Hacking, and Living out of a Bag.

I’m writing this blog lest I cease to exist. Over the past few years I have become somewhat a ghost. I feel that I’m melding with the internet and losing any personality I once had before I started my career. Not that I mind, I rather enjoy it, and if it weren’t for the fact that the coffee which I so desperately love may kill me, I may do it forever.

Or perhaps I am worried that my personality won’t be shown – I am so reclusive and self centered that I rarely find the time to communicate my intricate inner life. From the outside, I may look positively bland, which is terrifying and understandable. But reader, understand that there is infinite depth in this bearded computer hacker.

Foremost, I am a hacker. I have an engineering degree, but those days are long gone. I do believe that there is a place for engineering in the software world, but not in my world. I have no interest in building perfect, reliable systems. My interest is in building software that works to prove a point. Software that is alive, with all the bugs that come with it.

The decision came shortly after school. I got straight A’s on my algorithms courses in school, and I was recruited by the big name companies (Amazon, Linkedin, Google)… I just had to pass the interviews, which took a lot of preparation. Or I could join a startup which needed engineers and would hire me on the spot. I’m glad I chose the latter.

Years later, during an interview for Uber, I immediately ended the interview after the first question (write an interface for an iterator in Java.) I declared that there wasn’t a “culture fit.”

Anyway, I build systems, mostly by myself, very fast, and to prove a point. This is a startup mentality, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever grow in maturity to the point where I put this mentality down. It’s too fun. Instead, my career question has switched to: “where can I find a company/business that needs to rapidly prototype a technical solution to a problem that would provide them massive benefit if it were solved?”

The above question led me to my current position as the interrim CTO of LiveVoice, inc. It’s a company with 25+ years of experience in the call center industry, but they need a new platform built from the ground up in order to allow customization and rapid growth. This is where I come in. My current challenge is to build the whole system in a couple of months. They’re so used to working with slow dev agencies that they didn’t believe this was possible. I am very happy to be getting paid a salary + some equity to be a hacker. So right now my career is going well.

I currently live out of 1 or 2 bags. I have an Osprey 40L international travel bag, which can carry my laptop as well as about 4-5 changes of clothes and various other knick knacks. I also have a suitcase that contains more knick knacks. I am moving to New York City to live out of AirBnB’s with nothing but my Osprey bag and perhaps the suitcase.

Let me back up, I’m in Atlanta right now. My car broke down last night and I’m staying in Midtown on Williams street right next to the adult swim headquarters. I was watching adult swim last night, which was a weird feeling. Anyway, I’m staying on the 11th floor of a Hilton Garden Inn that was $200/night. After a long road trip from Denver, my car’s wheel got bent by a piece of debris in the road. I was almost home to Tampa where I’m going to drop off my WRX and all my things for a few months. I’m going to put a tarp over it and go to NYC.

So the NYC experiment is to live out of AirBnB’s. You get a good discount when you rent for a month or longer. I went to college in Orlando, went to SF after college, moved back to Florida (Gainesville), moved to Tucson, AZ for a year, and then Boulder, Co. In Boulder I bought furniture and tried to settle down. However, I was unable to settle down since I work remotely and I felt isolated (story of my last two years.)

The reason I feel isolated is because I work remote, at least I think. I Can recall living in Gainesville and working for Sharpspring as a happy time, surrounded by coworkers who became my friends. I have been seeking that. So I am going to NYC to work directly with the founders of LiveVoice. We’ll be in a WeWork every day, building out the system. I expect this will be a fun time.

But while I’m there I want to live in an Airbnb. Just to see if maybe in 3 months i can live in 3 Airbnbs in 3 different places in town (Soho, Williamsburg, Park Slope). Maybe this will be the coolest thing ever. Maybe I can set fire to my WRX and all the remains of my stationary life back in Florida. But I doubt it. I’ll most likely end up grabbing my WRX after the 3 month trip and moving to LA or SF, where we’ll hopefully continue to grow the company. Either that or I’ll love NYC so much I won’t want to leave. Either that or I’ll renew my passport and travel the world for a year on Remote Year.

But anyway, I have some real wanderlust. Or not really. I’m not sure, but I can’t stay in one place. This is partially because I’m always new, always passing through. I’ve become a tourist. And I kind of hate that. I would love to set down roots but right now my wandering mind leads me to new and interesting places.

The most important rule I can give myself is that, wherever I am, I should go out and meet people. Because during the past few years I have learned that although seeing the world is nice, and making money is nice, human relationships are more important.

I wish it weren’t so.

But there will be more to talk about that, as well as my other neurotic thoughts, in a future post.




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