People sometimes ask how I got into software design. Easy, because of NetNewsWire.
Years ago, I delivered pizza to make money. Not much, of course, and most of what I did make went into my gas tank. I was broke, eating pizza for every meal and sleeping on the floor in my mom’s living room.
For years I’d read about all of the latest rumors and goings-on via sites like TUAW and Macrumors. I read the coverage of every keynote. App launches and updates were like candy. I read blog posts from Mike Lee, checked out wallpapers from Louie Mantia, and clicked through to everything John Gruber linked. I watched as an outsider, fascinated by the depth of the community and its rich, interesting characters. Some people have their celebrity gossip magazines, I have NetNewsWire full of nerdy feeds.
I was nervous when I got to meet Brent Simmons for the first time. Alex King, a mutual friend, noticed that we were both in San Jose at the same time and emailed us to suggest we grab a drink. I had wondered what I could possibly say of interest to Brent Fucking Simmons, but I decided to go anyway. Brent was gracious, kind, and if he ever wished I’d shut up and go away, he didn’t let it show.
Instead, what happened next was like having a hand reaching out to me from my laptop’s screen; Brent pulled me into my own RSS feeds and introduced me to all of the people I’d been reading about for years and whose software I used every day. Two years later, I’ve managed to land a gig where I get to work with some of the most talented and passionate people I’ve ever known. Hell, my boss is a goddamned rocket scientist. What I do for a living isn’t work, it’s recess. I feel like the kid in the movie who gets to go pitch for the major league team.
Now that Black Pixel is taking over ownership of NetNewsWire, the comparison is ever more apt.
I love to create. In my eyes, the true measure of an experience is in its ability to inspire me. In the same way that a great song makes me want to pick up a guitar, I make software because I’m inspired by great software.
And NetNewsWire is great software. I’m humbled by the gravity of it.