From running two small ecommerce companies I think I've learned enough about MVP, shipping, inventory management, etc.
From 25 years as a software engineer I've learned about building tools to automate steps.
I'd pick some "hard to find / expensive niche (e.g. Greene and Greene, Art Nouveau, etc.), but offer repeatable designs, not do custom work. That would allow for lots of jigs, fixtures, using cheap machines in duplicate to eliminate setup times, etc.
...and then after growing sales and shaking the bugs out of the production, I'd hire assistants to keep cranking stuff out.
Eventually I'd allow customers to start turbing a few "knobs" on products, via a website tool (this isn't too much falling back into software, is it?), which results in customized cut lists being kicked out for my assistants. Mass customization.
Theirs a real satisfaction in looking at a your work at the end of the day and being able to SEE it.
Common errors are things like trying to cut a piece that is too large / awkward, resulting in the wood pinching the blade, and also getting your fingers too close to the blade. Get used to using push sticks to push the wood piece through. Typically you'd make up a couple of them with notches in the ends, or with a rubber tip. If you are doing certain types of cross cuts, the table saw has a couple tracks and a jig that runs along them, to move the piece through. Also, most important, is to set the blade height correctly, so not much of the blade is sticking out through your work piece.
Of course, I've always wanted a computerized setup, where you specify where the cut should be, and the work piece gets robotically placed on the table saw and precision cut. (they have this in some of the larger cabinet shops).
Powertools are made to cut/grind/drill/etc... wood, metal, and even stone into useful shapes. All of these things are significantly harder than the human body. Of course the tools capable of doing it are dangerous.
For example, you wouldn't want to wear loose or baggy clothing around a lathe.
Also, when I was a kid, my Dad had almost lost the tip of his finger in a snow blower -- he was cleaning out the chute when his glove caught on the blade. Again, something that you aren't supposed to do. For myself, I've had a number of close calls -- sometimes a piece of wood gets ejected in the direction of the blade spin. I've learned to stand to the side, and now directly in front of the saw. Also learned the hard way that you don't support a board on both ends, and cut in the middle with a circular saw -- blade pinch, and a nasty bruise results. Again, if I had someone standing there that could warn me, I would have corrected my technique before getting hurt.
i had a roommate for years, was a very skilled machinist... we called him "nine and a half" although he was really only missing about 2mm from his right index finger... state compensated him $10k for those 2mm's though.
Also, you can do a lot of woodworking with other tools, like a circular saw, track saw, miter saw, or even a simple hand saw. I've built a couple of bookcases and a built-in storage bench using only circular and hand saws, though a table saw would have made the work easier and probably straighter.
If the safety mechanism failed though, the resulting injury would be far worse as a result of the gloves, so it might not be worth it in that regard.
I'd highly suggest taking a look at some of the videos from Paul Sellers: https://www.youtube.com/user/PaulSellersWoodwork. My first real project was building his simple (but very functional) workbench. He is pretty opinionated so keep that in mind, but he speaks from experience.
Also keep in mind that there are really two "classes" of popular tools: western and Japanese/eastern. If you do get into woodworking I'd suggest trying out a few tools from each class. I ended up going with Japanese saws because they felt more natural to me but then using western style planes.
Unlike Schwarz who I feel like is always trying to get me to buy something else :/
You may want to check out the Bosch ReaXX, which has a similar tech in a portable job-site saw. SawStop is currently suing Bosch for patent infringement (which I don't fault them for; it was them trying to make it illegal to sell saws without their tech that didn't sit right with me).
and a followup that's more balanced:
Don't work alone in the house, keep your cell phone in your pocket. I suppose this would be a great use for Amazon's Alexa, just yell for 911 (does that work for Alexa?).
Putting your hands in the soil, seeing the growth & blooms, eating your produce - very satisfying!
Funny thing is before I did hardware, I was running a wood/machine shop which was satisfying, but didn't pay very well.
What I found is so many people glamoririze wood working, but at the end of the day keep your desk job. Working with your hands is a dirty job. It's a physical job. You come home tired. There's a reason, even custom wood shops, are filled with immigrants.
I know very few independents that make a go of it. I know a few guys who highly specialize, and claim to make a living. For a few years, guys were making good money refinishing wood slabs, for tech bosses. That market is getting crowded. A $8000 table can be had $800 if you travel, and shop around.
