I ran one of the largest Ruby on Rails shops in the world.
I learned a lot.
Intridea was among the first software consultancies to focus exclusively on Ruby on Rails, building apps for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. At our peak we were one of the largest Ruby on Rails consultancies in the world. I started as a Rails Engineer, shot up the ranks, and eventually ran the company as Partner and de-facto CEO.
We also built a products division that incubated and invested in product companies. We had several successful spinouts, including Divshot (acquired by Google), SocialSpring (acquired by UnitedWeb), and Scalr (a cloud management platform funded by OpenView Venture Partners).
I've worked directly on all aspects of company life - from engineering to payroll, from light DevOps to HR, from database admin to marketing, from code reviews to fundraising, from usability testing to budget forecasting. And everywhere in between, too. I understand and appreciate the unique sets of concerns and stressors inherent on each rung of the ladder.
I missed my engineering days.
I love being back.
Running a company had its rewards, but I always missed being deeply involved in the programming side of projects every day. I poked my head into our projects often, and contributed code when I could spare time from running the company, but it just wasn't the same as being in the thick of it. Now I'm back into daily coding and I'm loving every minute of it.
I do lots of things well.
Deep Ruby on Rails skills are just the start.
Those tech skills are important, sure, but just as important are the "softer" skills I've learned on the way. Skills like being able to think like a user of an application, understanding the business value of a given feature request, and knowing when there's a solution that gets you 80% of the way there with 20% of the work (and cost).
I do more than engineering. My interests provide perspective.
My non-software experiences bring a unique perspective with unquantifiable benefits.
For example, I've studied counseling psychology, giving me a strong insight both into how the mind works and how to listen carefully and with empathy.
I'm keenly interested in mindfulness and meditation.
Over the last several years, I've developed a strong interest in mindfulness and meditation. A daily practice has made me more aware of how my mind works. I can see tangible benefits in my day-to-day coding - I catch myself much faster when starting to head down coding rabbit holes, and I approach problem-solving with a more open-minded awareness.
I thru-hiked the entire 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail
I took a six-month break from leading my software consultancy to plan and execute a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. One of the most amazing experiences of my life, I learned a great deal about my inner strength and resiliency, logistics planning, and yes, all about pooping in the woods.