Have you ever looked at your biological watch and thought, “it looks like it’s time to change the world?”
My biological time piece has a full set of inscriptions: go to university, chase girls, get a post-graduate qualification, catch a girl, get a professional job, marry the girl, change into contracting, change into consulting (and ponder what the difference is), work overseas (and marvel at the differences), make a baby, change into training, move back to Australia, buy a home, start a consultancy (Mocra), make another baby, grow the consultancy, and …
Really, I’m not sure what comes next in the script of normal life. Retire in 30 years? Create more little open source projects? Just keep growing the consultancy? Until what?
A few weeks ago, John Dillon, the CEO of Engine Yard, drew some pictures on a whiteboard for me and asked, “Do you want to help change the world?” Sure, a classic Steve Jobs one-liner from the history books of Apple. I said, “Yes”.
The daily commute
Google Maps suggests my daily commute to work will be 22,300km. Some of that will be heavy morning traffic, so at say 30km/hr, that is almost 750 hours. Each way.
So instead, my family will pack its bags and move overseas again. Though for the first time, we’re coming to America!
How to move your family to America
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing on the home front since I broached the idea with my wife. Personally, have you ever turned to your wife and said, “Honey, I think we are going to move to America!”
Try it at home for a laugh. Perhaps your wife will say something witty or clever like mine. Something like, “No.”
“No, baby, really. I have something important to do for a few years. It’s in America. San Francisco. Apparently it’s lovely!”
“Is the weather nice?” she might ask looking for any reason to want to leave beautiful, sunny Brisbane.
“No. I think it’s kind of cold there. And foggy. There was even a taxi with ‘Fog City Taxi’ on its side. But there are wonderful schools and the people are fabulous and are from all over the world!”
“So our young kids won’t get an American accent?” she might ask pleadingly.
“Well, they won’t get all of the accents, no.”
“I love you!”
And so eventually your wife will say yes.
How do we get to win as web developers?
Choose to use Rails. Improve Rails. Improve the ecosystem above/below/around Rails. Improve our daily lives. Expand the sweet spot of Rails to solve problems.
In the future, can we look back at the work we did, the fun we had, the problems we solved, the time we spent working, and feel that it was worth the effort? Will we remember when we first discovered Ruby and Rails and remember the joy?
This is a world-changing set of issues to care about. I’ve always cared about them before now, but never had resources or reach to work on them beyond my own little projects or cunningly worded, suggestive emails/tweets/chat with other open source developers.
Though from now onwards I will get to work with one of the greatest concentrations of Rails talent and one of the largest open source programs in the our community. I’m more than just a little bit excited. Imagine working with full-time contributors to Rails, JRuby and Rubinius as well as the dozens of developers, devops and more.
As Engine Yard continues to grow and win then its capacity to fund and resource more contributions will grow. And then we all win faster.
Can you imagine what else should be funded, promoted or prioritised? I have a dozen solid ideas but I would love suggestions.
I will miss my guys at Mocra, a wonderful Rails consultancy with clients around the world whilst based out of Brisbane, Australia. I founded and ran Mocra for the last two wonderful years. It will be slightly annoying – I won’t get to take any credit for all the success the Mocra team will have in the years to come.
Definitely, if you need an awesome Rails team for your project, contact Mocra. If you need a personal introduction, let me know. I know some people there.
I am very excited to move to SF and to hang out on a regular basis all the people I have only been able to see at conferences.
I’d also love suggestions of where a family of four (including a 4yo and 2yo; oh, plus another one due in February) could live. I’ve briefly seen parts of SF and many of the surrounding towns in the bay area. Thanks to Randall, Tammer and Marcy for their turns as tour guides during my visit a few weeks ago.