As a kid, I was always curious about how things worked and had an insatiable desire to build things beyond my means.
Lucky for me, my parents encouraged my curiosity and desire to create. I built small toys to play with, then graduated to forts, tree houses, old cars, and a hot rod.
When I went to college, I thought I’d do something with cars, which were my primary passion through high school. Engineering seemed like the natural path.
At that point, I had never even seen a computer. One of my first Engineering classes was computer programming to sovle engineering problems. After that first computer class, it was over for Engineering. I changed my major to Computer Science and never looked back.
I found writing software gave me all the intellectual stimulation of working on or building mechanical things like cars, without the burned hands, skinned knuckles, and grease under the fingernails.
Later, in a senior Computer Science project, I was introduced to the absolute joy of building software with a team. It was an amazing experience to work with others to build something bigger than I could ever do by myself in the time available.
A few years of experience in the industry took me from a kid that always wanted to build things bigger than he possibly could, to an adult that leads teams working on software products larger and more fun than I could have ever imagined.
Let’s build something amazing together.
The section above the line was written in 2005. Looking at this 18 years later, it’s time to reflect and continue the story.
Early in my career, I was often the youngest person in the room. I was comfortable with that and excited to learn, innovate, and solve technical problems.
Now I’m usually the oldest in the room which is also comfortable, but a big change in perspective. My thrill is now participating in product and technical strategy, experimenting with processes, setting up proper incentives, and helping other leaders grow.
Long before writing the first part of this story, I vowed to never become a bitter and unproductive late career person like some I observed early in my career. The secret seems to be staying curious, excited about learning, young in spirit, and focused on helping others along their journey.
My strengths have evolved and refined over the years. Satisfaction comes from fostering the growth of younger colleagues. I enjoy asking them interesting questions, helping them see big picture patterns, and shaping the organization and the work through their personal growth.
I’ve moved from getting satisfaction from building software to building people, cultures, and organizations.
Let’s build an amazing organization together.