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Catch-Up: Tales From the TAMO Cloud with Doug Johnson

Did you ever wonder why IT diagrams always use a cloud to show an element where stuff goes in and comes out, but we’re not 100% sure what happens inside? That was originally called a “TAMO Cloud” – which stood for “Then A Miracle Occurred”. It indicated an area of tech that was inscruitable, but nevertheless something we saw as reliable and consistent in it’s output. For IT pros who hold a strong religious, ethical, or moral point of view, our journey has had its own sort of TAMO Cloud – where grounded technology and lofty philosophical ideals blend in ways that can be anything from challenging to uplifting to humbling. In this series, we sit down with members of the IT community to explore their journeys – both technical and theological – and see what lessons we can glean from where they’ve been, where they are today, and where they see themselves in the future. This episode features my talk with my long time friend, fellow Clevelander, and co-conspirator, Doug Johnson. Listen to our discussion or read the transcript below.

Intro (00:03):


Leon Adato (00:32):

Welcome to our podcast, where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate, IT, we’re not here to preach or teach you our religion. We’re here to explore ways. We make our careers, it professionals mesh, or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is technically religious.

Leon Adato (00:53):

Did you ever wonder why it diagrams always use a cloud to show an element where stuff goes in and comes out, but we’re not 100% sure what happens inside that was originally called a TAMO cloud, which stood for then a miracle occurred. It indicated an area of tech that was inscrutable, but nevertheless, something we saw as reliable and consistent in its output for it. Pros who hold a strong religious, ethical, or moral point of view. Our journey has had its own sort of TAMO cloud where grounded technology and lofty, philosophical ideals blend in ways that can be anything from challenging to uplifting, to humbling. In this series, we sit down with members of the it community to explore their journeys, both technical and theological, and see what lessons we can glean from where they’ve been, where they are today and where they see themselves in the future.

Leon Adato (01:39):

My name is Leon Adato, and the other voice you’ll hear on this episode is a frequent contributor to technically religious and a friend of mine for 30 years. Doug Johnson.

Doug Johnson (01:52):

We are so old. So very old.

Leon Adato (01:52):

We are so old. Before this podcast started, we realized that there may be close to a hundred years of experience on this particular episode. And there’s just two of us on the line,

Doug Johnson (02:01):

Man. I’ll tell you been at this for a little while. Yes, indeed. And this wasn’t my first career, so really? Think about that.

Leon Adato (02:10):

Yeah, it’s really, were like Methuselah put us in a jar. Um, okay. So as we are want to do here on technically religious, we’re going to start off with a shameless self promotion, Doug, tell us a little bit about what you’re working on, any special projects, how people can find you on social media and required, uh, is your religious ethical or moral point of view?

Doug Johnson (02:31):

Okay. Basically there’s two, technically speaking things that I work on, I work for a company called Southwestern health resources, which is an accountable care organization, health kind of stuff down here in Dallas, Texas.

Leon Adato (02:45):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (02:45):

Um, when they sold this to me a year ago, I, remember I was working on my own. So I really wasn’t looking for a job, but this cool thing came up that put all my background together and I thought, Oh, that’s cool. And they said, well, this is a startup. Now keep in mind that this startup was, uh, peeled off from the two big 800 pound health gorillas, thousands and thousands of employees in, in, in Texas. So this startup that I’ve been part of for a year has 800 employees, $2 billion in revenue, plus et cetera, et cetera. That’s not what I thought of when, uh, when we said startup, but there we are. So I am the web developer for the marketing department. And if you’re a technical person, you know how most technical people feel about marketing departments. So the fact that I’m the only technical person in the marketing department should tell you a little something there, but it’s kind of fun. They, their expectations are really low. So I exceed them all the time and it works out really well for me.

Leon Adato (03:44):

There you go.

Doug Johnson (03:44):

My side gig, the one that’s going to go ahead and make me a multi-billion million. Okay. A hundred thousand air maybe if were lucky,.

Leon Adato (03:52):

You’ll be able to buy coffee.

Doug Johnson (03:54):

I’m hoping. Yeah so far, so far it’s cost a lot of money, but basically where we do a inventory management for small to medium size, uh, healthcare offices, primarily optical at this particular point using radio frequency identification. And I am the CTO, the chief technology officer, I supposedly know everything that I’m doing. I’ve designed it. It’s working well. We’ve been breaking even for almost a year and we actually expect to make a profit this year until we then hire an, an employee. And then we’ll go back in the red again.

Leon Adato (04:24):

It’s all going to go, right? It all goes down the tubes again.

Doug Johnson (04:26):

That one is wave So if you have an optical shop and really actually want to control your inventory, go there.

Leon Adato (04:35):

Awesome. And your religious point of view,

Doug Johnson (04:38):

Religious point of view, I am a born again, evangelical Christian, but not one of those weird ones. I don’t know. You know, I mean, you know, there are evangelical Christians who basically will smack you over the head with a really heavy Bible until you give up. I’m more one of the ones that thinks that we should talk about it and if you come to it, that’s great. Um,

Leon Adato (04:57):

Got it.

