I’m taking Thanksgiving this year as an opportunity to thank some people who have helped shape my career.
Eric Cheng – Eric and I had the opportunity to work together once his company acquired mine back in 2000. Eric and I were the corresponding UI leads for our companies, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity I had to work with him. Eric was also the first person I knew who blogged. He had a personal blog as well as keeping an unofficial internal blog for the company. I read through both in their entirety, then read through the blogs of the people he linked to. I found other developers who were blogging and started following them as well. Eric’s sites were my initial inspiration for starting this website over 10 years ago.
Mike Little – After I started my blog I started creating custom features for it (called “hacks”). Mike was active in the b2 community and he took the time to answer my questions and help improve the code I was creating. Mike’s support helped encourage me to create and release more Open Source code, and also taught me a few things about performance and development techniques. As much as anyone, Mike’s support and encouragement helped me get involved in the b2 and WordPress community.
Scott Sanders – I worked with Scott at several start-ups in the Bay Area before co-founding FeedLounge with him. Scott is one of the brightest software architects I know and was incredibly patient as he helped me work through architecture and software design questions. His generosity with his time was instrumental in helping me grow from a designer to a developer.
Brent Simmons – When I decided to leave the Bay Area and move to Denver, I decided to take a chance and go out on my own rather than looking for a job in Colorado. I had been creating free software of my own and had a decent user base. I wanted to try creating a commercial version and reached out to Brent to ask his advice. I knew Brent primarily by reputation, and was a member of his NetNewsWire beta program. This gave me the opportunity to see how Brent worked with his customers and witness how he approached building software. Before we’d ever met in person he was gracious enough to spent 30 minutes or so on the phone with me letting me ask some business-related questions about being an independent developer. Brent’s support was instrumental in helping me take the initial steps to creating my first commercial software.
Matt Mullenweg – Matt had a vision for what WordPress could become that far exceeded my own. What’s more, he figured out how to make that vision a reality. Matt and I have agreed and disagreed on many things over the years, but I have the utmost respect for his stewardship of the WordPress project and thoroughly enjoy the chance to discuss and debate things with him when we’re able to meet in person. Without Matt’s leadership, the WordPress platform I’ve been able to build my business on wouldn’t exist. I am very grateful.
Michael Lopp – As my team has grown over the last 5+ years I’ve realized more and more benefit from the excellent writing Michael has published about building development organizations. Michael’s narrative approach is so effective for me that it has fundamentally shaped the way I try to communicate ideas. I’ve been enjoying his insights and ideas for nine years, and feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to swap stories and pick his brain in person.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you. I can’t imagine where my career would be today without your inspiration, guidance and friendship.