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About The Speaker:

Jonathan LaCour, CTO of Mission. Mission is an AWS partner providing DevOps services and my go to friends for infrastructure questions.

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Episode Transcription:

Nickolai Walker: [00:00:13] Hello. Hello and welcome back to the CTO studio. I, of course, am your host, Nikolai Walker, on the mic and in your ear. My favorite place to be. Now, this is part two and it is the finale here for our Jonathan Łacour segments, which is a bummer. But there’s more guests and more people to get to. So let’s get more information. So we’re going to join them where they’re talking about IoT for Etienne’s hot tub. And I’m just wondering if you can do it for a hot tub, can you do it for me? Like, is there any way that I could just be automated so I could get out of parenting? Here we go. Yes. Yes.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:00:47] OK. So in my world, I would then use the same input. I would speaking to my phone and say yo hot tub on and then then it would connect probably in the same. I also have this analogy, so I could probably do the same, set up. The unknown here would be how do I interface with the Pentair?


Jonathan LaCour: [00:01:14] Find out if it has an API. And you and I can have a hackathon sometime when next time I’m down in San Diego, which should happen relatively soon. Right.


Nickolai Walker: [00:01:26] Wait a minute. So, Jonathan, I just have to ask, did you find a place in San Diego? Let’s clear that up.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:01:31] We didn’t find a place, but we did sign with a real estate agent yesterday to talk about putting our house on the market here in L.A. So, you know, no decision yet,


Etienne de Bruin: [00:01:41] Because I would consider it a mini victory for the San Diego Tech scene to get someone from the L.A. tech scene.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:01:51] I don’t know if I can call myself some sort of player in the L.A. Tech scene, but, you know, that’s why I want to go to San Diego, is because maybe I can make a bigger splash there


Etienne de Bruin: [00:02:00] And I love it.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:02:00] So interestingly, though, on the hot tub. So I also use home bridge to control my grill, which I think we talked about last time.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:02:14] No we didn’t at all talk about that.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:02:17] How do we not talk about this? So I have a smoker like a big green egg. Have you ever heard one of those before? It’s like a charcoal grill and smoker. And I have this little like, ah. It’s actually a MIPS microcontroller like thing with a CPU fan that plugs into the air intake on the bottom. And it has a couple of like temperature probes. You put it inside. And I can I can you know, it’s a commercial thing you buy and you can just plug it in. And like, I didn’t do any of that part, but it does have an API. So I actually wired it into home kit. And so now I can say, you know, Siri, what’s the temperature of my big green egg? And I actually expose it as a thermostat. So it’s incredible because there’s a thermostat type of thing in home kit, because, you know, so I have to thermostats. I have a thermostat for the temperature of the grill and I have a thermostat for the temperature of whatever it is that I’m cooking in the grill. And so I can be like Siri, you know, what’s the temperature? My big green egg. And it’ll say your big green egg is currently at two hundred and twenty three degrees and warming up to two hundred and twenty five. Right. And I can actually set it as well. I can say set out to 250 and then it turns out a little air intake vent fan and sucks in more oxygen, feeding the charcoal and making it hotter. I did a whole like presentation at a bunch of AWS events about this. It’s all runs on AWS. It has a website. So you actually have charts and graphs of all my cooks. And you can see like all of the data stored in a big data lake in S3, and it’s all built on LAMDA. It’s super fun.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:03:43] We definitely need you to do that presentation to us. That is something I, I very much like about you is is sort of the when I whenever I talk to you, I feel excited by technology again.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:04:03] I’ll take that. Because technology’s exciting and you just have to have somebody to talk about it with.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:04:18] I know I think it’s because of your your indie Web like this can be done. I think a lot of times when I think about technology, I’ve coding since I can remember. And I started coding like little keeping track of my pocket money or keeping track of the top 40 songs as they went up and down the charts. And I’m talking I think I was like 11 years old when I did this. But as it becomes something that you study and you get your computer science degree, you take all these tech jobs and your hobby becomes your profession, which no longer is your hobby. And I think maybe that’s what I’m trying to say is I think I feel like technology is genuinely a hobby of yours as well as, you know, your life. And so. Well, maybe it isn’t. Maybe you just have a you have a you you have a passion for technology as the city of mission. You love seeing problems solved. But you also have this hobby thing, which I find super inspiring. That’s why I think about you when I’m in my hot tub.


