I was recently trolling through some of my previous attempts at regular blogging and I found a post that I wrote back in September of 2008. It was not all that long ago and yet it seems like a lifetime ago in terms of how my life has changed. At the time, I was still working on the Corporate Ladder, had just finished my MBA and hadn’t really written code for a number of years.
The technology world was also different. The iPhone had been out for a little over a year and people knew it was a big deal, but the App Store had only been a thing for a couple of months and the entire universe of Apps had yet to explode. My how things have changed.
At the time of the post I was having serious creative withdrawals from not having written code for a long time. So I did what I always do: I started making things that I wanted to use personally, or in this case that I wanted my kids to use. Little did I know that after having spent so long away from a compiler I was about to unleash a series of changes that would change my path in wonderful and unforeseen ways. I continued to mess around with Blackberry development for a few more weeks until I eventually downloaded Xcode one fateful day in October. I started making little things for the Simulator and shortly after that, Three Jacks was born.
I stayed at my corporate job for a few more years, but my weekends and evenings were consumed with making and releasing Apps for the iPhone (and eventually iPad.) Eventually, I was forced to come to the realization that while I was a good engineering leader, I could no longer deny the fact that my real passion was in making things and in creating code, so I finally clicked my heels three times and returned to full time development.
Returning to the developer life also had a beneficial side effect that I could now work from home. This opened up an incredible freedom that allowed changes in my personal life that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. These were good things. I now have the flexibility to help coach my son’s Lego Robotics team. I know that I will never have to miss my daughter’s basketball games. I can walk the kids to school in the morning and I’m there when they get home. If they need help with homework, I’m there to lend a hand. If I want to take a break and build with Legos with Brendan, I can. These are moments and times that will be gone all too soon and because I started tinkering with Apps back in September 2008 I get to experience and savor them.
Until reading it the other night, I had completely forgotten about tinkering on my old Blackberry. The existence of this five year old blog post is an amazing gift to me. It’s not often that you can look back at events in your life and pinpoint a single turning point where your path diverted from the course it had been on.