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These days I don't know whether to call myself a software developer, a teacher, or a writer. I suppose I am all of those things, at varying degrees of experience and quality. What I do know is that my passion lies in teaching others how to use their skills to do amazing things. By founding Mendicant University, I am now able to dedicate most of my efforts to helping and teaching others, and that makes me very happy.
In addition to my work on this school, I also run the Practicing Ruby Journal. It's a fairly unique publication that lets me reach a dedicated group of Ruby learners on a weekly basis so that I can share my experiences with them through my writing. This project is also very satisfying to me because the research I put into it helps me become a better teacher, which in turn helps improve Mendicant University over time.
Before founding Mendicant University and beginning work on Practicing Ruby, I had worked on a few of projects you may already be familiar with. My most significant works include the Ruby Best Practices book published by O'Reilly and the PDF generation library Prawn. Working on these two projects gave me a great opportunity to interact with really smart folks in the Ruby community, and probably taught me most of what I now know about Ruby and free software development.
These days I spend most of my time teaching, researching, and writing and so I don't spend as much time working on free software projects as I used to. For now, I've made helping others with their projects my priority, and while it pains me a bit, i think it's ultimately more rewarding. If I did get some free time, I would probably either keep working on Newman and Bookie, or try to find some charitable project to work on.
Beyond the technical side of my life, I care a lot about searching for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in the things we do. I want to make sure that the projects I work on are not just intellectually stimulating, but also directly focused on making life better for people. In the end, I want to cultivate a sense of sustainable pace and living so that the projects I work on can make lasting impacts rather than just ending up as little more than a flash in the pan. These kinds of human problems are just as intensely interesting to me as technical ones, and probably a lot more important, too.