Linda: Got to give the least privilege. [laugh]. Definitely not—
Corey: Oh absolutely.
Linda: Yeah. I think they also help [crosstalk 00:22:40]—
Corey: But when I’m looking at—the monetization problem is always a challenge on things like this, too, because when I’m—my guilty TikTok scrolling pleasures hit, it’s basically late at night, I just want to see—I want something to want to wind down and decompress. And I’m not about ready to watch, “Hey, would you like to migrate your enterprise database to this other thing?” It’s, I… no. There’s a reason that the ads that seem to be everywhere and doing well are aimed at the mass market, they’re generally impulse buys, like, “Hey, do you want to set that thing over there on fire, but you’re not close enough to get the job done? But this flame thrower today. Done.”
And great, like, that is something everyone can enjoy, but these nuanced database products and anything else is B2B SaaS style stuff, it feels like it’s a very tough sell and no one has quite cracked that nut, yet.
Linda: Yeah, and I think the key there—this is, I’m guessing based on, like, what I want to try out a lot—is the hook and the way you’re presenting it has to be very product-focused in the sense that it needs to be very relatable. Even if you don’t know anything about tech, you need to be—like, for example, in the architecture page on AWS, there’s a video about the Emirates going to Mars mission. Space is a very interesting topic, right? I think, a hook, like, “Do want to see how, like, how this is bu—” like, it’s all, like, freely available to see exactly [laugh] how this was built. Like, it might—in the right wording, of course—it might be interesting to someone who’s looking for fun-fact-style content.
Now, is it really addressing the people that are building everyday? Not really always, depends who’s on there and the mass market there. But I feel like going on the product and the things that are mass-market, and then working backwards to the tech part of it, even if they learn something and then want to learn more, that’s really where I see TikTok. I don’t think every platform would be, maybe, like this, but that’s where I see getting people: kind of inviting them in to learn more, but making it cool and fun. It’s very important, but it feels cool and fun. [laugh]. So.
Because you’re right, you’re scrolling at 2 a.m. who wants to start seeing that. Like, it’s all about how you teach. The content is there, the content has—you know, that’s my thing. It’s like, the content is there. You don’t need to—it’s yes, there’s the part where things are always evolving and you need to keep track of that; that’s whole ‘nother type thing which you do very well, right?
And then there’s a part where, like, the content that already exists, which part is evergreen? Meaning, which part is, like, something that could be re—also is not timely as far as update, for example, well-architected framework. Yes, it evolves all the time, you always have new pillars, but the guide, the story, that is an evergreen in some sense because that guide doesn’t, you know, that whole concept isn’t going anywhere. So, you know, why should someone care about that?
Corey: Right. How to turn on two-factor authentication for your AWS account.
Corey: That’s evergreen. That’s the sort of thing that—and this is the problem, I think, AWS has had for a long time where they’re talking about new features, new enhancements, new releases. But you look what people are actually doing and so much of it is just the same stuff again and again because yeah, that is how most of the cloud works. It turns out that three-quarters of company’s production infrastructures tends to run on EC2 more frequently than it tends to run on IoT Greengrass. Imagine that.
So, there’s this idea of continuing to focus on these things. Now, one of my predictions is that you’re going to have a lot of fun with this and on some level, it’s going to really work for you. In others, it’s going to be hilariously—well, its shortcomings might be predictable. I can just picture now you’re at re:Invent; you have a breakout talk and terrific. And you’ve successfully gotten your talk down to one minute and then you’re sitting there with—
Corey: —the remainder of maybe 59. Like, oh, right. Yeah. Turns out not everything is short-form. Are you predicting any—
Corey: Problems going from short-form to long-form in those instances?
Linda: I think it needs to go hand-in-hand, to be honest. I think when you’re creating any short-form content, you have—you know, maybe something short is actually sometimes in some ways, right, harder because you really have to make sure, especially in a technical standpoint, leaving things out is sometimes—leaves, like, a blind spot. And so, making sure you’re kind of—whatever you’re educating, you kind of, to be clear, “Here’s where you learn more. Here’s how I’m going to answer this next question for you: go here.” Now, in a longer-form content, you would cover all that.
