Disclaimer: This is a public journal entry, so take the ideas here with a pail of salt.
In popular media, one is generally told that one can find success only if they quit their job, and work on a startup, product, or an idea. This can lead to fleeting feelings of FOMO whenever one sees someone's successes or status updates on social media.
To unconvince myself of this idea that one needs to be constantly in lookout for an idea to be happy or successful in what they're doing, I decided to try to reverse-engineer and see the growth stories of a few folks that I admire in the tech industry.
I'll be looking at:
- Gergely Orosz from The Pragmatic Engineer
- Colin McDonnel of Zod and tRPC fame
- Theo Browne from Ping
Before being known for writing one of the most pragmatic and up-to-date newsletters on the tech industry, Gergely worked at Uber for 4 years, where he climbed the ladder to the Engineering Manager position.
He used this experience to write several books on software engineering. The current iteration of his blog also started out based on an article on the 2021 hiring market that he was supposed to write for Wired.
Colin of Zod fame is currently working as a dev advocate for Edgedb. Colin originally graduated from MIT (which requires a lot of effort in itself), and eventually took a startup (Bagel Health) through YC. Although the startup wouldn't see the light of success, Colin used the experience to create open-source tools like our beloved run-time type validator Zod.
As documented by Theo in his video on tRPC, it originally started out as a POC by Colin trying to add automatic type inference and validation to a project called Obvious RPC, which tried to experiment with adding automatic type-inference to RPC API calls. This library finally became the tRPC that we all know and love, currently being maintained by Katt - a great programmer himself!
Theo Browne is most popularly known as the creator of Ping Labs, the founder of T3 stack (Typescript, Tailwind and tRPC), along with growing a popular YT channel. Theo originally started out as an employee working on significant features at Twitch. In my personal opinion, this may have played a significant part in him starting out streaming on the platform and creating content on YT.
Eventually, he used this experience and the lack of focus of Twitch on creator tooling to found Ping, which you can read about on his blog.
So, what do I personally take away from this experience? Don't quit your job or FOMO yourself out of fun at work just because you read about people's success online. Everyone has a different path to it, and one of them could be through your career as well :)