Juho Vepsäläinen

Planning, focus, and persistence, with Juho Vepsäläinen


Juho is the creator of SurviveJS - a project that promises to take you from apprentice to master in both ReactJS and Webpack. On top of that, Juho is also a core contributor to Webpack! When not writing books or code, Juho can be found on stage at conferences around Europe, having already added KharkivJS, HelsinkiJS, Web Dev And Sausages, and ReactJS Barcelona to the notches on his belt.

Time Stamped Show Notes

1:02 – Juho enjoys painting and drawing when he’s not writing code. He finds that there are many commonalities between art and code.

1:42 – Back in 2014, whilst working as a contractor for low rates and constantly hunting for hours, Juho commented on a blog post by Christian Alfoni. He mentioned that Webpack was confusing and that there should be a cookbook. From there, they started working on a wiki, and then a little book, which eventually became a big book, and now it’s two books!

2:55 – Juho says that the book didn’t sell well in the first few months of its release. He decided to find an editor, and came across Jesus Rodriguez Rodriguez from Spain. From there,  the book sales increased and Juho developed a more sustainable model.

3:45 – When asked how he could’ve prevented that rough start, Juho answers that he doesn’t think there’s an easy way to avoid crisis. He believes that if you’ve never experienced crisis, you’ve never really tried. These kind of experiences shape you as a person. He thinks that going towards the problem as hard as he could was a good approach.

4:42 – Juho uses OmniFocus to track and plan what has to be done in the future. He uses it to list future versions of his books, and as he gets feedback, adds it to the system, and then uses OmniFocus to work on tasks. OmniFocus makes it easy for Juho to get ideas out of his head so that he doesn’t have to remember them.

5:45 – Focus is one of the most challenging things Juho deals with on a daily basis, as it’s easy to lose an hour when you get distracted by chat or something interesting that grabs your attention.

6:11 – Larry describes how he uses the Eisenhower Matrix to deal with distraction. The basic premise is that you should determine whether a task is important or urgent, and then focus only on the important tasks first.

6:48 – Juho describes how a problem with maintaining packages in Webpack encouraged him to create a tool to overcome this. Together with Artem Sapegin, Juho created Marmot, or mrm, a command line tool to help you keep configuration (package.json, .gitignore, .eslintrc, etc.) of your open source projects in sync.

9:40 – Haskell has had the biggest influence on how Juho thinks about and writes code. He used to think in terms of objects and object-orientated programming with no proper appreciation of functional programming. These days he thinks in declarative ways.

10:30 – Elm is great because it eliminates runtime errors that Javascript suffers from.

Quickfire Questions

11:11 – Best advice about programming
Give meaningful names to things.

11:20 – Habits for writing better code
Juho attributes his ability to write better code to his drawing skills. He believes there are parallels between graphical abstractions and software abstractions.

11:50 – Book
Code Complete – it’s a book that will completely change the way you think about programming.

12:38 – How to learn code from scratch
Juho would learn the the same way he did in the past – starting with electronics. He believes that if you understand how physical components work, you can apply the same ideas of encapsulation and abstraction to the web.

13:32 – How to work smart
Have a concrete goal, and take one small step towards that goal each day. It doesn’t have to be a huge step as long as it gets you moving forward.

Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned

Contact Juho

Larry Botha