Dan “Pop” Papandrea (@danpopnyc) speaks with us about creating the POPcast (@PopcastPop) and connecting with the faces behind tech at a human level. In this episode you can really feel the love among the Cloud Native and tech communities, and see how the human connection is such a necessary need for us all.

NOAH: Hello everyone and welcome to what will be the finale this week for our pre KubeCon podcast series.

We are the StormForge Fireside Podcast. I am your co-host Noah Abrahams, Open Source Advocate here at StormForge. My co-host as well…

CODY: Cody Crudgington.

NOAH: …and with us today the one the only, Pop. 

DAN: You know I told myself I would never go on any fireside chats, but because I love you both and I’m such a huge fan of StormForge, that’s why I’m on here. But the term fireside chat is a trigger word for me. Trigger word. I just want to let you know. But I love you both. 

NOAH: We know it.

CODY: We appreciate you putting all that aside to come on…

DAN: …and your company is from Massachusetts! Come on! I mean look see how much I love you fellas? 

CODY: I’ll take you to a Red Sox game. 

DAN: Okay, moving on…

NOAH: So all this week, we’ve been talking with people about about pain points, about how they solve problems, about how they approach solutions, but the popcast isn’t a vendor. The popcast isn’t selling things to people. The popcast is bringing it to the masses for free. So let’s let’s talk about what drives it. Let’s talk about how you got started on that. What motivated the popcast and how you ended up being one of the premier voices in the cloud native space?

DAN: I think it’s pretty much what I did prior as like you know I was Field CTO with the company Sysdig. I was able to be and you know I was able to kind of be in front of customers and also I did a ton of community stuff like in terms of like you know there was a Kubernetes meetup in New York and so I got involved from that perspective. I just loved being like talking to people not about the… you know everybody has pain points. We talked about that, but it was more of hey, got to know this person. This person is the developer. They did x, y, and z. People come to meet up and they had like a new like solution that they came out, and they were so energized and pumped to talk about it. So I’m like okay well COVID hits and I can’t do that anymore. It pissed me off and I’m in my basement, as you see here this wonderful basement here, and I’m like you know I miss connecting with people. The first couple of shows was literally just me talking to a couple of my friends. I talked to the founder of Sysdig, Loris, the first couple episodes. My best friend who works at Zendesk, Josh Teitelbaum, shout out to you dude, was on my first episode and we talked about you know development, and then we talked about like if you all remember like New York Seltzer, it was a seltzer company, and so we just talked about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and by the way, first episode I mean there’s no production value whatsoever in it, but it was funny because like the guy’s like going around the office and there’s like he’s got like a bengal tiger and he’s walking around the office with the bengal tiger, and so we break down the video. You all should watch it. It was good. But they had fun. Then by like the fourth or fifth episode, I was like okay, I kind of found my groove and I was like you know what I wanted this to do is always be connecting the human behind the code because it’s so much more interesting to understand why you know Matt Provo from StormForge did what he did, the things that he did. Why Kelsey did that talk, why when he was you know courting his future wife, on his round two, this is the reason why, this is the things that he did, and you get to understand people better. So that’s kind of why I started it… Yeah. 

CODY: Do you think… So you brought up COVID and you brought up like not being able to be around your friends, is it far-fetched to say that by doing the podcast you were actually solving a personal pain point for yourself? 

DAN: Oh without a doubt, man. I was miserable. I’m gonna be honest with you. From a personal perspective, I’m like I missed ha dude, I missed hanging out with you. You know what I mean like, let’s be honest, Code. I mean we had a lot of great times together. You know what I mean. Like a lot. Like you know a lot of the friends I have, Stephen and others, right, and you know, like the way that I see it is, it was definitely something that was a pain that you know trying to address, but like it’s also been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life, by far – besides having my children obviously, and marry my wife, but you know…

NOAH: Besides that. 

CODY: Well yeah, and obviously it’s been quite successful. So congratulations on that. 

DAN: Thank you, and again, it’s the community that’s been behind it, but also my just everybody that’s been supportive. And you all have been supportive of me since jump in so many ways. Not just like sponsoring the show, but just supportive of me and just saying well Pop, you’re doing a great job, and also just you know telling people about it and that makes that means more to me than anything. You know I’d do anything for you both so…

NOAH: Aww… so…

DAN: …and with that I gotta go! See y’all! 