I won't get in to all the downsides, but if you have some extra room buy some wood working equipemnent. You don't need to go hog wild. You don't need a cabinet saw. You should have a contractor's saw with a cast iron table. A router. Drills--don't spent a lot on fancy features. Union finishers use the cheapest plug in drills. Have an assortment of clamps. Keep your chisels sharp. You don't need every router bit made either. It's not about the tools in the end.
I really think the secret is to specializing. Do custom chairs? Get your name out there. I know one guy who makes custom dressers, but they are works of art. This guy will spend months working on a piece, and some rich guy will buy it for $180,000.
I once wanted to make custom knifes, but every guy I talked to said you won't make a living off it.
I am going to try to make custom sterling belt buckles. I've done some jewelry work, and found that a hard niche to get into. The Chinese make some realistic looking hand made stuff. Yes--they steal our original ideas--sometimes overnight.
My strategy is to get in quick, and get out if I get a bunch of copycats. I already have most of the tools.
I think a lot of us want to do something else? My dad, who was an Electrician, once said, "I wish I had a job where I could sit in a warm office for two hours in the morning, and then get in my service truck and do physical labor." He never found a job he totally liked. He died an angry man. It wasn't his job he hated so much; he was just angry about everything. My biggest fear was turning into my father.
I don't think I ever will. I had a busted a gasket in my noggin in my twenties, and don't look at the world like I used too.(bust gasket--had minor nervous breakdown in my twenties. I got better, but my perspective on life did change.)
His channel is great for more than just its content; it's also inspirational. My father has been a hobbyist woodworker and he has a small basement shop. Growing up I would frequently be down there with him 'helping' here and there, but never really built much of anything on my own besides a few small projects.
Watching Matthias' videos rekindled my interest in the hobby and I even picked up some new tricks along the way. It has also been great to get back into the shop with my dad and spend real quality time with him.
Matthias, if you ever read this: thanks!!!
Sometimes I think it appeals to me (and engineers in general) because spending so much time developing software... when not working on front-end/UI, it's all intangible. Just abstract bytes cast into the void. I need to make things in the physical realm more often.
This is actually very similar to how semi-custom cabinets are made and sold, aside from the web interface. There is a catalog of available cabinets, and each cabinet can be customized in a variety of ways. For example, you can order a drawer + cupboard base cabinet with 2 roll trays and finished left side. The cabinets are built to order, but from a standard set of parts. They're built in a factory and shipped to the job site fully assembled. (One big maker is Masterbrand, which like GM offers many similar products under a variety of sub-brands.)
Instead of the web, though, cabinet selections are typically made by a kitchen designer, because the customer is not sufficiently skilled to take responsibility that the items ordered will actually fit. This might be a problem in woodworking, though perhaps less so for furniture.
These types of sophisticated projects though were fairly risky for property developers making them somewhat rare. So I struck out on my own to try to develop a small business around the most 'automatable' work I could afford to get into - which is basically a prototyping shop that offers laser cutting and engraving of wood products.
We've been fairly successful with it, and so now we're starting to develop product customizers that allow customers to order custom work which we can fabricate on demand without having to interact with the customer in person (a major source of overhead in most custom fabrication shops). Here's an early beta example of one we're working on for the wedding industry if you're interested: https://www.instantcaketopper.com
This is the most challenging thing about most IT jobs. I was working "maintenance" (read: janitor that occasionally builds things) at an outlet mall before I fell in to an internship that led to the VoIP/MSP job I've been working for the last decade.
I'm making a lot more money and I never have to clean up bodily fluids, but rarely does this job provide any real end-of-day satisfaction. Maybe once a month I get to work on a project that when complete I can stand back and have something tangible to be proud of.
On the other hand from just a summer of working at the outlet mall there are a half dozen things I worked on that I can see from the highway as I drive by now 12 years later. Even the cleanup work had a clearly defined "task complete" state that anyone could see.
As for the grass being greener, it's important to keep perspective about what the former was. I think your example re: bodily fluids is a pretty good example :)
But, if that's not something you have the space/money for yet, I think that cooking is a nice substitute hobby. There's a lot to learn with tools and technique, and you get the immediate satisfaction of seeing (and tasting!) your finished product.
