Being a mentor or inspiration is largely a thankless job: your thoughts, ideas and suggestions are given out freely and incorporated into the lives and work habits of the people that listened. Sometimes they remember it was your idea. Other times, they forget where the wisdom came from (but it transformed their lives). And sometimes they completely forget that the idea came from anywhere but their own mind.

So, before I go any further, I want to thank all of those people who have helped along in my journey as a software developer. Your collective guidance has helped me get where I am today. Thanks you!

Even though I don’t remember everyone that has influenced me over the years, I do want to call out a few people whom I do remember:

Joanna, my wife - I know, I know. This probably seems like one of those award acceptance speeches, where you think “he has to say that”, but you couldn’t be further from the truth.

You see, when I started my professional career in the late 80’s, I was in sales, selling software to hospital maintenance departments. For me, it was a slow agonizing existence. After a couple years, I was so unhappy and directionless, that I was willing to do anything to make a change. Since the Berlin Wall had just come down and relations between East and West were improving, I suggested to her that we should move to Russia to teach English. In her infinite wisdom, she paused for a moment, and then said

“You need to get another job!”

These six words set me on new path: I rediscovered my love for computers and started teaching myself how to write software (Turbo C++ rules). I took a couple classes and finally landed a job doing tech support, which eventually led to a full-time developer gig.

Thank you sweetie! Without you, I don’t know where we would be!

Kent Beck - The creator of eXtreme Programming. A developer’s developer. Kent inspired a generation of software professionals to see the world a different way. He convinced us that clean code was important. Testing is important. Being craft-dudes and -dudettes is important. He fundamentally changed the way the I write software and I am forever grateful.

  • Martin Fowler
  • Ron Jeffries
  • Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Martin
  • DHH
  • Why The Lucky Stiff
  • Scott Hanselman
  • Phil Haack
  • Joel Spolsky
  • Kathy Sierra
  • Gina Tripani
  • Jeff Atwood
  • Rob Conery
  • The Prags

I sure there are others that I am forgetting, and for that, I am sorry.