CODY: Let me wipe my eye real quick…

NOAH: Right there, that’s a tear right there. I’m trying to think how do I want to really… I have a question, but I think how to phrase it… do you think that as we’re trying to tie this into people solving their pain points, or in this case probably more filling needs is probably a better way than solving pain points, probably better way to describe it, do you think that the folks that are coming on your show are, I mean they’re obviously going to be filling some sort of need for themselves, but do you think that the show itself is leading into other solutions that are coming out, or do you think that the presence of the show itself is more of a solution than what people are bringing? Are people bringing a lot of marketing presence and they want to try and push things for the show? Or do you think the show is really the destination?

DAN: I think it’s either or. If somebody wants to like you know kind of promote something they’re doing, they’re kind of you know utilizing the podcast to do that, which is awesome and I appreciate that. But it’s also like I have folks that come on that really do want to have you understand what they do in a way that’s not just me going on and doing a demo and doing a talk or whatever. It’s like I’m having this 30 minute conversation and what I pride myself on is I don’t spend the whole interview talking about the product they have. I spend the first… it’s always the same sequence. Always. And there’s a reason for it. I want everybody to come into an episode every episode they see like he starts with the journey, gives the intro, does the journey, goes into you know some finer points of what the problem they were trying to solve with their tool, or whatever, going into this, what do they like to do in their spare time, right? Then I always end with the same question. It is always what work are you most proud of? And the reason why I do that is because people should have pride in what they’ve done. Sarah Novotny should have absolute pride in that everything we do as a community has to do with like the ground things that they set. So like it can go either way, and I’m like I said, I’m pretty you know happy that I’m kind of a destination, the show excuse me, is the destination for it. I love doing it. This is to me has become the best thing. I enjoy doing this a lot, a ton.

CODY: Do you think that when people come on and share their stories, do you feel like it’s almost a like a validation period for them where they’re like reaffirming what they’re doing and just getting that, I don’t know, like kind of like a here I am, this is what I do, this is why I’m doing it, you know like it or not, this is what you get?

DAN: I think a lot of folks are humble and they’re not going to tell you like hey, I did this and this. I had the person who created curl on. Super humble you know and just Daniel’s… great episodes again at @POPcastpop if you all want to check it out on Twitter. They’ll see all the links to the show, but basically like you know and he was talking about you know he won these couple awards like math awards and nobody knows about, but he was super proud of him, so we started talking about that. I was like you’re from Sweden so you have a bunch of IKEA furniture, right? Just so you know busting his balls, right, but at the end of the day, I hope they get that, but look I’m you know I’m not a psychologist, you know what I mean. I’m not here to kind of you know validate like what’s going on. What I am here to do is to support my listeners and my watchers. I want them to understand that there’s more to this person. Julius Falls from Prometheus, there was more to this person than the fact that he came up with a bunch of exporters, right? There’s more to the StormForge founder. Matt Provo, he did all the things that he did you know with Kony and all that great stuff, right? Want people to know that. You want people to like really root for people. When I… one of the things like I said when like Augustus was on the first time, somebody came and included that in the retrospective that we did. So basically that the person was like look, I mean, this person was so wonderful. The best podcast I’ve ever listened to total was just listen to Stephen. We all love Stephen. Stephen is great, right? So having more people out there understand who he is, that to me is rewarding for me. Everybody here. Noah’s gonna be on next week, right? Having folks understand how awesome this dude is like then I’m doing my job well, right? So that’s kind of what it is.

NOAH: So you just explicitly said I’m not a psychologist, but my next question is sort of a psychological one. Do you think that there is, as part of it being a destination for people to go and talk about things, do you think stepping back from the work and talking about the people sort of gets you away from that day-to-day where we just get lost in the grind, where we’re going oh look another meeting, another pr, another whatever it is that we’ve got to go through, and being able to step back and say now I understand a little bit more about the people. In the process of stepping back, do you think people are learning more about the ecosystem, about the environment, about the solutions, about how people are solving things, about pain points. I don’t want to keep beating that particular phrase, but I want to bring it back to that. Do you think that getting away from it and making it human gives you something that is you know oh, now I’ve stepped back. I’m outside the box. I can look at it from a different direction. 

