In this episode I speak with Commissioner Goldstein of the Vermont State Government about the policy of paying remote workers to relocate to the state. I also cover Docker, the tech backlash against ICE, the Boeing 737 Max, and Thomas Jefferson’s Bible.
Warning: Still testing, and certainly not accurate
[00:00:00] Chris: [00:00:00] Welcome to the weekly squeak your weekly geeky squeak with me Chris Chinchilla. I have a short but packed nonetheless episode for you this week. I have four Links of quite varying topics actually and I have a short interview because she was in a bit of a hurry with commissioner Goldstein of the Vermont state government. [00:00:24] It might seem like a strange interview subject for me, but this is because the Vermont government has just introduced a remote workers legislation to try and encourage remote workers to come and move to the state. So that’s what we were talking about and you can hear that after I round up of links for the week. [00:00:45] First. I’m going to kick off with a topic that was reported in quite a few Outlets, but I’m picking in particular on Miller’s piece on TechCrunch about. Developer who withdrew a component from a GitHub [00:01:00] repository so it could no longer be used in ice the controversial of migration processing platform that a lot of the tech world has been up in arms around recently in the US this developer in question Seth Vargo used to work for chef. [00:01:16] And he considers that the packages were published by him. So he was within rights to remove them. But Chef argues that he developed them whilst under employment or slash under contract with them and us they have the right and if you have ever worked for a company often sign agreement saying that work you have done belongs to them without necessarily realizing this so the legal tussle here is an interesting one, but I suppose the. [00:01:42] That Seth was still the one with the power and maybe that was an oversight from from Chef itself, but it’s quite interesting to know that Anna component that a package then relies upon that a an application then uses can just bring the whole house of cards [00:02:00] crashing down and we have seen this in the past with unintended consequences like removing or like a problem with a left pad in the no days brought down a lot of. [00:02:11] No packages because it was such a widely used dependency. So this isn’t necessarily the first time that removing a dependency or breaking a dependency has broken a whole application stack, but maybe it’s one of the few times we could think of where it was done intentionally for sort of ethical argument and this is it sets an interesting precedent. [00:02:32] And interestingly Seth also points out that he is one of I would say very few developers I’ve heard of who is actually determined what he wants to happen to his code when he dies, which is it’s deleted which is a whole other interesting argument and he said that he died on the same day. He did this the same thing would have happened. [00:02:49] And so maybe companies should be better prepared for dependencies being withdrawn or changing, etc. Etc. I think dependencies have become something that forgive [00:03:00] the pun we depend upon and we don’t always think about what will happen if they are no longer available as you can see with potentially catastrophic repercussions. [00:03:09] And likewise he points out that he did ask Chef multiple times to discuss the issue before just removing the package, but they never responded. So there we go, poor communication poor understandings, not necessarily understanding the implications of using dependences. It sounds like a bit of a mess but made for a very valid reasons. [00:03:31] And I’m sure we will start to see more of these sorts of actions in the future and will people be any better prepared. Then we shall see continuing in a similar vein technologically speaking not topically speaking though. This is an article about Docker again widely reported. But this particular one is from ZDNet from my favorite Stephen Chow Hall Nichols talking about how Docker is in trouble. [00:03:57] And then there were plenty of other articles that came out saying that they [00:04:00] weren’t I hate myself have been noticing this for some time when I was at Cube con the kubernetes conference and I think this is something that the article points out that kubernetes is kind of superseded all the Special Sauce that Docker was able to add to its open-source offering to monetize and with that removed and I guess the same done by many Cloud vendors. [00:04:21] It may be the one that created or kick-started the technology revolution of containers that everyone is now using or a lot of people are now using even though they’re nothing new Docker kind of re kick-started reignited the interest I suppose it’s always been very difficult for them to actually have a viable business out of it. [00:04:40] They’ve received a lot of. The article details how much but are yet to really find a way to monetize on top of that they’ve tried cloud services premium services and none have really been very successful and this is something I noticed