Who am I? (WIP)
Entrepreneur in training
My name is Billy Boozer (yes – that’s my real name). I’m from the Atlanta area. As the subtitle reads I’m an “Entrepreneur in training” mainly because I’ve learned the ways not to start a company. I take the baseball approach to being an entrepreneur, which you can read more on further down, but in very precise words from Thomas Edison:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
I have amazing parents and they are 90%(probably a gross underestimate) of the reason that I am who I am today which I think is a good thing. I’ve been blessed to have two older siblings; the oldest being my brother, Michael, who has cerebral palsy, and my exceedingly intelligent sister, Andrea.
After high school I went to Berry College on a baseball scholarship. I was there for one year when I strained my UCL and got tired of baseball, so I decided to try something new. I had a short stint at a small college called Highlands before I finally transferred to my dad’s alma mater – Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU for short, which is now part of Kennesaw State University).
At SPSU I completed 4 years of a 5 year architecture degree, then switched to computer science and business just in time for the construction industry to implode due to the economic meltdown of 2007. [What can I say? I like living on the edge of insanity.] During that time I uncovered a passion for messing with computers, fiddling with technology, and doing a little programming for fun. I also played a good bit of online and live underground poker(probably one of the funnest times of my life… if we meet sometime ask me about it… I’ve got some stories).
One day an old middle school friend set me up on a blind date with a girl that was way out of my league and three days later we were a couple. I have since married Dannielle and we have collaborated on our two greatest projects, Stella & Maverick. We currently live in Birmingham, Alabama due to a series of interesting events and are loving it (although I do miss Atlanta).
What do I do?
Since formal education didn’t really work for me, I learned from my experiences….
- Sports – leadership and being able to perform at a high level in front of an audience
- Family – my dad’s inventiveness and mom’s perseverance
- School – design, business, presentation, and what I don’t want to do
- Love for technology – the confluence of software engineering, computer science, and anything I could get my hands on to learn how to code
… and I decided to make my own path.
The concept of making my own path is something that I take great pride in and is something that I would say defines the person I am today. I came to the realization about 8 years ago that if I wanted to do something it was incumbent on me to seek out the knowledge, relationships, and experiences needed to execute on my goals.
I taught myself how to code through mediums like Big Nerd Ranch, Team Treehouse (previously Think Vitamin), Codeschool, reading documentation, books, podcasts, meetups, and the relationships I was able to forge with great people (its funny how often times when you ask for help… people help you!)
I have truly been blessed to be around some great people in my life and, in return, have been able to “level up” my coding skills 10x faster than any other resource would have allowed, so I decided to apply that same logic to my network. Anytime I go anywhere – be it a meetup, conference, business meeting, or coffee shop – I make it a point to connect with someone and start up a conversation. My goal is always to find out how I can help others with what they’re doing and where I might be able to fit in their life. Through this exercise, I figured out that relationships are a lot like baseball – you can get into the Hall of Fame by hitting .300, which means you fail 7/10 times. You are going to have to put yourself out there, swing the bat, and strikeout a lot in order to hit the ball every now and then… but when you connect, it’s worth all the misses.
You will always, I mean ALWAYS suck the first time. It is inevitable that the first line of code you write, the first time you try to spark up a conversation, the first time you step on stage, you will not feel comfortable. You will stumble. The best part about all of these things is IF YOU ARE WILLING to continue to write the code after you mess up you will get better with each line. If you continue to talk to people, you will get better and better at it to the point that people will start coming up to you unsolicited. If you get back up on the stage, you will eventually stop stumbling and start performing with confidence. It takes the first experience to make the second and third that much better.
Making your own path isn’t for the person ok with a 9 to 5 job, the person who craves stability or the people pleaser. It isn’t going to be easy and it’s going to take a major time commitment. The best part about finding your own path is that it will bring clarity to what you LOVE to do… and seeing as how you spend at least a 1/3 of your life at work you might want to figure this out.