Five dozen

Numerology, like a whole bunch of New Age-y things, is a complete load of old bollocks. If you want to see some “meaning” in a bunch of numbers, those associations will be there to spot. Sometimes you can be convinced enough to put them on a lottery ticket and watch your money disappear.

For me in my life – weirdly, perhaps coincidentally – it’s the number 12. But then again, 12 is this nice number that’s divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. You could also make some argument that it forms “nice” fractions when divided by 8 or 9 (2/3 or 3/4, respectively).  And in English there’s another word for it: dozen. So, yep, I get it, 12 is really quite ordinary, yet…

A couple of weeks ago, April 6 to be precise, I turned 60. Five dozen. On April 25, I will have lived in the States for two dozen years; 2/5 of my life, in other words. Hence I was 36 (three dozen) when I immigrated on an H-1B visa. Even weirder – ha! – my father was 60 when I came here, because (as you may have already calculated) he was 24 (two dozen) when I was born. From this vantage point I can look back on my life so far and do stupid comparisons of me in my career and of my father’s at the same age.

(Example: I got appendicitis at 12 – a dozen – so Dad would have been 36, working at the time as some kind of Senior Director in the Courtaulds head-office in Hanover Square in London. Me at that age: abandoning the City of London as Trading Systems Manager for a programming job in Colorado Springs. Fun fact, given some of the effing stupid stuff going on in the States at the moment: despite the UK having universal health care, certain jobs like my Dad’s – and mine later on – had a private health insurance perk, so I had my appendectomy care of Bupa in a small cottage hospital in Dorking.)

But as I say: numerology is a complete load of old bollocks.

A decade ago, I wrote a blog post about the big Five-O. It seems amazing to me now that I’d not (really) touched JavaScript at that point and it was still all C# and Visual Studio all the time. And even then I was commenting on “an exponential explosion in environments, platforms, APIs, hardware, and it's now impossible to know it all to the same degree as I did back then.” Well 50-year-old Bucknall, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! Welcome to the explosion of JavaScript libraries, environments, run-times, and editors! Pah! Seriously though, over the past decade that explosion has been all to do with open-source software, and not only that, but open-source software for the Web. I suppose to a certain extent it was inevitable: after all, the JavaScript libraries we all use are not pre-compiled, they’re just requested as part of a web page and downloaded to your browser as source. Since you have the source already…

Of course, it goes without saying that I’ve been CTO of DevExpress for that entire decade. In fact I passed my eleventh anniversary just a couple of weeks ago, and am now in my 12th year (stop it!). Like all software companies the world over, DevExpress has had to change to meet the new requirements – generally the web, but also mobile – head on. My job has changed too: in this new world order of free/cheap software, you have to concentrate more on the ancillary parts of selling software. Things like: the initial sales contact, live chats, better support, presenting webinars, being available to talk about problems and complaints, being open about what we’re doing (not necessarily a road-map of features – we’re still arguing about doing that again – but more about the general direction).

Another feature of these ten years, if I may call it that, is the amount of business travel I’ve been doing being part of DevExpress. Our office is in Glendale, CA, so I regularly go there (I love Burbank airport because it’s not LAX). I’ve been to Russia, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada, India, and the Netherlands on business trips – generally conferences and the like, most usually manning our booth in the Expo Hall, sometimes presenting. I’ve been all over the US, too many places to count. And unfortunately, because of this, my ‘career’ on stage has stalled somewhat: it’s difficult to map out a contiguous block of six weeks when I’m at home and can attend rehearsals/performances for some show.

What else happened in this previous decade? For one thing, on January 6, 2014 I became a US citizen and have been voting ever since, it seems. Including last November, about which and subsequent to, I shall remain quiet. Or speechless. Or both. Then again, the UK hasn’t exactly been stellar in its recent pronouncements, so I think moving on from this topic might be advantageous. (Follow me on Twitter if you want to see my political thoughts as they happen…)

Both my parents died early on in the decade, my father first, and my mother four months later, two days before my 53rd birthday (yep, numerology be damned, no sign of a dozen there!). I still miss them.

So, here I am. Not winding down, by any means: I easily foresee a whole bunch of things to learn and talk about (coming up: building modern JavaScript apps), changes to happen in my life, moves to make, places to visit, friends to make (and others to lose). Stay tuned!

Album cover for BilingualNow playing:
Pet Shop Boys - Se a Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)
(from Bilingual)

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