at KubeCon, you know Docker is a technology that underpins still a lot [00:05:00] of communities installations and yet darker themselves as a company had a tiny booth and a tiny Presence at the conference and even a few years ago. [00:05:07] This might have been different but maybe that the steam. Wanting to run out of the ship and they’re not entirely sure what to do if they’re running out of money then marketing budgets become tougher and tougher and actually Technologies are they kind of helped create have ended up somewhat pushing them out the way which is interesting and it’s also one of these cases where you could say that. [00:05:31] Speaking as I say a collection of people trying to solve a problem. They’ve kind of solved the problem but have ended up superseding themselves through their own success or other people have ended up doing that to be more precise and it’s kind of an interesting argument to think about that. [00:05:45] Sometimes you could say well we’ve been successful but we’re just not a viable business and it doesn’t necessarily help pay all the wages of people at our company if they have to get laid off, but this is kind of interesting aspect to think about. [00:06:00] Well, you’ve sort of you sort of changed and revolutionized the development industry but almost at your own victim of your own success. [00:06:08] So what do you do next kind of thing? So yeah, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I personally don’t think doctor has much of a chance to monetize. I think their best outcome is probably to be acquired by somebody but who again, they have not played that well with the ecosystem that they mix in. [00:06:25] And will anyone want to buy them is another another argument you made especially when a lot of companies who might have kind of ended up creating their own Solutions instead because of the way that they made it sort of difficult to work with as a company so it could be argued that Docker kind of sealed around coffin. [00:06:47] But anyway, I sort of shed a small tear for them because I’ve always kind of liked what they what they did. At least from a marketing and packaging perspective. If not from a technical perspective, which is often [00:07:00] one of the things that people criticize them for but sometimes, you know getting people to use something is more important necessarily creating the best technology. [00:07:07] Well, that’s that’s my opinion anyway, and feel free to contact me to further that discussion if you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear from. Transitioning sort of out of the usual technology space that I lurk in it is something quite different. This is an article on the New York Times magazine. [00:07:26] Bye will he sounds like a German surnames? I nearly mispronounce the first name as well written by William Lang of Yusuf. Not hundreds in charge pronounce that I want to germanna fight, but I’m guessing he’s American, so I’m not entirely sure. Hope you’re not sick. But anyway, we’re not here to figure out name pronounciations were to talk about his article. [00:07:44] Which is called what really brought down the vine 737 Max. This is a very long read that I got very sucked into and found quite interesting about what could have caused the Boeing 737 Max to be [00:08:00] such. Well, yes such a disaster. It was his being. There’s a lot of things in here that you may not necessarily think about. [00:08:08] A lot of them are round center around a couple of airlines in particular parts of the world, especially sort of Southeast Asia. And this first for expansion may be at the sacrifice of other things and then the thirst of a company to supply what they needed a new planes then we have Boeing’s first to keep up with. [00:08:31] With a bus who kind of revolutionized playing technology in their own ways and Boeing fell behind a bit and Boeing were trying to keep up and introduce some features that weren’t necessarily very well implemented and Confused pilots and then that ties in with a lot of the pilots at these are lines being not very experienced. [00:08:53] And it’s hard to do this story goes so deep. It also ties into some things a little bit that I read it on Malcolm [00:09:00] Gladwell book about how they revolutionized are safety back in the 90s with Communications training between pilots especially again in certain parts of the world where it’s often considered bad form to question your superiors when maybe that’s actually the most important thing you should do especially in a cockpit when you’re kind of there to check each. [00:09:20] So if anything from any of this interest you if flying if if airplane technology if kind of company politics and the the Cutthroat Miss of the business World, especially at this kind of scale interests you. Let me give how airline industry in Southeast Asia which sounds kind of scary and anything over want to fly in any of these Airlines interests you as well then it’s really quite a fascinating read that you’ve spent. [00:09:51] I think I spent about three lunchtimes really it actually but it was well worth it. I found it fascinating so. And finally, not [00:10:00] really