Betwixt Code and Music

Staying Connected

December 03, 2015

or Self-encouragement

TL;DR - smile at other people and talk to yourself.

A friend of mine recently nailed it. I would love to work in a place where I could know the people and learn from them. This type of environment is preferable to me. No cubicle farm for this guy. My friend Scott W. (themusicward dot com) tells me the jobs at the giant companies are better suited for the anti-social coder, but, “that is not you.” Bingo.


I am a weird bird, equally comfortable sitting alone in my living room reading a book or speaking to a crowd at a meeting or presentation. As a kid I was definitely introverted…perhaps I still am. However, an effective teacher gets up and makes things happen. Practicing these skills of speaking, leadership, decision-making, problem-solving for over a decade continues to pay off. I do get more energy from being alone (introvert!), but I really enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories about life, the universe, and everything.

If you have been watching me code (don’t be creepy), then you would have noticed me mumbling, “focus, focus, focus, focus” to myself. Hey, I am not above talking to myself (apparently programmers are known to do this, even encouraged to do so). I am also one of those people who doesn’t really care what other people think, so some days you will find me sitting in the public library muttering to my laptop. I am friendly and mostly stable…don’t be alarmed!

This “focus” habit is helping me to:

  • Find new job listings
  • Work on coding projects
  • Learn JavaScript frameworks (Hello, Angular!)
  • Keep my GitHub streak alive
  • Fill journals with code
  • Stay connected with my kiddos

Staying connected to other programmers and technologists (hehe) has been less challenging than I expected. I am on several Slack teams. This is a fun way to communicate and stay “in-the-know” on what is happening in your network or the world writ large. I have learned about multiple jobs, meetups, articles, tutorials, cat .gifs…you name it. I also curate my twitter feed to show me people and places to learn more things.

Meetups in Dallas have been a good time. This is a great way to meet new people and learn about happenings in the Dallas tech community. There are a metric ton of startups here in Dallas, and it is a great place for new businesses. Thanks to our oil baron overlords, there is a vast amount of capital available (mostly kidding…but really, there is a lot of money in Dallas). I still hold to this tenet: people in the tech community are really cool. There are likely exceptions to this, but I try to find the good in people. It is so much more fun to go through your day expecting people to do the right thing. When I look at somebody with a big smile on my face - a genuine non-fake smile - then that goes further to making the world a better place. If people don’t smile back, then that is on them.

So here’s to the people that smile at strangers, that joyfully mutter to themselves, that stay focused in the face of adversity, and host meetups that give away free coffee. Keep it up, you magnificent people.

Michael D. Mathew.

Written by Mike Mathew who lives and works in Dallas building useful things. Sometimes he posts on Mastodon. Mike also wears many hats at Presto Assistant where he is a co-founder, owner, and product engineer.