So, there’s always that longevity. I think even when I write a script, and there’s many scripts I’m still [laugh] I’ve had many ideas until now I’ve been doing this still at 2 a.m. so of course, there’s many that didn’t, you know, get released, but those are the things that are more time consuming to create because you’re taking something that’s an hour-long, and trying to make sure you’re pulling out the things that are most—that are hook-style, that invite people in, that are accurate, okay, that really give you—explain to you clearly where are the blind spots that I’m not explaining on this video are. So, “XYZ here is, like, the high level, but by the way, there’s, like, this and this.” And in a long-form, you kind of have to know the long-form version of it to make the short-form, in some ways, depending on what—you’re doing because you’re funneling them to somewhere. That’s my thing. Because I don’t think there should be [crosstalk 00:27:36]—
Corey: This is the curse of Twitter, on some level. It’s, “Well, you forgot about this corner case.” “Yeah, I had 280 characters to get into.” Like, the whole point of short-form content—which I do consider Twitter to be—is a glimpse and a hook, and get people interested enough to go somewhere and learn more.
For something like AWS, this makes a lot of sense. When you highlight a capability or something interesting, it’s something relevant, whereas on the other side of it, where it’s this, “Oh, great. Now, here’s an 8000-word blog post on how I did this thing.” Yeah, I’m going to get relatively fewer amounts of traffic through that giant thing, but the people who are they’re going to be frickin’ invested because that’s going to be a slog.
Corey: “And now my eight-hour video on how exactly I built this thing with TypeScript.” Badly—
Corey: —as it turns out because I’m a bad programmer.
Linda: [laugh]. No, you’re not. I love your shit-posting. It’s great.
Corey: Challenge accepted.
Linda: [laugh]. I love what you just mentioned because I think you’re hitting the nail on the head when it comes to the quality content that’s niche focus, like, there needs to be a good healthy mix. I think always doing that, like, mass-market type video, it doesn’t give you, also, the credibility you need. So, doing those more niche things that might not be relevant to everybody, but here and there, are part of that is really key for your own knowledge and for, like, the com—you know, as far as, like, helping someone specific. Because it’s almost like—right, when you’re selling a service and you’re using social media, right, not everybody’s going to buy your service. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in right? The deep-divers are going to be the people that pay up. It’s just a numbers game, right? The more people you, kind of, address from there, you’ll find—
Corey: It’s called a funnel for a reason.
Linda: Right. Exactly.
Corey: Free content, paid content. Almost anyone will follow me on Twitter; fewer than will sign up for a newsletter; fewer will listen to a podcast; fewer will watch a video, and almost none of them will buy a consulting engagement. But ‘almost’ and ‘actually none of them,’ it turns out is a very different world.
Linda: Exactly. [laugh]. So FYI, I think there’s—
Corey: And that’s fine. That’s the way it works.
Linda: That’s the way it works. And I think there needs to be that niche content that might not be, like, the most viral thing, but viral doesn’t mean quality, you know? It doesn’t. There’s many things that play into what viral is, but it’s important to have the quality content for the people that need that content, and finding those people, you know, it’s easier when you have that kind of mass engagement. Like, who knows? I’m a student. I told you; I’m a professional student. I’m still [laugh] learning every day.
Corey: Working with AWS almost makes it a requirement. I wish you luck—
Corey: —in the new gig and I also want to thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with me about how you got to this point. And we’re all very eager to see where you go from here.
Linda: Thank you so much, Corey, for having me. I’m a huge fan, I love your content, I’m an avid reader of your newsletter and I am looking forward to very much being in touch and on the Twitterverse and beyond. So. [laugh].
Corey: If people want to learn more about what you’re up to, and other assorted nonsense, where’s the best place they can go to find you?
Linda: So, the best place they could go is lindavivah.com. I have all my different social handles listed on there as well a little bit about me, and I hope to connect with you. So, definitely go to lindavivah.com.
Corey: And that link will, of course, be in the [show notes 00:30:39]. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it.
Linda: Thank you, Corey. Have a wonderful rest of the day.
Corey: Linda Haviv, AWS Developer Advocate, very soon now anyway. I’m Cloud Economist Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you’ve hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, smash the like and subscribe buttons, and of course, leave an angry comment that you have broken down into 40 serialized TikTok videos.
Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.
Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.