Just be careful though -- I've injured myself many more times in the kitchen than in the garage.
Certainly it is possible to succeed there, but I think many manufacturers are already far ahead of the average software shop in terms of automation.
Absolutely true. And this is why I was very specific about picking a high end niche, and using tons of jigs, etc.
If you try to make rocking chairs, or cabinets, or whatever, you're going to be undercut by people in Malaysia, or huge factories in North Carolina.
You need something where there is a LOT of complexity AND a relatively small market, both to serve as walls to market entrants.
You normally can't build a big business on any of those niches, but it may be enough to sustain a single-person shop.
I started StumpCrafters.com just a few months ago and its great. I love being out in the shop more and still getting to do a few things with code here and there.
Im not quite there with the customization yet but its in the works.
Check it out at:
There is some sort of game...and you sell these pieces of wood for the game?
TLDR; The Stump Game is played with a Stump, nails, and a hammer. Win by being the last nail above the face of the stump.
I'm not kidding, in the middle of bars they have a big ol' tree stump full of nails
they totally should
I would study the first proof in mathematics all the way up through modern probability theory.
I would throw away my cell phone and do all of this work from a nice modern loft in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome - starting every morning with an espresso, and ending it with good food and two bottles of Red French or Italian wine.
Back to work ..
I have a full-time job and read as many philosophy/sociology and math books as I ever have. You can actually try out your plan of full-time study on your next vacation - I bet you will bore of it in three or four days.
> I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member –Groucho Marx
Living abroad on dollars, and staying out of native-English speaking countries and Nordic ones, it's quite easy to live an average lifestyle on around $600/mo. However, to live like this you end up going through a few dry periods where you really are struggling. Three-fourths of the time, I'm living the same lifestyle as I did in the US, except it's more interesting and I'm not working a full-time job I don't like just to make ends meet.
My free time is spent exploring cities, learning languages which I teach myself and then practice in-country, reading and watching documentaries about everything that interests me (I was born curious), volunteering and working on some online side projects (non-monetary) related to growing my knowledge.
If this were a few hundred years ago, I would be the first person to sign up for overseas voyages, but since there are no more unexplored/untouched lands these days (barring the final frontier), I try to do the next best thing - explore subjects and places that are, in the least, not previously explored by me. Another way to look at it is to say I was born (SF in the early 80s) a few decades late, otherwise I would have grown up hippie and probably fit right in (rather than have friends who make amounts I can't even comprehend).
What's a VA?
You are living an interesting life. It is fun to read about how different everyone's experiences are.
I wonder if you COULD document that in a physical way though, maybe build a website using a free host like Wix.com loaded with photos from around the world, organized chronologically by country.
That would be amazing. Maybe even organize a speech about "What I have learned by traveling the world" (with cool photos)
Even if you didn't take photos, you could find photos of the places you lived at on Google.
I think many people would be interested by a talk like that.
I appreciate your experience, and I think employers would also.
You have proven you can relate and survive in many different cultures and you are adaptable. I would imagine that would be valuable in an international position in a big company like Pagonia, or a safari travel company, or even a local company with a diverse workforce.
If the question were, "What other job would you like to do, if it paid at least as much as software development?" I could probably come up with some creative answers.
But even though I'm not particularly driven by money, given that I have a family to support, mortgage to pay, etc., I probably could not take a job right now that would significantly reduce my income.
With that constraint in mind, I suppose I would say I would return to my first career (journalism) and become an editor again. This would involve a significant drop in salary. So I would have to ramp up the time I devote to my second job. I'm an author of nonfiction books, which has been mostly a side project, but a relatively lucrative one. If I could bang out a book a year, on top of working full time as an editor, I could probably keep our household finances afloat.
Obviously kids make this harder and my perspective is certainly biased as my wife and I don't plan on children so our nut is much lower every month than our friends with kids in HS or college.
Depends on your circumstances. 100k with one salary?
Sure, 100k can go very fast with kids, and it won't make you independently wealthy, but many people manage a "basic life" and even saving some money living on far less.
