2006 was a great year for me, and now that I think about having an even better 2007 I guess its worth to resume the last 10 years in this post, since it was 1996 the year I finished high school.
1996, I want to be an engineer
I’m 16 years old, finished high school and got accepted to study Software Engineering at the UCAB in Caracas, Venezuela. The university just opened up the career that year so I was there for the first classes ever given to software engineering students in the faculty, we had a lot of responsability into being the best we could be to make a name for the school, and so far I think we’ve been doing a great job, in our country and out.
During these years my parents sold their accounting firm and bought a liquor store, in 98 Chavez wins the president and things start getting worse and worse economically for us.
After a lot of hard work, sacrifices and being really really broke for many years I finished school and got my engineering degree in 6 years.
During this time I worked for Microsoft Venezuela doing marketing and product launch support, then I worked for the venezuelan Java Center with great java engineers, I might say the best java engineers in the country at that time (Ing. Sergio Fernandez), then I worked for a consulting company called DKV Asociados along engineer Angel Olivera doing my internship and thesis under his tutorship.
2002, I’m an Engineer
Here’s a picture of the group on the graduation day, most of us started on the first promotion but ended on the third one, things in school in Venezuela aren’t as easy as in the US where you pretty much know what’s gonna happen on your exams.
So right after graduation, that december the country goes on a full stop for over a month so that Chavez would quit, but he won’t do it, even the oil industry goes along with it, Mr. Chavez just fired almost every executive wasting millions of dollars in human capital, as a consequence many other companies that work with the companie loose all the contracts, including the one where I worked for, so I pretty much lost my job…
2003, Flirt with the US, then leave my country
So I get a call from a friend in the oil industry telling me there’s a startup in Miami that needs a pocket pc developer, I start working for them off shore, and a few months later…
I’m off to Miami. I travel back and forth until the company decides to take me in for good.
After a year of work and learning all what I needed to learn about the job and developing a larger scale system and the american culture…
Up to this point… from 2000 till like aug 2004, Marjorie was very much part of my life, but everything has an end and so did my chapter in Miami, I went on a trip to New York for the first time I believe in May 2004, this trip absolutely changed my perception of life and I felt I was completely wasting my time in Miami, I saw the people in the city and thought to myself, what do you have to do to live in such an expensive place, its so cool, they’re so lucky to live here, I wish one day I may come to live here.
Me for the first time in New York
I went back to Miami, and found out about a website that put a lot of doubt into what I should do with my life if I wanted to go live in New York, the site is Craigslist, in it, I saw over 50 New York job offers on Information technology when in Miami I’d only would see no more than 5 posts a day, plus the pay was way better.
2004, New York, New York
On September 2nd 2004, one day after my birthday, I came with my suitcases to New York where my friend Maritza received me for one night and helped me get up on my feet.
I had my employer pay me all the money they owed me, and I went to New York with $9000, my logic was this. I just turned 25, If I go back to my country with $9000 they will be spent anyway, so why not go and give it a try in New York while I’m still processing the VISA. I had no place to stay, so I had to look for a place asap, I had no source of income so I had to save until my last penny to stretch those $9000 as much as I could, and I gotta move fast because I don’t want to be illegal. Being optimistic and following my dreams will always be one of my premises.
I lived in West New York, NJ, paid $100 a week on a very small room, tried to live on $5 to $10 a day and the only thing I did was send resume’s to postings on craigslist and monster. I learned everything about resume’s, cover letter’s and interviews (the hard way), and a month and a half after I found my second employer in the US willing to sponsor my H1B visa. I worked as a consultant and I only did one project for one of their clients, Nielsen Entertainment in White Plains, NY, here I learned a lot about Unix, Linux, Perl, and above all, I learned how to use emacs under the teachings of David Link, one great engineer who used to work for Oracle and at the time developed an amazing dataware house system written in perl for Nielsen, my props to this great hacker.
I wasn’t contempt still with my first success in the city, finally recovering financially from moving away and no longer living on $5 a day, I kept looking for jobs, and I found a little company named “LimeWire” :), which creates a P2P application, and I thought it’d be the most amazing thing to work with these java hackers and learn about the world of P2P.
Next thing you know…
I’m working for LimeWire as their web developer, here I learned a lot about running a high traffic website, and above all I learned a lot of what it means to be an open source developer and the culture around this.
This is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me career wise, I got to learn a lot and I was surrounded by people of an amazing level of intelligence and computer software knowledge, I’m very thankful for this.
2006, Year of big changes, and trips
At this point I’m still working for LimeWire and thanks to them I went to Austria
there I came in contact with python, which I believe is a tool that’s changing my professional life, plus I enjoy coding in it a lot, there I started writing an RSS engine which I called “SnowRSS” since I started writing it there sitting with all that snow around me. SnowRSS runs everyday as the core of wedoit4you.com rss fetching engine.
Also after leaving LimeWire I was free to join FrostWire, and we recently launched a new version on which I learned a hell of a lot more on what comes in to play about releasing client software for the masses in multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac and Linux)
2006 was a year of many changes and trips, this year I:
– Since the change of visa, I couldn’t leave the country so I decided to get to know the country with my girlfriend, I went to:
Jim Thorpe, PA
San Francisco, CA
Bear Mountain, NY
Las Vegas, NV
Grand Canyon, AZ
Also, my girlfriend graduates in Syracuse (after one year of a long distance relationship)
and we finally moved in together in Brooklyn, NY
so what now in 2007? what will be of the next decade?
Hopefully everything will be even better this year, I just hope me and my family have health to accomplish all the goals, and maybe this year things will keep moving at a fast pace, I expect to launch my own piece of software, finally have the visa stamped on my passport so that I can travel outside the country and visit europe or asia, and maybe who knows, I might even get married with my princess.
So for the next decade, I hope to become an even better person, professionally and personally, I hope to achieve my goal of making my first million during this decade, and hopefully will be able to get closer to my family somehow, at this moment I guess that part of my life is a bit broken, everyone lives at a different place, but what are you gonna do, everything to live free without the menace of a communist government.
Happy New Year 2007, now let’s make all our dreams happen so let’s not waste any time and get to work on them.