Doug Johnson (04:57):

So yeah, I have,

Leon Adato (04:59):

I was going to say, Doug is one of the weird ones for those people listening he is,

Doug Johnson (05:02):

I am one of the weird ones, but not necessarily in the way that you expect me to be weird.

Leon Adato (05:06):

An evangelical Christian.

Doug Johnson (05:07):


Leon Adato (05:07):

Yeah, um hmm.

Doug Johnson (05:08):

Exactly. So there you are. So that’s, that’s my, I mean, I’ve read the Bible multiple times. I do know what I’m talking about. Um, but by the same token, I, I, I respect, I respect your, uh, right to choose, uh, the wrong choice.

Leon Adato (05:23):

[laughing] I was waiting to get around to that. I Knew somewhere along the way,

Doug Johnson (05:31):

I keep, I keep on going with the, I could be wrong. I don’t think I am, if I’m wrong. Oh, well, uh, I’ll deal with it when the time comes. And by this, you know, by the same token, I’m going to try and convince you that, uh, this is the right way to go.

Leon Adato (05:45):

Right. You might be wrong, but you gave it your best shot. Yeah. Point, you know, it has certainly worked for me over the years, A for enthusiasm. Um, okay. So tales from the Tambo cloud is, uh, structured in a particular way where we talk about your journey first through tech and then through religion. So I want to talk about where you’re at now. I mean, you gave us a taster and amuse-bouche perhaps of where you’re at technically, but in terms of the day-to-day work that you do, what are you doing today?

Doug Johnson (06:14):

The stuff that I’m doing today is actually well below my technical capabilities, um, which is fine. I’m okay with that. Um, I, uh, in my, in my day job, I am doing web development. Uh, I was just on Friday given the, uh, requirements to go ahead and re-skin one of our sites in WordPress in two weeks, which most people wouldn’t be able to do. And certainly none of our, the people we normally hire at ridiculously high rates would be able to do, but they also know that I’m going to be able to pull it off. So.

Leon Adato (06:48):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (06:48):

And actually, technically speaking, I’m supposed to have it done in a week so that they can go ahead and get the content over. So having actually worked with a couple of our vendors for months not to get this to happen, I get to do it in a week. So, you know, it’ll work, it’ll work out okay. On the wave RFID side, I am the CTO. I don’t actually do the programming. We got a great team of people in India who were actually doing all the work we’re working in a stack that I understand. So they can’t get too far out from underneath me. Well, you know,

Leon Adato (07:20):


Doug Johnson (07:20):

Sometimes, sometimes people who are, you know, they don’t know the technical stack and, anything could happen at that particular point. I could in essence, dump them at any at any point and take it over, but God, why would I want to, these guys are great.

Leon Adato (07:33):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (07:33):

I’ve known them for years. They’re doing a good job. It’s a layer of L slash PHP slash react stack. It’s working great. Clients are happy. They don’t care how we do it. And so that one is more, uh, advisory than anything else. I do the design. I make sure that it will go ahead and scale as we grow to thousands of clients instead of tens of clients. And, uh, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s my day to day.

Leon Adato (08:03):

Well, and, and I’m going to having known you for a while. I’m also going to sort of fill in some of the blanks there, which is that for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been in, you’ve always been one of the best examples of an architect level, uh, developer, meaning you’re the big idea guy. You’re the one who sees that we’re gonna, you know, this is the goal we’re going for the end result that we’re going for. And here’s how we’re going to get there. You know, the stack, the code, the whatever, you’ll, pseudo-code out, what needs to be done. You’ll, you’ll talk about the flow. And if somebody gets sick or wins the lottery and buys an Island and disappears, you can take over for them, but you don’t want to, because you don’t really want to be a code monkey day after day after day, you want to jump in, solve the really hard problems or point the way to solving the hard problems and go on. But you certainly could if you needed to.

Doug Johnson (08:54):

Yeah. And pretty much that would be accurate. I mean, yeah. And, and just for those people who are wondering, gee, I wonder if I should go into tech someday and all that kind of stuff. I’m completely self-taught.

Leon Adato (09:04):


Doug Johnson (09:05):

I did not get it. I don’t have a CS degree. In fact, there’s a couple of jobs that I wanted along the way that I lost, because I couldn’t do an algorithm on a whiteboard. It just, no, I’m serious.

Leon Adato (09:16):

No, I know you’re serious.

Doug Johnson (09:17):

I flew out to LA, I flew out to frickin Seattle. I talked with the CTO of the company and he was happy with me. And then the guy who was going to be my boss threw this link list thing at me, and I was like, I, I know how to do what you’re talking about, but I don’t know how to do that. I mean, you know, I was just.

Leon Adato (09:38):


Doug Johnson (09:38):

And I lost, I didn’t get the job as, as a, as a tech evangelist who doesn’t actually have to write code because I couldn’t do a link list thing.

Leon Adato (09:48):


Doug Johnson (09:48):

Do I sound bitter?

Leon Adato (09:50):

My, not even a little. My, my response in those situations is frequently. Is this something that your employees do often?

Doug Johnson (10:00):

Right. Well and that’s a,

Leon Adato (10:01):

You do code on a board without, anything like, is that how development is done here?

