Surviving Big Tech – Post 3

The Web Is Amazing

Not the issue that my article was published in

The financial company I was working for was in the middle of a growth spurt. They were spending money like drunk sailors. This meant lots of opportunities. I took advantage of them all.

I volunteered to work with a group in designing a series of classic Active Server Pages (ASP) for my company. This was prior to ASP.NET, so the technology was brand new and very immature. What is now commonly referred to as Developer Experience (DX) was horrible for these pages.

The biggest challenge I faced was designing a page that would not crash when deployed. I loved the technology and could visualize all that the web is today. I thought it was like finding gold. I quickly figured out that I needed some way to stress test these pages before deployment.

I started frantically researching how to stress test my pages. Again, it was mostly trial and error. I learned a lot – the hard way. But, it was all very exciting and I was fixated on the issue.

My communication skills were always way high. I can thank my mother, who was a creative dramatic teacher and college speech professor for that one. For this reason, I would create a lot of developer documentation – just for fun. Seriously. It was fun for me. No one even asked me to do it. By the way, I can just feel your eyes rolling as you read this.

At one point, the company brought in a $2000/day contract resource to mentor all the developers about best practices, tips and tricks, etc. I spoke to him as much as possible.

I showed him one of the doc files I had created for an app I was working on. He was actually impressed. I could not believe someone making $2000/day would be impressed with me. He gave me some advice and I soaked up every word. He encouraged me to try professional tech writing. I was inspired.

I spent all my spare time working on an article for MSDN magazine. The article was about load/stress testing an ASP application. My article was only 1500 words and most articles in that prestige journal were 10,000 words. They were all dry and written like technical white papers.

I was sure my article would be rejected. Imagine my surprise when it was accepted and get this – it was put on the cover page of next months issue. I felt like I had won the lottery.

My excitement was barely containable. I am sure I annoyed all of my co-workers when I shared the news with them. I would show you a reference, but that magazine does not keep articles prior to 2003. This was 1998 or 1999.

Onward and upward…

Next post:

In this series, I will be getting personal. I will be sharing stories of major events (with lots of candor) that led to my career in this industry. A career which you may eventually be surprised to learn I am still extremely grateful to be a part of. Take what you like and leave the rest please.

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