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Sparking Positive Energy in Tech and Beyond with Mark Techson

This podcast episode features an in-depth conversation with Mark Techson, a web developer from Google's Angular team, exploring the connections between web development and music, the role of an MC in event experiences, and Mark's personal journey in the tech industry.

In this episode, Kent and Mark Techson, from Google's Angular team, traverse the expansive terrain of web development, drawing parallels between coding and music. Mark, blending his industry wisdom with musical passion, provides an intriguing perspective on the structural similarities between the two. He also explores the vital role of an MC in enriching event experiences and fostering engagement. Throughout the conversation, Mark’s candidness about his personal journey as a developer and parent adds a relatable dimension, painting a rich, holistic picture of life in tech.

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Meet Mark at Epic Web Conf.

Guests

Mark Techson
Mark Techson

Transcript

Kent: Hello Hello everybody, I am so excited to introduce to you my friend Mark Techson. How are you doing Mark?

Mark: I am feeling so good. Every time I get to talk to you, I'm not just

Kent: Haha.

Mark: being silly, but I for real, I always feel good. You have such good energy, so I'm really good today.

Kent: Yeah, positive energy is one of those things, it's kind of like a fire where if I light your torch, your torch also gets lit, but mine isn't diminished and in fact the entire room is brighter. And so

Mark: Oof!

Kent: definitely appreciate that positive energy from you, Mark. And that's exactly why I asked you to be the MC at Epic WebConf, because that's the kind of positive energy I want on stage again and again. So thank you.

Mark: Let's go.

Kent: So. Yeah, I want people to get to know you a little bit before the conference. I want folks who can't make it to the conference to get to know you a little bit because they won't be able to talk with you in person. And I want other people to be like, huh, maybe I want to make the trip out there to Utah to meet Mark in person. So Mark, could you give us an intro to yourself?

Mark: Yeah. So my name is Mark. I have been coding in the software industry for a very, very long time. I've been in an industry for almost 20 years and

Kent: Hmm.

Mark: I currently work at Google on the Angular team and yeah, things are good. I'm a father, I'm a musician and I really, really love to be on stage and meet people and be at events and just have this amazing experience.

Kent: That is awesome. I didn't realize you were a musician. Do you play or sing or both?

Mark: Okay, listen, let me tell you a true story. I wish that I could sing. I used to pray that I could say, I would like, God, please unlock my vocal

Kent: Hahaha

Mark: chords. Like, give me something. Because I wish that I could sing. But what I actually do is play guitar. I've been playing guitar for a very long time.

Kent: Wow, hey, that's awesome. You should bring your guitar. I'm sure people would love to hear it.

Mark: Oh, you know what, Kent, don't say that because I might actually take you up on that idea that I'll bring a guitar. You don't

Kent: I

Mark: know.

Kent: think that's awesome. So acoustic or classical, what kind of guitar do you have and what do you play?

Mark: Yeah, so I have two guitars. I have an electric guitar, which is a Fender Strat that I've had for ages. And then I have a Yamaha Acoustic that I've had also for ages. I bought those guitars back in my early or late 20s, maybe. And I'm

Kent: Okay.

Mark: some way beyond my 20s and 30s at this point. I've been

Kent: Yeah,

Mark: my 40s now. I've had the guitar for a long time.

Kent: hey, that's awesome. You know, Ryan Florence is also gonna be there and he is very much a music maker with the guitar. And I found that people who are musically inclined, or there seem to be a lot of musically inclined programmers,

Mark: Mm -hmm.

Kent: which I think there's a relationship there for sure.

Mark: Yeah, there's something about the way music maps and the structure of music and the structure of code that can people can make that transition when they start. Because I just started playing guitar until I was about 20 because I had a dream that I was walking through the hills of Mexico with a guitar across my shoulders. And true story, I had a guitar strapped on and I was wearing some really tight blue jeans and a tank top. And I remember walking through the hills of Mexico and I woke up and I was like, oh, I want to play guitar. And then I went to Guitar Center and bought my first guitar the next week.

Kent: Wow, dude, that sounds like a vision from God. Like

Mark: Yeah.

Kent: you should play guitar, Mark. That is awesome.

Mark: Yeah.

Kent: Very good. Well, I'm excited to hear you play at the conference if that does happen. I know it's kind of tricky to travel with musical instruments. I've had trouble traveling with my piano. Just kidding.

Mark: That's

Kent: But you're

Mark: good.

Kent: gonna be on stage as an MC and I want... to get an idea of what you're thinking about as you're preparing to be an MC. I've never been an MC before, I don't know if you have, but yeah, what are some of the things going into getting on that stage?

