On our journey through life we meet a number of people that have profound influences on us, our parents, our teachers, our friends, even our co-workers. I’ve been very fortunate to  encounter a number of people who were very positive inspirations.

As I sit here spending my Saturday morning taking my Udacity course, two friends come to mind that have been major influences in my current life without even realizing it. It wasn’t what they taught me, it was how they shared their interests with me that gave me inspiration.

To give them a little privacy and in an homage to one of my favorite films, I’ll call them Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown. No, they have nothing else in common with the original Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown.

Make Magazine

Make Magazine

I’ll start with Mr. Blue. While Mr. Blue was a coworker, he introduced me to the Arduino microprocessor family, Make Magazine, Jeri Ellsworth on YouTube and, of course, Udacity. Mr. Blue did all of this simply by sharing his excitement of these. I even spent a day in Austin at a Maker Faire because of Mr. Blue.

Imagine a complete microcontroller card for only $27 and all the development software is free. Imagine a gathering of some of the most innovative minds in our country, before they become famous. I saw singing Tesla coils, electronic building blocks and PVC organ pipes. If you can’t find a nearby Maker Faire they have a fantastic magazine.

Would you would find significance in a company just starting to challenge the current educational system by providing free quality courses? Mr. Blue sent me one email on Udacity’s Artificial Intelligence course and the rest is history. I still don’t share his love of warranty numbers in the electronics world but I’m very glad that Mr. Blue took the time to share his interests with me.

Walter Lewin demonstrating physics

Walter Lewin demonstrating physics

My other influence is Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown is a college student and shared with me his excitement of learning. I have to admit I had become complacent and forgotten just how much fun learning could be. On almost a daily basis Mr. Brown shared his discoveries with me. As I watched him adding to his understanding of electronics, listened to him discussing his projects, I remembered just how much fun it was learning new skills. Through his studies, Mr. Brown also introduced me to the lectures of Walter Lewin on YouTube. It’s still hard to believe a video on Field Theory could be entertaining.

I wanted to release my post on technical arrogance prior to this post because I had reached my own level of technical arrogance. Mr. Brown cured me of that. He constantly challenged me on my theories and ideas. He listened to my explanations but he took nothing I said for granted. Mr. Brown forced me to stay on my “A” game and because of his challenges we worked well as a team resolving problems. You could say that Mr. Blue introduced me to Udacity and Mr. Brown’s enjoyment of his classes inspired me to take the Udacity classes.

Both men took the time to share their interests with me and my life is far richer. My sincere thanks to both of you.

I started this post because I realized just how much of my current life is a result of their impact on my life and wanted to acknowledge their impact. While writing this post, I realized that this blog is my attempt to share some of my interests with you. You might call it a pay it forward by blog.

I already know that what I write about will only inspire a few people. For some of you, Mom, I can write about microprocessors all day long and while you might still read what I write, I’ll never inspire you to become a programmer. My wife has spent hours with me exhorting the joys of Genealogy and I have yet to take an interest. It’s certainly not the end of the world if other people don’t share your interests.

Still, I hope that my blog has inspired some of you to try something new. Try out Poser, adopt a dog, introduce your dog to agility, take a class with Udacity, start your own blog, you’ve heard my stories, create a few of your own. I’d enjoy hearing them.

Sharing time with friends

Sharing time with friends

© Copyright 2013 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen