Collage of 12 pictures with theme of special interests and gaining mastery of technology with help

Unique Interests Developed into a Career

The challenges for people with special interests, uniqueness, and talents

People with special interests that evolve into exceptional talents and careers as our scientists, artists, creators, and leaders can have a challenging journey from their youth into adulthood. They can be marginalized or discriminated against by their peers, teachers, or parents, who expect everyone to conform, fit in socially, and function as typical contributors and group members. The expectation is that everyone will look the same, act the same, and embrace the group’s values and interests.

At an early age, having special interests and developing unique talents might not be appreciated until later when they become a vital part and necessity for the group or tribe to survive and thrive. Early life adversities, social isolation, and rejection may block the youth’s ability to have the space and support to develop their vital talents to come to fruition for the group or society’s benefit.

Some labels for kids can be tortuous, or for some, a badge of honor, especially if their skills and talents quickly become appreciated and nurtured. I think of the terms as nerd or geek or specific labels to deride a physical, social, or learning difference that draws attention and concerns from peers, parents, teachers, or administrators.

My growing up and eventually entering a successful career was perhaps more manageable, as I looked the same and could hide and mask some of my learning differences and neurodiversity. Now, I can label my uniqueness in mastering and processing new information as neurodiversity or dyslexia, which I now realize is a significant asset in my work.

My interview with a talented person in his field of achievement focuses on how one’s early life interests, if nurtured and supported, developed into helpful skills that benefit others. Tris Hussey was a big help to me in trying to dig myself out of the overwhelming challenges of being able to do video podcasts. For me, it’s a tangle of high-tech stuff. A video podcast interview with Tris follows with the complete script if you prefer to read it. Click on below for full video podcast publisher on my Mind Wise newsletter, videos, and podcasts, or go to

colrful picture of nature scene with sky and field with tree and illuminating light in background to click on for Mind Wise Video Podcast.
The Journey – by RRP design with Canva & stock photos

Tris introduced himself and his journey

TRIS: Well, thank you, Ron. It is been great. I mean, we, we upon this connection together through the DSS script community. I’m a longtime podcaster blogger. I started blogging in like 2004 and started podcasting in 2005, and I have started and stopped more shows than I can count. And the way, I think the biggest thing about where I am now, I work for a company called Modaxo.

I am the producer and editor of a show called Transit Unplugged. It’s all about the public transit industry. Modaxo makes software for public transit agencies. A lot of my career and where I’m at is actually about serendipity and finding a passion that you have, taking some risks, and going for it.

So the way this all started, way back in the late nineties, when I was working, I left a career in research science. I was running a lab at Duke University, and I changed jobs to start doing tech support. I actually worked at one of the agencies that was part of the National Institute of Health. I was doing tech support, running around, helping people with their computers. And one of my friends was sitting at his, at his station, and he was typing in this weird stuff. And it was H T M L, and he was right in making a webpage. It’s like, can you show me how to do that? And he said, sure.

So before long, I was creating webpages, and that led me to create websites for the pharmaceutical industry, then brought me to Canada. And then, when I left the pharmaceutical industry, I was at a different job and couldn’t; I want to talk about things that are really, I’m really passionate about and still am, like collaboration software and knowledge management, and how people work better together with technology. And no one at work was really interested.


I said, you know, I’ve heard about this blogging thing. I think it could be important. I’m going to try this. So literally on a whim, I started blogging, and by the end of that year, in 2004, I was being paid to blog. And it’s, it’s all just snowballed from there. From working in various startups in the social media and podcasting world.

In the blogging world, I’ve had the opportunity to have the chance to write a book, which again happened in serendipity. A friend had been asked to write a book about creating your own blog, and he couldn’t do it. He was too busy, and he told his editor, he’s like, you know what, Tris really is a good writer. You should have him write this book. And he did. And then, I was able to have the chance to write a few more. Each of those brought in things that the opportunity to teach at the University of British Columbia and at the British Columbia Institute of Technology to where I am now, where I get to podcast and write about public transit for Modaxo and just always try to learn new things.

