I just watched a moving talk, Damien Katz‘s CouchDB and Me. It’s about Erlang and financial security, family and distributed databases, being a good programmer and being unemployed, dreams and bureaucrats at IBM.
At the Rubyfringe conference, Katz gave a personal account about how CouchDB came to be. Programming and some technical aspects naturally play a role, but he mainly talks about the personal decisions he had to make. Giving up your steady income and social position to write cool open source software – why would you do that? He did it and made it from feeling like an unemployed loser to being paid to work on his project, on his own terms, by IBM. He comes across as being really open about his experiences and his decisions, and I certainly took away a couple interesting insights. Find out what interests you and just start doing it, learning what you need. It’s ok to be driven by the idea of having an interesting story to tell; after all, the story of your life will be what you did and experienced. These are just two out of many things that stuck.
I came across this talk reading a discussion on HN. Like Katz’s talk, it’s kinda about programming, but really about life. Life as a programmer, maybe; but maybe about everyone. It makes me happy to see these discussions. I’m into programming not because I want to live in a cold world of machines, but because computers challenge your mind, because you can create something with them, even on your own, and maybe even make a living out of it. It’s about you in the end, not about the machine.