About four years ago, I was a game programmer at EA in Florida. I liked games, but I was burned out on EA, and on coding in general. I didn't feel like I was learning anything, and the people around me didn't seem enthusiastic about coding. My formerly exciting job was a grind.
Around that time, I stumbled onto this weird site called "reddit". There, I found all these articles where people were blogging about how awesome coding was. They were excited about programming languages, and techniques and just generally seeing how far they could push being a coder. Moreso, the comment threads were filled with super smart people having these amazing discussions around the articles (and also some puns).
One of the blogs, and one of the commenters who always stood out for me as being thoughtful, positive, and an excellent writer was this "raganwald" character. With him and the rest of the reddit community, I felt like I had found My People, and it completely reignited my love of programming, programming languages, and writing.
I got more into programming languages, started blogging, and started coding a lot more in my free time. While I wasn't learning much at work, I was learning a ton of new stuff about interpreters, compilers, algorithms, data structures, and just about everything I could glean from blog posts, wikipedia articles and journal papers that weren't behind academic paywalls.
My blogging led to me getting a book deal (which alas I had to back out on because of the time commitment). All this stuff about data structures and algorithms was enough to get me out of Florida and past Google's fiery hiring gauntlet, and my newfound interest in programming languages landed me my absolute dream project.
So now I'm here in a city I adore, at a job I love, on a project that I'm excited to be on every single day. And, in a strange way, you helped make it happen.
Thanks, and happy birthday.
Thanks for writing :)
I have to say, A Woman's Story is a favorite of mine. It's incredible to hear about a woman overcoming such odds in an industry that still, 60 years later, has a gender gap. To discover that it's about your mother is just delightful.
She was hired on contract to go and help set it up, and as a single mother she took my sister and I and we moved to Nigeria from 1969-1971 or so. Needless to say, there were many challenges being a single professional woman living in a corrupt patriarchal post-colonial african country :-)
Although the computers have changed (I remember seeing actual core memory at the University), the career probably sounds familiar to many readers here. Big install, travel to a customer’s site, &c.
I still remember when he stood up at the first YC Startup School to respond to pg's assertion that startups are for young people with no obligations to say, What better example to set for your kids, than to do something meaningful? This was in 2005; I thought he was in his mid thirties.
(At the time I had two kids of my own; now I have four and a company. And for what it's worth, I think my oldest is proud of his dad.)
First, when you’re young and childless IS the best time to start a business, you have less to lose and a greater chance of success.
Second, just because you aren’t young or aren’t childless is no reason not to start a business. (Caveat: It may be a reason you will not succeed financially!)
You could simplify this by saying, today is a better day to start following your dream than tomorrow, for any value of today.
From a recent blog post of mine: "Raganwald always felt like a programmer, exploring issues that programmers cared about ... Raganwald seemed like a better version of what I could become."
The closest proxies are Lambda the Ultimate and videos/lists of papers from conferences like the JVM languages summit, strange loop, ICFP, CUFP, and
Archives here: https://lists.csail.mit.edu/pipermail/ll-discuss/
And older archives here: http://people.csail.mit.edu/gregs/ll1-discuss-archive-html/t...
At what point do you think you went from "posting essays online" to being a "blogger"?
I posted a few essays and shared the links, but I didn’t have a “readership” until I had an RSS feed and people could subscribe. So I consider myself to have started blogging when there was an RSS feed.
(A few years back I abandoned that, as I felt that the best way to reach people was via aggregators like HN and Twitter.)
I get most of my traffic from Twitter and aggregators
Enjoy that delicious, delicious cake.