Bootstrapper to 9-5er

I got my start in tech almost two decades ago. Back then the landscape was much different, but I feel in love, and made it my career choice.

I found a friend, started selling software and doing custom development. Back then no one used the fancy term bootstrapper and I was just a partner in a small business, like thousands of others.

Flash forward a lot of years and I found myself getting a full time job. Something I hadn’t done in such a long time that it was a shock. I went from setting my own hours, working a few minutes away, and wearing many hats. To having to drive an hour each day, a set schedule, limited vacation, someone else making decisions, and having to focus on just code.

On one hand it was easier. Being an owner, all these questions stayed in the back of my mind, and at all hours:

  • Are we making enough money this month?
  • Did we put back enough for taxes?
  • Can I afford health insurance for the family?
  • Is the company growing?
  • Is our marketing working?
  • and on and on and on.

If you notice almost everything in my list was around money. Being a bootstrapper without a large net worth is stressful. A few bad months without proper savings can hurt you in a bad way. I had a hard time with the income being unstable from month to month. This stress compounded when I had kids.

Going to a full time job took away most of that. I could depend on a paycheck, had insurance coverage, and taxes would be handled like the rest of the population.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t without issues. Mostly driving into an office. I took a job in the next city over, on a good day about 30 minutes one way, but that hour a day really adds up.

My kids go to bed between 7 and 8 which meant I would only get to see them for an hour or two and I didn’t like that at all. Especially in the toddler stage when they are doing all the good stuff for the first time.

I was able to eliminate the drive by getting a job working remote. Which also included the side benefit of being home for lunch and to be a big part of my kids lives.

Working from home is not without challenges. For me it’s mostly training the kids that during work hours they are to not be to loud and keep interruptions to a minimum. I would say that works 90% of the time but I do make an exception after school. Having them hold in their excitement until after work is impossible.

The other thing I’ve heard about working from home is isolation. This hasn’t affected me and I assume it’s because of my personality. I prefer not to talk and chatting with friends via online messaging is just as well with me. You could say this is my introversion showing it’s true colors.

All in all I’m happy with my experiences on both sides. One benefit is now as an employee I have a pretty good understanding of the business side, and how when you work for a bootstrapper you are an integral part of the company.

PhpStorm Tip – Keymap Abbreviations

I made the switch to PhpStorm back in January and every week I learn new tips and tricks to help me use the IDE. One issue I have is that I constantly forget keyboard shortcuts even though I only use a few. So I want to show a quick tip to make these easier to remember.

One workaround for not having to learn them is to use the “search anywhere” feature. You can bring it up with “shift shift” and search any part of your code, interface actions, and tool windows. It’s powerful!

This feature is really great but it also has a downside. I typically think of actions and windows in a different context than their actual name. PhpStorm planned for users like me and it includes a nice way of assigning abbreviations to the keymap.

Let me show how great this is.

Go to settings -> apperance & behavior -> keymap.

Then you can search for a command and right click to assign an abbreviation.

Here is an example where I set “a” to the abbreviation for annotate:

phpstorm-abbreviation

Now with that set you can bring up the search anywhere and just enter the letter a, which causes it to be the first result:

phpstorm-search-abbreviation

If you have trouble remembering keyboard shortcuts or want to speed up common tasks give this a try.

Here are the ones I’m currently using:

  • a – git annotate
  • v – split vertically
  • t – terminal

Verizon iPhone Trade-In Ripoff

About a month ago my two year Verizon wireless contract ended and they had a special trade-in offer. Trade in any iPhone 4 or higher and you could get up to a $200 gift card. I thought this seemed like a decent offer and up until this point I have been satisfied with Verizon.

I filled out the information on 4 iPhones, all in great condition by the way. Removed activation lock and did a full factory reset on each, then sent them off. Tonight I was sent an email with the value of the first phone. They gave me not $200, not $100, not even $50. A $36 credit!

I am upset and just thinking about the run around I’m going to have to go through makes my blood boil.

Apparently, I’m not the only one either.

What also surprises me is that I follow a lot of Apple bloggers and I haven’t heard mention of this.

Left Lane Drivers

Dear left lane drivers,

I’m sorry but I have a deep down hatred for you. I have driven almost 600 miles over the past two days and you annoy me to no end.

The proper way to drive on an interstate is to remain in the far right lane until you need to pass, at that point move out, pass a vehicle and move back over.

By failing to move you are making the roads more dangerous. Others then have to swerve in and out of multiple lanes to get around you and the person driving beside you.

So please move right, this keeps everything running smoothly and prevents road rage.

CodeIgniter Announces an Interim Council

Now that CodeIgniter development has been taking over by BCIT a lot of people are wondering what will happen with the framework. I’m still not really sure what the future holds but I’m happy to see them put together an interim council. A lot of names I remember from back in my CodeIgniter days and also some friends.

Here is a list of the current members:

  • Andreas Pfotenhauer
  • Andrey Andreev
  • Ben Edmunds
  • David Wosnitza
  • Jim Parry
  • Lonnie Ezell – Council

Above all I’m happy that Andrey, David, and Ben are on this. All stand up guys that have done a lot for the framework over the years.

Ripples on the Pond – The Quiet Revolution

This is an epic post about the state of our industry written by Elizabeth Naramore.

Some days, it’s hard to feel awesome about the tech world we live in, isn’t it? There is a constant outpouring of rage, criticism, harassment, misogyny, and personal attacks. We love to disagree and judge and publicly shame for mistakes, and we shake our fists in the air and scream when we think someone’s wrong. We thrive on this sea of negativity we have created. Sadly, when something truly inspirational does happen, its beauty is criticized, discarded, and drowned.

The whole post is quote worthy and you should read it.