Jay Miller: ADHD Productivity, DevRel, and Tetris

Episode 9

August 9, 2022

This is episode nine, and today I'm talking with Jay Miller. Jay is a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, and as an advocate, Jay has appeared on numerous podcasts, video channels, and presenting to developers all over the globe. Recently at folks in Nigeria, entrepreneurs at South By Southwest, and developers worldwide at Python's largest conference, pyCon.

Show Notes


Jay Miller


Llama Life

Links and show notes:


Jay Miller: And a lot of those skills are the same skills that we develop in just having so many interests in, in wanting to do so many different things. And we like take from all of them and then incorporate them into our unique career set that we have today.

Jesse: Hey, my name is Jesse J. Anderson, host of the ADHD Nerds podcast. The show where we talk about living with ADHD, and have some fun along the way.

Jesse: This is episode nine, and today I'm talking with Jay Miller. Jay is a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, and as an advocate, Jay has appeared on numerous podcasts, video channels, and presenting to developers all over the globe. Recently at folks in Nigeria, entrepreneurs at South By Southwest, and developers worldwide at Python's largest conference, pyCon.

Jesse: Jay works in developer relations, which is shortened to Dev Rel. Uh, we mention that a few times in the episode, and I didn't want you to be trying to figure out what we were saying, if you're not familiar with the term. We do talk about it a little bit later in the episode.

Jesse: But first I'd like to thank our sponsor, Llama Life. Say goodbye to never-ending lists and hello to daily bliss. Llama Life is a perfect tool for managing time boxed working sessions. You can whiz through your monstrous to do list, finish your work on time, and get the things done that you said you would do. To get your free trial, go to adhdnerds.com/llama that's L L A M A and get started today. And you can save 20% by using the coupon code JESSELLAMA20. That's J E S S E L L A M A 2 0. Now let's get to the show.

Jesse: Hey, Jay. It is, uh, great to have you here.

Jay Miller: Hey, happy to happy to be on this show. Uh, I know I'm in good company when, when you get recommended by, uh, previous guests and, uh, famous ones at that too, so.

Jesse: Awesome. So let's kind of jump right into it. Uh, I, I, I always love to start the show kind of hearing your own history with ADHD. Like when. You know, maybe what it was like growing up. And if you knew something was different, what that was like and what eventually led to you finding out that you had ADHD.

Jay Miller: Well, well, since, since in the pre-recording you hit me with, with the, the deep cut gem of, of me talking about my ADHD story on shows I did years ago, yeah, growing up, i, I wasn't very studious and I was quote unquote hardheaded. Uh, the, the thing that we often hear, uh, at least at least that I heard, like growing up, growing up in like the south as like a, a black kid in like a predominantly white town, it was like, Great.

Jay Miller: Awesome athlete. Could pay more attention in like school and stuff and, but that's okay, athletics will take 'em all the way and no, it didn't. Um, so, um, in, in kindergarten, like, One, my, my grandfather and my family was always like pressing academics. You wanna be learning? You wanna be constantly learning.

Jay Miller: This is a thing that I still believe to this day, like constantly learning constantly. Like I love watching like YouTube videos and like learning things. Um, so I went into kindergarten already knowing how to read, like already, like the writing thing, read reading, writing, and at least some basic arithmetic stuff like done.

Jay Miller: We we've been, we've been on that. So I. Teaching first graders, how to read in kindergarten, like going to their class and like reading to them and saying like, oh, this is this. And when I got to first grade, that posed a problem because I had, I had done the things and, and it was kind of a workbook system where like, they give you, you know, you buy the, the book and you buy the workbook with it and I would get bored and like one.

Jay Miller: the teacher was like, well, just go ahead and like go through the book. And I was like, I can't, I already did this is in like the first, like month of being in first grade. And they're like, you've gone, you've gone through the entire book, like the entire workbook for the, for the school year. So they were like, well, um,

Jesse: Now what?

Jay Miller: Now what

Jay Miller: So I wound up skipping first grade and going into second and kind of going through that process and. I. It was, it was like, basically that was my life was like, I'm just gonna keep reading. I'm gonna keep doing the thing and straight a student all the way up until like middle school that I was like an AB student.

Jay Miller: And then when I got to high school, things changed, I went one, I went to, uh, we moved, we moved to a different city. And then I went, I got enrolled into what was called the pre-engineering program, which was basically this gifted program that you had to test into, which I tested into fine. that was designed to give students the advantage when starting college as engineering majors.

Jay Miller: And at the time, in my mind, I was like, I, I've known about computers and I was like, oh, you know, I wanna do jump into computing. Let me do that mechanical engineering with like computer hardware engineering, like that whole thing. Let me do that. And it was the first time that I was actually challenged, but because I had.

Jay Miller: Like had to study for things. It was like, well, I don't know how to actually study or prepare for these things. And again, hardheaded ath, you know, I had stopped doing sports at that time. So there was no like athletics, you know, idea. And I struggled, but finished that program. I was one of three people that actually finished the program.

Jay Miller: A lot of people, it has a really high drop rate. Um, but I finished. Barely, but I graduated, Cs make degrees and in this case Cs make diplomas. Um, so I'll take it. And then I started college and realized quickly that living on my own, having no stability, no system and being in college, taking like.