Suppose you live in Cambridge, MA and eat all organic food; rent with roommates and utilities costs perhaps 800/mo, subway costs perhaps 100/mo, food costs 300/mo, clothing is perhaps 100/mo, health insurance perhaps 1k/mo. This adds up to 1300/mo, 28k/year. Throw in a very luxurious 5k/year in travel, 4k/year in restaurants and hobbies, and your 100k salary / 67k takehome pay supports you saving 30k/year (more if you use tax advantaged accounts).
Consider a family of four in such a case. Taxes run about 21k/year instead of 33k/year, so takehome is 79k. A 1br in Cambridge runs about 2k/mo, maybe 2.5k/mo for luxury. Subway is 150/mo, food costs 700/mo, clothing of say 200/mo, healthcare is perhaps 1.5k/mo; these run 5k/mo in total, 60k/year. Throw in 5k for travel, rental cars, and hobbies, and you're still saving 15k/year for emergencies.
This seems like a very luxurious life, as someone who's lived it; expensive, and I found it slightly more luxurious than makes me happy. So yes, families affect saving rate, but also provide perpetual free entertainment.
Ugh, for a lot of us roommates == hell. There's no way I'd subject myself to living with strangers again.
I think it depends more on circumstances before you get to $100k. If I had parents who paid for school I'd probably be living it up too.
I often wonder if it's just people who have a different concept of what is a necessity vs a luxury due to never having to go without for a significant part of their lives, or people who have just never lived outside of the cities or other expensive areas.
In my case, I lived on the lower end of the income spectrum for much of my childhood, and lived even poorer while building my startup in a low-cost area. So it is with deep experience and sincerity that I say I have no desire ever to repeat those years, nor to inflict such a life on any future young humans.
Ways in which it's not life changing: probably have to live in a more expensive area, which eats into the benefit. Still have to play the office game with people you may or may not like. Still have to save up and budget if you want to travel. You won't live in a mansion with a full-time staff. You still won't have enough money to trade money for popularity if popularity is something you lack and want.
Ways it is life changing: can afford more nutritious and more enjoyable food, which helps make life more sustainable. Can provide better food/clothes/schooling for any children (I have none of my own), which gives them an advantage when they reach adulthood. Can live two or three emergencies away from devastation instead of just one.
If you didn't have kids you would feel incredibly rich. You could pay off your house in five years and feel even richer.
The average student loan debt is $27,000. Having four times that amount makes you a massive outlier.
You'd need a lot more data than I have on-hand or care to track down bit-by-bit, but from the number of doctors and lawyers we mint yearly I wouldn't be surprised if 1/10 college grads were well over $50K in debt; MBAs make up something like 10% of graduate degrees and cost around $40K on average by themselves. To me, one in ten is not all that uncommon - student loan delinquency rate more than that ;).
On top of that, it's not "uncommon" for two people who are both surgeons or doctors or lawyers or MBAs to find each other and get married; these people, very much like most of the software engineers I've met, live around their jobs. The people they meet are quite often in their same fields, and have similar financial backgrounds as a result. Two young MBAs? Easily $80K in the hole together.
We in the Bay Area just get this warped sense of perspective because everyone here has to make absurd gobs of money just to make rent, reenforced by the demand for good software engineers being so high. Most of the other people we deal with or interact with are either software engineers themselves or are directly in support of software. We get insulated and siloed from differing perspectives by our monocultured Silicon Valley society.
(And yeah, doctors and lawyers don't usually become doctors and lawyers from the goodness of their hearts alone; they understand that eventually they will come back and get way ahead of their massive debts, especially as the government keeps piling on incentives like debt forgiveness and restructured repayment plans to keep people choosing these avenues of work.)
Do these averages include living expenses outside of dorms? I know plenty of people who foolishly had to borrow to live near campus.
I realize this isn't particularly related to the thread at hand, but do you have any advice for "breaking into the biz"? It looks like the baby experiments book was published by a "conventional" publisher, too, which seems increasingly rare these days. I'm fascinated by people who can make money writing nonfiction without having an academic pedigree or something similar.
1) I found an agent by searching on aaronline.org and sending book-proposal queries to agents who seemed like they were a good fit.
