Join us for a walk down memory lane as we retrace the start of the Ruby community in Johannesburg and end up on the trails of the Aosta Valley.

Kenneth & Kevin chat with Armand du Plessis, a long-time Rubyist about his journey from classic ASP to being the CTO of Hornet. We get a small glimpse into life before .net and building applications for Symbian, and a whirlwind tour of building various systems in the mobile money space.

Armand has always been a keen early adopter, building an OpenID bridge for Facebook (a precursor to their own Facebook Connect platform), hooking up Erlang and Ruby processes with BERT and running Tokyo Cabinet back in the day. His adventures included a brief stop with open-sourced S60 browser from Nokia, trying to bridge native API's and JavaScript long before it was cool! We also have some good chats about the early days of the Ruby community in Johannesburg, the start of then Ruby on Beer (now Jozi.rb) and some interesting visitors we've had. We also touch on BarCampJozi and the need for another one.

The last five years Armand has been involved with Hornet, a gay social network and dating app. Armand was part of the team that helped launch the service after just 2 months of build, and made it in time for various launch parties they had all over the world. Admittedly they still have some technical debt today for some of the shortcuts taken back then. Kenneth was very grateful to hear someone admit this openly and honestly. We also lean a few interesting things about their stack and the huge amounts of traffic they do (their CDN serves more traffic than the Cape Town Internet Exchange!).

Finally we lace up as Armand shares with us his trail running adventures from the last few years. Armand has embarked on some truly epic runs all over the world, including Mont Blanc, Patagonia, Andora and many more. As we recorded he was getting ready to participate in the 2016 Tor Des Giants. Armand shares some tips and motivation and technology that can help kickstart a healthy trail running addiction.

Follow Armand online:

Hornet can be found at

Some resources mentioned during the show:


Thanks for listening!

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