Nickolai Walker: [00:05:33] Anyone else heard what I think I just heard, which is we maybe need to do like another podcast and it’s called the Hot Tub Sessions, because I’m just a little bit jealous that Etienne’s thinking about me in his hot tub. Or are you?


Jonathan LaCour: [00:05:49] I think it’s just because any time anyone is boiling in water, they want to think about me. But, you know, you’re like you’re not wrong. Like, I definitely there was a time in my life I’ve been programming like like you since as long as I can remember. I remember my first program that I wrote. I still have it. I still have the computer that I wrote it on at my parents basement. I don’t even know if it turns on anymore. But yeah, I love I do love technology. And I would say it’s definitely a hobby. But I will say that, you know, over time, as you’re working professionally in technology does get exhausting from time to time and you want to go home and unplug and not really be, you know, fully connected in what’s going on in technology. But I still do multiple projects a year where it’s just like, you know what, this would be a really fun thing that gets me excited about technology again. Right. And I’ll do a thing like the the smoker controller that that I worked on or the daddy board, which is solving a real problem for me during Covid like this is an actual problem that I had. And I was like, you know what, I’m gonna throw some technology at it and fix it. And it was a blast and it got me excited again. And so I think it’s important. Like I definitely feel like that the hobbyist side has faded a bit. I haven’t had nearly amount of time that I would like to work on my own personal website and the blog and all of that as I would want. I’ve been a little bit disengaged with the indie Web community of late. Not because I don’t believe in it anymore, but just I’ve been busy. There’s other things going on in life. But I do think it’s important as technologists as to like occasionally rekindle that flame. You know what I mean?


Etienne de Bruin: [00:07:18] I think I keep thinking I have a friend who keeps challenging me on. Like what are you where are your fun coding projects or what are you doing that’s fun? And this has turned into a bit of a personal therapy session, but I just find myself listening to your stories, thinking, where is that guy that used to do that stuff? Now I just CTO stuff and talk about the challenges of how to grow and scale technology to help these startups. But where is my little daddy project?


Jonathan LaCour: [00:07:53] To make you feel a little bit better about this, I have a kind of a thread with a bunch of friends on text, former co-workers, people I’ve worked with for years and years. And one of them earlier today was like, hey, what are you all using now in Python land for killing processes reliably on a cross platform way? And my reply was, I mostly make spreadsheets and PowerPoint now so you can just ignore me. So I suffer from this, too. Right. But, you know, how do you scratch that itch? How do you rekindle that flame? Right. It’s sort of like renewing your like wedding vows. Right. Like, you know, you got to fall back in love again for any problem that can be solved, like your hot tub thing, like, dude, you’ve got to solve that by the time we talk next time. I expect you to deliver me a report about whether or not there’s an API. We could put together a strategy. We’ll hack it together, we’ll have some beers and we’ll make it work. Right. And it’ll be fun.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:08:46] I love it. That’ll be my housewarming gift to you.


Jonathan LaCour: [00:08:50] The hot tub. Thanks, man. It’s real nice here.


Etienne de Bruin: [00:08:56] No, that’s cool, man. I think that’s inspiring that, you know, for me to to think on. And I think that effort, it requires to turn that into a fun project, because I could see that being a fun project for my kids as well, because they’re constantly saying, daddy, the hot tubs too hot or can I listen? You know, one of the problems we have is, again, other first world problems but my kids want to listen to the same story every night. And so we have Sonas and its pre-Alexa integration. So every time I’ve got to go open my app, I’ve got to go find Winnie the Pooh and I have to go to press play. And then there’s a timer issue where I wake up at two in the morning and the story is still playing. And I think why am I doing this to myself? Jonathan, why am I doing this to myself?


Jonathan LaCour: [00:09:55] I completely agree. It’s so funny. Like literally you could just take that entire explanation you just had and you could transplant it over to some sysadmin sitting in front of a thing, running the same 45 commands again to restart the Web server, pull the new thing and be like, you know what? You could solve this with a shell script. Right. So it’s time to automate yourself out of fatherhood. That’s what I think. Right. Like, let’s make this happen.


Nickolai Walker: [00:10:23] That’s amazing. That’s amazing. All right. Well, thank you so much Jonathan Lacour who is the CTO of Mission Cloud. Mission is an AWS premiere consulting partner. We will see you next time with more interviews so do stay tuned. But do a little bit of housecleaning for yourself by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes. Do go check out Check out and also go to the YouTube 7CTOs page and check out the video as well. As always, we will see you next time with another set of interviews.