Doug Johnson (10:08):

well, Yeah. Unfortunately this was early enough in a job change that I would, at this point, if they had said, if he had said, I need you to do a link list thing, I would go, I don’t do that. That’s what I would do now, because now having been in that situation one, Nope. I don’t have a CS degree. I know what link lists are. I’ve taught it, but it was 30 years ago, you know? So I don’t know. I don’t do that anymore. If that’s not good enough, I’ll just go home fine.

Leon Adato (10:35):

Right. Exactly. Okay.

Doug Johnson (10:36):

But I’m old and cranky now, so.

Leon Adato (10:38):

Right, exactly. So you’ve earned the ability to be blunt a little bit. Listen, Sonny. Um, so, but you, you hit upon where we’re going next, which is that you are self-taught, you didn’t, uh, depart the womb already knowing how to code with a silver keyboard in your mouth.

Doug Johnson (10:55):


Leon Adato (10:55):

Um, so how, where did you start out?

Doug Johnson (10:58):

Technically, I started out in college. I went to college where they invented Basic. And so you could, in fact, they, they encouraged all departments to do stuff with the computer because we were kind of big on that whole thing. In fact, the, uh, one of the inventors of basic became the president of my college and his signature is out of my diploma. So, so basically you could go down to the, uh, computer center or to a couple of different places around campus, put in your, uh, your college ID number, no password mind you, um, and just put it in and then you’d be on and you could do basic on a teletype.

Leon Adato (11:40):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (11:40):

And so, and I, you know, I, I did various incentive things. We would all do. English classes would have you do something on the computer, blah, blah, blah. But in physics class, I, uh, the, the first real, uh, indicator that I was, uh, going to do something, interestingly weird with this, I was trying to go ahead and do this, uh, make something, uh, orbit around the planet.

Leon Adato (12:07):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (12:07):

And all of a sudden on the teletype, there were dots everywhere. I mean, just asterisks cause remember.

Leon Adato (12:14):

Its full of stars,

Doug Johnson (12:15):

It’s little, Little asterisks everywhere. And I went, okay, that’s interesting saved. It went off, uh, went to a different building where they had a, uh, a plotter. And I went ahead and did the 150, uh, baud modem with the phone to go ahead and get it to connect. And it did this really interesting loopy thing. And I went, Oh, that’s interesting. And so what had happened was I had, I had actually divided incorrectly in my program.

Leon Adato (12:47):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (12:47):

And so what ended up happening was I had negated the effect of gravity on, um, on orbits. So by going ahead and doing different numbers with this kind of stuff, I got these really cool loopy things. And remember, this is like, this is early seventies when this stuff was considered to be cool.

Leon Adato (13:04):

Uh huh, right.

Doug Johnson (13:04):

Um, , you, you wouldn’t even think about it now. You’d go, what are you just a fricking idiot? But at the time, no, you know, it’s like, and so I got, I now have on my college degree, uh, not on the degree, but on, on my, uh, resume it basically, I have a citation in physics for a modified gravitational model of a, uh, on a computer. I forget exactly what the words are, but it is a citation in physics keeping in mind, I got a C plus in physics because I really wasn’t that great at it.

Leon Adato (13:37):

Right, right.

Doug Johnson (13:38):

So I knew, I knew if a computer mistake can do this for me, this was probably a field for me someday.

Leon Adato (13:45):

There you go. Okay. So that was, that was your humble beginnings.

Doug Johnson (13:48):

yes, but then I became a disc jockey.

Leon Adato (13:48):

Your humble beginnings was a citation in physics.

Doug Johnson (13:52):

I know really? Yes. Except that, except that I realized that now, remember, I wasn’t a science guy. I mean, I did, I was thinking about pre-med until I got to biology and realized that wasn’t going to work. And so, uh, eventually I got my degree in philosophy.

Leon Adato (14:07):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (14:07):

I was a disc jockey. They would pay you to sit there and actually tell people what time it was and what song you had just played. And so that’s what I kind of did for the next 10 years.

Leon Adato (14:16):

Right. Right. And actually for those people who were wondering, he was, uh, the number one, uh, was it,

Doug Johnson (14:22):

Mid day.

Leon Adato (14:22):

it wasn’t DriveTime. Yeah.

Doug Johnson (14:24):

Mid day.

Leon Adato (14:25):

Number one mid day, jockey up against, um, 105 in Cleveland, the Cleveland market.

Doug Johnson (14:32):

Yes. For at least one or two books. I forget. I’m sure Matt, the cat hated me for it, but that’s just the way it is. So I beat him. I beat you Matt.

Leon Adato (14:41):

There we go. Claim, yet another claim to fame,

Doug Johnson (14:44):

Right. So did that, uh, stop doing drugs? Um, got married, um, worked for the phone company for 12 weeks, nine weeks training, three weeks on the job went, okay, this ain’t gonna work. And then I was with Eastern singing telegrams for a whole year. That was a good job. And then I got a job selling computers. So here we are at the end of, uh, when did the Lisa come out? 82 or 81. And it was the October for October before the Lisa came out.

