Ask just about any programmer why they like to write code, and I’ll bet you a giant slice of chocolate cake that every single person will give at least one of these answers:
- “I love making things!”
- “I love learning how things work!”
- “I love solving problems!”
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the reasons why people like to write code, but the exclamations in this list have reliably and recurrently come up when I get into conversations with fellow developers. Often, these developers will tell me that not only do they love making things, love learning how things work, or love solving problems, they have actually always enjoyed these things, even in their childhood.
This unique collection of interests — building, learning, solving — is the longstanding core of my identity.
How it started
In elementary school, Mrs. Elliott was my daycare provider and watched over me …
Build and Deploy with Liz Moy is a curiosity-driven technology podcast. This season, we’ll be talking to developers and technologists in healthcare about what they’re building to make the world a healthier place. Experts in the field of robotics, artificial intelligence, and telemedicine will help me understand why it took so long to get here, and we’ll dive into what the future of telemedicine might look like.
Our first episode is a conversation with Jeff Lawson, CEO and Co-Founder of Twilio and Dr. Erica Lawson, pediatric rheumatologist at UCSF. Twilio Head of Global Healthcare Services, Susan Lucas Collins provides an expert point of view around the shifts that have happened. And Dr. Tim Peck of Curve Health and IDEO shares why there has never been a better time to be a founder working in healthcare technology.
Ahoy there! Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there was a young child with a mind full of questions. "Why are there no parrots in the trees in our neighborhood? How are pencils made? Why do we have winter here when other people are having summer?”
I was that child, and every day I quested for answers. I asked all the people around me and usually spent hours in the public library voraciously reading everything I could get my hands on. If the answer did not reveal itself even after that, I often tried out small experiments to see if I could figure out a solution on my own.
Every day a new question
As far back as I can remember, I've always been a questioner and I’ve always been elated when I learned the answers to my questions. Childhood was filled with discoveries and "aha!" …
Most Twilio.org customers use Flex as a call center. We see all sorts of use-cases, from food-banks, to crisis lines, to disaster response. In late December, a joint team from the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council and the Texas Division of Emergency Management were tasked with assisting COVID-19 vaccine distribution and needed a hybrid of a hotline and phone system.
After vaccines became available in the United States, state and local agencies across the country needed to act fast to ensure that supply chain partners and medical providers had accurate, up to date information. Texas needed to coordinate information like when shipments would arrive, how to request new shipments, and how to safely store vaccines for use are critical pieces of information to ensure that vaccines are distributed effectively.
Within one day we deployed a solution that has since handled several thousand calls about vaccine distribution logistics. In this …
When I started my career in IT, being a developer meant for me to be a small piece of a giant machine. That time we had "software factories" who developed apps and systems based on their projects and a predetermined schedule.
I always loved Chaplin's movies, and my favorite movie was "Modern Times" because it resumes how developers worked back in 2000. Now everything has changed, and I want to tell you what happened on this path...
There is an API for that
Back in 2007 in Minas Gerais, I was already a web developer and Twitter was starting to get noticed in Brazil. That time when friends' invitations to new apps were a thing and I got one to Twitter, I saw the service had a "developer page" and I was curious about it.
I've worked with web services before, but this was different: you could make simple HTTP …
Brendan Michaelsen is a builder through and through. He may not always have a standard roadmap, but that doesn’t stop him from charting his own path.
While attending Purdue University, Brendan opened a software consulting company out of his friend’s dorm room.
“I had never really done a lot of software before but was starting to get into the programming way of life,” Brendan commented.
He initially started building iOS apps for small businesses owned by friends and family before moving on to larger clients like Purdue University and the city of West Lafayette. From wildlife guide apps to an app that scans vouchers for restaurants and marketing websites for hair salons, Brendan was immersed in a learn-by-doing way of life. He dedicated all of his time outside of class to his business, PearCircuit.
When he graduated in 2016, Brendan and his partner decided to take PearCircuit full time instead …
Computational fluid dynamics and fighter jets. Bill Edwards’ path to becoming Head of Technology at a small healthcare startup didn’t follow a traditional path. Although this seems to be a trend with the modern developer (what is a *traditional* path anymore?), Bill’s path seems especially unique.
While studying mechanical engineering at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., he discovered a passion for great software behind systems, and how it can help solve sticky problems. After completing his mechanical engineering program, he switched gears and dove into a PhD in computational fluid dynamics (the study of using computers to study fluid behavior). He focused on studying and writing algorithms that would solve fluid dynamic problems.
“It was a pretty big leap and tough transition,” says Bill. “But I’m so glad I did make the switch. The math is annoying to figure out so in this case, you let the computer …
If Jozef Kutka had his druthers, he’d be out in nature riding his bike or running. As a developer and CTO for MeetFox, his view on software is rather untraditional.
“I believe software makes life easier, but it’s not making it nicer.”
He doesn’t like how much time we, as a society, spend in front of screens. He hopes that by working at MeetFox, the company can help people spend less time organizing meetings and reviewing schedules and more time face-to-face (virtually and in-person).
MeetFox is a tool for professionals to manage meetings with online scheduling, integrated video calls, and direct payments. Originally called CoachFox, the company was focused on matching coaches to clients in an online platform. The company quickly pivoted once the founder, Susanne Klepsch, realized that a lot of the day-to-day of coaches was spent scheduling appointments, writing invoices, and doing other administrative tasks.
By providing a …
Bernard Baker has a day job, but you wouldn’t believe it with the number of projects he juggles on a daily basis. By day he works for an e-commerce marketplace and in his spare time, he employs his programming skills to solve a variety of issues in our communities. Lately, he’s been focused on how to help people stay safe and connected during COVID-19.
Solutions to stay connected
Because of COVID-19, Baker found himself frequently calling his loved ones to check-in. In particular, he’s been talking to his parents who are high-risk. He got to thinking about people in crisis in developing countries who don’t have smartphones or internet. How do they stay connected to the ones they love when they can’t see them?
During Twilio’s DEV hackathon, Baker decided to tackle this problem head-on. He built Let’s Connect, an app that allows you to “connect with other people …
Computers and technology captivated Bryan Moran at a young age. He built his first computer in 6th grade, in part, because it’s helped him with his dysgraphia (he couldn’t read his handwriting making homework and in-class tasks challenging). But his interest became more than just a hobby even though he balks a bit if you try to call him a developer.
“I love, love, love technology, and especially the open-source community, but I’m a terrible coder,” jokes Bryan.
Glimpsing into Bryan’s home office setup during our interview would suggest otherwise. Three enormous monitors nearly span the length of his desk and, while he may not be a coder by the strictest definition, he could certainly play on TV.
IRL, Bryan is the Director of Developer Operations at City Harvest, an organization that rescues millions of pounds of soon-to-be food waste and redistributes it to food pantries around New York …