For over twenty years I've relied on Microsoft products and services for my home computing. But for web development (the only type that really matters to me) Windows is more of a hindrance than a utility. Many libraries and unique tools are not even developed for windows. Last night I did a full install of Ubuntu 9.1. I'm sure I'll continue to dabble with Microsoft products through WINE. My life partner Michelle also switched over to an iMac yesterday (from an xp trojan laden laptop) and the setup experience was very smooth, minus an iPhone wiping glitch *shakes fist at iTunes*.
Part of the attraction of Windows for me was gaming. You couldn't pry me away from a great pc game 20 years ago. Even just a couple of years back I was still hooked on World of Warcraft. As far back as I can remember Microsoft Windows has been the premier operating system for games. At the end of 2008 my desire for game emersion waned. It was past time I respect a much deeper calling, the call of the builder.
A small tech company's soul gets purchased
Sure, I'd built plenty of utilities at work in over a dozen years, but my day job has never been about optimal value creation by tool building. There's also a very strong heirarchy. Some of the divergent issues between my ideal corporate culture and the company I work with:
- My opinion has never held the weight of my tech directors, or upper management. I understand the reasoning for initial hires, as it takes years to develop an understanding of the problem space of even a single major project. But flat organizations empower each individual to contribute more.
- I have never owned what I have crafted (this is just bad). That's not true, I used to own a tiny part of what I created through employee stock ownership, but that has been long gone with our acquisition
- Even worse, there was little evidence of repeat usage or wide acceptance for the tools I worked hard to bring to life.
We're still heavily Windows centric at my day job where I contribute part time. My hours there fuel the work I do at night and on days off as a liberated builder. Windows lock in is a BigCo "group think" choice that cares little about one engineer's perspective of the future, and I accept that my leadership style doesn't fit well into that mold. The huge corporate structure demands conformance to minimize costs.
I wouldn't imagine blaming my company, different responsibilities demand different priorities. Rapid analysis and proof of concept for advanced algorithms and simulations was and still is our driving focus. We had some fun times improvising before being acquired. The act of acquisition by another organization takes a massive toll on the spirit of the purchased business. But even a tiny divergence over the years between my own compass and the needs of my company lead me to a place far from where I want to be. So I took a few months off to find myself at the end of 2008, and what I discovered changed everything.
There are an unlimited number of places with a Zero Gap between the needs of a user, and a developer
This line requires repeating:
There are an unlimited number of places with a Zero Gap between the needs of a user, and a developer.
I found a Social Internet rich with information, just begging for a hungry dataminer to help make new connections. More than that, I muttled my way into an amazing platform to share my ideas. My conscious has been over burdened wlth thought riffs, and wild ideas without a creative outlet. Special thanks to Seth Godin with my time crafting lenses for Squidoo, then Typepad for my first blog, and finally Matt Mullenweg and crew for giving me Wordpress, free of charge. As long as I have breath, Victus Spiritus will fly free with my thoughts. My inspiration and salvation is in sharing.