Leon Adato (15:16):


Doug Johnson (15:17):

Uh, because I, I know that because I did the Apple Lisa rollout training, I’m one of the few people that’s ever seen a Lisa let alone a room full of them. Um, but, uh, so basically at that point I was selling computers. Um, and you know, it did rather well at it. Uh, I had a knack for it as it turned out and we were off and rolling. So somewhere along the line, um, we started instead of being just an Apple shop, we picked up IBM’s and the way I had been selling apples all along was people would come in and they would say, I need to do a, uh, I needed to be able to do a mailing list. And so I would show them on the Apple, how they could go ahead and set up using profile to do this thing and, and put all their names in. And, and they would say, well, I’m looking at the IBM. I said, well, okay, that’s good. I have just shown you on the computer. How I can do this. I would need you, you, you should probably go back to the IBM guy and have the IBM salesman, show you how they’re going to do that. Now at the time on the IBM, the only real database for doing that was the thing called dBase wonderful little database program. And when you type dBase at the prompt, A dot would appear. That’s all,

Leon Adato (16:34):

That’s what you got. um hmm.

Doug Johnson (16:35):

And most salespeople would never show you anything on the IBM, because they didn’t know how it worked. Now. We decided to carry the, I, we decided to carry, and then they would come back to me and buy the Apple because it made sense.

Leon Adato (16:49):

Because they could do things. Right.

Doug Johnson (16:49):

Exactly. Well easily without being, you know, a computer programmer. So basically when we, when my company decided to sell IBM’s, I said, nobody is going to do that to me. I went in, learn dBase. I would, Oh, sweet. Okay. I learned how to do my example, so I could do it for my, anybody I was selling to, but I found out, gosh, I can do this. I can handle, I mean, this is programming. I can do this. And it was difficult because it was really early on. But, but the answer is, I just found out I had a knack for it and went out. I was the DBAs expert, then a FoxPro expert. And, you know, I would just keep on learning new stuff as we went along and I keep on learning new things and .NET and Delphi and C and C sharp and keep on going. I mean, it’s just like, if it, and then I got into PHP and Drupal and WordPress and combine it, it’s just like, yeah, whatever would offer, essentially ahead and allow me to, to continue to pay the bills and have a good time doing it. I would just keep learning it. And as long as you keep on learning in this wonderful world of technology, you’re okay. It’s when you decide, you know, as much as you need to know, unless it’s COBAL, in which case you can keep on working until you die. But come on. There’s a lot of COBAL calls still out there baby.

Leon Adato (18:10):

There’s still a lot of COBAL out there. Well, there’s a lot of support stuff. I remember meeting a guy who was in his like mid twenties and he decided to really get good at COBOL. And, you know, I’m like, okay. And he just pointed around the bullpen where they were all sitting and he’s like, look around me. They’re going to die soon.

Doug Johnson (18:26):

Yep. And he’s absolutely correct. I mean, what would they say? Most banking codes still runs on COBOL.

Leon Adato (18:32):

Yeah. yeah.

Doug Johnson (18:32):

So I mean now, I mean, I’ve read COBOL. I’ve never actually written any useful COBAL code, So that’s one of the few languages I can’t claim that I’ve been paid to write.

Leon Adato (18:44):

There you go. All right. And that covers the,

Doug Johnson (18:47):

So that’s how I got here.

Leon Adato (18:47):

That, that covers how you got from there to here. So that’s, I mean, that’s a journey. Um, and I think one of the lessons to, this is something you told me a while ago is that somebody who’s new on the market can probably use the latest tools and use them competently. Um, you know, and probably will work for cheaper than, than someone like us at our point in life. But what we bring to the table is that we know what came before it, and probably what came before that. So we know why the current version works the way it does.

Doug Johnson (19:18):


Leon Adato (19:18):

And how to get around all the hidden bugs. And I remember specifically, I was working with Tivoli at the time and I was trying to, uh, at the time they had just created one of their GUI’s and I was putting containers, you know, uh, nesting containers. And every time I would nest something inside of something inside of something inside of something, the entire database would corrupt. And I was complaining to you as I am, want to do often. And you said, well, yeah, because it’s a Corba database and I, I don’t like banana hamster? Like, what are we talking? Like, why is it no, no, you understand Corba databases are one of the first object oriented database structures ever. And they only handle three levels of can, you know, have container ship after that, the database corrupts, you literally did what it can’t do. And I’m like, okay, but who would, who would know that, you know, coming at it new.

Doug Johnson (20:10):

Yup Exactly. But, and the flip side to that though, and again, this is, I’ve had all kinds of people saying, well, I’d like to get an attack, but it’s way too late. And I’m going, no, you are exactly two years behind the cutting edge. So if you pick out whatever’s cutting edge now in two years, you’ll be the expert and people down the road will be saying, I don’t know how to do this. So, you know, it’s like, you’re never too late in our industry to jump in. You just have to, you just, you don’t want to start with something that’s so fricking old that you’re battling against everybody like me. Who’s been doing this forever. You want to be battling. You want to be battling on the front lines and learning it. And then in two years, yes, it’ll take you a little while for the cutting edge to move back. But if you pick the right cutting edge, you know, you will be the expert in two years and making the money you want to make.