2) Although the costs of self-publishing have gone down, the problem with self publishing, for my type of nonfiction anyway, is when it comes to distribution. Getting the book into brick-and-mortar stores, getting the book reviewed by reputable outlets, securing foreign rights deals ... that all becomes much easier if you have a book deal with a traditional publisher. Not to mention the advance.
3) Because I don't have an academic pedigree, I'm limited in terms of the type of material I can write. But my experience as a journalist helps, because although I'm not an authority myself, I'm able to take authoritative material and boil it down for a broader audience. That said, having a background as a journalist might help you get a book deal, but it's insufficient if you don't have enough of a platform: https://janefriedman.com/author-platform-definition/
Maybe a break from the eye strain of staring at screens? Nostalgia?
Also, the book form leads to a different way of engaging with information, even if its digital. When I look at technical books on Amazon, I always read the table of contents first. Gives an idea of topics covered and overall organization, and thus how the information is connected in the author's mind. That adds value over just Googling and following various links in a haphazard fashion to learn about a topic.
On a computer screen this doesn't seem to work.
Fundamentals are still better off starting with a book before moving to online imo.
I agree, except I don't think it's changing, because the end artifact of "plan out, organize and go into detail on the topic" I would still call a "book", regardless of how its delivered.
Hmm, no. many of the classics of compsci are not available to read online, and there are even some which are practically impossible to find even as shitty scanned pdfs
The Psychology of Computer Programming
The Paralation Model
Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction
Object-Oriented Programming in Common Lisp
Computer-Aided Financial Analysis (Miller)
Probability, Statistics, and Queueing Theory (Allen)
The Brain Makers
Whoever discounts computer science books today because "you can find it all online" does so out of a very deep ignorance of computer science. Between Google Books and the Internet Archive's scanning project digital copies do exist, but are inaccessible.
Their website in 1998:
Takeaways that stick with me till this day:
- You can develop an incredible amount of strength from just cycling.
- Air quality is a long term concern.
- (More sun + more exercise) - LEDs = great sleep
- Excessive amounts of exercise != great health
- Learn your machine, and do your own work.
- Fixed gears are extremely useful in dense traffic.
- The type of work you do affects your outlook on life.
- There is a substantial amount of pride amongst messengers who show up, especially on the worst of days. Most people tend to avoid the harsh realities of life, and everyone can learn something from just taking life one delivery or line of code at a time.
- There is something to be said for sitting on a park bench and admiring the beauty around - people, man-made, or nature.
I miss it, but don't recommend it to anyone, as it's a job that requires a lot of grit and is low paying. I wouldn't change my experience at all, though. It aged my mind and soul in a really positive way.
I will say, returning to software development raises some eyebrows. Some will scrutinize the hole in your resume, others will congratulate you on being different.
I wish you had elaborated on this.
Sure. I've held jobs in one or two other fields prior to entering software development, and each one of them (in my opinion) contributes to a perspective that you see the world through. Our brains change with habit, and, naturally, the thoughts and feelings that frequent your mind will become mainstays of your daily life. It took two years for me to stop feeling like every time I rode my bike to and fro, that it was imperative I do it as fast as possible.
This is going to sound silly, and I'm okay with that. But, being an engineer again, the patterns and ways my brain solves problems for work permeates into daily life. For instance, I view boiling water, laundry, and texting as asynchronous tasks that can have their own thread and let me know when they're ready. Ridiculous, I know, but I feel like our brains seek these things out to strengthen the existing connections we have and to put life into contexts we understand most. Take this with a grain of salt, because this is just my experience and I have no research to link to, at the moment.
The other interesting thing about how it changed me was, prior to being a bike messenger, I was pretty naive of classism and what it looked / sounded like; however, only now is it obvious. I make conscious choices to treat all people in service industries well because I only now understand how privileged I am as an engineer. Tipping and saying "May I have xyz" are large parts of this, as vocations such as baristas, delivery personnel, and food workers are very underpaid. I can't really change the world, but I'd like to think I can make the people in front of me a little happier by treating them well.
I know the logical response to this statement is: Reduce your needs and the reduced pay won't be an issue. While true, I don't think I am that flexible sadly.
My boss described being a forest ranger in the Mt. Shasta area as the Forest Service equivalent of being a green beret. They carry automatic rifles and are totally isolated from support while dealing with drug growers and associated violent criminals. Not my idea of a comfortable job.
