The Left Bank Buzz team has the pleasure of working with Pek around the launch of his Kickstarter campaign for the new Human Readable Magazine. The magazine is like "the New Yorker for coders," so obviously we jumped at the chance to work with him (see: our sister publication Left Bank Magazine). Pek sat down with us to describe his new magazine, the goals of the Human Readable project, and why Morning Cup of Coding (his daily email digest for coders) is so damn cool.
Without further ado, meet Pek.
Left Bank: Let’s discuss how you got your start in the industry?
Pek: I grew up playing video games with my younger brother, owning most Nintendo consoles of the era and paying by the hour at gaming lounges with other friends. We would always dream of making our own video games one day so naturally, when I had to choose what path to follow as a programmer, I chose the video game development industry.
Did you go to school for computer science, or just found yourself doing it one day?
Both. When I was in middle school, way before I had my own PC, I was working at my local PC shop during the summers building and repairing. At some point, the shop decided to teach programming to students who wanted to go to computer science universities and, because I was working there, it was free for me. So I got started there, learning GWBasic, and a few years later when I finally got my own PC, I would play around with other languages. Eventually I went and got a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
What is your coding language of choice?
I'd like to think that I don't have a favorite because typically I try to choose the language that fits best for what I want to do. But if I had to pick, C# and Ruby are my comfort foods.
Morning Cup of Coding is a daily digest of sorts of tech articles, how did you get the idea for it?
Somebody suggested I start a newsletter. My first reaction was "Do people still read newsletters? Is that a thing?" And then the more I looked into it the more I wasn't sure. So I decided I'll just give it a go. TinyLetter, the service I used at the beginning, was free and very easy to use. All I had to do was find my audience. And that was easier said than done.
Did you decide to create Human Readable Magazine as an offshoot of Morning Cup of Coding? What was the inspiration behind it?
Quite the opposite. I wanted to create a magazine first, but when I contacted some authors they all said the same thing: where's your audience? And, in fact, one of those authors was the one who suggested I start with a newsletter, build an audience, and then try it again. And that's exactly what I did. This is me trying it again.
Let’s talk about your Kickstarter campaign coming up—when does it launch, and what are some reward tiers we can look forward to?
We'll be launching our Kickstarter campaign on October 1st (there's a very fun holiday during the month that we will be taking advantage of *wink*wink*). At the same time, we'll be publishing our sample issue for free for everybody to read so they know how high we are setting the bar. For rewards, aside from yearly subscriptions and the likes, in my opinion, the most exciting one is our Kickstarter Exclusive Issue that we will be making only for our backers. We'll be working closely with them to decide what to put in the issue so that they get a lot of value out of it.
What’s next for the overall Human Readable company?
Lots of things! But we are taking it one step at a time. After the success of our newsletter we are focusing on the magazine. But we are already in talks with someone to start a podcast and we've played around with some ideas for a YouTube series.
What music do you listen to while coding?
Currently? Dark Synthwave. Carpenter Brut, Dance With the Dead, Lazerhawk, etc. Interestingly I discovered this genre while watching a programmer streaming on Twitch. He shared a Spotify playlist on stream and I got hooked ever since. I highly recommend you give it a listen.
Finally, any special shout-outs you want to give?
Yeah. Shout out to all our wonderful supporters over at Patreon. Some of them have been with us since day one and I cannot thank them enough. And our authors who helped us put together our sample issue, particularly Jonathan Boccara who we've collaborated in the past for our newsletter. And of course all my close friends who've been patient with me talking about this project over and over and bugging them for their opinions. I do really listen guys! I swear!