Jay Miller: Chemistry and like calculus two and all this other stuff that like I wasn't prepared for, really put me in a bind. So I wound up dropping out and joining the military. And regardless of people's opinions of, you know, serving, you know, in the us, the military gave me the first semblance of stability and routine.

Jay Miller: In my entire life. Um, so I did that for five years. I served in a Marine expeditionary unit deployed, got to travel all over Southeast Asia and see the world, meet new people, exp again, constantly learning, learning about new cultures, learning new cuisine, learning all these new things and. Getting into teaching and teaching like people how to do my job because I was on a deployment team.

Jay Miller: My job was to bring people in, train them up for deployment, deploy, and then watch them leave as a new people. Instead of people came in and I just kept doing that over and over again, but that was process and I was okay with that. So in the end, That wound up. I wound up doing that for five years. I got out, got married, started working in it and lost all that stability.

Jay Miller: All that routine went from being told when to do everything from like never being told anything and being fearful for my job. Um, I'll skip the productivity stuff. Cause I think we're gonna come back to that later. I got really heavy into productivity. it was very much like an addiction for me. And then I realized how toxic that was moved, moved in.

Jay Miller: Eventually I got into programming and decided that I wanted to become a developer at the time I was a system administrator. So I started automating myself out of a job. Quite literally. I would go to work, take a spreadsheet that had all the things that I had to do for the day. and I had a script that would like process the spreadsheet just do the things.

Jay Miller: So I would go to work, hit a button and then get up and walk around the building for eight hours.

Jesse: That's awesome.

Jay Miller: And finally the script broke andand like I, at e time I'd gotten out of it. Cause I just realized like, uh, this is boring. I want a new challenge. Went into marketing was doing the same thing for the same, like same, like automating myself out of that role, but at the same company.

Jay Miller: And when the script broke, I knew how to do the things because I had automated it. Like, even though I had automated the process, I had to know how to automate the process

Jesse: Right. Yeah.

Jay Miller: but I couldn't figure out I couldn't like force my, my body and my brain to do the work.

Jesse: Mm-hmm

Jay Miller: Because the script had failed me. I'd lost like confidence that I could just like, oh, let me go here.

Jay Miller: And, you know, set this to this and just be on my merry and like back to normal. So then I had a panic attack

Jay Miller: I'm outside of my boss's window, panicking hyperventilating, freaking out. My boss comes out and comes next to me and, you know, great guy. And he says, I can't tell you to go see a doctor, but I can tell you now my son has ADHD.

Jay Miller: My son has ASD go talk to someone. I like people have seen this. They see you roaming the hallways. They don't know what you're doing. They think you're not working. I know you're working. I know you're smart enough to just automate all this stuff and like, get outta here. There is. There are protection set up for you.

Jay Miller: If there is something wrong, I'm not telling you there's something wrong, but know that if this is how you have to work, because this is how you're wired to work. And a doctor says that you're gonna be okay, if not, then we really need to figure this out, or we need to figure out like an exit strategy.

Jay Miller: That's gonna work out. So at this time, you know, I'm, I'm still like I'm 29 at this point. And I've, I've outgrown the, the stereotypical, like ADHD, squirrel joke, shiny joke. Like the things that we laugh about now that we're like, because they're true. But also like when we, when you hear people who like, are not diagnosed, say that and it, like, it offends you a little bit,

Jesse: Right.

Jay Miller: yeah.

Jay Miller: So I, I,

Jesse: It is like, okay, there's a little bit of truth to that, but Hey, I can make the joke. Not you.

Jay Miller: in the, in the end I wind up, you know, going to see a psychiatrist and just in the conversation, he's. How long have you been managing your ADHD?

Jay Miller: And I was like, well, first of all, what? And then like, second of all, what? , never, I've never, I guess is day one and, so yeah, like that's, I literally found out by having my wife take my ADHD test for me, because I felt like I would overanalyze and lie so, um, And then after afterwards I took it and yeah, I, I definitely over analyzed it so I was like, here's, here's what I put.

Jay Miller: Here's what my wife put. And they looked at both of 'em. They were like, they're like, yeah, yes.

Jesse: yeah. Sometimes, you know, and it's just real, real obvious when you see it out like that. Yeah.

Jay Miller: Yeah. but the, the good thing about that was it put again, I was 29 when I found out and it put 29 years of life into perspective. A lot of, a lot of things that, again, being constantly told, oh, you know, oh, he is just hardheaded. Or, you know, why don't you find something and stick with it?

Jay Miller: Don't, don't change what you want to do, you know, every, you know, year or two, like of a thing and do that thing.

Jesse: mm-hmm

Jay Miller: Just understanding that it wasn't me being flawed. It was just, Hey, I'm I think like this, and luckily for me, I quickly moved into an industry that allowed me to think like that and like actually became a strong point in my career when I switched over to developer relations.

Jay Miller: Uh, so yeah, I mean, since then it it's been. Four years now, four years of, of knowing that I have ADHD. And, in the last few years I've been advocating for people who are getting diagnosed in their late twenties, early thirties. And actually I've had people who are in their sixties that are just like, like they they've literally messaged me like, I went to a doctor I've been in tears all day because there's so many things in my life that now just makes sense.

Jesse: Right. Yeah.

Jay Miller: So, yeah,

Jay Miller: it's.