It started with a new computer and good advice

I guess maybe if there was one thing that is always, that’s the string that connects everything is when I got my first computer leaving high school, my dad said to me, probably the best advice I’ve ever been given, Tris, I’m not gonna be there to read the manual for you for how to use this computer.

’cause that’s what he did at our home computer. Gonna have to read the manual yourself. You’re gonna have to teach yourself how to do this. I say, okay, dad. Thirty plus some odd years later, here I am because I read the manuals, because I dug deep into what was interesting for me and just kept pushing and learning, and, and doing, doing all those things to the point where I can help you, could help you, with one of your shows and pull it together.

Tech challenges and not pushing the button

RON: Yes, I should say that I ran into a lot of major glitches with my going into video podcasting. I have to admit, the first one I did with a colleague and friend, it was, it actually was great, the content, and damned if I didn’t forget to push the record button.

TRIS: So I’ve done that.

RON: I think this person is reluctant to do another with me.

It’s like it’s like Charlie Brown, where Lucy always pulls the football out when they get right to it. Anyway, I just want to ask Tris; I mean, I’m probably typical or atypical, I should say, a lot of people that are doing many multiple things and careers but get interested in something like video podcasting or just podcasting.

And when they get into it seems like a big jungle of technology and, and things. So I wanted Tris to comment on that. I’ve found so much in my life, and I’ve written articles about this, the value of dialoguing, or I guess it’s also would be considered getting consultation or two brains or better than one.

TRIS: Mm-hmm.

Beginners challenge with video podcasting, not a place to go for the faint of heart.

RON: But maybe we could focus in a while just on podcasting, video podcasting. I’ve been trying to master it as a beginner, which has been difficult with Descript and their Squadcast connection. Now they’re one program.

TRIS: Yeah. This is, this is something that I’ve always been a geek. I’ve always been at the guy in the dorm when your Mac wasn’t working, and you couldn’t get Excel or Word to work. I was the guy they always tracked down. Then I worked in the campus computer lab and got paid to do it. Of the things I love the way about technology today is it’s really become more democratized.

It’s a lot easier than it was five years ago, ten years ago. Certainly by, you know, by leaps and bounds, the ability to record a video like we’re doing now on opposite sides of the continent in pretty high fidelity and have the audio and that when you’re done, you’re gonna be able to drag these files over to script, which is the audio editor we both use, and it’s gonna work out, work some magic stuff and make it sound great and let you edit it like you’re editing a Word document.

It’s amazing to me, as a technologist, how they actually get this to work. But one of the things in the years that I’ve been teaching podcasting and building Word websites with WordPress and things like that is that there is a little-known secret. Geeks are really, really bad at A, naming things, and B, explaining things to people who aren’t really technical.

And I think it comes from, I think you as a, a psych, as a psychiatrist would know this, is, that is the, the curse of expertise because you, you have it all in your head, right? You not only understand the specific problem someone’s having, but you understand intuitively all the connections that are that feed into that. And so from my side as a technologist, When you are, you were having issues with the, the video that I, that I helped you with or you’re having, we were talking earlier, and we’re going through some, you know, working out some kinks and getting the best recording possible there. There’s stuff that I just, oh, you know what?

I bet this is what the problem is. And it’s, and it’s, I think it’s a curse of technologists, and we don’t explain things very well. We name things very poorly all the time, and one of the things I, I actually really enjoy doing is bridging that gap between technology and everyone else who wants to use it because it is such an, it is so easy now to just stop, hit record, and do things that I, I think more people should be able to do it.

I think the tools are getting easier to do, but you have to; you have to make that first step.

RON: Just to interject here about Tris in doing this recording as, as somewhat of a novice, I pushed every possible wrong button or didn’t do this right or that right. He actually saved this video podcast though I mean, it’s of the quality. It is, but I was amazed. I was ready to start over from scratch, but, good, good thing I didn’t though,

’cause I would repeat it. The same errors. Anyway, thank you, Tris.

Helping and bridging the gap for those novices to the tech world.

