A few years ago, I was strugglig to pay my rent working an unfulfilling, dead-end job in the auto industry at a failing company. Part of my job was updating the company website with new products, press releases, etc. Updating any of the content involved a cumbersome process using CSV files and Microsoft Access. Customers frequently called for information that was on the website, because it wasn’t easy for them to find. Our sales team was fielding customer service calls; not selling. We also really wanted to add e-commerce. When the owner finally decided it was time to replace the website, he had me spend 2 weeks meeting with agencies and freelancers before balking at their estimates. I decided that I’d already put so much effort into this project, and I believed it was so beneficial, that I would just build it myself. I mean… I’d done a couple of small projects in Visual BASIC, created a couple of Flash movies and games and in high school I put together an XHTML1.1 website or two. A cms-powered ecommerce website couldn’t be that hard, right? While I did get the job done, and it turned out great… It definitely wasn’t easy.
Two months later, my boss called me into his office to discuss my lackluster performance over the past 6 weeks or so. When it came time for me to explain myself, I told him the truth: I’d been half-assing my regular job duties because I was building our new website. It was almost done, if he wanted to see it…
After pointing his browser at the WAMP instance on my office computer he saw our beautiful new website and got pretty stoked. After seeing the open source ecommerce/content management functionality he was sold, and emphatically told me to finish it up asap. We’d hire someone else to take over my old job, he said. Over the next month or so, I finished up our new WordPress-powered CMS/eCommerce backend while polishing and expanding the html5/css3/jQuery UI. I moved on from that company shortly after, but that website was instrumental in their growth. It was also instrumental in my growth, as well.
Since leaving that company, I’ve had a fulfilling career as a developer which not only pays the rent, but also gives me the financial freedom to really enjoy my life. I’ve also learned how much I enjoy helping others maximize their potential and discover the joy of programming. All of these things have culminated in this blog, where I’ll be sharing everything I know (and learn) about building software that’s easy to maintain, scalable, and usable. When your code makes the users and your boss happy, life’s great- and I want to help you have a great life!