Jesse: It's, it's, it's wild. How, like, it can just put your whole life into like this new perspective, being able to kind of understand, oh, that's why I did this. That's why I did that. Um, yeah. And I think the like, finding. Finding that career or that career path or whatever it is that lines up.

Jesse: Like, I think that's almost why, uh, yeah, like neurotypical people will say, you know, kinda like you mentioned. Stop changing jobs, stop changing your mind. Like just find a place and stick there, but we know when it's not working, it's like this, just, this isn't gonna work. I, I know, even before I knew I had ADHD, it's like, I know my brain enough that this is going to crash and burn.

Jesse: And so I just need to get out on my own terms before that happens and kind of keep finding, like I probably had in my twenties, I probably had 30 different jobs. I don't think that's an exaggeration. I was. All over. Like I would do the thing where, um, I don't even know how important this is now, but I remember back then thinking like, oh, I've gotta stay at a place for like a year.

Jesse: So that on my resume, it doesn't look bad that I'm jumping all over the place. So what I would do. Yes exactly. I just took the dates off. I just put the year and then I just cut out all the jobs where I was like, ah, that job wasn't that, that important. Or I was only there for two months or whatever. So I would just pick my, my resume was just like, these are the jobs that I think look the best and I just put the years next to and that'll, that'll make it me look a little bit, uh, more, uh, reliable as an employee.

Jay Miller: I mean, I mean, that's, that's just good resume building. I, you know, I mentioned I dropped outta college. Like I don't put any education on my resume, like, but also having, having been constantly pushed to kind of do a lot of different things. That's left me in a position to where, you know, I've, I've been podcasting for almost a decade now.

Jay Miller: I. Been working on audio and video stuff for years for six, you know, 5, 6, 7 years. And I've been slowly teaching people how to do things since I was apparently in kindergarten. like, you know, doing all of these different things and I am the, I am the type of person that my resume has everything that I've done outside of my job.

Jay Miller: And then like when you go to like the job blurb, it's. Oh, yeah, I worked here once I automated that stuff and I don't really, don't really know what I did. Like here are the I, I, I won like newcomer of the, of the month or whatever, like, you know, whatever. But like, other than that, it was, it was always like, You know, I've negotiated contracts with, you know, third parties to do sponsor video content for them.

Jay Miller: You know, I've, I've, you know, worked with advertisers, I've worked with brands to, to talk about their product and get paid to do that. And to me, a lot of people look at the things that they do in their off time. Like, oh, that's the thing that I do in my off time. I'm not a professional at that. No.at that. No. When, whensking like five years of experience in programming, I was like, I started at here's when I first started programming.

Jay Miller: So I was like, oh yeah, I got way more than that. Like, I've been, been doing HTML and CSS since I was in middle school.

Jesse: Yeah, same here, baby. Yeah, it's funny. I think because of sort of the way like society looks at these things. I think it's easy to, um, it's easy to discount. Doing that kind of hobby jumping and like trying out all these different things like hobby jumping and career jumping. And it's easy to kinda like look down on it because it's not how neurotypical people work, but kind of, like you said, through that, I think we.

Jesse: We're able to discover these, uh, these passions and develop these skills, cuz like I'm, I'm a front end developer now. And that started from being a graphic designer. And the only reason I was a graphic designer was because like the home, you know, the home computer, this is back when, you know, you didn't have your own computer, there was one home computer.

Jesse: And uh, on it, my dad had Photoshop. And so I just started like making flyers for my band and stuff like that. And then I found that to be really fun and eventually it. Blossomed into a career, even though that was not my intention at

Jay Miller: And I loved how you glazed over the whole, like I was in a band thing like that, that whole, whole of it, like that is, and also just, we also had a family computer and I hope that yours was in the kitchen or like in the little, if there was like a little kitchen area, like in the corner,

Jesse: We had, it was, ours was part of the living room. So there was, it was, it was like a little, like one of those kind. I don't know, it's like a little cart you could push around. Like, it wasn't really a desk. It was like a cart that had like a keyboard tray and the computer sat on top of that.

Jay Miller: We, we had a, we had a little like a bar, that kind of thing that like separated the kitchen from the living room. So yeah, it was definitely, it was like in corner on there, so right. Definitely, definitely picking up, picking up the, the same feelings there.

Jesse: Yeah. Yeah.

Jay Miller: But I think that even in that being in a band, like, I'm sure you had a MySpace page, like sure, like, you know, that was the first thing of like every, everyone who has ever been in a band has done like MySpace in some way, because you had to put your music somewhere.

Jay Miller: Right. And so like, same here. A bunch of music used to collect guitars. Now I get rid of them. It's better that somebody uses them than for them to collect dust here. But, but to just think about, oh, when I think about music, I don't only think about the music that I listen to. Cause I listen to virtually everything from the sixties till now, but also.

Jay Miller: How I think about when I'm making a video and how music needs to incorporate feeling in the videos that I'm making. And I mean, sure. You can take, you know, a LinkedIn learning course on how to do all that stuff. Or you could have just been in a band and like high school and been like, oh, you do that. Oh, I was totally getting these vibe like that whole feeling.

Jay Miller: And a lot of those skills are the same skills that we develop in just having so many interests in, in wanting to do so many different things. And we like take from all of them and then incorporate them into our unique career set that we have today. At least for me, like being in devrel is truly, like, I, I have been told we hired you because you do so many things.

