Where I come from

Some folks have suggested that it’d be nice for me to tell more of my personal story.

There’s only one problem: I absolutely hate talking about my own life experiences. I love talking about ideas, situations, how to solve problems, whatever… but when it comes to chronicling “My Incredible Journey” I get nauseous.

I’m sitting here, trying to write on this topic, and thinking… where do I even begin? I could point out that I’m a grandson of a coal miner who “upgraded” his career by becoming a longshoreman, then died at 51 years old from lung cancer. I’m the son of a factory line worker whose career peaked in his 20s and ruined him physically and mentally from there on out, leaving him on permanent disability by his early 50s.

I think it’s right to start there, in fact. Because compared to these men, I’ve always viewed my own career path in software development and business as a walk down easy street. But compared to what it could be, the technology world is still deeply dysfunctional and unhealthy for its workers.

And to a much greater extent, the impact of technology on society is probably the sharpest double edged sword that the world has ever produced. Maintaining a net positive balance when it comes to social impact is a never-ending struggle.

People say they appreciate my work because I focus on the human side of software development and business. My own personal upbringing tell me that when you don’t do that, industrial gears crush people and either literally kill them or leave them in such a state that they’ll never fully recover from the suffering they’ve been put through.

So to me, focusing on the human aspect of technology, both in day-to-day work and in the larger impact that our work has on the world is a moral imperative. It’s just the thing that makes sense to do.

There’s no way that I can take the mindset of “Fuck you, got mine” when I’m only a generation out from people spilling blood for the opportunity to make my life a little easier. Instead the thought of “Will I ever do good enough?” is what keeps me up at night.