June 24, 2024

704 words 4 mins read

Solving for Humans: Launching lianmakesthings at the Intersection of Tech and Art

Solving for Humans: Launching lianmakesthings at the Intersection of Tech and Art

For over 15 years, I’ve been navigating my way through the tech industry. I started out as a Web Developer, but quickly discovered my true passion lay in working with people. Since my first tech conference speech in 2015, I’ve devoted significant time to meeting, engaging with, and educating the community. The more I immersed myself in these activities, the more I felt drawn to my true purpose. Over time, I transitioned to roles like DevOps and Cloud Native Engineer, eventually becoming a Consultant and Developer Advocate.

Performance art has been another love of mine, one that started early and was recently reignited. I had the joy of starring in the ensemble for Cinderella and playing Sir Lancelot in Monty Python’s Spamalot, fulfilling my childhood dream of being in a musical production. Around the same time, I decided to leave my role as a Developer Advocate. It wasn’t just my passion for theatre that prompted this decision. I also had some grievances with the industry and Developer Relations specifically, so I decided to take a break and gain some distance from tech.

A few months ago, I began speaking with Engineers, Managers, Founders, and Community Leaders about the industry’s needs and my next steps. But after a few interviews, I started to question why I was spending so much time and effort only to find a role that I might like and could possibly make work. Why not channel that energy into something I truly love and that definitely works for me?

While employed, I often felt torn between work for money, community engagement, and creative endeavours. I constantly struggled to balance my work with my passions. I firmly believe that self-improvement makes you a more well-rounded and mature person, and therefore a better colleague and engineer. However, I often felt conflicted, partly due to the relentless pressure from leadership to deliver value. Over time, the word value became synonymous with bait and switch. The subjective nature of value was used to excuse poor leadership and lack of foresight and to justify blaming employees for not reading minds or predicting the future. That’s when I realised that the success of any product or service relies not only on the tools and technologies provided, but also the trust and connection between users and engineers and leadership.

Wherever I go, regardless of the industry, I find myself in a community. No one is an island. You can be the best Engineer or Architect, working on the latest technology and building the most elegant tools, but without a supportive team or users, you won’t get far. The same applies to the arts. Even in a solo show, you need a team behind you and venues to perform at. The stronger the shared sense of community, the more productive everyone will be, especially when it comes to collaboration. And that will ultimately reflect in the quality of the outcome or value. While my skill set may not be unique, I know my perspective is: my experiences, beliefs, and passions define who I am: A community leader. I had been contemplating starting my own business for some time, and I’ve reached a point where I refuse to compromise on any of my passions. Not only that, but I want to avoid a role where I’m asked to leave parts of myself behind to accommodate some narrow definition of value that is devoid of human consideration.

To quote Myles Borins: APIs deprecate, being human never will.

With lianmakesthings, I aim to bring everything together my technical expertise in Software Delivery and Cloud Native Practices, my experience in Community Management and Developer Happiness, and my passion for performing arts. My mission is to deliver value to my clients that isn’t measured solely by numbers. By focusing not just on building tools but on building community, this new kind of value will also be reflected in the team’s optimism, and the strength of human connections. Because only by encouraging people to be their entire selves, will they achieve their highest potential.

If you’re interested in this idea and want to learn more or have a chat, I’d love to hear from you!

Schedule a call, message me on LinkedIn or email me.