an article this actually Wikipedia page. I like to sometimes recommend different things. I’m starting to diversify. What a cover on the podcast I heard about this through. [00:10:12] I heard about this through no such thing as a fish the podcast created by the QI researchers about the Jefferson Bible Thomas. Jefferson is famous for very many things and one of them. I didn’t know about was his Bible. He created his own Bible mostly in chronological order and removing a lot of the shall. [00:10:33] We say most unbelievable content things like Jesus miracles and stuff like that and he did this by cutting Pages out of multiple. Bibles and gluing them together in a somewhat on coherent but chronologically correct and reduced summarized version of the Bible and apparently copies of it were given to every US president up until relatively recently when they ran out [00:11:00] there are copies of it on display at the Smithsonian as well, which I would love to go and see one day. [00:11:04] And the whole thing is quite fascinating. I think the text is also available online. It’s long out of copyright, of course the Bible and his version of the Bible, but just he did this when he was retired as president. By the way, he wasn’t doing this when he was sort of completely active as a president or as anything else, but I do know I found the story interesting. [00:11:24] Oh no particular reason it grabbed me. I’ve always been into religious. And the fact it is this version that was created in this different interpretation actually of the New Testament. I should specify they’re not the whole Bible just the New Testament. And you know, the Bible itself is really just someone else’s editing job. [00:11:44] So why can’t someone else create their own in the more modern era? I mean, it’s should be allowable. Really whoever decided that the Bible should be in the order. It is in was the someone in the past and especially with the gospels when they are basically all sort of reporting [00:12:00] back on the same event. [00:12:02] You’re kind of reading the same story over and over again on the same stories over and over again with different details. So if they were Consolidated then actually you kind of learn about it much quicker more efficient way. So yeah, I’ve had an interesting read. I don’t know if I’ll ever read the Bible itself. [00:12:18] I’m not sure but yeah pop by Wikipedia and fall down some other rabbit holes whilst you do and if if that interesting anyway, then I’d love to hear from. Next is my interview with commissioner Goldstein of the Vermont state government where we talked briefly and she is quite brief and to the point but that is good and I think she had to rush off to another meeting talks about a new program. [00:12:45] They have started to try and encourage people to move to the state because they were depopulating and they’re doing this through encouraging people who are remote workers mostly software developers to move to the state for a point. Excited it’s restricted to [00:13:00] already Americans. Unfortunately can’t take it. [00:13:02] I can’t take advantage of it for example, but still it’s interesting to see how governments can introduce policy to introduce new work horses into their communities. I suppose and how successful they might be. So enjoy. [00:14:09][00:14:00] Senator Goldstein: [00:14:09] Sure, I’m Joan Goldstein on the commissioner of economic development for the state of Vermont. [00:14:15] Chris: [00:14:15] And for let’s just for a little bit of clarity for people who aren’t US based and where is Vermont in the US? [00:14:24] Senator Goldstein: [00:14:24] Vermont is in the New England region is the upper Northeast. So if you to our South is Massachusetts to our West is New York to our East is New Hampshire if that helps. [00:14:37] Chris: [00:14:37] Yeah, I have been obviously to New York. I’ve also been to Providence Rhode Island. So I guess I’ve been around wonderful in the area. And I mean, is it a big state? Is it a relatively small [00:14:52] Senator Goldstein: [00:14:52] state? Very small state very small population about six hundred and twenty seven thousand people [00:14:58] Chris: [00:14:58] and way Woods what’s going [00:15:00] of the the state capital just to see if people know [00:15:02] Senator Goldstein: [00:15:02] their capital is Montpelier. [00:15:05] Chris: [00:15:05] I have been to the Montpellier in France, but I’m guessing it’s okay and I mean. I suppose that some of these smaller States sometimes struggle with growth, I guess of traditional industry jobs and things like that closing down moving on. I mean, this is obviously an ongoing issue in American politics generally and not just America, but also in the rest of the world and is that is that something that the state has struggled with trying to replace some of these jobs that have moved on? [00:15:42] It’s [00:15:44] Senator Goldstein: [00:15:44] really we’re struggling with just getting enough people into the state. We’ve had pretty stagnant population growth. And as a result of people aging out of the workforce the workforce has also shrunk. And so that’s [00:16:00] what those were the