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SW engineering, engineering management and the business of software

2018 04 23

Tar Pits, Trampolines & Safety Nets

I’ve been programming for over 35 years. I’ve done it professionally with 8 languages (including C, VHDL, Go, Swift) and as a hobby with at least 5 other languages. I’ve done mobile apps, embedded programming, backend, frontend, devops, system architecture, and more. In addition to pure engineering roles, I’ve had stints in a diverse set of roles, including Technical Marketing, Field Support Engineering, Engineering Management & Recruiting. I’ve worked for startups with as few as three people and mega-corps with six digit employee counts. I’ve run my own companies. Some of the companies I worked at have had soaring valuations and others crashing. Some companies had both separated by a surprisingly small window of time.

I worked in Tokyo for six years on a sweet ex-pat gig and taught myself Japanese while I was there and did business & training presentations in foreign languages. I was once sent to Korea from California, SWAT team style, to fly in, successfully teach people who don’t speak English as their first language a highly technical topic and fly back in 24 hours. I’ve helped close multi-million dollar deals. I’ve charged as much as $1000 an hour as a consultant (not that often) and received as little as $0 when I got stiffed on professional work done (also, not that often). On the whole, I have a fairly diverse skillset, with a more than a few spikes of proficiency in certain marketable areas of expertise.

I only recently started going grey and despite being a dad, people laugh at my jokes more than they groan.

Despite all that:

When my self-belief, willpower, etc. suffers, I am grateful that I have done the best of my ability to surround myself (IRL and virtual) with amazing people who respect & care for me. This obviously means my family and friends, but also includes close peers, a handful of mentors and a broader circle of “my people” (peers who are like minded on more than a few axis of measurement, but may not be connected directly via work).

I cannot overstate enough. Think carefully about the people you surround yourself with. I find that in the worse case, they drag you down and keep you trapped, like a tar pit. In the best case outcome, they are both your trampoline to help you reach new heights and your safety net in case of occasional (yet inevitable) falls.

recently on

2018 03 07 〜 Focus or What I Learned About Maximizing Serial Throughput from Civilization

2018 01 31 〜 Lessons from interviewing CTO Candidates

2017 02 01 〜 Empathy as a Core Engineering Requirement

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you may also be interested in some of the greatest hits of

〜 Empathy as a Core Engineering Requirement

〜 Venture Capital Math 101

〜 You Should Foster a Culture of Readability

〜 The Customer's Semi-Lucid Trance State

〜 ARC Best Practices

the fine print:
© matt nunogawa 2010 - 2018
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