DAN: Absolutely. If you think about like I just had Velay on. Velay was one of the like the original creators of Kubernetes, right? Nobody knew. Nobody knows about a lot about him. You hear about Craig, and you hear about Beta, and you hear about Brandon Burns, right? But like having him on and telling his side of the story of like having fights about like, not fights, but discussions about like you know this you know some of the storage and underlying networking stuff with hawking, getting the underlying things, and you piece all that jigsaw puzzle together is kind of cool. Then for the listener, right, if they’re a longtime listener or subscriber to the show, they can kind of also go back and go oh, let me go and listen to the Godfather’s episode, which I call the Godfathers of Kubernetes, right, because they’re the creators of it, and then now we have the Silent Godfather, which adds even more to the story. Still have to get Brian Grant, Brian Grant, if you’re listening love to have you on the show, but basically like you know the way that, or watching excuse me. So like the way that I see it, again, if it’s a cathartic thing for somebody listening, I love that. That’s useful, but like that’s not what I’m planning to do. My plan for the show is for folks to be entertained, but also to understand have that connection. Wow, maybe there’s a founder out there that listened to Provo’s story. It’s gonna say you know what, I’m gonna do that. If that’s inspirational to that person or you know somebody out there listen to the Stephen Augustus story and says you know what, I want to go ahead and be a part of ContribX because I love the fact he explained every, to the umph degree, exactly what all of the like what basil is and all this fun stuff. To me, that’s awesome, right? Then I’ve done a service to the community. Did I answer your question?

NOAH: I think you did.

DAN: Alright.

NOAH: I think you did. So there’s a lot. There’s so many different people, so many different aspects. What’s going to happen at KubeCon? What can you tell us? 

DAN: So again, the week before KubeCon, we have seven shows in seven days, you all, and you’re a part of it, right? So next week I want you all to check it out please @POPcastPop. Okay? Check it out. We have a bunch… I cannot tell you names, but I’ll tell you one of them. Big reveal… Noah Abrahams is on that one of those days. Big reveal. Alright – only here!

KubeCon – look for the first time I’m co-chairing two co-located events. I’m really excited about EBPF Day. I love that. This is a great story. I was talking to Thomas Groff. Talking a little bit to some other folks and I went to, actually before I went to Chris Aniszczyk. I’m like Chris, we should think about doing a Cloud Native EBPF so we can talk about all the projects that are using EBPF and use it as a mechanism for folks to see the benefit of EBPF. If you all don’t know it’s Enhanced Berkeley Packet Filtering tool. It’s basically like almost like a helper into the kernel without you having to contribute directly to the kernel. Great piece of code, right? A great set of protocols, but anyway. So taking that and having talks all day that talk about the networking piece, the troubleshooting piece, the security piece from all of these different angles where like it’s going to be at practical hands-on. Folks talking about debugging applications. So somebody comes out of that, they have a tool kit that they come out and say cool, I can do this. Another big reveal, I will be panel emceeing with one of our best friends, right, Duffy Cooley. So we’ll, him and I will be emceeing that. I’m really excited about it. Liz was actually supposed to co-emcee with me, but she couldn’t because of obviously couldn’t come into the country. So that’s that. Tag security is another one the technical advisory group, used to be sig security, right? We’re doing you know a co-located event as well. That I was event lead with Emily Fox and Andres Vega and this amazing program committee. It is literally soup to nuts – all the great security tools that are out there. Amazing talks, end user talks, really excited about that. Then beyond that, Cloud Native TV every day is going to do a recap and I’m really excited about that because I am going to be doing a recap on day one with all the keynote speakers, hopefully, coming by the booth. We actually have a booth set up outside the thing that we’re broadcasting outside of that we’re gonna be doing recaps every single day. So it’s awesome stuff. KubeCon to me, I’m really excited to be on-prem, but I’ll tell you the one thing that I’m really excited about. I want to… The people – Constance, Carmolis, Stephen, Jasmine – being able to actually present their keynotes in real time, in front of people. It’s a freaking travesty they have not been able to in front of people, be able to deliver their keynote. It makes me so… If they wouldn’t be able to do this this year, I would have been so sad. So I literally might have tears in my eyes. I’m gonna be right in that front row. Literally just being like you go. I’m gonna literally like stand up and cheer for them because they deserve it. They’ve put for in the time of this turbulence that is COVID, being able to put events that people actually talk about that were great events, that takes a lot. That takes a lot of leadership. So I’m proud of them. 

NOAH: I love it. I might actually have a tear here in this one because oh my god they’ve done big big love to you folks. They’ve done so much work.

CODY: Absolutely.

NOAH: Oh gosh, I cannot wait for KubeCon. I am so excited to be on premise. You will see us and we will be happy to talk to any and all of you. 

