A Big Thank You

I owe everyone a tremendous debt of gratitude. I’ve been posting on this blog for quite some time. I’ve made some transitions from Ghost, to Wordpress, and now to Jekyll. In that time I also tried out some SaaS platforms like Medium and Blogger but I’d rather not remember those times. Thus, you see the articles that are on my current blog - I’ve lost a lot but I’ve gained a lot. Just like myself my blog had to evolve over time. One thing has remained fairly consistent though: why I write.

Why I write

I gave a bit of a brief synopsis of this on LinkedIn on Friday before I headed off to work. I started writing as sort of a documentation of what I was learning in hopes that my own discovery would speed up someone elses. I always liked the sharing of information and skills. I remember when I discovered my first closed source application all those years ago and was like, “Why can’t I see how they got here?”

On Friday I was fairly astounded to find out that I receive between 40-100 active users on any given day. This may not seem like a lot but I remember the days of paying for a Linode server that literally never got hit unless someone was trying to backdoor my Wordpress installation. In the words of Martin Fowler, “I know many people who are every bit as good, indeed better, than I am at design.” My writing has not really been a reflection of myself but more a reflection of the things I’ve learned and experienced from others over the years. I make a habit of surrounding myself with incredibly gifted and intelligent people so my writing reflects that in a way.

If you aren’t on this list please don’t take offense. I’ve met a lot of really great people here that are likely missing.

David Meidam. I met David at Saddleback Leather, he’s the manager the gave me the opportunity to jump into DevOps. The most valuable thing I think I’ve learned over the years that he introduced me to is “freedom with responsibility”, though he never phrased it in this light it was always at the core of what David was doing. He also took a personal stake in a team members success and when it was time for me to grow he acknowledged that. Ultimately David is a large reason this blog has readers today. David also forced me to get behind a debugger again, which I’ll forever be thankful for.

Brandon Klutey. Brandon doesn’t have a large online presence but he’s an integral part of my vision in software. I worked with Brandon as a Network Engineer and he’s since gone on to become a Software Engineer. Brandon, as a peer, showed me how fluid teams are supposed to use confrontation. He showed me how people can drop emotional ties to an idea and push forward together to a common goal. There is no negotiation in software, just common goals and routes to attain them. We learned a lot in coordination and people regularly reflected how mesmerizing it was to watch us bounce ideas off each other.

My Parents. My parents live a pretty quiet life now but when I grew up I was attached at the hip to computers. My dad and I bonded over video games a lot. We played nearly every early title we could get our hands on. Back then Half Priced Books sold video games and we were always buying them. My dad brought home a computer when I was around nine. It had no OS on it and I decided to make it into a server for our house. I loaded RedHat Linux on it from a book I bought at Barnes and Noble. The rest is history. This was during a time when parents were being scorned for letting their kids spend too much time on a computer, my parents never did that and much of my success in this industry has been because of them. I have now worked on 12+ languages, an uncountable amount of operating system variations, and built more applications from source than I care to think about. This is all attributed to their ability to give me the freedom to discover.

The Marines I’ve served with. This is kind of a group shout out. I learned from good and bad leaders here. I learned how to stand firm in the face of challenge and most importantly I learned a lot of follow through. Though I eventually left the Marine Corps the skills and way of life I learned will not be forgotten.

Charlie Zascavage. I don’t really know where the man’s gone and I don’t hear from him much. That said, Coach Z was my high school wrestling coach. I didn’t even like wrestling that much, but the lessons he taught on the mat were much more than just how to turn someone on their back which is why I stayed. In life the most important lesson he taught was, I think, how to fail. Sometimes life, or projects in software, just don’t work out the way you want or expect them to. That said, there is always success from failure. The whole reason I joined the Marines after losing my job was because I thought, “There has to be a way to succeed from here.” Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’ll continue to fail or that you are a failure, instead you should acknowledge your failure, learn from it, and get to work again. This tireless mentality was at the core of what Coach Z preached. I’ve failed a lot in life but I’ve succeeded a lot too. I wouldn’t have made it from screaming in frustration inside my garage to typing this article without that life lesson.

FreeNode. FreeNode IRC is the best. I chat and idle in way too many channels to list. FreeNode is what got me through some troublesome problems in software and has acted as a great resource when there were no resources. If you’re ever bored FreeNode is also a constant source of quality entertainment.

The future

Who ever really knows what the future holds? Life is a sort of hour glass hidden inside a box that you can’t open. I could be dead in a year, my ideals could be outdated and rejected, or I could be thriving. That said my goal is to help make a thoughtful and lasting impact on this industry and firstly the people in it. My chief ambition is always finding a new way to do exactly that.

I’ve been starting to do speaking engagements and have been a regular attendee of several DFW Meet Ups (Yes, I probably want to go to your Meet Up). Seeing other people in this industry is really cool, the even better part is being to help mentor and guide people along their own journeys. I intend to keep making great software and systems but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to find a way to reach more people. I don’t get paid for this website nor do I ask for money when I speak; my old ritualistic values of sharing information come first and foremost in my life.

In the end thank you all for taking me here whether you’ve liked or shared my posts, provided me a feedback loop, or have just been a casual observer.

Here’s to another hundred viewers.