Leon Adato (21:03):

So what you’re saying is that Moore’s law may not be true until the earth, So the sun dies because of heat death, but it will in terms of chips, but it will be true in terms of getting a career in it that Moore’s law will,

Doug Johnson (21:17):

Surprisingly Moore’s law actually is key. It keeps on con, it should have died years ago, and yet it keeps on rolling.

Leon Adato (21:25):

Right. And once again, if you’re old like us, you know what we’re talking about when we talk about Moore’s law, okay. I want to, I want to pivot, we talked about tech now let’s pivot to the, um, religious side.

Doug Johnson (21:37):

Ok, works for me.

Leon Adato (21:37):

I know that labels, labels are difficult and often incredibly imprecise. And most of the time on this, uh, on these TAMO episodes, when I say so, what are you, you know, religiously, the answer begins with well, and it ends, uh, several minutes later, when many, many, many qualifications have been given to an answer. That being said, how do you, you know, besides, you know, evangelical, evangelical Christian, but not one of the weird ones. How do you define yourself religiously?

Doug Johnson (22:08):

Basically, Um, I believe the Bible is to be the word of God. I believe that, um, Christ is the Messiah that he is, uh, my savior that he has. Um, he died for my sins, and I actually, there’s nothing that I can do to make myself worthy in the eyes of God. Other than to say, I am the, Christ said, I’m okay. I’ve trusted in Christ. Therefore, uh, if, if Christ is your son, God, and you think he’s okay, then could you maybe think I’m okay too?

Leon Adato (22:50):


Doug Johnson (22:51):

That’s pretty much it.

Leon Adato (22:53):


Doug Johnson (22:53):

I mean, that’s, it’s, it’s the base that it’s, it is the basis of real Christianity. That’s a really good book by CS Lewis called Mirror Christianity that I recommend to people all the time. Uh, it’s a little more philosophical than most people are willing to slog their way through, although it was a series of radio interviews for God’s sake. Uh, so it’s, it’s good reading, but it basically covers the basis of what Christianity is. And I really have not gotten much beyond the basics, um, could, because it’s when you get off in all the weird, you know, differences that Christians tend to go ahead and get in trouble with each other. If you stay with the, the mainstream stuff, for the most part, we agree.

Leon Adato (23:37):

Got it.

Doug Johnson (23:37):

So I, so I try and stay, stay pretty central.

Leon Adato (23:41):

There we go. Okay. And, uh, you mentioned the whole born again thing a minute ago, several minutes ago,

Doug Johnson (23:46):


Leon Adato (23:46):

But I wanted it. So you, that was not the family, that was not the household into which you were born.

Doug Johnson (23:51):


Leon Adato (23:51):

So where did you start?

Doug Johnson (23:52):

It works the same as my technical journey. Surprisingly.

Leon Adato (23:56):

Um hmm.

Doug Johnson (23:58):

When I was, I went to, um, uh, I belong we went to church every Sunday, blah, blah, blah. Um, we, we would, uh, be yelling at each other on the way to church because we were late and we would be yelling at each other on the way home from church, because, uh, we weren’t respectful enough in church. So, you know, you, you got a good solid feel for how great church is, uh, and that sort of situation, but, uh,

Leon Adato (24:22):

Big motivation to go every week.

Doug Johnson (24:24):


Leon Adato (24:24):

You look forward to it.

Doug Johnson (24:25):

But at the same time, you know, I mean, I, I did, I went to, went to youth group and all that kind of stuff. I was, uh, I was one of the three people who did stuff on the senior sermon day, you know, when I was a senior in college, but just for the integrity purpose, there was a, there was a statement of faith that we were supposed to make at some point, along the way, uh, community, uh, not confirmation. It was like a confirmation thing. And I specifically did not actually say some of the words in the statement that we were supposedly standing up and making. So, you know, I was a little bit of a, of a re reactionary there. So I went to college. Okay. At college was where I first got my first introduction to computers. Well, in college, that’s where I first went and said, you know what? This is kind of, this is garbage. And.

Leon Adato (25:15):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (25:15):

I actually, I can actually remember some Christians coming to dorm room going ahead and, you know, trying, you know, laying out the whole Christian thing. And I knew the Bible better than they did, and basically, uh, shot down all of their arguments. And I, I hope I pray to God that I did not ruin their cause I will feel really bad if I was able to go ahead and push them off of their path.

Leon Adato (25:39):

Knock somebody else off the, yeah,

Doug Johnson (25:41):


Leon Adato (25:41):

I so, so, just to hold that thought for a second. Um, first of all, uh, just a point of order for people listening, never, ever get into religious argument with somebody who’s in the philosophy department. That’s really not, that’s not the, the part of the dorm you want. Like if the, if there’s a philosophy wing to the dorm, which God help them, if they really did that. But if they’re like, if they say so what’s your major philosophy. Thanks. Great talking to you. Bye. Just go, just go. Um, and second of all, I heard from actually one of the other folks that we talk with a lot, um, Josh Begley, who said that the missionaries that we, they send people out on, on mission work, not to try to change anybody else’s mind, but to try to deepen the faith of the people who are doing the mission, because being told no repeatedly and aggressively causes you to dig in harder into your own, uh, point of view. So they do it because they want that reaction. So you probably helped many, many people develop a stronger tie to their faith. I’m, I’m working really hard, make this okay for you.