DAN: Actually one other thing too. I want to come by the StormForge booth and say what’s up. If that’s… I just hang out with you all. Definitely I’m gonna do that with a lot of my sponsors. Come back and just… but even beyond that, just to support you all, just to say what’s up, and see what’s going on. I really like that aspect of it. Just going and seeing people again, and seeing like okay, you all have grown so much. Just like the show has grown. So I’m really excited about like what you all are doing and stuff like that. So I definitely want to take the time to come and check out. And you should all check out StormForge. Noah does a great job, and you’ll see it next week on the POPcast by the way, @POPcastPop on Twitter. Noah talks about the amazing stuff that StormForge is, what they’re doing, it’s just good stuff. 

CODY: Yeah, so for those of you who don’t know, yesterday Pop, was my year anniversary at StormForge. I know it’s come by quick and that means Noah’s is not too far behind.

NOAH: A couple of weeks now.

CODY: Yeah, just to see the evolution from where we were just a year ago to now. I mean it’s night and day, and I’m gonna yeah, come by the booth. I’m gonna be doing something special at the booth. I don’t know what yet, but stop by and see.

NOAH: Might be a song and dance. Might have a little hat on. Something.

CODY: Might have a little hat on.

DAN: Irish jig.

CODY: Irish jig. Yeah, sounds good. Rapid Fire questions? 

NOAH: Go for it. 

CODY: Oh, I did the last one. I think this is…

NOAH: I’ll do it. Okay. So, we’re subbing in our first question. We’ve been asking everybody the same questions, but we’re subbing in because we already know your answer to the first question about pineapple on pizza. So we’re not even going to ask it. So favorite pizza? 

DAN: Thank you, Carlos Panado, by the way. Sent me this thing right there.

NOAH: Oh my gosh. 

DAN: So every background just to like f with you, all every single show from I don’t know like March forward, I’ve had this thing in the background just to f with everybody. 

NOAH: So favorite pizza toppings? 

DAN: I think we covered this before. I’m kind of a plain. I think Cheddarman responded it was a Kevin McAllister from Home Alone. I like plain pizza. It’s plain. It’s like if you do, it’s the perfect marriage of the sauce and the cheese, right? So I’m a plain pizza person. If the sausage is good, or it’s like meat lovers, I’ll do that too, but… by the way I went to Detroit and shout out to the A2 Mafia, the Ann Arbor folks, Detroit style was amazing and we had this meat lover level pizza and I would I’m still… I’m so blown away by it. So shout out to the crew. You know who you are in Ann Arbor, Michigan. So that was not a quick fire. Okay, we gotta go next question, right?

NOAH: Okay, we can probably guess from what we see in front of us. Favorite sports team? 

DAN: In terms of favorite sports team in what sport though? 

CODY: All the time. 

NOAH: Just period.

DAN: I mean that’s obvious. The New York Yankees. The greatest team that’s ever competed in any sport, by championships. 

NOAH: Okay. Favorite POPcast episode? 

DAN: Don’t do that to me. It’s literally like… they’re like my children and there’s no way I can say there is a favorite. I can tell you this, in terms of just one that I was like I never thought I’d get this person on and I just went out there and did it was the person that created Plex. Plex is the reason that I’m in microservices. So Plex if you all don’t know is like this multi media server that you can back up stuff to. And so like basically like I had Elon, who’s the guy that like created it, and I was like… Sorry this is quick fire, but I love this thing. But I just was like hey, man I’d love to have you in the show. Responds – DMs me back. Sure when do you need me on? I mean that was just like… it was one of those shot in the darks, right! It was like that one. In terms of like what the public likes, like I said, I just I love that the Plex episode because of that, but he was just could not be more gracious. I mean it’s obviously Kelsey will kill it every single show he’s on. Red Beard is to me in terms of… it’s still it’s my episode 13. There’s so many. Novotny. I can’t. Don’t do this to me. All of them are amazing.

NOAH: All of them.

CODY: That’s fair. That’s fair. 

NOAH: Note made. Pop loves them all equally. Favorite piece of technology – any tech?

DAN: That’s a good one. Depends on the day to be honest with you. Right now I love my camera. I just got the smaller cam. It’s a ZV1. It’s a Sony ZV1. I used to have this big a6600 with the long lens. This thing is incredible – like look, the quality is pretty decent, right? It’s the same quality as the a6600 Sony camera, so the cameras I’m loving. 