Play a game about a Forest Ranger. I played this game through and it's fairly enjoyable (even if my usual cup of tea is Battlefield/GTA style FPS).
Give it a try!
Around that time I had read this novel (a Western) called The Deer Hunter (not related to the famous movie of the same name, which is about Vietnam, etc.), and it was about a guy who does that work - a forest ranger in the Grand Canyon (of the US). Great story.
1. Why do we work? (Jobs, Businesses, and the individual economy)
2. What is wealth, and how do I get it? (Saving, investment, real estate)
3. Is it supposed to be like this? (Capitalism, Government, modern political economy)
4. Systems Design (If you want to change the system, how should it work? How do we measure things that aren't money? Love, time, attention?)
That said, there is no way that I can see myself doing it in the context of a high school or college.
High schools (at least the several that I have subbed at, and I have a couple of teenagers, so I've been on that side of it too) are really crappy "Lord of the Flies" kinds of places.
Colleges are better, but there are similar structural problems to being a musician: it's basically no pay for a big sector of the population, plus you still have an institution around your students.
The best model that I have seen is private students; my wife has 40 violin students (plus her general business of being a musician, plus teaching with a couple of local youth orchestras) and makes a very good living.
There is no reason that you can't apply the same principles to teaching any subject. I asked around, and there was a high demand for folks who wanted me to teach their kids how to program. I imagine that if there were a bigger population, I'd be able to find enough folks to put together seminars on the same stuff I was teaching at the university.
At that point, setting your own curriculum is part of the job and not a fantasy.
What is wealth? Things people want. Money = wealth not because it's directly useful but because people want it so you can trade it for things you want.
Why do people want Money? Taxes, and loans. If you sell stock to buy a car, you need extra money to hand to the government. Further, if you have a mortgage or credit cards you need to come up with cash on a very regular basis.
Then build on this:
What is the demand curve? Different people are willing to pay more or less and buy more or less of the same things. ex: 3rd car.
However, you would be much better making this into a book than teaching a class. As again Econ 101 is setup so people can do a lot of math in Econ 301.
Common people should know the philosophy which shaped the government thinks about their lives and productivity.
Yes econ is not a true science, because it is mostly conjecture supported by handpicked data, but at the same time, it is the only template we have created to think about the complex interactions in the competitive marketplace.
The power of the competitive market is the foundation for all capitalist action, economics is a way to understand how markets intersect and interact.
Do a search and: The demand curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between the price of a good or service and the quantity demanded for a given period of time. In a typical representation, the price will appear on the left vertical axis, the quantity demanded on the horizontal axis. -This means nothing to most people.
"What is the demand curve? Different people are willing to pay more or less and buy more or of the same things. ex: 3rd car, water for a bathtub vs water for a swimming pool." -Sounds like something you might recall in 10 years.
I am all for talking about the laffer curve as more than as math. You can also talk about it as society breaks down and a black market grows. It's still economics as it relates to society it's also meaningful to people.
For comparison CIS 101 is often this is how you use Excel and somewhat useful to most students, but also not really a foundation for a CS degree.
I feel the math should be used to prove the philosophical points. It's rare that the math actually improves understanding without a novel hypothesis behind it.
In the future, I could be an aged carer as I really like looking after people, although it doesn't pay well and there can be a lot of poo to deal with. On the other hand, one of my former managers has been working at Google for about ten years and is quite enthusiastic about my working with him there. Unfortunately, they are in California and I am in Melbourne so I'd have to move.
Strange, why do you say so? We live in the era of IoT and everything has at least one chip inside them. I also do system/embedded programming, but never felt the lack of possibilities to advance my career.
OP, what do you wish you had done differently? Web? Enterprise Java dev?
I wish I had learned C++ but my KISS alarm went off when I looked at the language, which is a bit of a worry as we say downunder. I avoided learning C# as I found Microsoft's business practices to be utterly repugnant.
I succeeded and even trained someone else how to do it. When we started, he didn't know C all that well so I split the drivers into hard and easy parts and gave him the easy ones. We wrote about six drivers together. I made his parts harder and harder until he was able to write a driver on his own.
