In November I started working full-time for DNSimple. I’m decidedly happier and excited about the road ahead after making this career change. Reflecting on the path that led me here I’ve learned a few new things about myself. I’m absolutely certain I enjoy writing software above all other professions. I do not enjoy being a manager or a consultant. I revel in thinking strategically and I love shipping work for our customers.
I mark the beginning of my career when two friends and I started our first software company in high school. I was the least proficient developer. Instead I focused on leading the product and business aspects. We never made it to market.
At university I studied computer engineering and computer science. I ended up learning quite a bit of practical knowledge operating the computer labs for the information technology department. My timing was lucky as the internet and web were on the rise rapidly. I was gainfully employed delivering software via the web and have been set on that path ever since.
After a few rich consulting gigs, company false starts (as a bit player), and backpacking around the world I decided to move to California in the late nineties. The dot-com years in San Francisco were certainly one heck of a roller-coaster. I ended up leading a decently sized software team. We shipped, but hadn’t actually built a product people wanted. Crash, bang, boom.
The first few years of this millennium seemed tumultuous and disorienting. I bounced around the world some more and hung on with the odd consulting project. I found Portland, Oregon and decided this place made sense to me. The software gigs in 2003 were still pretty weak. I ended up taking on a sysadmin role. As a developer everything is a software problem so naturally I’ll write my way out of doing anything more than twice. After playing with lots of automation software I settled on Chef as my kind of framework/language/service/tool/community.
My wife followed her dream (and I followed her) when she joined the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. When we moved to Canada in 2006 I kept my sysadmin gig and eventually leveraged it into a consulting company with an increasing client roster. The last few years have been a blast as the “cloud” and DevOps movement have taken off. We grew into a team of world-class Operations Engineers, have risen with the larger Chef community, and I believe are having a really fun time while at it.
As clients and consultants joined Heavy Water I ended up doing less engineering and more management. By splitting focus I was doing both quite poorly. After switching to management full-time I realized I don’t like managing people or projects in-the-large. Finally, I concluded beyond a doubt that I’m an awful manager. We were lucky enough to have a strong team. We rearranged the company as a partnership and hired a professional executive. Heavy Water is growing fast once again and working on amazing open-source projects.
Rewind to the beginning of 2010. My brother started a DNS provider and domain name registration company called DNSimple. When he asked if I was interested in helping I responded with a resounding yes. For the first year or two we’ve been working on it after normal hours. DNSimple has continued to grow steadily and as of November was able to hire me as its second full-time engineer (Simone Carletti being the first).
Make no mistake – DNSimple is a software company. Our culture is all about enabling “makers”. We work really hard towards removing any and all complexity around the process of starting and building your app on the internet. When you use our product it should be a pleasure for the part it’s good at and then immediately disappear into the background until you need it. You should be laser focused on the unique aspect you’re making instead of the muck. Having lived my entire adult life on the internet and always wanting to build new stuff I’m beyond thrilled to offer this experience to DNSimple’s customers.
We have a great vision of the future. I’m extraordinarily lucky to be able to work with people I love on a project that inspires my passion. I plan to share more behind the scenes engineering story as it develops.
Every morning I wake up excited to ship code for DNSimple and thankfully I do.