Startup Weekend at Hack Reactor

We will be running a Startup Weekend event starting on Friday, October 2 until Sunday evening at Hack Reactor in San Francisco. A group of over 50 HR alums plus 20 visitors from Startup Catalyst in Australia. Attendees will be pitching ideas and forming ad hoc development teams for a 54-hour hackathon to build their MVP’s and present their business plans to a team of judges from the startup investment community. I’ll be posting info on the results next week.

Serious Applications

I guess it’s time to grow up!

I’ve been working in the video game area for many years with stints at Atari, GameSpy, Splash Studios, Yahoo and more but am now developing health care applications.  I made a decision to seek out a position where I could work on a project whose goal was bigger than just wasting people’s time.  I am a Senior Software Engineer at RelayHealth and have been experimenting with wearable technologies in my spare time.  I even strapped an accelerometer to my dog to grab some sample data.  There are some big ideas here to work on that are very exciting.

I’m Patrick and I’m an Online School Junkie

My MacBook Air is my classroom.

Over the past few years we been witnessing amazing growth in the field of online learning.  In just the past year I’ve completed more than 40 online classes from such places as CodeSchool,, Udemy, Mongo University, and Coursera to extend my software engineering skills.  The revolution in online learning has just been amazing.  Right now I’m studying Machine Learning from Stanford University, Data Science from Johns Hopkins, and Calculus from Ohio State.   I am a student for life.

ZipClips – Social Video!

A new product takes form at Hack Reactor

It will be a little while before I can share the details but I am working on a project for iOS and Android.  All I can say now is that it is in the “social video” space.  This is an idea that I have been kicking around for several years and it has been great to start working on it in earnest.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great engineers and have gotten really valuable direction and feedback from the Hack Reactor staff.  We will start some user testing soon.  It’s a very exciting time!

Passing the Half Way Point at Hack Reactor

A new cohort starts on Monday at Hack Reactor and my group moves up as “Seniors”.

This is an exciting period as we now have the time to sink into longer independent projects.  I formed a development team with three others to work on a social video app that I first conceived several years ago and have been looking forward to build.  Our tech stack is: MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node and we are using Cordova to develop for both iOS and Android.  We will have an MVP ready by next week!

MongoDB, D3, and Node Oh My!

One month in at Hack Reactor and the hits keep coming!

Being surrounded by an extremely bright set of peers and instructors for twelve (and sometimes more) hours a day helps maintain the energy level as we explore a wide range of web technologies together.  What I feared might be an exhausting pace has turned out to be quite invigorating.  Every two days I’ve partnered with a different member from my cohort of 32 to work on short sprints to develop both client and server side apps.  Today we sat in on the “senior” class demo rehearsals and it was truly inspiring.  They produced some amazing work over the past several weeks ranging from browser based 3D games to big data visualizations.  My notebook of ideas for development projects keeps growing and will likely keep me busy for some time to come!

Just like riding a bicycle!

I stopped writing code myself as I moved up the chain and settled comfortably into executive management.

After a few years as Director of this, or VP of that, the languages, libraries, and frameworks had all shifted and my distance from the code increased.  I’ve always stayed current with what particular languages and frameworks “could do” so I knew what to ask of my development teams, but the less able I was to do the work myself.   I am now back on the bicycle pedaling as fast as I can and have reactivated my dormant skills.  I love writing code! I love the feeling of satisfaction you get when your creation comes to life.  I love finding and fixing bugs. I’ll never again leave this particular bicycle in the garage for too long.

Completed Week One at Hack Reactor

The first week of intense coding and instruction at Hack Reactor ended Saturday night and I had one day to relax on Sunday before diving into week two on Monday morning to start our next sprints.

I’ve written code for handling data structures such as stacks, queues, linked lists, sets, hashes, binary search trees and more.   The classroom structure and the instructors do a great job of moving us through a lot of material very effectively.  This is followed by pair programming where we work through the presented test-driven projects together .  We also get the backup of summoning an instructor via a help request from our station.  It all works very efficiently.

Great to be back in San Francisco

After 10 years in LA I have moved back to the Bay Area.

I’ve also lived in New York, Seattle, Phoenix, Ann Arbor, Washington DC, Albany, and Laguna Beach and this is the place that most feels like home.  Laguna Beach wasn’t bad either.   My house is in Alameda and I enjoy commuting via ferry and bicycle.  I’m currently enrolled in the Hack Reactor software engineering bootcamp in San Francisco where I will be until April 6th.  We’ll see what comes after that!