Jay Miller: Like you don't have to do all of them perfectly. Like we have people that focus on doing them. The problem is they come in and they talk to us and we're like, I don't know what you're talking about. And so like having somebody that speaks the language, even a little. It, it helps to navigate the process so much easier.

Jay Miller: So sure. The fact that you can do programming is a plus the fact that you can get up on stage and talk about it and be in, you know, enthusiastic and charismatic and all those other things that make me feel anxious. When I talk about myself using those terms, like sure. That's all great. But the fact that you can talk to somebody that we're going to have to rely on to make our project a success.

Jay Miller: And you know what they're talking about? Like when you talk to the audio producer and he goes, oh, we're gonna, we're gonna need you to do a double ender. Are you okay with that? It's like, yeah, I've got all of the equipment at home. I've got like all of my audio and video editing tools. Hey, what format do you want this in?

Jay Miller: You know, want this at, you know, 4k 30? Do you want it at 10 80, 60? Like, and they're just sitting there. Someone that knows, like they're so excited. It, it, it makes it easier for one, for people to be like, yes, I want to work with Jay. I don't necessarily, it becomes easier for me to do my job because people want to work with me because they know that I understand what they're going to have to go through.

Jay Miller: So I work to make their job easier, which also makes my job easier. Cuz they don't have to tell me 17 times. But the other side of that is they're so excited about that, that like, they actively go to my boss and they're like, Hey, or they just message me and they go, Hey, I wanna do this. What's the right way to do it.

Jay Miller: And then I also speak my boss's language. So then it's like, I, I talk to the video. People, get what they wanna do, and then put it. In terms of that, like my team understands, but then I can also do the other way around, uh, and, and kind of be that, that interpreter for a lack of a better phrase. And when you have a team of people that are all capable of doing that, it just makes everything run so smoothly.

Jay Miller: So what I've I've come to learn are some of the, the more visible, prolific people in my industry. have all been diagnosed with ADHD, like, like recently, like this happened, so it's, it's just like, oh, this is just a job for us. Like, this this is a job made for us, I guess. I don't.

Jesse: Right, right. That's so funny. Um, yeah. So you mentioned the devrel, which we're just kind of going into. For people that aren't really familiar. Could you kind of break down devrel, which stands for, you know, developer, uh, developer relations relationship. Yeah.

Jay Miller: Developer relations.

Jesse: yeah. So could you kind of, I know you kind of went over some of it, but like what does that, what does that mean?

Jesse: Why, why do you think it's like kind of uniquely suited, uh, for your brain?

Jay Miller: So as, as a and a developer advocate or a cloud advocate as, as it's called at Microsoft, uh, where I work. Hi, I work at Microsoft that whole thing. Um, My job is to get people excited about things that Microsoft is doing within, you know, visual studio code and Azure. and specifically within like Python as that's the programming programming language that I, I stay in, I, I work in, I know like JavaScript and all that stuff, but Python's where I'm at. So how do I do that? Well, I could write a blog post and you know, that's always great. And I can do a YouTube video. I can jump on a live stream. I could go speak at a conference. Like I can do any of those things. I could do all of those things. In fact, that's actually, my job is to do all of those things.

Jay Miller: Uh, so. It's ultimately the idea of like, understand what the company is working on, what they really want the community to know about and not necessarily be a salesperson. I, I call it being a hype man. Like think about like Flava Flav like Flava Flav like getting up and just being like, yo, I really want you to know about Public Enemy.

Jay Miller: Like that was job. People, people don't know both people in Public Enemy. But the one that they do know is Flava Flav although he literally said 5% of, of the words that were on songs and. It's, it's interesting because that is in many ways, my job, when someone goes, oh man, I'm really upset about, you know, this thing, not working the way that I wanted to, it's not my job to be like, who cares?

Jay Miller: Stop talking. It's like, no, it's like, no, let me, let me get this feedback. Like let me know. So I can take that back to my company. And if it's literally just a misunderstanding, if they're like doing something and they don't know that it's the right way to do it, it's my job then to be like, Hey, have you tried this?

Jay Miller: And. Or, oh, Hey, I've gotten a lot of people ask about this thing lately. Maybe I do a blog post about this, or maybe I make a video about this, or, you know, Hey, I found this really cool way of doing a thing. Maybe I talk about it at, you know, this upcoming conference that's coming out. You know, there, we, we do our little, I call 'em nerd gatherings. do our nerd gathering and I get up on stage and I talk about a thing that I'm really excited about because usually it's something that I have figured out. Then I'm like, whoa, this is really cool. And like, I want to tell people about this and it's great because my job is to learn about new things and tell people about it and tell

Jesse: Right. That that's ideal for like ADHD. Yeah. Learn about things and, and tell people that that's like what we do naturally. So that seems like a really, uh, perfect fit.

Jay Miller: yeah. The, the thing that makes it even better is that. In my opinion, the people who do the best job of advocating can take interest from outside of the product and link them to features and tools within the product. Because as an advocate, I will tell you no people at conference people who organize conferences.

Jay Miller: Are like sharks. like, they, they don't want your sales pitches do not come like, oh, we're gonna talk about this new feature. If, if the feature isn't free and the feature doesn't help everybody. And it's literally like, if, if I gotta sign up for something, no, count me out. We're not gonna talk about this

Jesse: Right.