Doug Johnson (26:44):

Well, in the end, and again, based on what I believe as I stand before the, uh, the, the throne and get told, well done thou good and faithful servant. I have a feeling that he’s gonna say, Oh, and Doug, I got a little conversation with you ok? Just yeah. Right. With these people. And then you and I, we’re going to talk just a little longer, so we’ll see how that all works out. But so basically I managed to get through, uh, college, uh, with what I would consider to be a somewhat hedonistic philosophy that basically said, if it’s not hurting anybody at camp, it can’t be all bad.

Leon Adato (27:20):


Doug Johnson (27:20):

Right. And, um, and I lived that out. I was a philosophy major. I truly lived that out. I was a disc jockey after that, everything bad that you’ve ever told your daughters to avoid. I was that thing, right.

Leon Adato (27:34):

You were that boy.

Doug Johnson (27:35):

I was that boy, I was the poster boy for who, who you shouldn’t have your daughter bring home and, you know, went through that whole thing, blah, blah, blah, uh, graduated from, uh, has got cut, got out of college, was a disc jockey, did all kinds of things for about 10 ish years or so.

Leon Adato (27:55):

Um hmm.

Doug Johnson (27:54):

Um, And then I was a disc jockey in Cleveland and then, um, got invited to, uh, a business meeting. We’ve all heard of Amway.

Leon Adato (28:08):

Um hmm.

Doug Johnson (28:08):

So, you know, it sounded interesting went blah, blah, blah. Did that for a while, went to a, uh, big meeting on the weekend. They had a religious service on Sunday morning and they did an alter call and I said, okay, God, here’s your shot.

Leon Adato (28:28):


Doug Johnson (28:28):

Don’t laugh. I mean, it really is. I know exactly. So I said, fine, I will go forward. Here you go. And it was one of those, you know, hit, God figured he had his one shot, hit me with a two by four tears, blah, blah, blah, the whole thing. And you know, it, it, it stuck.

Leon Adato (28:50):


Leon Adato (28:50):

So, you know, when, when they say born again, not everybody, uh, I, I don’t think you have to have a dramatic, uh, con uh, a dramatic change in your life. I did it. And it probably is the only thing that would have gotten my attention. So I did what I was, I started studying the Bible, doing all kinds of things. Next thing you know, somebody said at the door, Hey, would you like to study the Bible? I went, sure, come on in. I think these Jehovah’s witnesses had never actually had anybody really invite them in before. Now, of course, I didn’t know much about the Jehovah’s witnesses at that point, because I hadn’t been saved that long, but so we’re going through it and we’re studying on a weekly basis. And, um, and in fact, one of the fun things was there was an Easter service that we went to that they, you could, they called you up to the front to take communion.

Leon Adato (29:38):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (29:38):

Well, I didn’t know. You’re supposed to be one of the 180,000 saved people to go up.

Leon Adato (29:44):


Doug Johnson (29:44):

So I went up, well, I w.

Leon Adato (29:46):

Wait, wait, this isn’t snacks. I was hungry.

Doug Johnson (29:48):

No, exactly. It was kind of like, it was like that. I was told later that I shouldn’t have done that, but it was okay. You know, I wasn’t going to go to hell, but, but then it got weirder and weirder as time went on. And so I made the mistake of reading to the end of the book,

Leon Adato (30:04):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (30:04):

And now we’re back to the philosophy major thing.

Leon Adato (30:07):

Yeah, uh huh right.

Doug Johnson (30:07):

And so they came in the next time and I said, um, you don’t actually believe that God is, that Jesus has God, do you? And they went, well, blah blah blah, I said, no, apapapa, this is a yes, no question. And so that was the end of me with the, uh, Jehovah’s witnesses. And, uh, when we went to another church, uh, we went one Sunday morning and, you know, the place where you sign your name and, and we just lived across the way. And I said, uh, I said, lamb in search of a shepherd. And next day, [knock on door sound] pastors says, how could I not come to your door after that? So, and, and so I was discipled there and, you know, as time has gone on, I’ve learned more and been discipled by different people and irritated multiple denominations, but, you know, uh, have worked well.

Leon Adato (30:59):

Yeah, that’s, it’s an incredibly on brand for you. So, you know,

Doug Johnson (31:02):

Well, it is, I mean, it’s, it’s been, it’s been fun even when I’ve been wrong. I’ve been right. There was there, there was a time when I was teaching a Sunday school class, and this was when I was traveling 45 minutes to a church that was having some trouble, you know, we had moved.