Perhaps I haven't been reading the right software architecture books but it seems to me that very little mention is made of changing the design to suit the ability of the individual programmers, the way band leaders like Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller did with their arrangements.
This is a pretty amazing way to teach someone something as complex as device drivers. It sounds like you did an excellent job mentoring him.
Stephen's deafness did not affect his work, of course, until management made him a quality engineer for our voice over IP project. With that kind of thinking, the company wasn't making any money and owed all of us six months wages. You learn a lot about motivating your team under those circumstances. I did it by emphasising the importance of what we were doing. Of the ten software and five hardware engineers, we were the only ones joining the software to the hardware.
Apart from not being paid, it was a great place to work and I'm glad it gave me an opportunity to develop my management and people skills. Until then, I had been much better at programming computers than working with people and I was feeling a bit lopsided.
I once met an older guy who was a software developer and asked him how he got into the field. He said that he'd originally received a doctorate in psychology and was a psychiatrist for years before he realized that most people don't want to be fixed. He said he'd got into programming because, "Computers always want to be fixed."
And now I want to print out and put into a frame what you just wrote.
I still think people deserve a chance though.
RE experience, if you're totally new to sailing I'd start first with some basic sailing expertise at a sailing academy. J-World and others offer "learn to sail" courses as well as cruising courses. An American Sailing Association boat-handling certificate is probably useful as "proof of experience" for future crews. US Sailing's "Safety at Sea" typically run annually in different cities is another good one, and required for most off-shore regattas.
Once you've got the basics down, I'd suggest being a ride-along with a more experienced skipper / crew. Places like Offshore Passage Opportunities provide listings of folks looking for crew, but I'd recommend due diligence if you decide to make the passage:
You might also get yourself on a mailing list for local regattas or sailing forums and say you're looking to help with deliveries. How long / where these things happen will likely vary by region. People do transits from Florida to Carribean all the time. Same with New England to the South each year. Racing boats go from Mid-Atlantic / New England to Florida / Key West around end of the year. In Midwest, deliveries from Mackinaw are common in July after the Mackinaw races. West Coast - not sure, but Transpac (Hawaii - SF) returns and/or Coastal races are probably common.
Best of luck! :)
From there you can jump on almost any boat delivery crew with a bit of luck.
Most rich boat owners don't want to sail their yachts across large bodies of water, so they employ delivery crews. Normally they employ an experienced captain and the captain hires his/her own crew.
Boats are normally moved during the spring months from Europe to the Caribbean, specifically for the start of the season for Antigua Race Week, which I believe takes place in April/May. They normally head out from the Mediterranean via the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic.
Common places to jump on board are where yachts have been kept or serviced over the winter. Common ports include places like Palma de Mallorca, which is full of "boaties" looking to get a place on a yacht crossing. You hang out in the "boaty bars" and see if you can hook yourself a ride by chatting to people. There are also a number of internet forums, but you'll get better luck face to face, and you'll spend a number of weeks with these people in close confinement, so you'll want to know what they are like beforehand.
As you get more experienced and depending on the boat you could try to get taken on permanently by the owner. The pay on the super yachts of the super rich can be insanely high, especially for experienced captains, chefs and engineers - monthly 5 figures if you are really good. That being said the super rich can be complete assholes, who can start throwing the carefully presented lobster dish back in your face because it wasn't the right colour, or you forgot to make sure the wine fridge was stocked with enough Dom Perignon P3 Plenitude Brut.
I've heard some wonderful stories of the super rich from boaties. It's a crazy life.
In Seattle there are plenty of sailboats under 30' that cost less than $10K. The moorage is the expensive part and costs around $400/month.
There is no such thing as a cheap boat. The maintaince is a constant time and money suck.
2. Try to bring software development education to underprivileged kids in some way that eventually scales and has real career potential. There is part of me that feels this has potential, because the opportunity for self-development is so high, and the cash costs of the tools low. There is part of me that worries it is futile, because I suspect software development jobs actually require more deep and diverse basic knowledge of math and reading than I could hope for in underprivileged environments.
It was very rewarding, but also one of the most brutal experiences of my life (earning <$30K and working as a graduate student didn't help, of course!). I'd do it again, but only if I had the cash to back me, preferably my own because grant funding is/was thin, the labor required is enormous, and volunteers are flaky.
