Programming insights to Storytelling, it's all here.
As a web developer, I am proud when asked about my work experience. I worked with a dozen programming languages and I can fairly quickly learn a new one. I use them both for work and privately. When I have new ideas, I open up vim, write code, test the idea locally. If it works I then quickly spin a digitalocean droplet to validate the idea with real people. All this just for fun. But from time to time, I am asked about Artificial Intelligence and my answer is not as enthusiastic.
When the pandemic hit, most businesses closed their doors. From the 405 to the 3rd street Promenade in Los Angeles, not a soul was in the road. The only brick and mortar in town were grocery stores. People invaded those stores and snatched every last roll of toilet paper. Other businesses awaited quietly while they bled through their remaining cash. Even the online world was not spared. Customers were not sure how things would play out, so they saved their money. Or reserved it for toilet paper delivery.
In 2017, I worked for a large conglomerate. When a company grows a certain size, change is never welcomed. “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” is the motto and software is the first victim. That's how you end up with core products still running on COBOL or FORTRAN. Microsoft still offers customized support for machines running Windows 2000 Server. But not in my company.
There is a time where the thing that bothers you the most in your programming career is the semicolon. You've formally learned that every statement ends with a semicolon, the same way every sentence ends with a period. But then you join a team that has complete disregard for your favorite punctuation.
If you ever think about becoming a writer, then go ahead and type a single character on Google. Before your finger is off the key, Google will recommend hundreds if not thousands of material. Not just any material, good material. There are classes on Udemy, there are videos on YouTube, there are well written articles from prominent bloggers. You can join forums, clubs, guilds. There is no shortage of information to turn a complete newbie into a respectable author.
12 years ago, I went to IHOP. Or was it last week? No, it was last year before the pandemic. Time is a blur. In my trip to IHOP, with our two little boys, my wife and I were experimenting with the different type of food they like. They had just turned one and hated every single meal of the day. But they had also developed an appetite for anything that was on my plate or my wife's.
I've been awfully quiet on this blog for a little while, and it's about time I say hello. So, Hello! I'm hoping to spend more time blogging this year since I've just taken a decision that gave me more time. On December 30th 2020, I left my job. I was the first engineer hired in a start up called Abot (later renamed Thankful). We used AI and automation to improve customer service for a plethora of online shopping websites.
In web development, connecting the application to a database is rarely an issue. Most programming languages come with a database driver that does all the work. You call the connect function with credentials and host as arguments, and you are in. When working on a phone app, we expect to do the same thing. But there is a key difference here.
The advantages of working in tech is that our work can easily transition into consulting. It's all code after all. But at work we use tools like Jira or Trello. The manager drops tickets in your queue and that's what you work on. We rarely think about what to do next. When consulting, you are on your own to figure what to do right now. Most developers will give up on consulting after their first stint. (Turns out you hate working on your cousin's app)
I once worked in a small security booth in downtown LA. The capacity was exactly for one person sitting down. But each shift had two security guards. To fit in the booth, both guards had to stand up. One of the guards who often interrupted my sitting and forced me to stand up was Lance. After so many years at the job, Lance was tired of working as a security guard. The pay was low, the hours were inconvenient and there were no opportunities for growth. One of the janitors told him that he would make more money if he worked with them instead. Depending on seniority, he could eventually become team lead. Plus he would be part of a union, so no one could ever fire him.