Jay Miller: way that you do it is you talk about something else.

Jay Miller: And you showcase it using your product. Um, and for me again, uh, I think we talked about this before, like talking about how, like kind of an openness around mental health and diversity and understanding where I am and like the privilege that I've, I've gained over the last few years, just because of my career. What I've done is used my role as a way to address issues that I'm passionate about, but also to talk about things that just naturally interest me, and things that are happening in my life. But do it in a way that gets to showcase features or products that, you know, my employer has.

Jesse: Mm-hmm well, it's so funny too. How you, like I think there's this weird combination of so many people with ADHD have. You know, dipped their toes in all these different fields and kind of learned all these different skills and stuff like that. And like you combine that with the fact that we're really. We're really good at kind of that divergent thinking and connecting things. So we have like this really diverse set of data, cuz we've tried out all these different things and then we also are really good at kind of pat pattern recognition. So I think that's where a lot of those really unique ideas and connections and things like that happen with, from people that have ADHD, cuz we just like naturally kind of connect all those ideas. So earlier, uh, you mentioned, uh, productivity stuff and that's sort of, you know, you've got a podcast where you talk a lot about that and I'd love to hear maybe some of your, how you got into that world of productivity.

Jesse: I think it's really common for people with ADHD when, uh you've you know, especially when we don't know we have ADHD, we're like trying to figure out like, how the heck can I get this stuff done? Something. Is not letting me do the things I want to do. And so we kind of dive into the world of productivity and I know you've said on Twitter, you're not maybe a huge fan of the getting things done of way of doing things, which, uh, you know, previous, you know, previous guest, Scotty Jackson, he's a big fan of getting things done.

Jesse: And for me, it hasn't quite worked out for me, but I'd love to hear. Yeah, your take maybe on the problems with getting things done combined with ADHD brains and what other kind of productivity stuff has, uh, worked for you.

Jay Miller: So shout out to Scotty. There, there is not a week that goes by where like Scotty and I have, like, we have each other's number. Like we, we, I literally was talking to him earlier today. Um, just as like a, Hey, you know, what are you, what you got planned for the weekend? Da da, like that whole thing. Yeah.

Jay Miller: So I mentioned the military being that form of stability and then like leaving the military, bringing about that loss of that routine and pattern. Uh, so when I started my first job outside of the military, it was like, Hey, here, here is your job. These are all the things that you're responsible for.

Jay Miller: Have fun. Like here you go. Performance reviews in six weeks like that. There you go. So I really struggled with that because I didn't have the pieces in place where before it was like, wake up, go run a lot, go to work. Inventory stuff, teach some stuff or wake up, be on a boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

Jay Miller: I know it's a Naval vessel, whatever. Be on a boat, somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Uh, I'm doing this to save you cuz some people will get mad. If you call a Naval, a us, a us Naval vessel, a a boat. Um, a boat, whatever. But like all of, all of that was gone. Like, I, I was okay doing the same thing every day or knowing that like, from this day to this day, I'm gonna be doing this and just this.

Jay Miller: And then when that's done, we're gonna be doing this. so I was in a panic. I think that was probably one of the first panic attacks that happened. Um, but no one saw that one. Uh, I was in my car sweating cuz it's hot. and. I was like, all right. I just gotta figure out all the things. So then I, I, I wrote down like everything that I thought I had to do and what I found out eventually, and, and I'm gonna fast forward rewind fast forward.

Jay Miller: I, what I eventually did was, was called like the Eisenhower matrix, where you have like four quadrants of urgent important, and then not urgent, not important. And then you put 'em in four groups. Um, you put each task in one group and you work on the things that are like urgent and important. And you like delegate some of the stuff that's not urgent or not important or whatever.

Jay Miller: Uh, you just drop everything that's in the last one. going back, I, I didn't call it that I, it was like the, like do this, or you're fired, like do this now, or you're fired do this later, or you're fired do this now, but no, one's really gonna care if you do it or not. And then. You can do this whenever and no one's really gonna care if it ever gets done.

Jay Miller: And when I saw a picture of like the Eisenhower matrix and I looked back at what I did and I was like, oh, there's an actual name for this. That's just do this or you're fired. Um, so when I wound up doing. Was going, oh, if, if that exists, like what is, what else exists? And I had heard about, you know, things like Evernote and all that stuff.

Jay Miller: The whole, idea was the things that I had been doing. And later on, I would find out because I was, you know, giving myself self copes and like self ways to like, I don't say self-medicate my ADHD, but self, like treat my ADHD.

Jesse: Mm-hmm

Jay Miller: A lot of these were productivity practices that already existed. So I did what anyone else would do. I, I started a podcast talking to people about, about the different things that they're doing. What I realized was after like 10 episodes, I realized that every episode just sounded the same.

Jesse: Mmm.

Jay Miller: And what I, what I then understood was that people have been told the same thing over and over and over again.

Jay Miller: And the bad thing is that it doesn't work half the time. You know, if I'm working on a help desk and people tell you only check your email twice a day. Well, my job is to check my email. If I don't check my email, I lose my job. So I can't do that. And what I started to realize. And this is for, for people who want the canonized version of why I don't like GTD, GTD tells you to trust the process.

