I am a software developer and absolutely love it. I love that I get to create things by using my skill set. My passion for technology and creation has been an accelerating factor in my life in the last few years. This is my attempt at putting my passion into words.
This morning I posted a YouTube link of a video that really gets my juices going and it was suggested by Keith Bradnam (@7T1) that I write a blog post describing this passion of mine and why it gets me excited to get up in the morning. It is the total opposite though, I hate getting up in the morning because I spent all hours of the night working or could not sleep because of an idea in my head.
Early in my career I was happy to be coding full time, learning and evolving (which I still enjoy greatly). I always had opinions on technology, but I often kept them to myself. I would always think how could I make X app better, or Y tool auto-magically do something so I did not have to ever again. I got to a point where I got tired of creating just another database for customers requirements. I got tired of banging out another web app. I always felt restricted, I wanted to break out, I felt frustrated that we weren’t trying to amp up the level of our products. I wanted to do more. This is when the hunger started. I’m not exactly sure what words I would use to explain it, but it was the beginning of what has become to be the never ending appetite for creation. I began spending evenings rewriting products on my own time.
I decided to make a change in my career as I was feeling very bored. I felt I was spending evenings trying to create and feed an appetite that my daily job wasn’t fulfilling. I sought other opportunities and Big Company jumped on me with a position in an R&D division. I had other offers at the time, but I instantly tossed them aside. Being in an R&D division was music to my ears. The entire purpose is to create something that does not exist or try to create a product that elevates the playing field against competitor offerings. This division was focused on mobility. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I instantly fell in love with creating mobile technology and getting to work with all the newest smart phones of all various platforms. It seemed as though every 3 months a maker was coming out with a new phone or SDK. I loved the crazy pace mobile offered me. I soaked up as much of it as I could, consuming as much work as I could, not settling myself into any 1 platform. Attacking anything and everything that was thrown my way. Internally the environment was quite collaborative, open, but also fairly polarizing because of the different mobile platforms people got to work with. Even though I was low in the ranks, my opinions were listened to, we debated and I learned a great deal from the leadership on my team.
This was before the iPhone existed and before data plans were plentiful and priced at consumer levels. We were pushing the envolope for what smart phones could do in the business sector and when the industry transformed into more powerful devices with the emergence of the iPhone and data was much less an issue the pace continued to accelerate. The doors opened on even more possibilities of what we could accomplish.
Somewhere during this time my mindset and thoughts went from thinking about the nuts and bolts to thinking about the car. I started having much larger thoughts and ideas. The “what if someone created X” talks were becoming far more common. I found myself wanting our product to bust out. I started thinking of all kinds of new ideas for the product. This blog is also an output of these thoughts. I often think of all kinds of ideas in different spaces.
I began having difficulty finding people to discuss ideas and thoughts with. When I did find someone who I could brainstorm and bounce ideas off of it was a very surreal feeling. I loved every minute of it and did not want to stop. Even today I have very few of these conversations but cherish the people I can have these conversations with. I enjoy my ideas being challenged. I enjoy being challenged, period. My level of excitement in these conversations are off the hook.
When I get into these modes, I feel like I want to create something amazing and want to begin ASAP. They inspire me. They challenge me. They also haunt me.
Ideas will haunt me all night and I will not sleep. If I have a problem I did not resolve, I will be thinking of it all night until an idea pops in my head. Trying to ignore it is impossible. I usually end up dragging my butt out of bed and hacking something together to set myself at ease and return back to sleep. I am also always thinking up new ideas of features, ways to do things, entirely new projects, entirely new ideas that are sometimes so large I don’t think they are achievable.
When I see a challenge that I think I can solve programmatically I have a very difficult time holding myself back. I usually end up attacking it whether I have time or not to attack it. I might be up all hours of the night trying to figure it out at a time where my day job might be nearing a ship date and things are a bit insane.
An example of this is someone I have gotten to know over Twitter recently had a VPN problem with a network configuration that was not typical. I had knowledge of NAT hole punching and the general mechanism of how it works in relation to how firewalls handle traffic. I was determined that I could solve this issue for them by developing a piece of software to punch a hole through multiple firewalls on both ends. Double-firewalling was eliminating any connections from being accepted on either side. I could of let it go but knowing that I thought I could programmatically solve this even though I’ve never done it before made it impossible not to attack. I could care less if it never got used, I wanted to solve the problem.
Twitter has also further fuelled this mindset for me and has put it at a whole other level. I’ve only been on Twitter a year and I’ve been able to find really challenging conversations with people. It blows my mind why these people would be discussing with me. Recently I was contacted by Mary-Jo Foley (@maryjofoley) to do an interview for one of her articles regarding Windows Phone 7. I was taken back by the request. I certainly don’t think I am deserving but at the same time thankful to have had the opportunity. To say Twitter has been amazing for me would be an understatement. I would of never met all these great people otherwise.
Hoop Somuah (@hoopsomuah) has been a big influence for me recently in many ways (thank you!). We’ve had several conversations that really challenge my ideas and thoughts at the same time expressing that I shouldn’t be so timid about making these thoughts public. I’m a quite shy person and this has empowered me to be more vocal. I started tweeting more of my thoughts, and blogging more of my ideas, even if I feel less confident about how it will be received. These conversations have been some of the best discussions I have ever had. In the end, things have turned out far different than I expected. My blog does not get much traffic but once in awhile I see someone tweet a link to one of my blogs that I highly respect or someone I never thought would follow my Twitter account ends up following me. Some of the feedback I receive sometimes makes me speechless. At this point I don’t care that it is low traffic, it has been so worth it.
To be honest, I’m starting to feel a bit insane about the whole thing. My mind just doesn’t seem to stop thinking or wanting to tackle things. In reality my passion level is on a growth curve. Even if I am tired, I do not stop. The people close to me know this all too well. If there is a passion button that you can turn off, I haven’t found it yet. Where will that take me? I’m a bit scared but also excited to tackle something new, given the chance.
What are you passionate about?