As a parent, a Cub Scout leader, a husband and a person who values downtime as much as the next person, I’ve found it very difficult over the years to read books and cover topics that interest me. I find reading books tough going anyway, and am certainly not the kind of person who can read a book and digest all the knowledge in one go! As a result, I’ve felt slightly disadvantaged in conversations with peers who quote books, concepts, and techniques they have recently read about.
Another feature of my life is my daily commute of up to 2 hours a day in my car to Cambridge, toggling between listening to commercial radio and Spotify from my phone connected to the radio. This is time that gives me a buffer between work and home; time to decompress; time alone to reflect, think or just do nothing but drive.
However, recently I’ve found a new use for this time, one that never occurred to me before. Learning.
At testbash 2016 back in March, I was having a conversation about continuous delivery and how testers fit into that process with Mark Tomlinson. He told me about a podcast I should listen to by two guys from Microsoft who have been talking about this stuff. When I got back to my hotel, I found the podcast, AB Testing, on my iPhone and listened to the start of it but then had to go out so forgot about it.
It made for compelling listening; Alan and Brent are very entertaining but certainly know their stuff, and on many occasions I found myself nodding along in agreement with their rants or exclamations.
The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I’ve used the time in my car to listen to podcasts, mainly AB Testing (in reverse order), with a little bit of Testing in the pub thrown in. I feel enlightened on a few topics, and vindicated in others but overall enriched by the information and discussions about a world that I’ve lived in for the past 20 years.
Soon, the backlog of podcasts will run out, so I’m starting to think about other audio sources I could turn to…. Perhaps some stuff on security or performance testing, suggestions are welcome!