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From Zero to One

About the Talk

July 17, 2010 1:00 PM

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

One determined man's journey from fast food restaurant cashier to agile development leader in <strike>three easy steps</strike> 5 difficult years. I worked for a unit of one of the largest privately held media conglomerates in the world, who now does agile development using open source tools.

When I started there, the status quo was unsatisfied users and customers with no stake in the development process. Waterfall-esque .NET development with no tests, no formal process, no version control strategy, and no continuous integration was king. We were losing, big time.

Now, all of those things are a regular part of the daily routine, new ideas are executed rapidly, the team is delivering business value faster than ever. Most importantly, the users are involved in the development process, and they are delighted!

I became the technical leader of the development team. Ruby, Rails, git, and Agile were some of my contributions to the way things are done now. Just five years earlier I was working full-time as a cashier at a fast food restaurant, making minimum wage.

My journey did not include graduation from college, a fairy godmother, or some amazing life-changing revelation. It did include lots of hard work, learning, teaching, taking calculated risks, and learning to recognize and embrace good opportunities as I encountered them.

My hope is a simple one. To share hard-earned insights that can help other Rubyists or would-be Rubyists, to recognize and capitalize on potential and opportunity wherever they see it. To encourage them to work hard, be diligent, and succeed.

By doing so, I believe that anyone can achieve greater success and find more joy in whatever they choose to pursue.

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