Jay Miller: I'm a basketball fan. I've been following what the 70 Sixers had to go through the last few seasons. And when their GM was like, trust the process. Yeah. The process didn't work for them. And then a bunch of people got fired. so. If I have to trust the process, even though the process doesn't work for me, even though if the process has been untrustworthy, it didn't make sense.

Jay Miller: So what I decided to do then was find what worked for people who felt like their situation was unique, because I knew that if. Their situation one, it wasn't actually unique. Their job title might be unique where they, I interviewed someone who was a tight rope artist once. Like I was like, yeah, that's cool.

Jay Miller: First of all, you get to ask a bunch of really cool questions, but then also you get to also think about like checklists and things like that. From a perspective of, if something breaks, I fall to my death, like

Jesse: Right, high stakes.

Jay Miller: Exactly. So like you, you change the concept, you get to understand like, okay, in these context, These things work.

Jay Miller: So then I became basically like the anti productivity person, but it was all like, you can be productive, but I didn't like the idea of saying this app is what's gonna make you productive. This methodology is going to make you productive. Instead, I took it to the perspective of. a lot of people like me have been doing things, not knowing that those things are actually a thing.

Jay Miller: They actually exist. They've had their own funny names for them and you know what, let's embrace that. And that's what became the show that I do now, conduit, which is. Myself. And my, my co-host Kathy Campbell, who literally does productivity as a business. It is, it is her job to do the productivity and like make sure that business owners and CEOs are effective at their job.

Jay Miller: So, and like, she manages the productivity side of all of that, and she's always hiring, bringing on new, like she's always like trying to bring in new clients and stuff. So if you have a business and you're struggling like @mrssoup on Twitter, shout out to Kathy, cuz she's amazing. But what we did was we decided to put a unique spin on productivity, being it 100% personal, 100% authentic.

Jay Miller: This is just how, like, I keep wanna say, this is how we do it. But like, like literally like that. That mindset. So the very first episode was name your system and it was, let's talk about what we do, but let's give it a name and it can't be, oh, the Eisenhower method or GTD, or this it's like mine was the Silksonic method because Silksonic the band had just like. Dropped like their, that first, that first track. And I was listening to it all the time. And the thing that I, I liked about that idea was the band silk Sonic was an old school. Like it had that very old school feel to it, but it was working in like a modern approach.

Jay Miller: And my productivity is still very much when in doubt I open up a notebook and I just start writing stuff down.

Jesse: Hmm.

Jay Miller: like, I still go back to like, do this now you're fired, you know, if you do this stuff later, but I, I put it in a bunch of lists and I, I do brain dumps all the time and like I take stuff and I'll take it from one page and write it again in another page.

Jay Miller: And people are like, oh, it's so inefficient. Well, it helps me get my job done.

Jesse: Right, yeah.

Jay Miller: Again, it's a very old school approach working in a very new, like high technology. So it, it just made sense. Like it's like silksonic, so I called it the silksonic method and you know, and Kathy being the, she, her, her title's the business unicorn because that's literally, it's like magic what she's able to do.

Jay Miller: so she called hers, like the, the unicorn system. I was like, this is, this is awesome because. What it did, was it, it gave us an attachment and an affinity for what we were doing, not necessarily this level of dread. And I, I think that, you know, to tie all of this into the, the greater ADHD conversation, We often need to be excited about the thing that we're doing.

Jay Miller: We need to feel an attachment to the thing that we're doing. and the thing I love most about my job is that I can work on a thing while I'm excited about it and then put it down when it starts to bore me. And it's like, my job is constantly picking things up, being excited about them and then putting them down.

Jay Miller: So having, and creating ways to be excited about thinking. You know, working and living and doing and being just better. That again, now that I know now that I'm in a, you know, now that I've been diagnosed, like, oh, Hey, this is how my brain works and yes, you're tricking it and giving it like all the dopamine hits and all of those things cool.

Jay Miller: That's great. That's awesome. But what's more awesome is I feel. I'm excited to do things that other people are like, oh, why do you like, oh, you're you're writing. You don't have like a, project manager or something. And I was like, yeah, I have to use it for work. And I just copy things that are in air and put it in there.

Jay Miller: Oh, that's so inefficient. I was like, no, no, you don't understand. This is where the work happens. That's just how I report on it. so.

Jesse: right. Awesome. I, I think that's a, uh, great, uh, transition talking about like the things that excite us. this is a part of the show called shiny objects where we talk about something that, you know, whatever's kind of grabbing your fancy lately. Something maybe you could recommend to, uh, the listeners.

Jesse: Uh, yeah. What is, what is the big shiny object going on? Uh, if you have two, you could pop in a second brief one, but yeah. What are some, what are some shiny objects going on in your life?

Jay Miller: So I'm, I'm gonna go with an, I'm gonna go with an old one that is near and dear to my heart, and I'm gonna go with a new one that technically I work on it for work, but it's also my project and it's like my passion project. So, and it predates my working agreements. So, um, The old school thing is my affinity for Teris.

Jay Miller: Uh, if you had any conversation with me, I have played Tetris since I was the littlest of kids. Like that was like one of the first video games I was ever introduced to, like on my grandfather's old computer, he had like a, a copy of Tetris on like, like windows 95. I grew up around Tetris and other puzzle games.