I still keep in touch with one of our students, though. I like to think we really helped him, at least.
1. Lack of awareness. In many of these environments "software engineering" doesn't really mean anything to anyone, especially if few households own computers in the first place. Growing up in Detroit, my Dad lugged in our first (huge, ancient) PC when I was in the 4th or 5th grade - if I had simply been pointed in the right direction, I could've started my learning much earlier. I remember lots of kids in our middle school getting super interested in HTML/CSS, but only having access to PCs for an hour or two after school.
2. Learning ability. Obviously not to say there aren't any smart underprivileged people, but it is not often made clear that one's ability to learn is, in itself, a powerful asset. I believe this is the strongest factor in one's ability to program outside of personality inclinations, and that anyone can increase this capacity (within whatever local spectrum their personality and lifestyle allows).
For example, I'm deeply saddened when reading about scam private universities, because they prey upon people who value the ideal of "education" and really want to succeed, but don't have the people around them with enough experience of higher education to distinguish the good schools from the scams.
Regarding 2, I also agree. I think right now, the school (and possibly home) environments are so sub-optimal that we really have no idea what most underprivileged kids are capable of. But that problem is vastly larger and more intractable than the "could we teach kids pragmatic SD skills" problem.
As much as I want to believe that some kind of pragmatic software development curriculum could offer a scalable career direction for some of these kids, its not clear to me that it would really solve either of these problems. So, I continue to think about it occasionally, but not pursue it.
Also, I once tried calling underprivileged schools in my city (St. Louis), asking about opportunities to tutor kids in CS/computers. In each case, I got blown off, or referred to the city-wide magnet school, which teaches a tiny fraction of the most gifted students, many of them from the county.
It's hard work, not just the writing, which is way harder than it looks, but the marketing, which nobody really does for you, at all. You have to do tons of reaching out to schools, trade fairs, and magazines, pay your own travel expenses, and develop a whole extended entertaining workshop presentation to sell 20-50 people at a time, of any age, on buying your books. Unless your book is called Harry Potter, you are eking out sales in person a lot of the time, and wondering who you have to sleep with to get your book reviewed. Even a rave review from the NYTimes really doesn't do much to sales. I hear about seemingly successful books all the time that, when I look them up on Amazon, have maybe 8 reviews.
According to this, you can get a high-end gaming rig going for fifty cents an hour; can we get a nice programming environment set up for the kids, too, running off Chromebooks or cheap Dells?
e.g. the pleasure of being a maker.
the pleasure of finding things out.
I have them for my daughter and the messages are very positive for exploring ideas and experimenting.
So far, the one we like the most is "Secret Science Alliance" but it's not for younger kids.
why do you think so?
That, or help out my political party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_for_the_Animals) since we have elections early this year. The party's name is unfortunate and its Wikipedia description as well. It is more well-rounded than that and also is the best party in the parliament wrt privacy, civilian rights, etc. (dutch link: https://www.privacybarometer.nl/pagina/45/Actuele_stand_van_...)
And Judo, more Judo.
You could consider to take a sabbatical for a time on the Sea Shepherd. I don't have the right personality for that (I'm too withdrawn/passive, not social enough) but I have a lot of respect for people who devote time, energy, and money against the strong tide of corporate selfishness.
Your party's name makes it sound like a one issue party. I recommend to change it, or merge with GL/SP.
And, yeah, they're unfortunately pretty resistant to changing the name.
Actually whenever I get too stressed out at work I consider doing this, I've got the necessary capital and in a city like Oslo where people don't care about beer prices it can surely be made into a profitable thing.
Very few bars turn out to be profitable, even those with excellent ideas.
Hi, I'm Jamie Zawinski. I'm the proprietor of DNA Lounge, a world famous and award-winning all ages dance club and live music venue in San Francisco, and of DNA Pizza, the 24 hour cafe and pizzeria next door. Prior to that, I worked as a programmer. I was one of the founders of Netscape and Mozilla.org, and have been involved in the free software and open source community since the mid-80s. I was the primary developer of Lucid Emacs (now XEmacs), and probably wrote most of your screen savers.
Right click and open in incognito window.
JWZ.org attacks viewers referred by ycombinator.com