Episode 57

Mikeal Rogers on Building Communities, the Early Days of Node.js, and How to Stay a Coder for Life


October 9th, 2020

38 mins 46 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Allen "Gunner" Gunn | Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer


Mikeal Rogers

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! Our special guest today is Mikeal Rogers, who works at Protocol Labs as IPLD Lead. We learn what Protocol Labs is, where they come from, and what Mikeal does there as the IPLD Lead (InterPlanetary Linked Data). We will find out what happened when io.js forked with Node.js, if there is a difference between the Project Manager and Developer Role, and Mikeal’s interests in design libraries, and building a community and ecosystem from scratch and how they interrelate. Download this episode now to learn more!

[00:01:25] Mikeal tells us what he does at Protocol Labs. We also learn who Protocol Labs is and where they come from.

[00:06:43] Mikeal talks about what he did in his previous jobs.

[00:09:48] Richard asks Mikeal what separates his path and his ideal goal from being someone who ends up just working on algorithms full time for Microsoft in the back office.

[00:14:15] Mikeal shares with us the io.js fork with Node.js. Justin wonders if there was a lot tension between the communities and Mikeal explains.

[00:19:40] Richard wonders if Mikeal thinks the Project Manager Role and the Developer Role are similar.

[00:24:18] Mikeal specializes in and worked on design libraries so they can grow entire ecosystems and communities and how to make the code itself actually enable and afford better sustainable practices, which he talks about here. He mentions the creation of the Buffer Interface.

[00:32:51] Mikeal tells us where we can learn more about him and things he’s done with community and sustainability stuff and where we can find him on the internet.


  • [00:34:46] Justin’s spotlight is Into the Ether podcast.
  • [00:35:06] Gunner’s spotlight is Save Internet Freedom.
  • [00:35:33] Richard’s spotlight is a book called, Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye.
  • [00:35:49] Mikeal’s spotlight is GitHub Actions.


[00:08:10] “The whole industry is really pushing you towards do more, take on more responsibility, do a startup, take on executive roles, keep going. It’s just never enough to just write code or be a programmer.”

[00:08:24] “I had a real kind of identity crisis a little bit when I was leaving the Node Foundation, because I was like what am I going to do? And it actually took me a little while, like I had a short stint in some venture capital stuff.”

[00:22:30] “If you write code every day, you have a practice. Even if you’re just doing it for work, you have a practice, like you sit down, and you probably notice yourself taking a walk, or working on a problem in the shower or something. These are really subtle forms of meditation for you to take yourself in a different state and get all of the distractions away for a minute and just think about a problem.”



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