My iPhone and my iPad. I just got the iPad Pro. I’m not an Apple guy really, and it’s just just so convenient, right? Last one, I’m sorry like deviating, but like the I really like Nvidia stuff. Nvidia cards. But all these crypto miners, like I’ve tried for the last six months to buy a card and they’ve just been either out or like astronomical. So my shows usually take about 30 minutes to render and I have a card that’s a 1080 ti, right? It’s an old card. It’s like 4 years old, right? My show would be able to get deployed in five minutes had I had this new one. I’m having to wait for these crypto folks to like not get like the 30 90s and the latest ones and everything like that. So Nvidia if you’re listening to this, throw your dog a bone here, dude. Come on. 

NOAH: Okay. Favorite open source project? 

DAN: Falco by far. I mean look…

NOAH: Softball.

DAN: So let me explain. Kubernetes to me is the greatest community and the greatest open source project that has ever been since inception. It is the greatest project in the world. Not just for the technology, for the community. Every community that’s good in the world to me should be derived from what happened with Kubernetes. I patterned Falco community after Kubernetes and what I learned from Cody, and from what I learned from Marky, and what I learned from you all, from Augustus, all that. I patterned that from that. Also like the other you know key maintainers are all the same mindset from that perspective. So like I said, I think Kubernetes is great, but in terms of… The way that I always describe Falco these days is pretty much like what Kubernetes is the distributed computing, I feel Falco is the runtime security. You can go to falco.org if you can see more about it, but I think it’s a great project for what it does. We’re the only runtime security tool that’s in the CNCF landscape and I’m very very proud of it. I’m very proud of not just the product or the project, but the people. We have a guy in France. This guy’s name is Thomas. He created Sidekick, which is this kind of you know it’s this damon set kind of side car that’ll take outputs and present it to anything you want. The Slack, Pager Duty, even a beautiful UI. This dude in France did this on his own time. It’s up to a million and a half downloads as of today. 40 different outputs all because he took it and ran with it, so shout out to you, Thomas Leverosius. You’re awesome. I love all the community like all these people are so freaking brilliant. I’m so excited to be part of it. Love it. 

NOAH: Favorite hobby. Do you even have time for hobbies? 

DAN: I don’t even have time for hobbies to be honest with you, but like when I did I was a big… I love playing games. At one point there wouldn’t have been a season two of the POPcast because I started playing Genshin Impact because you know like some folks were playing it, and you know what I’m talking about because it was in the chat, and I was I go I gotta quit this cold turkey or there’s not gonna be a season. There was a point where it literally was like season 2 or play a little more Genshin Impact and I’m like okay… But I love video games. My son likes video games too, so he’ll play. He’s big into like you know plays a lot of I got him a Sony PS5 so he plays around with that. So he’s definitely like his old man.

NOAH: Love to hear it. Last one. Favorite place to vacation?

DAN: Oh, that’s a really good one. It really depends, man. I mean obviously you know Italy was my favorite. I mean Italy to me because it’s my motherland and my parents are from there and they’re from the south of Italy, but like you know we did for a 10-year anniversary with my wife we went there and we went to like Milan, and we went to Florence, and Rome, and it was just like… I got to see the David. Michelangelo’s David. You see that and you see like the veins in the dude’s hand and how beautifully sculpted it was and some of that. The food is amazing. People are really cool. So I love Italy. I will be there. I don’t care like I want to go pretty pretty quickly, but in terms of… I like Austin, Texas is cool. San Francisco’s great. I do it all.

NOAH: Fantastic.

DAN: I just don’t like Boston. I don’t want to go to Boston. Just kidding. I love Boston. I actually really do, I do. 

NOAH: So that’s it. That’s all we got. Maybe just in case people had no idea where they could find the POPcast next week, let’s just give them one more where can they find the POPcast? 

DAN: All of you can follow us on Twitter at p-o-p-c-a-s-t-p-o-p. @POPcastPOP. There’s a link in the profile too. There’s video and audio, so you can subscribe or you can just like search through like Spotify or Apple Music if you’re doing audio only for POPcastPop. Again next week, October 3rd through 9th, we have an episode every single day. That’s seven days leading up to KubeCon. Then we head to KubeCon and I get to see all your beautiful faces, and your beautiful faces. So…

NOAH: Love it.

DAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me on fellas. I really appreciate it.

NOAH: Thank you for being on. This was a pleasure.

CODY: Absolutely, every time.

DAN: Shout out to StormForge. I love you all. Sponsors, but also just awesome people. You’ve always been such big supporters of POPcast. Shout out to the StormForge. I love you all.

NOAH: …and we will see you on the POPcast next week and we will see everyone else at KubeCon! Come visit us on the show floor and come find us around in the hallway track. We love you all and we will see you then. Bye, everybody!