Home » Uncategorized » Aardvark’d – 12 Weeks With Geeks

Yesterday was a great day. I started the day out playing Santa to a few developer friends, went to work at one of my clients, came home early to finish our annual Christmas/New Years letter to put in our Christmas cards (we never get them out on time), spent a fun evening with my wife’s extended family, and then came home and relaxed by watching a geeky movie.

One of the benefits of being a geek is being able to appreciate movies like Boondoggle Films’ Aardvark’d -12 Weeks With Geeks. I bought it strictly out of curiosity to see how a successful developer shop like Fog Creek works, and how they directed interns to crank out a production ready application in just twelve weeks.

I really respect Joel Spolsky (the same Joel of Joel on Software fame) based on the common sense expressed in his blog. I appreciate and value common sense. If the movie is truly representative of the way he runs his company (and I really believe it is), then Fog Creek is the reality of the vision I had for my own company more than 8 years ago when I was sitting in the cube farm at EDS.

As I watched the 80 minute movie I found myself laughing and reminiscing about past projects. I learned a couple of things and took notice on how cool his office is designed. The movie is interesting. There are no flashy special effects like Star Wars, no seriously tense scenes like you find in Indiana Jones (although the cock roach infestation was close {g}), no time traveling like Back to the Future, and no mushy romance like in When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle. Yet I found it entertaining, educational, and done well. Heck, I even learned you can grow tomatos in the shade eighteen stories high in cement canyons.

I have given some thought to working with interns in the last few years. Our local school district has a program where the best and brightest can go to the Math, Science and Technology program for a half day. Each of these brilliant students work as an intern at the end of their junior year. The problem I have is my office is in my home. So I am not sure it would work out.

While I worked at Kirtland Associates I lead two projects with interns from my alma mater who were “slaving” at one of our clients. I assisted two students from Oakland University’s business school who entered into the Applied Technology in Business(ATiB) program. This is a great program based completely on scholarships. Jannel and Tone, and later Angela and Alan successfully worked on projects developed in Visual FoxPro 6 with Visual MaxFrame 4. They knew nothing about Visual FoxPro, and very little about developing software. But in a very short time, with our mentoring and direction, we took them through the software development lifecycle and produced a program implemented at the clients central office. It was a cool experience that I appreciate more now than I did back then. Angela now works for Deloitte & Touche LLP, Alan went to work at Accenture, Jannel started at Eli Lilly, and I see Tone is working for Ford Motor Company. Fun times.

After watching this movie I also found myself pondering the question: will White Light Computing be the realization of the original dream from 8 years ago? Or has my dream changed based on the experiences I have gained at Kirtland, Geeks and Gurus, and now White Light Computing? The original dream was based on my experiences at very large companies like Unisys and EDS where I spent the first thirteen years of my career. The dream has survived for eight years through the Y2K boon, the dot-com bust, and the lean years following the terror attacks on 9/11/2001. I also think it has been enhanced.

The last two years have revived my faith in our industry and in the realization of the goals I set out accomplish when I handed in my resignation at EDS back in 1998. I am very excited by the prospects of 2006, energized by a very successful 2005, and extremely proud of the work White Light Computing is doing to make this world a better place.

In 2006 you can expect me to keep paying-it-forward with this blog, some articles I have almost completed and those in the planning stages, conferences sessions already accepted and in the planning stages, another user group tour (although probably shorter this time around), as many forum posts as I have time for, the MenuDesigner (yes, it is almost ready for testing), SednaX, and several other things I am going to do but cannot talk about yet. This is definitely going to be another E-Ticket year.

Life is so good! Have a safe, healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year.

4 Responses to “Aardvark’d – 12 Weeks With Geeks”

  1. December 31st, 2005 at 14:40 | #1

    I see part of project Aardvark involved creating a “socket” server. Very cool. I’m going to have to check this movie out.

  2. December 31st, 2005 at 16:14 | #2

    Don’t expect to see a lot of technology discussed, although I was watering at the mouth each time I saw their duel LCD monitors. This movie is more about the geeks and how they worked together as a team, their failures and successes, and some lessons learned.

  3. Phil Sherwood
    December 31st, 2005 at 18:24 | #3

    I watched that movie last night too. My wife only lasted about 30 minutes but I thought it was great. I, like you, enjoy seeing how other developers operate their shops. Those guys truly are geeks. We’re just getting started with Fogbugz, so it was also good to see the guys behind it.

  4. December 31st, 2005 at 21:10 | #4

    Yeah Phil, my wife decided it was way to geeky for her. She was also looking at me with this strange look when I started the movie over with the English subtitles. I thought there was a joke there where the subtitles were going to translate some of the geek speak. This way she could have understood some of it {g}.

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