I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and I graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, California after studying linguistics and anthropology, as well as completing a Great Books program at the Torrey Honors Institute. This was a program where in-depth thought and problem-solving were encouraged and expected.
Instead of a computer science education that began with math, I was influenced by literature and anthropology, which showed me that modern technology is one of many tools that humans use to accomplish their ends. Of all the ends, making money is a small part of the human experience. Anthropology let me peek outside of the modern man's 40-hour work week to a world of hunter-gatherers who probably put in 20-hours per week including making food, erecting shelters, fashioning tools, etc. How would you like 112 hours of waking free time per week?
After college, I did need to find work so I could marry my beautiful wife. Raised by a COBOL programmer, I had learned BASIC and then dabbled in Web development, so I took a job as a programmer. At first, I thought it would just be a career, but I soon developed a love for the work.
I am now a DBA, but I have also worked as a general IT guy supporting all the different parts of a company's infrastructure, as a developer, and as freelance designer/Web developer. I've had experience building a CMS, an e-commerce platform, a mortgage calculator, a small ERP system, and an accounting application. Beyond applications, I've done ETL, reports, and hundreds of minor utilities. I've been in education, multilevel marketing, banking, agriculture, and advertising. I gained a fairly varied perspective, but the common element I have seen is that software is transforming every business.
When I first started as a tech-guy, I had very little experience and no technically strong mentors. I joined a team that changed that, and they pushed me to up my game. After joining a few local developer groups, I made it a daily goal to improve my skills. The communities on Reddit, Slashdot, and Hacker News constantly challenge me to learn more and up my game. Hacker News also harbors a world of micropreneurs who launch small, lifestyle startups that make money but don't result in divorces. These communities lit a fire under me: I want to start my own business, so I can work on technically excellent products and earn money in direct correlation to the value I provide.
I am now on a path to change my professional career as well as my personal relationships. At the beginning of my career, I was focused on a stable job and a good stream of income. Now, after watching so many people succeed with their bootstrapped business while listening to the moaning of the average corporate developer, I realize that there's a tax on stable, 9-to-5 jobs. If you want that guaranteed paycheck, then you have to put in 40+ hours every week on projects you don't get to choose and ask your boss for time off.
This will probably be the hardest thing I've done yet, but I am starting my own business. There are three giant pitfalls for me: I'm terrible at sales and building relationships, I have always worked within a predefined system and I like it that way, and I am fearful of failure. The one thing I fear the most, though, is that I will spend my life in an office and have nothing to show for it.
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