What’s Next for Anthony
It’s been a year since my last update. Relocating my life from Seattle back to Chicago was no small feat. All in all, I’d say it took just under 10 months.
3 months to ready (read: repair) the condo I was living in for a new family to live in and pack all my stuff up
3.5 months to find the spot I wanted to call home in Chicago and to get it ready (read: repaired and cleaned) for me to live in; during which I was couch surfing and living out of hotels.
2 months to finally get my stuff out of storage, unpack and situate everything, buy new stuff as needed.
Then I took a little two-week vacation to get refreshed.
1 month to disassemble, dry out, clean, diagnose, acquire replacement parts for, and re-assemble my monstrosity of a computer after a huge leak sprung in my liquid cooling system the night I got back from my exhilarating vacation.
Just in time for the holidays! Glad I took that year off to decompress. Sad I only got to decompress for like two months of it.
But it wasn’t all moving. There were three funerals. BUT, for the first time ever I got to meet someone on the day they were born, my newest cousin, Christian. I went to several live performances (including Hamilton!), celebrated many birthdays, holidays, housewarmings, engagements, read many books, played many video games, and watched a WHOLE lot of YouTube videos. Good times!
Great! But the title is “What’s Next” …
I always had this idea that after Microsoft I would move on from technology entirely. It quickly became apparent that I’m not there yet. So, I figured I might go back to consulting. I’ve always said I was like a carpenter who got hired to make tools but that my passion was more in using tools that building tools. And of course, I’m most productive with my preferred brand of tools; they got the right weight and balance. But whenever I think about putting up some drywall, I can’t help but think about that idea for a special bendy screwdriver I had. You see, somewhere along the way, I guess I became a tool maker. Somewhere in that 8 years of designing languages, I became a language designer, at least in the .NET space. I’m not sure I can stay on the .NET platform and go back to being “Anthony D. Green, VB Developer”. I’m not sure that would be a good thing even if I could.
So, maybe I need to just get away and start fresh. Fall in-love all over again with something new. I’ve heard good things about Python. It might have the right feel to it. I also see a lot of potential in Swift. I see some of the qualities I love most about VB in those languages. And that’s a problem. VB.NET is like the ex that I compare every new date to. After 15 years of telling everyone who would listen “.NET is amazing! .NET is awesome! .NET is the best!” am I credibly ready to leave it all behind and espouse the virtues of another? Was that relationship really as awesome as I remember it or am I just seeing .NET with rose-tinted glasses?
So, I dial up my old colleague, Eric Lippert, of Facebook. We worked together on Roslyn for 5 years and he’s been out of the Microsoft/.NET game for a while now. Surely, he’s got an objective recollection.
Me: “Hey, Eric! Was it really that good or was it all in my head?” Eric: “Something, something, … homoiconicity… LINQ… productive…” Me: “Yes, yes… not isomorphism… Greek… Latin…”
It doesn’t actually matter what he said so much as what he didn’t say: “You sober up and one day you realize static types are all a lie. Now I’m in love with this new language where everything is a string, and strings are just dictionaries of chars to other dictionaries, and tooling is for chumps!”.
(Maybe I should have called Lucian. Or Erik—Erik’s an iconoclast, he definitely would have given me the Red Pill.)
Inspired by the YouTubers who have been shoveling lore, theory, and educational videos down my eyes for the last year to take a leap that I can be creative for a living, I’ve decided to try to become a full-time independent content creator and open source community contributor for VB.NET rather than pursuing a full-time coding gig at a Chicago company or leaving coding entirely. I’m still working out how to do that and support myself but I’m hoping through a combination of a Patreon I’ll be launching later this month and some set of occasional short-term contract gigs (@ThatVBGuy, feel free to slide into my DM’s).
To demonstrate the seriousness of my commitment to this new endeavor I will be dropping several pieces of content on my new blog over the next two weeks starting today. I think it’s important to illustrate the kind of content and contributions I want to create, why they matter, why anything matters, and why this endeavor is one worth supporting. To that end, answering a very common question/assumption I’ve had to answer throughout the years, I give you “An Exhausting List of Differences Between VB.NET & C# - Part I” the first of several brain-dumps to come on a variety of topics.
Also, I’ve got something really cool I’ve been working on that I plan to share this Wednesday (+/- a day) so stay tuned!