I live and breathe hard work. To me, hard work is not a question about working long hours, pulling all-nighters and working weekends. No, hard work is tough work. Tough decisions, tough problems, tough bugs, tough scalability and complex stuff to make simple for the user.
Most people keep away from tough work because they think it’s more risky. It is risky to change an entire data access layer, it is risky to swap a payment gateway and to move to a new data center. It is risky to migrate two tables into one, and unifying entities. It is risky to change this and that line of code, because what it does is so important.
I see tough work as a challenge, and I love challenges. Tough work often yields a greater return, of both efficiency, profit, maintainability and happiness.
I started programming Visual Basic 3.0 at an early age when I was bored gaming. I was 14 at that point. At network gaming parties I was always the one to fix the old crappy BNC network, because the "gamers" didn't know how to do so.
I always want to learn more, and it is one of the most important things I look for in a job. When I feel I don't learn anymore at a given place - it is time for new challenges.
I spent time every day reading articles, blogs and listening to podcasts about coding, software in general, the business of software, startups and entrepreneurship. Not because I feel I have to, I'm just curious. I think it is important to be spot on with the technologies and possibilities we have, in order to stay relevant.
My professional career started at the age of 20 when I started my own business, doing IT consulting, installing and managing servers and clients.
I quickly shifted back to programming, but the server related experience I got, gives me a bigger picture on development because I have in depth knowledge about the platform and infrastructure on which my code will run.
In the beginning I did a lot of E-commerce development, getting small and mid-sized business online with an integration to their ERP system.
I've spent a fair amount of my career on marketing or e-commerce related software (web apps), so I know how important quality, usability, UX and performance can be to your bottom line.
The same is true for web apps (SaaS) and mobile apps.
It is worth going the extra mile to get the user experience right. Marketing is not an afterthought anymore. Marketing is the entire experience using your product, and it makes a huge difference if you have deep knowledge of your customers and show (with the quality of your product) that you care to help them do what they do even better.
I love the nitty gritty details of turning well designed interfaces into reality, I also enjoy being part of the early process when all you have is just a problem or a hypothesis.
I always try to keep a birds eye view of everything not to get lost. And while you can get heads down on a problem for a long time, there is nothing more important than shipping great stuff. It's a tough balance to master.
First computer experience
My interest for IT, Internet, Computers, web development, software development and so on started way back. When I was 11 years old, my best friend got a PC at home. It was a 16 MHz 286 with – not-a-lot KB’s of memory and disk space. We spend hours there, primarily gaming (some pretty boring games, compared to these days games). It was great fun, but there were other things that caught my attention even more. When the system broke down, I enjoyed finding my way through to the problem, researching the issue and fixing it.
First home computer
In the beginning I wasn’t doing any sort of programming. It was pure maintenance. When it couldn’t boot, I fixed it. When it needed an upgrade I did it. After a while my parents bought a computer for our home – and primarily for me. It was a 33 MHz 486 with 4 MB memory, 130 MB disk space. No sound card or CD-drive. Then the real adventure started. This was delivered with Windows 3.1. I spend a lifetime analyzing the files in the Windows folder, which ones were doing what. What if I deleted the ones with no file associations – if they were not any good – why not delete them? Well. System breakdown. And one I didn’t have the materials to fix. The guy we bought the computer from came along and re-installed the system, and after my curiosity killed the system every month – I was handed a copy of Windows on floppy disks, so I could do the installation myself.
So after a while I was aware of all the software on the computer. What makes up the OS, and how to adjust hardware settings, so one day I decided to open the box, and have a look inside. It actually started when I bought a sound card – which was great. A PC speaker doesn’t make your games exciting. This was great fun. Replacing hardware and configuring it all over the place. One result was a crashed hard drive – I don’t remember how – but it did crash. I made some mistakes, but that only helped me learn.
Later on, I started to participate in computer parties. Just gaming and gaming. But gaming wasn’t my strong side. So when all the gamers couldn’t get online and connect to the LAN games, I came to their rescue. Remember the good old BNC network cables/plugs – 10 MBit / sec. That was cool! (NOT!)…
My first computer (my own)
When I turned 14 I was allowed access to my child savings. That made me able to buy my very own computer that kicked ass – at that time. A Pentium 100 MHz, 32 MB of memory and a 1.2 gig hard drive, a sound card and a CD-drive. That was cool. That was also the time when I was given Visual Basic 3.0. I spend ages dropping controls to a winform, and see how it did. I read a few books, both Danish and English which helped me write some small – at the end of the day – useless things. But that was the introduction of developing software apps for me.
First online experience
A few months later I decided it was time for me to go online. I bought a 14.400 baud modem from the local dealer and installed it on my parents’ land-line. I was online for maybe 5 minutes when my parents became aware of it, and they took my modem and delivered it back to the dealer, and I got my money back. I was angry. Why wasn’t I allowed? Can’t think of the possibilities it would had opened for me back then. Being offline was too boring – so much the same.
First website, first company
I lost a little of my interest during the next few years or so. But later when I eventually was allowed an internet connection a whole new world was opened for me. Web development! My first website was a Commodore 64 game site, which featured a C64 emulator for PC, which made you able to run the classic games on your PC.
Later on, I made a Manchester United news site in Danish, and that was followed by personal – actually blog like websites, though without comment features. I went to school at that time to get something called HTX (Higher Technical eXam). After that I worked for 1½ year at a factory, and then I started my own company. I was developing websites and installing and maintaining computers for other companies.
At the same time, I started on my education as a software developer. I really enjoyed it, and I had an easier time than some other students in most of the classes, because of the huge amount of time I’d spent on the same topics in my sparetime. I got a good result and continued my work running my own company. I gave up some of the installing and maintenance jobs to focus 100% on software developing and that was the right thing to do.