It is with great trepidation I sit down to write an article that is intensely personal & some things within this article have only ever been told to a handful of people. As someone who has seen articles rehashed & transfigured based on reader impressions then spat back as something else entirely I am acutely wary of the threat lazy journalism provides.
I am also a pretty private person when it comes to work and I much prefer to operate in the friendliness of the shadows. That being said, the release of the new Steve Jobs movie (which Kate Winslet is magnificent in by the way) gave rise to some friends asking me where my interest in design & technology came from & the entire story is needed to showcase the impact he had on my life and career.
As the title of this article suggests I am something of a crybaby, I have been since I was a child. My parents will regularly recall tales of me not getting my way, sulking for days, cursing the world & hiding under the stairs with a book plotting my revenge against those who have wronged me. I would cry for days at the slightest injustice against me & withdraw into myself. Not a whole lot has changed, to this day I can still sulk with the best of them & shut the world out when I feel the urge.
Don't misunderstand, this is not something I am upset about, this type of isolation has always been my ally & as a child I quickly became friends with the wondrous work of Keats, Wilde, Dahl & Salinger as they allowed me to create my own universes which I could control. As I grew up the likes of Hideo Kojima, J.K Rowling & Kazushige Nojima provided me with this level of universal control as I could lose myself within their respective masterpieces.
This level of stimulation led me to become increasingly bored with the Irish educational curriculum and the level of educators I was exposed to, As I was mildly grating to their everyday life, I was somehow placed on the autistic scale by these idiots who were basically too lazy to tweak their teaching methods and I was pretty much just left alone for the majority of my time in mandatory education. Sport and my universes were the escapes from educational hacks refusing to complete the most frivolous of schooling activities thanks to the "hate the world" attitude I imposed upon myself.
This has left me lacking in "people skills" and I struggled to relate to other kids, to this day I sometimes struggle to understand people and basic social behaviour, even with those closest to me. Numbness seems to be the buzzword for it but I prefer to consider it "Sheldon Cooper" like. Many people thought this would lead me to a life of isolation & I am sure family worried for my future prospects at one stage as I could not function with other people.
Then on October 17th, 2001, at the age of 11 the unthinkable happened. I made my first real friend. A shiny, compact blue and white friend and it was love at first sight before he ever even said hello. I was introduced to an iMac and it remains one of the key moments in my life. I remember admiring it for hours before even turning it on. It is truly a work of art and it is the first time I had my breath taken away by design. Gazing upon this piece of technology is one of the rare tranquil moments I have ever had. From the moment I laid eyes upon it I wanted to rip it apart and know how everything worked.
This need to know how it was put together instilled in me the desire to create something, anything to try and hold on to that feeling. This has matured over the years from ripping microchips up, editing soundboards, design work and eventually to writing code and helping people. Thankfully this happened to be the outlet I was looking for and helped me adjust to everyday life and make some friends that spoke back to me instead of gazing at me from a book. I even managed to sneak a few normal years in there! I would have loved if a resource such as CoderDojo was in place 10 years ago as it helps so many kids who are not being challenged to up their game and realise their potential.
I can trace my "career" (I hate that word) back to the day I first met an iMac and wonder what would have happened if I had not encountered him. The romantic in me likes to think it was some sort of sign from the universe and is something minor I can share with my hero. The fact that we share a birthday (24th February) also has to count for something, right? Avalanche has been the universe I have been trying to inspire people with for a while, trying to keep my crybaby tendencies to a minimum. Thanks to Steve Jobs I can't see myself hiding under the stairs ever again, I may always be a crybaby though. Merry Christmas people. Aidan out.