Epic Web Conf '24 Speakers

Madison Kanna

Creator of CodeBookClub


  • Thursday, 9:00 AM9:10 AM
    Welcome 👋
  • Thursday, 5:20 PM5:30 PM
    Farewell 🫶


software dev by day, twitch streamer by night, making videos http://youtube.com/@MadisonKanna. join my learning club https://madisonkanna.com/codebookclub


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Hello, everybody. I'm super excited to, um, yeah, have my introduce to you all my friend Madison Kanna. How are you doing, Madison? I'm doing really good. Yeah. How are you? I'm doing great. Super excited to actually this is the first time that we have met virtually.

I'm looking forward to meeting you in person in April in Park City, Utah for Epic Web Conf. It's going to be awesome. Yeah, I'm so excited. It's gonna be so much fun. It's funny that I've never met you in person either, because I feel like I've, I've been learning from you. I've taken your courses for years now. So it's funny. This will be the first time we're meeting in real life.

Oh, that's so I'm I didn't know that. I'm glad that that has been helpful to you. And I am definitely looking forward to meeting you in person and chatting about you and getting to know you and the things that you work on. I have followed both you and your sister for

a little while. And it's been just a pleasure to watch your both of your careers. It's been super cool. So I, yeah, I reached out to you a couple weeks ago to ask you to be the emcee for Epic Web Conf. And I just want people to get to know you. For those folks who can't

make it to the conference. I think it's really cool to be able to get to know the people who are going to be on stage. And then for those who are thinking about coming to the conference, maybe you can convince them that they want to come so they can actually talk with you in person. So could you give us a little introduction to yourself, Madison?

Yeah, sure. I've been working as a web developer for five or six years now. I think I'm mostly known for running a book club, code book club for four or five years now, where every Sunday

we jump on a Zoom call and we would read books together, go over courses. And I really started that because I felt like I didn't really have a community when I started learning to code and became a developer. And so I started that over Zoom. Zoom has been really fun,

but I'm also super excited for this in-person conference that we've been talking about just because, you know, Zoom is great, but also just there's something about being with people. And now that COVID is over, I'm really, really excited to get back to conferences and meeting people in real life. But yeah, there's just a little bit about me.

That is super cool. Where did you get the idea to put together a book club to meet every Sunday? Yeah, I remember I was on, you know, Reddit or on Twitter. And I realized once I got my

first programming internship, I realized there was so much more that I still needed to learn. And I felt like I was learning alone quite often. So I'd be sitting at home on the weekends. I didn't really know anyone in my area. And so I just figured maybe I could do some sort of book

club and started off with a JavaScript book. I had two friends who were doing it with me. And then the day before we were supposed to start reading the book, they both were just like, we don't have time for this. And so they both bowed out. And so I just thought, what if I tweeted it out? And I know almost no one followed me on Twitter really at the time,

some people, but then a bunch of people replied and said, you know, we're also trying to learn more on the weekends or after work and things like that. We'd like to join. And then it kind of just went from there. That is super cool. I love that idea. I have found something similar to what you described where people will be all gung ho

about learning together and, or even like, I've noticed this not just in learning, but also in open source, I'll have, there'll be a group of us who are like, okay, we're going to build this thing and it's going to be amazing. And then you just, over time, life gets in the way

and commitments kind of falter a little bit. So I think it's really admirable that when that happened to your friends that you just said, hey, let's actually do this for real and like, open it up to more people. And I guess that, how long did you say you've been running this book

club? Started in January, 2020. I'm like trying to calculate because it just seems like it's been such a long time. Yeah. Yeah. Four years now. That is very impressive to keep anything going

for that long. So that is commendable effort. Very cool. And you said you talk about like books, but also courses and anything else. Like, is it all around web development or is there like a

particular topic that you're typically talking about? Yeah. I think it's been, it was a lot of JavaScript. There's also some Python. There's been people who started other clubs within our Discord too. There was people learning Java, which I know nothing about. And then recently we had gone over,

like last year, we went over cracking the coding interview in JavaScript and TypeScript problems. And we really tried to focus on interviewing since it was such a rough year in tech. So we jumped on and we did a lot of mob programming. So everyone gets on and tackles a certain leak

code problem, working through it all together, trying to stay accountable, which can be really hard to do online. Yeah. That accountability is a big part of what makes those types of groups

so useful. It's like, you're not really doing a whole lot that you can't just do by yourself, right? Like you can read the book by yourself. You can't really have the discussion and share those thoughts by yourself. But at least having somebody that is expecting you to have read

or to have gone through the particular exercise or whatever, just makes you so much more likely to actually do it. Yeah, absolutely. I think we've read six or seven books at this point. And I just, in the last four years, I would have never shown up at all if I wasn't actually part of the club. If there wasn't these people kind of expecting me,

then I don't think I would have read any of those books or done any of those leak code problems, right? Because it's really hard to motivate yourself when you're just completely on your own sometimes. Yeah. You know, that is such a life hack to kind of commit yourself to something.