Leon Adato (31:16):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (31:16):

And so I ended up running late, you know, it’s just cause it was a long drive. And the, as I’m going into my Sunday school, getting set to teach my Sunday school class a little bit late, the elder posts, says that it’s irresponsible for you to be late, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I said, I’ve got a class to teach. We’ll talk about this later, went in, taught my class, went home, searched scripture,

Leon Adato (31:40):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (31:40):

Sent him a thing and said, I searched the Bible. The only thing, only time I ever saw somebody arriving late was when Samuel arrived late, and, uh, Saul went ahead and did the sacrifice ahead of time because he wasn’t willing to wait. And the elder apologized to me. So, so I knew we were okay.

Leon Adato (32:01):

There you go.

Doug Johnson (32:01):

So, and so over a period of time, I’ve been church, I’ve been, God help them. I’ve been deacon in a church or two, you know, I mean, can you imagine,

Leon Adato (32:10):

What were they thinking?

Doug Johnson (32:10):

I don’t know, I’ve been, I’ve been a worship leader. Oh, I can remember once as worship leader, I was there and I was leading us, but I lost the melody. And so the organist go ahead and, and really knocked out the melody. And I said, here I am in front of the whole church. I rely on the kindness, strangers, Thank you, Blanche Dubois.

Leon Adato (32:38):


Doug Johnson (32:41):

So that’s been, my, that’s been my journey.

Leon Adato (32:44):

Amazing. Both, you know, both the technical and the religious journey has been, uh, Epic in many ways. Um, I think what’s interesting about that is that given both the variety and also the duration of it, and yeah, I did just call you old. Um, the, you know,

Doug Johnson (33:06):

I’m not old, I’m durable!

Leon Adato (33:06):

Right. Durable, experienced, seasoned, like an old cast iron pot. Um, so I, I think that the, the number of times that the opportunity to blend these two very compelling, very consuming parts of our lives together, um, you know, becomes equally memorable. So, uh, both on the good and the bad, let’s start off with the challenging part, you know, have you ever, have there ever been times when blending your religious life observances and your technical obligations or life has created a, a particular challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

Doug Johnson (33:47):

Um, yes. I mean, it pretty much has to be a conflict or.

Leon Adato (33:53):


Doug Johnson (33:53):

What you don’t have conflict. Where’s the story. Come on now.

Leon Adato (33:57):


Doug Johnson (33:57):

Yeah. I always tell people when they had a really bad vacation, they went, Hey, you got good stories. Nobody wants to hear what a wonderful time you had, They want to hear everything that went wrong, but I can, I mean, I can remember that I had a consulting firm, um, for a long time where I was doing accounting software and I can remember a couple of different occasions where, uh, I ran into when the one place he went, uh, so, uh, I need to have some, uh, I need to have some inventory disappear. Can you make that happen?

Leon Adato (34:30):


Doug Johnson (34:31):

And I’m going, I don’t think we need to work together anymore. You know, it’s just like, yeah. I mean, could I have done it? Absolutely. I mean, do I, you know, I knew, I knew the accounting software well enough that I could have made it, made that happen. But in fact, I was actually played by somebody once. Um, he, well, he thought, anyway, a friend of mine had a company. He had a guy who was managing his company. So I got in there and the guy said he had done a bunch of test, uh, test transactions. And could I move the, could I get the just test transactions needed to get re needed to get them off? And so I did move them off, but I moved them off to the side.

Leon Adato (35:10):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (35:10):

It turns out the guy was embezzling,

Leon Adato (35:13):


Doug Johnson (35:13):

They weren’t they weren’t test transactions. They were real transactions. And so I got to, uh, uh, be an expert witness in his trial. By the way, if you ever want to know how boring your life is, be an expert witness. I could see the people nodding off as I’m describing accounting software.

Leon Adato (35:33):

Yeah. Being an expert witness in a technique. Yeah. In a, in a computer accounting fraud.

Doug Johnson (35:37):

Oh yeah, Exactly. It was bad, but you know, it was so in that was a case where I was played, but of course, uh, you know, I, I covered for it. So I was able to actually, you know, the guy went to jail and he should have no. So just the way it was, uh, I, I can remember being in another place where looking, you know, looking at his stuff, um, there was no way that he had, he could afford the boat, that he had a picture on the wall of,

Leon Adato (36:05):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (36:05):

Based on what I was seeing here. So only thing I could figure out was he was laundering funds somewhere. It was the kind of business that would have been good for that. So I let that, that’s again, a case where I went. Yeah. I think I need to let this client go. So.

Leon Adato (36:20):

There you go. Okay. So, uh, that’s, that’s sort of the challenging side on the good side. Has there ever been a situation where the blend of technology and religion has really turned into something surprising and kind of delightful?

Doug Johnson (36:34):

It’s sort of a yes and a no? I mean, I, the nice thing about being able to do what I do is that I, I am able to go ahead and help out non-technical organizations with technical stuff that they should have. So there’s been things that I’ve been able to do for various and sundry, different organizations that I’ve been involved with. Keeping in mind that I actually made an active choice not to do religious or church software relatively early on, because I knew that if I did it to make my living, I would ended up hating my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Leon Adato (37:12):


Doug Johnson (37:12):

As a volunteer, as a volunteer, it was okay. But if I.

Leon Adato (37:15):


Doug Johnson (37:15):

Had to make my living that way, there was just no way that that was going to go ahead and work.

