In a few months, it will have been fifteen years since I set up my first web server on a spare Mac II at www.hsas.washington.edu using Mac httpd. (You can check Netcraft to see what it's running today.)
The genesis of that box was frustration. Frustration that the job I was doing at the time had no budget to solve a data sharing problem I was hired to fix. Frustration that the solutions I was looking at to solve the problem were tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars and would take years to hit final install.
In two days, I had the server set up with software downloaded from the Internet and it was successfully posting data to a back-end database. Ahh, satisfaction!
I'll never forget the demo I did for my managers, "This is called a web browser..."
They didn't get it, so by the end of the year I struck out on my own and spent the next decade building and maintaining data centers.
I took a brief career break earlier this decade to work for a coffee shop doing corporate communications then plunged back into the web here at Microsoft and have had the opportunity to do some really interesting things along the way.
So why the trip down memory lane? Once a year here at Microsoft we do an annual check-in around careers and career planning, and it's done in conjunction with our managers. I had my check-in on Monday and I met with my team members through last week. It's a great way to sanity-check skills, career headings and talk about areas for growth. In my case, I've had a varied, non-linear career, to say the least.
What has been my touchstone over the past fifteen years has been port 80: the web.
As I think about the next fifteen years, I'm energized by the projects before me at the moment and those that are but faint glimmers in my mind about things we may be able to do in the future.
The cables are calling to me and I can almost hear the electrons and photons singing their ultra high frequency songs as they spin along.
Or that could be all the caffeine I've ingested over the years talking. ;-)