Prior to my first conference presentation, Martin Fowler came up to visit the office. He had a one-on-one with me, and took the time to give me his tips of the trade for presentations. I've always appreciated how freely good advice is given at ThoughtWorks.
Before I became a developer, I had intentions of becoming a scientist. My hero was a man named Ernst Mayr. He did a number of great things for the field of biology, but more to the point, he was still working at 100 years of age. He was still publishing at 100 years of age. Here was a man who loved what he did, and after living a longer life than most people will get, was still learning.
I wanted a profession like that. I wanted a craft like that.
On the way to becoming a scientist, an odd thing happened. I fell in love with software development. And, somewhere along the way, I ended up here.