Leon Adato (37:19):

It doesn’t people who love to cook and decided to open a catering company. And not only do they hate to cook now, they also hate people.

Doug Johnson (37:26):

Yeah. Pretty much how it all works out. Yeah. I’ve done a few catering gigs, but yeah. I don’t want to make my living that way.

Leon Adato (37:33):

Um hmm, yeah.

Doug Johnson (37:33):

So yeah. And I love to cook. Um, the best part of it for me is that technical stuff is very, uh it’s. Yes, no. I mean, you really have to, I I’ve got a client that every time something happens, he goes, boy, that’s weird. And I’m going, no, it’s not weird. We just don’t know why.

Leon Adato (37:56):

um hmm.

Doug Johnson (37:56):


Leon Adato (37:56):


Doug Johnson (37:56):

I mean, it’s like, computers are really, there’s always a really good reason why they’re having a problem. Right. And you taking that same logical philosophical, uh, bent that I have.

Leon Adato (38:10):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (38:10):

It works really well for me. Christianity does make sense. I mean,

Leon Adato (38:15):

um hmm.

Doug Johnson (38:15):

Pascal, the mathematician it’s, it’s called Pascal’s, uh, gambit or whatever it is. But he basically said, if I’m a Christian and I am wrong, what have I lost? If I’m a non-Christian and I’m wrong, I’ve lost everything. So it, it, for me, Christianity works both from a logical and a systematic thought basis. Um, that, that appeals to me, and.

Leon Adato (38:43):

Um hmm.

Doug Johnson (38:43):

It’s the same thing on the technical side, you can always work through a computer problem may take you forever, but.

Leon Adato (38:48):


Doug Johnson (38:48):

You know, but, but, but it there’s always an answer there somewhere. It can be ridiculously difficult to track down, but it’s always there.

Leon Adato (38:58):


Doug Johnson (38:58):

They sort of play off against each other sort of nicely that way.

Leon Adato (39:02):

Wonderful. Okay. So this is the lightning round. Are there any final thoughts? Any lessons you want to share before we wrap this up?

Doug Johnson (39:10):

One of the things that, uh, sort of bugs me about Christians in general.

Leon Adato (39:15):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (39:15):

Is we believe, as Paul said here in, you know, here in earth, great. Uh, I die. I go to heaven even better. Okay.

Leon Adato (39:25):

Uh huh.

Doug Johnson (39:25):

Why do Christians? Why are Christians so afraid of death? Why are we so afraid of dying?

Leon Adato (39:30):


Doug Johnson (39:31):

It’s just, it’s silly. I mean, I understand that there’s an unknown there, but if we believe what we say, we believe then we should be, Sweet! I actually said that once we were in, we were in a thing.

Leon Adato (39:46):

Oh god!

Doug Johnson (39:46):

we were in, we were.

Leon Adato (39:47):

Not at a funeral, please Doug, not at a funeral.

Doug Johnson (39:48):

No, wait wait, it wasn’t a, Oh, by the way, I give great funerals. I give great funeral, just so you know, I’ve been asked to do several eulogies and I give great eulogy, but I have people laughing until I have them crying.

Leon Adato (40:02):


Doug Johnson (40:02):

Every time I’m good at it. But in this case, we were in a meeting and the guy was the guy who was leading was blah, blah, blah. And he was going, so, so you leave here and you walk out the door and you accidentally step in front of, step in front of a truck. And I went, sweet! And he went, that is the first time anybody’s ever said that. And you are completely correct.

Leon Adato (40:25):


Doug Johnson (40:25):

Well, it is. I mean, if you think about it, I mean, golly, no pain, no suffering. And you’re with God, come on. How bad is that?

Leon Adato (40:34):


Doug Johnson (40:34):

That’s not bad at all. So the, that’s, that’s one of my big beefs with, you know, in general, if we believe what we say, we believe we should not be so afraid of death, that’s the whole point. But there you are.

Leon Adato (40:49):

Got it. There you go. All right. As always, it is a delight to talk to you even when we’re not recording, but when other people get to share in this, uh, Whoa on them, I guess. I don’t know. It’s uh, but we had a good time. So thank you for joining me as always.

Doug Johnson (41:06):

I appreciate it. And I will see you. I will be up there in September, by the way.

Leon Adato (41:11):

Woo hoo! Up in Cleveland, in September picking the right. Oh, wow. That’s that’s not next month. I, it, time has no meaning for me anymore.

Doug Johnson (41:19):

Sorry I know, It is pretty much, no, it it’s my 50th, uh, high school reunion a year and a half late.

Leon Adato (41:25):

Well, yeah, of course it is yeah.

Doug Johnson (41:28):

But so yeah,

Leon Adato (41:30):

Because 2020 is just a big blank spot on the calendar.

Doug Johnson (41:33):

Oh, it didn’t happen. 2020 nah. Didn’t happen. No. Oh, well, all right. Well, I can’t wait to see you. Thanks again.

New Speaker (41:40):

All right. Talk to you later.

Leon Adato (41:42):

Thanks for making time for us this week, to hear more of technically religious visit our website, technically, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect us on social media.

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