That is absolutely the way that I work. I'll schedule a workshop and then like, oh shoot, I've got to prepare this workshop now. So it definitely helps to have something to hold you accountable, something external to yourself, making commitments and things. I think that is a

really awesome thing that you've done. So with the emceeing at the conference, I've never emceed before. I don't know whether you have before, but what are some of the things that you're hoping to accomplish as an emcee at the conference? I think the main thing will be

just making sure everyone has a fantastic time. I want to meet every single person that's there, just making sure everyone has an amazing experience really. Very cool. So you're not just an emcee when you're on the stage, but you want to like talk with people and meet people

throughout the event. Yes, absolutely. I will be everywhere. I feel like, I don't know if you can relate to this, but I'm quite an introvert and all my friends and family know that I don't really like to go out, but my one exception is programming conferences, especially with this one and just

all the speakers that are going, you being there. At the last conference I was at, and I don't go to too many, I really try to only go to conferences that I think are just going to be so amazing and really worth it. But if I'm at a coding conference, I just, I tend to just be out just everywhere, want to meet everyone, really outgoing, really unlike myself, just because I think a lot of us,

we spend so much time on Twitter or programming at work, and you're not necessarily seeing your community out in real life. And so I think it's just going to be so much fun. And I feel like I tend to become such an extreme extrovert and run on very little sleep, to be honest, when I attend

the conference. I just get so excited, because you're thinking about this stuff and learning all year, but we don't often see each other in real life. And so it just really gets me excited. I like that idea. If you're going to go, you may as well make the most of it and be

as out there as you can. And even as an introvert, just psyching yourself up a little bit and saying, I'm just going to make the most of this, and then afterward I can crash and that's fine. Yes, absolutely. That will be my vibe. Not everyone has to do that, obviously.

But yeah, I do think I used to go to programming conferences a long time ago, and I would be a little bit shy and I wouldn't speak up. And I've really tried to change that. And I try to anyone that I meet or anyone I see standing alone, I want to go talk to them because just a bunch of great people. And I've gotten so many personal connections from

going to conferences. A lot of my good friends today, I feel like I met them at a conference forever ago. Yeah. And those types of friendships are why you go to the conference, right? Because you could watch the talks online at Epic Web Conf. It's going to be live streamed for free

and everything. I feel like the knowledge should be for everybody. But you go to the conference so that you can meet people and develop friendships and potentially even career opportunities and stuff like that, too. Yeah, absolutely. And it's not even just

meeting people, but it's also solidifying an online friendship. So for me, there's people that I've talked to on Twitter. There's people like you. There's people where I think I've had somewhat of a relationship with them. I want to keep building that friendship, that connection. And when you actually go see them in real life and you have these shared experiences, there's

something that makes it feel much more real, much more solidified, a real connection, rather than just online, which is great. But I think there's something that really deepens connection so much with this gathering in person. 100%. I can't agree more. It's very interesting

when you have a friend online and then you meet them in person and then you go back to the online relationship because you don't stay forever, right? So you go back to the online version of the relationship, but that relationship is totally changed and you start reading their posts in their

voice. And it's just so much easier to interact with that person online after you've met them in person. Yeah, absolutely. It feels like it's become real and you feel like you truly do know them and something feels so solidified. And there's been so many people, I would talk to them on

Twitter or in some fashion on the internet, and I would feel like we're connecting, but then really meeting in real life feels like the thing to really solidify that. Yeah. Yeah. So Madison, what are some of the things that you're hoping people come and talk with you about at the conference or that you're hoping to talk with other people about while you're there?

Oh my gosh, yeah. So many things. Well, Salt Lake City, a bit off topic, but I mean, I've never been to Utah before, so I'm just super excited to experience that. Definitely community building, web development, React. I know there's a lot of talk about React right now. I'm using React

at work recently. I love React. I'm a big fan. All sorts of things. Testing too. I actually, at work recently, I was kind of put in charge of overseeing more of our testing stuff. And I actually, one of the first courses I bought forever ago was your testing course, which really helped me at work. So yeah, a bunch of different things really.

Very good. Yeah. So folks, Madison wants to talk to you. Come to the conference and talk to Madison. Very good. Well, so Madison, thank you so much for giving us some of your time today. I really appreciate just getting to know you a little bit more. I'm even more excited

now to meet you than I was before this call. And I was already really excited to meet you. So I'm really looking forward to April and meeting you and all the other awesome speakers at the conference. So thanks again, and I will see you in April. Thank you. Yeah, I'm so excited. Can't wait.