Jay Miller: And a few years ago, my wife bought me an Nintendo entertainment system, the old school Nintendo that I had as a kid that I had when I was like seven or eight, uh, and a copy of the original Tetris that is literally older than I am. So

Jesse: That is awesome.

Jay Miller: uh, it's, it's funny, but very true in that. I now. 10. No, wait, one, two.

Jay Miller: I have nine versions of Tetris that I can play in my house.

Jesse: Wow that that's, uh, that's that's legit right there.

Jay Miller: Yeah. I only play like one or two, but I have, I have nine total that I could, I could.

Jesse: So I'm curious, are you a fan of the newer version? There's is it Tetris effect? I believe called.

Jay Miller: I have two copies of Tetris Effect. I have one for Xbox and one for PlayStation.

Jesse: That's awesome. I'm I'm a big, uh, Xbox guy, so te

Jay Miller: I, I just got mine, so might need to link up and I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.

Jesse: Yeah. So Tetris Effect, uh, that's when I'm say old school gamer, I've been gaming forever. I don't have nine copies of or anything, but, uh, big fan of it. It's Tetris effect. I love how they've kind of modernized it without, you know, obviously without changing the gameplay, which is, which is pure, but the way they've sort of made it, you know, it's like adding music and effects like that.

Jesse: I kind of love it. It's like a great. Zone out game for me when I'm just like, I, like, I just need to relax and maybe not, you know, shoot whatever, kind of, you know, whatever kind of game like that. Just something to chill on the couch. Uh, I love doing, you know, a good half an hour or, you know, 20 minutes or so of Tetris effect.

Jesse: That's a fun one,

Jay Miller: The thing I like about Tetris and, and again, like the game, the one that I play most is classic Tetris. Again, the one that was released in 1988 and made available on Nintendo in 1989. Um, but it, it allows my brain to be engaged without the results matter. You know, again, we, we are in such a space where I make a lot of stuff and the stuff that I build is often directly impacted on either a, my job or a way that I make money as like an independent contractor or, you know, things like that.

Jay Miller: So there are times when I need to get away from that, but I, if my brain isn't engaged, I will. My coping mechanism is spending money, which is not a good thing. like, oh, I'm bored. What's on Amazon. Like, let's just,

Jay Miller: Yeah, yeah,

Jay Miller: let's buy an inflatable, like rap, oh, inflatable Raptor. Add that. And like, you know, but like it's so having something that keeps my brain actively engaged and it, and playing at a speed and skillset that I have to have my brain engaged because I'm not thinking about the current piece I'm on.

Jay Miller: I'm thinking about the. it's, it's like this constant put this piece here while you're thinking about where this one's going to go and constantly swapping and swapping and swapping. And if I die, oh, well like, oh, the, the board filled hit start, hit, start, start over, keep going. Like it's it's there.

Jay Miller: That makes it centers me in, in a way. And again, I do believe that for a while, this was. Medication for me in some ways, cuz there would be days where I would play. Teris like the same game, the same Tetris that we all know and love for like six to like eight hours straight because I just needed to not be thinking about whatever it is I had to go through that day and I, I needed to get away from it.

Jay Miller: I was like, I'm gonna pick up the sticks. So I'm just gonna start playing. And then I look over and it's like two in the morning and I'm like, that's bad.

Jesse: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Cool. So, and, uh, what was your, what was your second shiny object?

Jay Miller: so we hinted at it a little bit. Like I am big on equalizing the, the career field for technology. I'm a college dropout. I wear it with a badge of honor. College was not going to be a thing for me, not at that age. And at this point in my career, it doesn't make sense to go back just for a piece of paper.

Jay Miller: Um, that being.

Jesse: also also a college dropout here. I think there, there are lots of us.

Jay Miller: I, I go talk, I talk at schools and they're like, oh, what school did you go to? And I was like about that but one of the things that I've learned is that the community can be that equalizer that college often is college tends to be a way for people to get into the industry. I have never gotten a job that I didn't.

Jay Miller: Either know somebody that had seen my work and could vouch for like what my skillset was or knew somebody that knew somebody that knew somebody that was hiring and like, you know, that networking type thing. Uh, so I built, uh, this app called diversityorgs.tech, and it kind of takes that same idea that I made for my, my sister.

Jay Miller: Puts it towards building online community. So if you work in tech and you wanna find people that look or, you know, live like you do, you can go to it. You can search, you know, I, I have, um, from Georgia, you know, I'm from Tennessee, then Georgia. So my, my example is always like, if I put in Python, black Atlanta, I can see all the organizations that cater to black developers in the Atlanta area.

Jay Miller: And right now they're 600 close to 600, I think 570 like two organizations in there. I've hand picked all of these, um, and done a lot of, of crunching that data and putting it into this app or this web app. And again, it. diversityorgs.tech, uh, where you can find it it's free. You don't need a user account.

Jay Miller: I just rebuilt the entire site, uh, to one, learn about some technology for work, but also to make it a little bit more manageable. If you're an organizer, you can now own your organization and make all those changes that probably need to be made. Cuz I literally just went on Twitter and started asking people and then logged stuff.

Jay Miller: but you can also, if you, if you're an API person. you can make your own version or you can grab the data that I've, you know, put together and you can put it on your site because honestly, I'm not, it's not a project for me to make money. It's a project for people that remind me of myself who are struggling to find a place where they belong.