Mark: Oh, excellent question. So I've MC a few events and the thing that I'm always thinking about is how can I boost up the other presenters that'll be there that day? So I want to make sure that they get this like really warm welcome, right? So I think about that a lot. And then I think about the audience and the attendees, how do they feel engaged and energized for a day of learning and connecting and. When I start to think about that, it's like, okay, how can I serve everybody there? I want to serve the presenters. I want to serve the, you know, the attendees. And I want to make sure the organizers feel like, wow, that was an amazing choice to include Mark in this event. So I'm always thinking about those kinds of three pillars as I'm preparing to MC any event.

Kent: I know that the speakers will definitely appreciate that level of preparation. For me, I mean, I've spoken on many stages and had many MCs and sometimes it's, well, I mean, it's very evident the amount of preparation that goes into that, whether there was any preparation at all or if people really dug in and did some research and it makes a difference, hyping the crowd for the person, you know. And like it absolutely impacts the quality of talk that the attendees get because the speaker is excited about being on stage. So I appreciate that level of commitment. And as an organizer who has to make these selections on who's gonna be on that stage, it means a lot to me that you would dedicate so much time and attention to that. So thank you.

Mark: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm glad to do it.

Kent: Yeah, so while we're at the conference, I mean, I want people who are not there to feel like they have an opportunity to participate in at least the knowledge sharing and stuff. There's only so much they can do by not being in person, but that's why we're having this conversation so they can get to know you a little bit. But for the folks who are there, I am sure many of them will be excited to talk with you and I know that you'll be excited to talk with other attendees there. So I want to know. What are the sorts of things that you would like people to come in up and talk with you about and what are some of the things you're hoping to talk with other people about?

Mark: Oh, great. So if we talk, think about technical things, you can always talk to me about just web development in general, because I used to teach web development as a part of my career. I've, like I said, worked as a web developer, even though I'm on the Angular team now, you know, it's still web development. So you can always ask me about that. You can ask me a lot also about AI and then what do you do in terms of your career with AI? I've been doing so much research and growing, and I can tell you the honest truth about what I'm doing to prepare myself for a career where AI is a part of that story. Then if you want to talk about parenting, I'm very transparent on Twitter about like just how parenting works for me. I can share things that I've gone through with a, you know, a kid who's really in tune with his emotions. So, you know,

Kent: Hmm.

Mark: he's a very like sensitive kid. And I know that that changes the dynamic when you have kids who are a little bit more sensitive. And so I can talk, we can talk about that. We can always talk about music, video games and movies. So that's a pretty wide gamut. And if you just want to say hi. Cause I would love to meet you folks out there. So you want to say hi, just come and say hi. I would love to say hi and meet you, take pictures, do whatever you like.

Kent: Awesome. I appreciate how open and willing you are to chat with people and stuff. And so I'm looking forward to seeing you in the hallway track just with a bunch of people, making everybody feel welcome and happy to be there. Since we do have a little bit more time, I wanted to give you this opportunity to not really pitch, but like talk about the Good Morning series that you've been doing on Twitter. And I don't know whether you... published it to other social media as well. But why don't you tell us a little bit about that and I want to ask you about it.

Mark: Oh, sure. So I do a web series called Good Morning is a part of the good branding. So there's Good Morning with Mark and then there's Good Question with Mark.

Kent: Hmm.

Mark: And these two areas where I just like to spend time sharing my life experience and sharing lots of encouragement. So Good Morning with Mark is a somewhere between 60 seconds to like motivational video. They just kind of tell a story and help you feel better about yourself. I really do want people to feel better. I think we're too hard on ourselves. And then Good Question. is what people write in and ask me questions about their career, about life. And then I try to answer with whatever I can. If I can be helpful, I try to be helpful.

Kent: I love that. Are you looking for questions right now? Like, can people, where do people submit questions?

Mark: Excellent. So I'm on all social media. You can find me on YouTube @marktechson, Instagram, Mark Techson, TikTok, threads everywhere on Mark Techson. So if you can find me wherever, even on Twitter, find me there. If you just reply and ask a question, I am so happy to help. Please write questions in because then it makes it really great for me to have some ways to share more information and thoughts with you friends.

Kent: Yeah, yeah, that's fabulous. I definitely recommend a follow of Mark Techson wherever you're on social media because that positivity from good morning is just a really, really great way to start the day, the week and everything. So thank you, Mark, for everything that you do in the community and thank you so much for coming out to Utah. I'm super excited to have you there and to see you there again. I met, so other folks don't know this, but Mark and I met, I think it was the first time, in

Mark: first time.

Kent: NGConf last year and

Mark: Yeah.

Kent: just super, super awesome to see you in person. So I'm looking forward to seeing you again coming up in April. So thanks so much for coming out and it was great chatting with you today, Mark.

Mark: Yeah, I appreciate that. Thanks for having me and I'm looking forward to seeing you folks in person at Epic Conf. Get your tickets. Come to Epic Conf because it is going to be fantastic.

Kent: Awesome, thank you so much, Mark. See everybody there.

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