A wall of text
Welcome to the About Me page, where I get to brag about all the cool things I've done and [hopefully] hide the failures I've had (for more on my failures, check out the History page).
I've also purposely made this page a massive wall of text because, to me, my life isn't that interesting. I've never gone viral, made a billion dollars, create a self driving car, and have never gone to space. Maybe one day, but not this day. Not yet. And so this wall of text exists as a way to immediately bore readers.
But if you're reading this page after I've given you my resume.. pretend you didn't read the above. Because I'm.. like.. super interesting and have great hair 👀
First and foremost, I've been a web developer longer than I've been anything else in my life. Currently, over two thirds of my life has been spent making websites — either for fun, hobbies, just to learn something or professionally.
Would I say I love web development? Let me answer that question with a question.. What is love? (Baby don't hurt me.. don't hurt me.. no more. 🎶)
Speaking of emojis. I got a 23andMe DNA test done, and it turns out I'm 42% emoji. 👌
Anyway.. I started coding back in 1999, before it was "cool". Actually I was too young to know this back then, but 1999 was the prime time to get into web development. I can't. even imagine the budget for the Space Jam website (Google the Space Jam website; thank me later 😂)
This was before WordPress (phpNuke, anybody?). This was before YouTube. This was when Internet Explorer was king and AskJeeves and Altavista were the top search engines at some point. Yeah.. it was a dark time. We try not to talk about it too much.
1999 was before the world ended, too, because programmers didn't realize checking the evaluation of a year that's value is zero would return false in most conditional statements. I'm not blaming anybody! I'm just sad I didn't buy stocks in Duracell and Energizer batteries.
Anyway 2x.. I was 10 years old in 1999. It's hard to get a job when you're only 10 years old, never mind a job in an industry that boomed and bust so hard it registered as a 11 on the richter scale. But someone I managed, as all kids do.
By age 12 I was making websites for gaming clans and guilds. This was around the time .png images had transparency in browsers (sorry to the few folks who ended up with slow but nice websites!).
By age 14, I earned my first contract. It wasn't big. And it was half flash. (Sorry about that, too!)
By age 15/16 I had numerous websites using AJAX. We used all caps back them because we liked to YELL IT AT PEOPLE. Nowadays, Ajax is a proper name. For a fun throwback, if you were in web development during those years.. did you recognize "fad" of making single page applications (as best as we could)? There were A LOT of them. We made pages transition nicely (without changing the URL usually). We made buttons you had to click to see someones email address. We made Ajax based, iframed, chat rooms for websites. Feels a lot like today's frontend world, doesn't it?
By age 20 I had made numerous (and failed) social networks, image sharing websites and awful search engines. I wish someone told me what "branding" was back then.
By age 22 I started teaching people web development.
And then somewhere, at some point afterwards, I worked on some official startups, worked at a couple agencies, and experimented with... dare I say this on the internet? Blogging. 😬
From then on I very slowly started making more and more coding courses. Jump to 2020, and I currently have 25 courses on platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and about a dozen other teeny tiny platforms. Oh, and Coding For Everybody — I have some courses there, too.
I love teaching. I love having some form of positive influence in someones life. I love how learning to code for $20 can give someone a skill that can earn then hundreds of thousands, and wildly improve their standard of living.
I don't really have too much to say about this. Humans learn one of two ways: from their mistakes, and from other peoples mistakes. Might as well learn from my mistakes and take the shortcut to your coding career.
I founded and owned a startup in Edmonton. It didn't do too well. I learned so many lessons though. And ultimately, I'm better off having it under my belt as a failed company.
I also co-founded a company in the UK with two Irish fellows. It was fun! I believe they're still operating it. I ducked out after a couple years for personal reasons. Strangely, as the tech guy in that scene, I learned more about on-tech related subjects than I did about technology. Oddly enough, constantly working with what you know can be good for business, but terrible for personal growth in your industry. I consider those a couple of lost years in regards to my web development career because there wasn't much learning, just lots of applying. Still, it was a great experience.
Outside of formal companies, I have created a number of almost-startups. I learned to test the markets before forming a company. And that's what happened with Arkmont.com. Arkmont was going to be my EdTech platform. And it was.. for a while.. long story short, it's not anymore.
Wagtail CMS is a biggy in my life. It's a great open source technology written in Python. The community is amazing. And I somehow managed to get in to the Wagtail Core team 😎
But more than anything, it's been a great place for me to teach people how to code and how to use Wagtail (as developers and non-developers). I operate LearnWagtail.com, the #1 learning site for Wagtail where over 60 free YouTube videos live, and a proper premium Wagtail for Beginners course exists.
Of the hundreds of thousands of students I've had the pleasure of working with.. the Wagtail community has been the most supportive, provides the most feedback, opens the most conversations.. and ultimately lead me to working with the creators of Wagtail, Torchbox, who just happen to be a dream company of mine. ❤️