TRIS: you know, well, you’re welcome. And this is, this is part of what I love, what I love about what I, I do, sort of in my greater sphere of the world about technology is helping bridge those gaps. The other thing that I really stress to people is don’t. There’s a lot of things you just don’t, you know, sometimes you just have to hit record and start.

Sometimes you just have to start writing and go and not worry about the things, the rest of it. Until you get to that point, the problem then comes in, like your experience where you had a cascading number of issues. They were non-trivial to solve it. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn; I’m just saying, like, anybody would’ve been like, oh, wow, okay.

This is gonna, this is gonna take some work to fix. But it’s only, it’s, it’s just, it’s the, the practice, right? I’ve seen it before. I’ve done it before. I’ve made the same mistakes. It’s like, oh, oh, I know what that, I know what happened. Let me fix it. And we did. So, yeah, I, but I, it was, it was wonderful because I wanted to save the content.

It’s my, what I listened to, I thought was really fascinating, and I think it’s, it deserves being saved. So I was happy to do it.

The geek in all of us and the pitfall of hiding our talents.

RON: It is interesting. Tris was defining himself a little bit as a geek, and it’s I; I’ve written some articles on that ’cause I’m discovering the geek in me, and I tried in one of the articles that call it people on the creative spectrum. And different, trying to find the right positive or whatever name in the descriptor.

But as we all find out about ourselves, we find that a lot of these hidden traits that we mask most of our lives are actually our greatest talents and assets. And so anyway, it’s been wonderful just the opportunity to meet Chris and work with him. Certainly, I’ve uncovered some interesting things about video podcasting, and maybe I’ll continue; and, at least now, I know to push the record button.

TRIS: It is always important to push record and also equally important, whenever you’re using the remote recording tools, Descript with Squadcast, or any of them. When you hit stop, don’t let the person close the window until you say everything has uploaded and it’s okay. Believe me, I have made that mistake on a number of occasions where I hit stop, and the person goes, and I say, okay, we’re done. I hit stop, and then the person goes bye and closes the window, and I’m left there going, nope. And you know, sometimes you get lucky, and you don’t lose too much.

RON: I can see people doing that unconsciously when they’re thinking, oh my God, I revealed something that I shouldn’t. But actually, I guess you need to, well, inform people that we can edit and record anything out and to leave their computer on, so downloading the files is complete,

Tris: that’s right. That’s right. Yeah. That, that, it’s the beauty of editing. I mean, we, we had a little false start when we started, is normal, right? That, that it happens, and this is why we edit. This is why we do these things. And I think one of the things you talked about when we were talking about earlier with dialogue is building a sense of rapport and trust, and you can only get that when you’re doing video when we can see each other, and we can read each other’s faces, and that rapport and trust that you want to bring the story I’m telling you to life, and that comes from editing, you’re not going to do something that’s gonna be like a gotcha and embarrass me because that’s, that’s an important part of this. I’m telling my story; it’s important to me.

RON: I actually explored that topic about a person who was a creator. And I just raised the issue that, in a sense, in all of our developments, we’re editors, you know, always trying to figure out the reality and truth about things and come up with a better path forward. So anyway, Chris, I mean, it’s been wonderful talking with you.

And hopefully, we will be able to collaborate some more in the future.

TRIS: That would be great. I have so many questions for you that I didn’t even get into talking about, like what your work and your career,

RON: Ah, I don’t think we’d have time and might have maybe a six-hour interview or something.

TRIS: Maybe because it’s, I, I find I am; I am a person who always loves, continually to learn, and that is so, I’m always fascinated by the world around me, and it was fantastic getting to know you

RON: Well, Tris, I’m always open, especially to you, if you wanna interview me. If, and if I don’t know the answers to anything, I can always make ’em up. I mean, you know, now I would do that. I have, I have the trait of honesty and integrity and all those things. Any final things you wanna say?

Parting words of wisdom – don’t be afraid of tech!

TRIS: The last thing I wanna say is don’t be afraid of technology. There are always, there’s great communities of people who help. Just if you have a story, find a way to tell it, and everything else will fall together.

RON: Thank you, that’s beautiful.

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