Jay Miller: To make it easier for them to do that. So I'm hoping that cities will do this. I'm hoping that, you know, people who are interested in starting their own organizations will do this and have their own way of like, collecting, like just managing their own like space for it. and honestly like, It's it's been my shiny because for the last two months, it has been the thing that like my team has graciously allowed me to just work on nonstop and just all the feedback of like, Hey, I'm working in this new space, brand new, this is, this has been what I talk about in meetings.

Jay Miller: Like, oh, Hey, I was building this thing. And like I ran into this problem is anybody seen this before? But also knowing that at the end of the. uh, you know, the fruits of my labor are going to a good cause and for helping to equalize the playing field more for people in tech who are underrepresented and finding organizations, not organizations that just say we wanna be inclusive and all that, but no saying this is an organization that is specifically made up of people that are just like you.

Jay Miller: That that get it, that understand these are, this is a group of people who all have ADHD. This is a group of people who all have accessibility needs, which I think is a global thing. But like, that's fine. These are people who are black. These are people who are the, you know, in the Latinx community. These are people in LGBTQIA+ community.

Jay Miller: And these are people in your area and they're working on the same tech that you're working on. They're working on the same, like skills that you're working on. All those. When I say that this is like the most important thing, one of the most important things I've ever gotten to work on and like get paid to work on in some ways like, like I'm really blessed, really privileged to be able to do that.

Jay Miller: And I'd be, it'd be irresponsible of me not to share that with everybody. So yeah. Again, that's been my new shiny cuz like all I've been obsessed with for months now. So.

Jesse: Right. That that's great. Uh, and we'll have, uh, links to all that in the show notes. back on the, the gaming theme I was just gonna do for my shiny object. I got a few weeks ago. I ordered it like a year ago, I think. And it just showed up. There's this, uh, tiny little console called the PlayDate.

Jesse: Uh

Jesse: Yeah. And,

Jay Miller: Have one, but I'm so interested.

Jesse: oh, that's so it's so fun. So if, uh, for people that aren't aware, it's a tiny, it's like a little handheld. Really small, like almost like the size of a deck of cards. Um, and it has a black and white screen and it has, it has like your normal DPA and AB button. And then it has a crank on the side, which people look at it.

Jesse: And you think like, do you charge it with the crank or something like that? And like, no, it's just, it's the interface for controlling the game. So there's like, There's a game sort of like asteroids and you use the crank to sort of control where you're going. Uh, there's there's a fun game. I can't remember the name of it right now.

Jesse: Oh, it's I think it's called casual bird watcher. think that's it. And you use the crank to focus your camera. Um, anyway, it's such a cool little device because they're, uh, the way it works. I think there's 20 games and every week you get two more of the games. So like every Monday morning I turn it on and there's two new games to try out.

Jesse: And because it's kind of one of those things where, um, Creativity thriving under constraints, cuz because it's a very limited, like it's not processor heavy. The graphics are, you know, like I said, it's just black and white, this tiny little screen, you only have a few buttons. And this crank and people are just coming up with the most like creative game.

Jesse: So I love it. If you're a fan of like indie games, like this is just a device full of all these like people throwing in their most creative ideas and yeah, I love it. Like you said, it's, it's hard to find. I lucked out. I hap I ordered it like within the first minute the pre-orders went got in that first group and I know they're on pre-order right now, but yeah, it

Jay Miller: I, I, was gonna say just the, the, the release, the wait for release between when we record this and when it goes out, I still think that it'll be hard to So

Jay Miller: you're like, just got mine and people are like, Hey, I just got mine too. Like,

Jesse: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, uh, for being here, uh, today, it was great to chat and get to know you more and hear about kind of your history with ADHD and all the cool things that you're, that you're doing and working on. Uh, where can people go if they want to, uh, you know, follow you, see other stuff you're working on, stuff

Jay Miller: So, kjaymiller.com. That's spelled K J A Y miller.com. I did that intentionally, cuz I knew it would throw people off. Uh, but K J A Y miller.com also I'm on LinkedIn for professional stuff and then YouTube and twitter. I think that's it. I don't, I don't do too much social stuff. TikTok, who knows by the time this comes out, I might be on TikTok doing stuff.

Jay Miller: We'll see. Um, all of those are going to be at K J A Y Miller. That is, that is the brand. That is, that is me. That is where I am. And yeah, there, you can get links to, uh, Conduit the show that I do. You can get, you know, again, my YouTube channel where I talk about apps and gadgets and programming from time to time, I try to let my company own all that stuff cuz they pay me to do it.

Jesse: Cool. So, yeah, we'll have, we'll have links to all that again, in the show notes and, uh, yeah, this was awesome. Thank you. Uh, so much for being here.

Jay Miller: Awesome. Thank you.

Jesse: That's our show. Thank you so much for listening. I especially want to thank our VIP patrons, Luce Carter, Richard Stephens, Todd Barnett, and Dan Ott. It helps me do this show and the other work I do, so thank you so much for the support.

Jesse: If you want to support the show, you can go to patreon.com/jessej that's, J E S S E J. You can always support the show for free by leaving a review in Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or the podcast player of your choice. Full show notes and transcripts are available at adhdnerds.com.