defining kind of parameters around. What are we going to do to attract more people to the state? [00:16:07] And that’s how we that’s how the legislature actually came up with the remote worker grant program. [00:16:13] Chris: [00:16:13] Yeah, and that’s what we’re here to talk about and I can’t actually remember where. Came across the the topic now. I live in Berlin in Germany. I was born in London. I lived in Melbourne in Australia. [00:16:28] So why are we speaking from kind of coast to coast as it were I have remote works for several companies for quite a while over remote work with a lot of people who live in small places in small country towns in remote areas because it makes. It makes life possible you share and of be wherever you want. [00:16:52] But as far as I know and I might be wrong. You’ve probably done more research than me your kind of the first [00:17:00] governmental body to recognize the potential advantages of remote workers. Is that is that the case or did you learn from some other people who’ve tried similar ideas? [00:17:09] Senator Goldstein: [00:17:09] No, I think I think we were the first out of the gate with the program there have been some others had a kind of copied to some extent but we were the first out of the gate which is why there was so much press. [00:17:23] And that’s probably how you read about it because there was worldwide press coverage. I was interviewed. Also, there was a BBC that you know, there’s it was married. There are over 900 articles written and about 2 billion Impressions. And so we really got publicity value out of this in addition to you know, getting people to move to the state so. [00:17:49] Yeah, I don’t think we you know, the only ones that have the idea but it’s also an acknowledgement that remote work really is the way people work and the 21st century. You don’t no longer need to be tied to [00:18:00] bricks and mortar and this is a recognition of that fact. [00:18:03] Chris: [00:18:03] And let’s let’s let’s dig into the success metrics a little bit more in a minute. [00:18:09] But how old is the program how long does [00:18:11] Senator Goldstein: [00:18:11] it exist it was signed into law last year in 2018. It went into effect January 2020. So so it’s not old at all it you know, we’re just nine months through it. And yeah, I mean it’s been. Very successful. [00:18:33] Chris: [00:18:33] We’ve talked around the Law. What what is it? What does it what does it try to do and how does [00:18:40] Senator Goldstein: [00:18:40] it do it? [00:18:40] Her basically would pay somebody up to five thousand dollars per year for two years if they moved to the state and work remotely for a business from outside the state and. We would reimburse them for their [00:19:00] moving expenses. And yeah, they’re moving expenses and there. co-working expense and any Broadband extension expense. [00:19:13] Chris: [00:19:13] And does that person generally end up as forgive me? If I don’t use the correct American terms, but as a freelancer or I mean, I’m guessing your you insisting that the company they work for set up a branch in Vermont or is freelancing. Okay, they [00:19:29] Senator Goldstein: [00:19:29] don’t have to set up a branch, but they have to be an employee not a contractor not a freelancer per se. [00:19:37] Chris: [00:19:37] And does that mean they have to work for American companies or at least a company with an American legal entity? I suppose [00:19:45] Senator Goldstein: [00:19:45] we didn’t really put that onus on but just knowing that the company if they have even one employee and state of Vermont. They’re responsible. They have a tax liability. [00:20:00] So. [00:20:02] Yeah, so I’m not sure if that’s attractive to out of the country entity. But we have not come across that [00:20:09] Chris: [00:20:09] is obviously also about the going to be other issues around people come from other countries, which is a whole other cool. [00:20:16] Senator Goldstein: [00:20:16] Yeah whole other ball of wax. [00:20:20] Chris: [00:20:20] Yeah and just actually out of interest because you mentioned you cover co-working cost to how many co-working spaces does Vermont have. [00:20:29] Quite [00:20:30] Senator Goldstein: [00:20:30] a few actually don’t have the phone number. But in almost every downtown across the across the state there’s a co-working space. So this would also be a way for those to get more populated and [00:20:44] Chris: [00:20:44] with those already established or did all of them kind of spring up thanks to this [00:20:49] Senator Goldstein: [00:20:49] program. They were they were already established or in the midst of being established. [00:20:56] So it’s not as if the program prompted it, although it [00:21:00] works very nicely in conjunction with it. [00:21:02] Chris: [00:21:02] So. so it kind of sounds like you already had at least a reasonable degree of a population that was either working remote or kind of maybe newer businesses that use things like co-working spaces is set the case or so there was it already kind of a reasonable body of people doing something like this. [00:21:22] Senator Goldstein: [00:21:22] Yeah, I think I think