Where My Desire to Give Back Comes From

Where My Desire to Give Back Comes From – Being Poor but Loved and Lucky

For the first 20 years of my life, I was poor but happy with a heart full of hope and a head full of dreams. My family life was idyllic in the sense that I was surrounded by love from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and my lil brother. Not only that, but I had great friends in all stages of my education: from grammar school to high school to my 1 year stint at college. (Sidenote: all my schooling was private, no public school for me.) The fact that I never had money didn’t bother me. I was rich in love, the only true treasure in life.

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Giving Back with Time and Code

Note: If you’re religious, read my thoughts on this is at my spiritual blog.

As I constantly confess, I live a truly blessed life. So much so that I feel I have to start giving back. Since this giving back thing is going to occupy the next 20 years worth of my life, I figure I should give a bit of backstory. I’d like to talk a bit about where this desire comes from, why I feel like I can give back and how I’m planning to go about doing it. This is not about Open Source Software, but the beginning of something I’m going to sappily call Open Hope Software.

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Apple Watch: Tracking Your Life, Not the Time


The Evidence

For those of you who think the Apple watch is just a fad and will pass, you’re missing the big picture that it’s no more a fancy watch than the iPhone is no more a fancy phone. I bet 1% of your iPhone usage is making regular voice calls. Apps are the killer feature of your iPhone. It’s the reason it’s indispensable to you even though you didn’t know you needed apps before you had it. Continuously up to date biometric information will become just as indispensable even though you don’t think so yet. Continue reading “Apple Watch: Tracking Your Life, Not the Time”

How a Mexican Kid from the Ghetto Winds up with Hanging with Elite Legal Minds

Many of you may or may not know, but I was born in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. It’s a one mile square barrio (in Spanish) or ghetto (in English). I grew up there, poor, but not really knowing I was poor. My cousins, who oft ran with (or were) the rough crowd, would tell me, “Go, home, Tommy. You don’t need to be here. You’re too smart.” That was code for, crap’s about to hit the fan so go home. At the time, I would get mad because in my mind we were equals and them staying made me think they were acting superior. This past weekend I attended the American Bar Association’s National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services: an invitation only event full of best legal minds on the planet plus me (I was odd man out! LOL). This fine and brilliant crowd of individuals applauded me (twice!) for some recent tech efforts. I couldn’t help but offer a silent thanks to those cousins for watching out for me in my youth and for parents who had the foresight to see a better future for me. Continue reading “How a Mexican Kid from the Ghetto Winds up with Hanging with Elite Legal Minds”

Fixing Work Life Balance

When I shared my last post on twitter, people asked how they could fix work life balance now vs later. That’s a tough question to answer because everyone is different. However, I think a lot of people just need to have some idea of what to do outside of work. I know that sounds sad, but our society doesn’t give people ideas on how to unwind other than hit a bar, get drunk/high and then pass out.

The conference to help you find something to do with your life away from the computer.
The conference to help you find some way to recharge your life’s batteries.

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Fix Work Life Balance Now, Not Later

The Google CFO is leaving to spend more time with the family. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that “it’s really too early to tell” if our marriage will in fact succeed.
If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.”

I’ve been working professionally for almost 20 years. I’ve been married to Alison​ for almost 14 of those years. At times, I think to myself: I should be more successful by now. I should have made a few million (possibly 10s of million) dollars, but I just sorta scrape by. We’re not poor by any means, I make good money but not outrageous money. By scraping by, I mean I haven’t built a business empire yet.

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A (Programmer’s) Life Shouldn’t Be Lonely

Reminders of Friends
Reminders of Friends
Oftentimes, programming is a lonely activity. Whether alone in a coffee shop with our headphones on or in an office behind closed doors, most of the magic happens in solitude. Oftentimes, it has to. If we’re paying attention to someone in a conversation, we’re obviously not paying attention to the text on the computer screen. However, we must never forget that no matter how important the work is, the fact that we’re human and need interaction takes higher precedence.

The picture above is the top shelf of my desk. It sits above my computer screens at home and rightfully so. The things on that shelf are of higher importance than anything that transpires on the screens below it. If I may indulge, lemme explain what those items are from left to right. I’ll also cover who those items represent to me, the ideals those people helped build in me, and how that affects my professional life. Continue reading “A (Programmer’s) Life Shouldn’t Be Lonely”

My Purpose in Life

The title should really be, “My Purpose in my Professional Life.” But that doesn’t flow as nicely or grab you buy the emotions, so I shrank it down to “My Purpose in Life.”

Some Background

If you’re lucky, you’re one of those people who’ve known exactly what your purpose in life was since high school or college. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ve known since you were a kid. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way for me. I barely figured it out this morning, after a little more than 37 years of being me. That’s almost 20 years AFTER joining the workforce, where I was supposed to be executing upon that purpose.

For some, their purpose in life is wrapped up in a single goal or series of related goals. For example, “I want to be the best basketball player…on my team” then morphs to “…at my school” and then “…in the (W)NBA” and lastly “…of all time.” Now, for me, my purpose is not like that.

For me, my purpose in life is something that I’ve been hoping for to provide guidance. I like to do many things as evident in these two separate posts. A lot of different things make me happy. I have a ton of crazy ideas, and I get more ideas all the time. In fact, I just had a great new biz idea this morning. When the ideas hatch though, I invariably ask, “Will this make me happy? Will this be fulfilling for me in the long run?” Most of the time, I would answer, “I don’t know” because again, I didn’t know my purpose so how could I know if this would work towards it? Continue reading “My Purpose in Life”

The View is Great

I live in the sticks of Arizona, but come to Silicon Valley once a month. I come for a few days at a time. The original reason was to run my Montage Meetup. Then I started thinking, “Well, why I don’t come up a little earlier. This way I can meet up with people in the Valley.” It’s been a few months now and I have to say, I LOVE it.

I’m a Silicon Valley fanboy. I admit it. I’m a geek, so it’s really hard not to be. It’s a magical place to me, but not for all the reasons that most people think. Silicon Valley is home to a lot of great companies. Companies that have generated massive amounts of wealth for their founders and those that fund them. This is one of the few places where you can come in with an idea and get the funding to build it. That’s what most people think about when they hear “Silicon Valley”. However, that’s not why I like this place. If anything, those are the reasons why I left.

The thing I like about the Valley is the rare moments of originality and ingenuity. It’s the proverbial guys in the garage. It’s the guys hacking all night til they drop. It’s all the “Ah ha!” moments that happen in this tiny patch of land.

I visit places of nerd interest here, like eBay, Google, Computer History Museum, etc. This last time, I hit up Mozilla and Xerox PARC. If there’s one thing that the Valley understands is a great setting. Check out these picts. Continue reading “The View is Great”