Justin's Talk
Justin Jackson

Hi, I'm @mijustin

How many folks in their...teens? (not many) 20s? (good amount) 30s? (lot) 40s? (good amount) 50s? (a few) 60s? (one person!) 70s?

Thinking about age a good bit. 39 years old now, born in 1980. Won Motley Crew tickets with a mullet haircut from high school!

How'd I get from here (graduating college) to here (mid-30s)

Shows a chart showing a direct correlation between time and age (lol). Also...hey, longer time, more technical debt

Software projects go through many modifications over their lifetime. The code... Umer Mansoor, @codeahoy

Justin Jackson: "Human beings go through many modifications over their lifetime. As they grow, complexity creeps in. Humans add new functionality in a quick and dirty manner and apply duct-tape to..."

As we go through life, we keep adding new stuff.

npm install college
npm ERR! 404 Funds not found

Maybe the same thing we do for technical debt we can do for us

Why at Laracon? We're here because we want our lives to be better.

So let's talk about the human software

Some tweets can be scary. "People I want to be like when I grow up...Thank you guys for inspiring me and for your awesome work in teaching and helping others!"

Some of what he sees is what I want them to see, though. It's also hard because now I finally have a product that I made, but online, we present the nice bits of our code. Reality is, there's a hamster wheel going on.

The psychological baggage we carry with us, if it's left unexamined, can lead us into destructive behaviors. -- Jerry Colonna

If the psyche is the computer that runs our lives, maybe we need to clean it up a bit.

It's important to pay down our mental technical debt.

Here's some psychological problems I've had to face, and a few ideas on how to solve them. Going to bare my soul a bit.

Let's start

It's natural for human beings to compare themselves to others, even if we don't admit it. "Where do I fit in? How do I match up? Where am I in this order?"

Two things that were true about me: I was the geekiest kid in my town. First kid I knew who wanted to be a sysadmin. Second thing: I was the most entrenpeneural. Atomic: Stony Plain's first rave. First free-style event at the ommunity center!

But now, we have the Internet, and my peer group changes to be more like <celebrities type="laravel"> anod now I'm compared to them? Why do I compare with them?

First programming job 28, oldest person on the team.


I'm 47 and I'm kind of freaked out that I am close to my professional peak. I'm still in the trnches as a senior developer. I'm not a team leader or manager of any kind. I'm coming to that age where it's harder to keep up with the younger devs.

20-year-olds; if you wonder why older team members aren't happy, it's because they don't like you!

The hardest part of being old in this industry?

"I'm know that I'm talking about! I've spent 30 years in this industry!"

Teams like hiring younger devs. Startup founders get their funding between 20-34, smaller than 44, then completely trails off afterwards

"Am I respected?"

Nothing bugs a 30- 40-something than Yahoo buying an app from a 17-year-old for $30,000,000

Another email I got:

The older I get, the more worried I become. It feels like I've been struggling for a long time. It's been one startup failure after another.

I thought I'd be further along by now

I'd be sleeping, but my boys climb on top of me. Hard being in a position where "I thought I'd be further along by now"

Eventually..."It's never going to happen for me." Which can evolve into bitterness. If a new opportunity comes along..."F*ck it."

This insidious thing just snuck up on me.

What helped

  1. Get professional help
  2. Assume ownership for your life
  3. Do things, repeatedly, that are good for you and others
  4. Get rid of bad habits
  5. Lose the ego

All the thoughts about "therapy's not for me"...I had those thoughts too. Embarrassing having to think "wel, how does it work?"

Nathan Barry, ConvertKit: "For years I've fought with depression. In 2016, I started going to counseling. It's the best decision I've made."

Eventually, found myself doing this (Googling "therapists near me"). Phone call with one, appointment with two others, chose the one I had a good resonance with. Best decision ever.

We're head people. We like to think we can sort it all out in our head, but with mental/psychological issues, it's a problem.

Dan Harmon: "Dark thoughts will echo off the walls of your skull, distort and magnify. When you open your mouth, these thoughts go out. They'll be back wbut you gotta get them OUT. "

Going to therapy is like defragmenting your brain

If you read ONE book this year that's not tech related, Atomic Habits from James Clear. In a cynical way, when James was brainstorming in output

Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become. -- James Clear

"The beliefs you have when you're born define who you are?" Nope. What you do defines who you want to be.

"What can I do today to help me be a better dad? Waffles."

Will Smith: It doesn't matter whose fault it is; it's your responsibility to fix it. When you're in victim mode, you're stuck in suffering. The road to power is in taking responsibility.

Jeff Atwood: What ever the problem with your software is, take ownership.

What is life for?

What are you doing this for? Going to the office, for example? Well, doing it for my family. Geek beers that I organize. Sharing life with real human beings. Online community, who I meet each year


I had this habit of putting the boys to bed (so much work), then two shots of whiskey. After talking with doctor, cut it pretty much out.

Recommend Streaks app

Lose the ego

"It's too late for me to learn programming". This emotional baggage held me back.

Laracon, Taylor invited me to speak two years ago. Then last year in Chicago, talked with someone who was selling insurance three months ago.

Started live-streaming coding. Really helped! Adam helped me write a nav toggle a few weeks ago, and while it's relatively basic, being able to do it feels so good!

And now, I'm building my own stuff. Own HTML in a Statamic site! SOmeone can repot a little fix, and now I can help fix it just a little bit later!

Thank you!


Wanna hear how I got in trouble on usenet?

Nobody's on usenet, and I'm telling my friends on what you can find on alt2600. You can make a black box, a blue box, oh, and you can get bomb plans. "No you can't!" So...I found them, printed them out, took them to Greg's house. Sick the next day, but Greg gave plans to Joey, Joey snuck into photocopier room, made 300 copies. Police showed up at school trying to track down who. "Local bomb plans show up mysteriously"