that there are the ones in the cities are doing better like the ones in Burlington are much more populated than the ones in the more rural areas. So we you know, this is an idea to get more get it more populated. [00:21:40] Chris: [00:21:40] All right. So you mentioned it’s been running for nine months. [00:21:42] You had a lot of interest. I’m guessing there’s going to be there have been a lot of interest from people who couldn’t apply and but let’s as far as you know, and I’m guessing they’re still going to be a lot in process because moving even state and city can take some time. Do [00:22:00] you have numbers of how many people actually took the program and have then? [00:22:04] Relocated [00:22:06] Senator Goldstein: [00:22:06] sure so there were. As of the middle of September, there were 84 applicants. [00:22:16] Chris: [00:22:16] Mmm [00:22:16] Senator Goldstein: [00:22:16] resulting. Hold on just a minute. 84 [00:22:27] grants were awarded but people move to the state with their partners and children. So 218 people moved 218. Well, okay, [00:22:34] Chris: [00:22:34] that’s not too bad for nine months. Not too bad, [00:22:39] Senator Goldstein: [00:22:39] right? [00:22:40] Chris: [00:22:40] Yeah. And so then I guess what what are the benefits the state gets the bit the the obviously new people who who buy houses or rent houses and yeah invest in local businesses and things like that, but just to clarify some of the points you said earlier. [00:22:58] You also [00:23:00] getting well you’re getting I guess some form of tax revenue. Yeah. Well as all that yeah, is this is this so far do you do find the scheme is being a successful as you hoped or. You hoping for more or it’s completely unprecedented. Like what’s the kind of level of success? You were hoping for versus what you got so [00:23:18] Senator Goldstein: [00:23:18] far? [00:23:19] We actually didn’t have any idea because again, this didn’t come from the administration that came from the legislature. They came up with it and they kind of gave us this program that we needed to implement. So we had to create the program and implement it we had no idea but we had no idea also that it would be this popular and that much in demand. [00:23:36] So I think we’re pleased with the outcome. Obviously we want more because we want more people. But I think this was a very good case a showing that people do respond to incentives. They do want to move to Vermont and they moved all over the state. They moved into rural areas. They moved into the city. [00:23:56] So we have a very nice [00:24:00] diversity of locations, which is another goal. [00:24:03] Chris: [00:24:03] Do you do you stay in touch with the people who relocate firstly in terms of finding out if. How they’re finding living living in Vermont and [00:24:15] Senator Goldstein: [00:24:15] finding the change. So I have not, you know personally followed up with each and every one of them but you know, it’s an idea. [00:24:25] It’s a thought that we should gather them all together, but we have not done that yet. We’re still busy implementing the program. [00:24:33] Chris: [00:24:33] Do you have any kind of qualification on the program of how long someone has to stay to be considered kind of completed [00:24:41] Senator Goldstein: [00:24:41] there is no there is no limit. There is no guideline. [00:24:47] Just again because to try to administer, that would be very difficult. [00:24:54] Chris: [00:24:54] And what are the sorts of jobs that most people are employed in that have been [00:25:00] accepted so far? [00:25:01] Senator Goldstein: [00:25:01] Oh the jobs. All right for the most part. It’s software for the most part it is, you know information technology type job. So. hold on I have that breakdown. [00:25:14] Chris: [00:25:14] That’s kind of what I was [00:25:19] Senator Goldstein: [00:25:19] guessing. But yeah, yeah. 31% are in Information Technology. Yeah, 13% management 8% writing and editing 6% Finance 6% sales 5% marketing. [00:25:37] Chris: [00:25:37] Okay, and I mean obviously whether with a worker comes as you already mentioned family and actually quite a lot of family by the sound of it have you experienced any problems there with people bringing families and there not being enough local resources for those families or with those facilities also [00:26:00] kind of. [00:26:01] Running a little empty and [00:26:03] Senator Goldstein: [00:26:03] yeah, it’s really good for them to bring their families because the schools are were also suffering from declining population [00:26:11] Chris: [00:26:11] because he had the city’s it would be be less of a of a reaction but there’s ever been any any reaction from the local residents where people move to I mean, you know, sometimes sometimes as bad as it may be for Community sometimes. [00:26:25] Is there are some communities that kind of like the way they’ve become you know, I don’t like change [00:26:30] Senator Goldstein: [00:26:30] know exactly. Of course. There’s always going to be part of that. You know, there’s always going to be something. Like that, like some people like it some people are you know worried about new people but