Sam is an artist and a developer with a philosophical bent. In his own words:
“The art training hugely affects my programming. I sketch code, gauge its proportions, its visual and rhythmic appeal, look for rhymes. I learned to watch people (including myself), to see how they interacted with artifacts and images, and to respect their knowledge and ingenuity. That respectful watching is central to creating great programs.”
Years ago when Sam was very, very young he discovered an old GW Basic book that his mother had used in college. Throughout high school he freelanced his programming adeptness. He wrote terrible, embarassing code. More importantly though, he learned.
After high school, he went to university for electrical engineering and fine art. He wasn’t getting out of the EE curriculum what he was looking for, so he decided to pursue and graduate with a fine arts degree. Then he escaped higher learning altogether.
Following his time at the university Sam worked in a machine learning lab – with robots have you – and in a biochemistry lab, with viruses (biological, make-you-ill viruses)! He continued learning, writing code, and published a few papers.
Then, in a way that will seem atypical for many, he took a year off from everything and moved to New Zealand. He met people, observed them interacting with technology – and not interacting with technology – and helped with analog problems like “the wall needs plastering” and “one of the calves is too small”. And yes, calves are referring to baby cows.
Being in the world and observing it – as indirect as it may seem –
has helped Sam hone the multidisciplinary skills he uses to craft software. Pushing bits is an essential part of creating software, but there are human elements that are just as critical. Many of which you won’t find until you step away from the keyboard.
Upon his return from New Zealand, Sam worked at the San Franciso startup Twice and found that startup culture wasn’t for him. After which, Sam found a posting on Hacker News about Mutually Human. Three months later he relocated to Grand Rapids and became the newest human to join our team of craftsmen.
Welcome Mr. Bleckley.