Life lessons from an English-major-turned-back-end coder

Oct 24 2013

aaron denin

Aaron Denin (right), co-founder of RocketBolt, speaks to Reese News Lab students Friday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Aaron Dinin from the startup company RocketBolt recently came to the Reese News Lab to share what it is like to be in the real-world startup business.

Disclaimer: Dinin is from a certain school up the road, and made this abundantly clear, so please note my restraint from unleashing anti-Dook remarks.

That being said, Dinin was the perfect example of how to keep a career in startups moving forward.

His history in a nutshell: Dinin was an English major at Duke, where he published a book by the time he graduated.

After graduation, he started out writing copy, moved to connecting developers and clients and then started writing code himself. He is a back-end developer, and his past projects include FlagTap and EmptyDiv, two unsuccessful startups.

Now Dinin, in addition to working at RocketBolt, lectures for the English department at the University of Maryland.

He is a magician at, to use the industry term, “pivoting” with his career. He does so by constantly learning new skills and challenging himself professionally.

The day he visited, Dinin shared that he had slept only four hours and that he had piles of work to do once he left the lab.

He told us his secret to balancing a strenuous schedule like this is to leave at least one thing for himself. Dinin’s “me-time” is working out at the gym, which allows him to get in the right mindset to accomplish all that he has to do.

This little tidbit of information made all the difference in his visit to the Reese News Lab.

He was offering real-life advice, sharing the secret to balancing the professional and personal ambitions while staying sane.

He crafted his visit to inspire and excite our still-young projects. He focused more on the need to always jump on opportunities instead of jumping off of a sinking ship. It was an impressive strategy, and I think we could take it going forward in the last third of our project development.

The lesson? Keep those heads up, and if you fail, learn from it, learn a new skill and try something else.

Thanks, Aaron! Check him out on Amazon!


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