you know, that’s just human nature [00:26:46] Chris: [00:26:46] very true. [00:26:47] And I guess just on the on the sort of board technical side, you mentioned you also cover Broadband cost this does Vermont have pretty good. For that sort [00:27:00] of thing. [00:27:00] Senator Goldstein: [00:27:00] It does have pretty good coverage. I mean at every co-working space is definitely Broadband obviously in the more rural areas. There are some issues in terms of getting Broadband to the last mile of home, but that’s why we reimburse people for membership into the co-working space because we recognize they have to go where there’s broadband and you [00:27:23] Chris: [00:27:23] actually mentioned quite a few people have been interested in what you’ve done. [00:27:29] Are you able to mention any of the kind of other governmental or other organizations around America or around the world that have been interested? [00:27:39] Senator Goldstein: [00:27:39] Yeah, there’s a city in Oklahoma called Tulsa and Tulsa also came up with a remote worker program [00:27:45] Chris: [00:27:45] because it is assumed that they have a similar sort of problem and they had a similar idea to cope with it. [00:27:52] Senator Goldstein: [00:27:52] Yeah, they had a similar problem. And yeah, it is a similar idea. [00:27:56] Chris: [00:27:56] I guess I guess the next question would be I mean [00:28:00] you’re still pretty early days and pretty busy rolling it out. But do you intend to change or make additions to the program moving forward based on learning sofa? [00:28:12] Senator Goldstein: [00:28:12] So what we’ve done this year in the legislative session, which will be effective January 2020. [00:28:19] We are making a program available to new workers that work for Vermont employers because we have a problem with getting enough employees for Vermont employers. So we change the program to include those so you can move to Vermont work for Vermont company and also get reimbursed for your moving expenses. [00:28:39] Chris: [00:28:39] And that might be in a more traditional kind of crack in an office or remote either way, perhaps [00:28:44] Senator Goldstein: [00:28:44] yeah, [00:28:45] Chris: [00:28:45] enemy. What’s your what’s your I don’t know if it was mostly your idea or gather at a collection of people’s ideas. But have you remote worked yourself in the past? Is that kind of what? Gave you the idea. [00:29:00][00:28:59] Senator Goldstein: [00:28:59] Um, yeah, you know and it’s hard to remote work as commissioner, but it [00:29:06] Chris: [00:29:06] does [00:29:08] Senator Goldstein: [00:29:08] this but you know, depending on the time of year, but you know, if I could manage one day a week that that makes sense if there’s writing or things that I have to get done without interruption, but yeah, but not as a regular course, but. [00:29:26] In my past. I’ve also remote worked and yeah, I mean, I think it’s much more popular than it’s ever been. So. [00:29:36] Chris: [00:29:36] I mean thinking think of kind of bigger picture here. Do you do you anticipate this this being the future of work or at least a component of the the future of [00:29:47] Senator Goldstein: [00:29:47] yeah, I think it’s I think it’s a very important component. [00:29:50] I think we’ll see more and more of it just as people technology Improvement and different sensibilities of being able to work wherever I [00:30:00] think we’ll continue to see it grow. Obviously. There are things you need to show up for. And you know, there’s nothing that takes the place of face-to-face interaction. [00:30:10] So, I think it’s a balance. [00:30:14] Chris: [00:30:14] That was my interview with commissioner Goldstein of the Vermont state government. I hope you enjoyed the interview and the links that’s another weekly squeak a short compact episode this time around. Next week. I actually have an interview with hadera hash graph another sort of Block Chain project. [00:30:33] Not quite as we will discuss next week. I’m a release at next week or the week after because I’m going to be at def Con in a Psycho most of next week and quite busy most of the week. And then I have a lot more events coming up after that Apache con velocity and I Riley events STC down in Stuttgart a lot of events coming up that you can find on my website at chrischinchilla.com/events [00:31:00] If you haven’t. [00:31:01] If you’ve enjoyed the show, you can find previous episodes and show notes and soon soon maybe even with this episode. I need to sort of still testing and see how well it works live transcripts of the audio as well. They won’t be completely accurate, but they will help those of you who can’t always keep up with what I’m saying? [00:31:22] Maybe the transcripts May well be accurate either but you could find them there and I hope you enjoy it. If you have enjoyed the show, please rate review share to your friends and we always love to get new listeners and you could find ways to get in touch with me support my work, etc. Etc at chrischinchilla.com/contact. [00:31:39] I’d love to hear your opinions on the show until next time if you have been thank you very much for [00:31:50] listening.