As I reflect on being a software engineer, writer and speaker for 25 years, I didn’t get to where I am without my geek friends. They have taught me, uplifted me and even aided me in my personal life. Many I have thanked so this is to thank them again. I’m sure there are others I failed to thank, so this is for you too. For this article, I’m only going to call out only one person by name. For the rest of the article, I hope you know who you are. This month is the actual 25th anniversary of my first public speech at the user group I founded in April 1994.
I started playing around with programming when I was in the United States Navy where I changed a report that took my boss a week to produce down to a few hours. When I really started getting into programming was when I was a computer support person at General Atomics in San Diego, California. One day, my friend and co-worker Ted Torres got tired of me pestering him about an idea I had that would benefit the entire company. So, he came into my office and threw down on my desk the (very big) box that was Visual Basic 2.0. Ted did get credit in my first book, since he is responsible for creating a coding monster!
I did write that program which was used by all General Atomics employees for both Windows and DOS (using Visual Basic)! My first multi-platform app… back in the early ’90s! I still have in my attic, shrink-wrapped boxes of Visual Basic for Windows and Visual Basic for DOS from that time in my programming history. I wonder how much they are worth now on eBay?
Thank you to the handful of geeks that started with me the San Diego Visual Basic User Group that later became the San Diego .NET Developers Group for the 20 years of its existence (1994 – 2014). This is where I started speaking which lead to so many speaking opportunities and now allows me to travel the world to rock the geeks and share my knowledge.
Thanks to the two geeks that let me use their server, so I can start my very first website/ blog back in 1994. Back in those days, I could easily get over a million hits a month and I even had advertisers! Those were the days. Now that everyone seems to have a blog for programmers, I don’t get that kind of traffic anymore.
Thanks to the three geeks along with myself that started a new group at the University of California, San Diego that allowed me to teach for almost 18 years! We started out teaching Visual Basic and then, thanks to me, started teaching Microsoft .NET over a year before it was released! I’m sure we were the first university teaching an accredited class in the San Diego area for Microsoft .NET. Heck, maybe all Southern California!
Thanks to the geek that invited me to speak at the Visual Basic Insider Summits (VBITS). This helped me to grow my network of geeks and fellow speakers! These events were so fun and even included an awesome bus tour of the nearby area (San Francisco). One year we did a geek tour, a few trips to Yosemite, trip to Napa Valley (wine country) and more. I miss events like this (in the United States).
Thank you to the two geeks that called me one day and asked me to write my first book in 1997 titled VB Tips & Tricks and it was the first book for their new book publishing company. Also, thanks to the other geeks that asked me to write many books afterwards. Heck, I’m still writing books!
Thanks to the geek that, use to run a third-party component company that wrote a whitepaper on a printing system that I wrote for Proflowers.com. This system printed order info, and generated FedEx labels faster than the FedEx server could! This system was later submitted to the United States Patent Office and was awarded a patent in 2002. This system allowed the company, for the first time, to grow to over $1,00,000 a day in sales!
Thank you to the geek that nominated me to be a Microsoft MVP! I was awarded in 2006 and every year after. I’m very proud to be part of this awesome program! Microsoft MVP’s are your represented to bring ideas, complaints and more directly to Microsoft. There are some features in Visual Studio that came from my ideas! Pretty cool if you ask me. Microsoft MVP’s have a real impact at the company, so make sure you find one to share your issues with!
Thank you to the geeks that nominated me to be an INETA Community Excellence Award for my involvement in the .NET community. I was awarded in 2008 and to this day, I don’t know who nominated me! This is one of my favorite awards since I was selected to be the winner that quarter by my peers.
Thank you to all the geeks around the world that asked me to speak at their conference, user group, company and more. I hope I rocked the geeks at your event! You can always ask me back!
Thanks to the geek who convinced GrapeCity to offer me to be an influencer! GrapeCity pays for my travel to speak at conferences and user groups. Even in other countries like India.
Thanks to the geeks that helped me find work which includes the current contract I’m working on! This is the best way to find a new position! Most jobs I have landed in my career can be traced back to speaking or teaching.
My Personal Life
Thanks to the geek who started Dave’s Thursday Beer Night with me. Back in the late ’90s, this night was to get together to have a few beers, eat food, network and geek out. It became so popular we had our own website and the restaurant, Red Robin, where we held it every Thursday made embroidered shirts for the people who came!
Thank you to the geeks that banded together and came up with a schedule to ensure someone was with me while I was in the process having emergency surgery and I was scared out of my mind. All of you really helped with my anxiety and fear. You made the experience bearable. Literally two days after I started writing this article, I unexpectedly landed in the hospital emergency room. Again, most of my well wishes and offers to help were from my… geek friends!
Thank you to the geek that drove me to and from other surgeries (yes, getting older sucks) and making sure I was okay afterwards and for checking in with me to see how my recovery was going.
To make sure I thanked everyone, thanks to all the geeks that attended my conference sessions, attended my workshops, purchased my books, purchased my DVD’s, purchased my videos on-demand, read my articles in magazines and on web sites, took my classes at the University of California San Diego, visited my blog and the geeks that have been a positive influence in my career. You all have made this a wild, fun ride!
I hope that you will use this article as inspiration to go speak at your local user group, conference or even in front of your team members at work. It will pay off!