Today we have @dudeimliv, you have a rather unique role. Can you tell us about that and how you got into that role?
absolutely, it started about three years ago as a request for web development, supposed to be a simple contract over the summer. the organization i work for had a long list of things they wanted, though, no idea what any of it meant. all under the ask of a new “website”. i told them, i can make this happen but this isn’t simple. for example, they wanted a secure customer portal & dashboard. but they were using campus suites — a no-code, what seemed like early 2008, meant for academic…
institutions only, web builder. it had ZERO security. it simply wasn’t meant for their organization or needs. there was no way for me to implement any of the things they were requesting. i told them that & ultimately, it became a full time job working to build out their digital infrastructure. it’s evolved quite dramatically over the years & it’s been incredible. i’ve become the pin in the hand grenade that’s set off a new era for my people. where they were once moving files (like, physically…
walking to another building & grabbing the file in a folder & walking back), they’re now looking to a future of digital systems to optimize employee workflows, mitigate human error & lack of speed. it’s been an amazing & fulfilling journey to be a part of.
How did you approach the situation where the client needed way more than they were asking for? Can you walk us thru that process?
i’m a very direct person. if you’re asking for my professional opinion, i’ll give it under the assumption you’re prepared to either not like or not be prepared for what i might say. if you’re expecting what i’m going to say, you wouldn’t have needed a professional opinion to begin with. if a client is asking for things under the guise of something else, it’s likely they need to be educated on what it is they’re asking. in my case, i was sitting around many 55+ year olds who struggle to…
…understand the ins & outs of their email. i knew that i had to explain it in analogies, things they see everyday. i have used Amazon on many occasions, because it’s popular among many demographics and has a lot of different aspects i have used to explain what’s going on behind the scenes. what you, as a user, are not seeing. many people need that explanation to understand what they’re asking & what it could potentially take to deliver. i told them the truth, i can give you whatever you need…
… but you have to understand that there’s a price to pay either way. i laid out all the scenarios, their impact on the company’s resources, the cost/benefit, what it would look like once it had been implemented. i told them the drawbacks as well as certain issues that will need to be contended with at a certain point. do you want to revisit this issue in 5 to 10 years to add another bandaid or would you rather put things into place working towards the future you’re telling me you envision?…
… i leveled with them, because at the end of the day, they called on me for that reason. it’s a testament to who i am and the work i do if i’m telling you this can be fixed in a short time with little to no money or long term project management when that’s not the case.
Is there a team now, or is it just you?
we’re outsourcing a lot right now that i simply don’t have the time to work on, yknow can’t do it all, unfortunately. but as far as driving the vision & strategy for how it’s happening, it’s just me at the helm. we have intents to expand that within the next year.
Thinking about your career so far, did you have this type of a role in mind? Or were you targeting something different?
to be honest, i wasn’t targeting a specific role when this all began. i knew i wanted to build systems & make life easier for people. as it began to unravel in front of me, everything just lined up perfectly & i turned out to be well suited for the position. it’s been a position where i’ve been able to grow personally & professionally while also giving back to my tribe and to the native youth in tech that will inevitably come after me.
How are you able to see the fun in tech situations where many of the rest of us would just be frustrated? This is in reference to many of your funny posts about truths of being a developer.
i find the struggle exciting. if i could breeze through every scenario, i’d be bored. my ADHD makes me want to learn/know everything, which i’ve found perfectly aligns with my career. i’m constantly presented with something that tests the bounds of my knowledge, patience & creativity. it’s not that i’m not frustrated, i just think that levity in the face of problems can remind you that this is what you signed up for…
…you signed up to be the problem-solver, the one who thinks outside of the box, who can pull mind-bending programs from a bunch of 1s & 0s. you’re not alone & certainly not the first programmer to wonder if they smashed their face into the keyboard a few times, would that render code better than this garbage i just wrote? it’s a great time, even better to be in tech, & sometimes we forget the “struggle” is what makes it so fulfilling.
Recently, you posted about having an elite Threads feed. What advice would you have for someone just starting out with Threads?
engage with those that interest you, like posts you’d like to see more of, mute/block what you’d like to see less of. lean into your favorite accounts & who they’re commenting on, engaging with & reposting. that’s where you’ll find more of what interests you.
How can people find you elsewhere online?
thanks for having me, Ryan — this was a lot of fun!
See the full interview on Threads: @ryan.swanstrom • Threads Dev Interview #31 I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right here on… • Threads