Welcome to 10 Questions With, a blog series where we get to know members of the Xamarin community a little bit better.
1) What's the first thing you do when you start working in the morning?
Coffee. Definitely coffee. After that it's the usual - check slack, check email, I then check our morning automated test runs and read MacRumors (I'm still an Apple fanboy). After that it's a team standup ready to begin the day.
2) What superpower do you wish you had?
It's going to sound very Miss World, but the power to stop unnecessary hate. I'm sick of peopling hating others just because of their culture, background, belief, or how they identify themselves. Just let people be and enjoy the differences - even if it is as simple as breaking bread with people from a different culture and enjoying food you've never had before.
Necessary hate is fine - I'm all over discriminating against people who are arseholes :op.
3) What's one thing that you do when developing software that you know you shouldn't?
Read twitter whilst apps are building. It's all to easy to read a bit too much and waste a few minutes that could be spent testing your app. Problem is when a build takes a minute it's easy to get distracted. Maybe I need to try micro-meditation...
4) What makes you happy?
My family - my daughter is amazing, only four and a half and is super smart and super fun. My wife rocks too - she is able to make every situation seem fun. We've never had a bad time together even when sitting on top of an open top tour bus in the hammering rain.
Outside of my family I love teaching people. I enjoy spreading knowledge and inspiring others, be it talking at a conference or teaching my daughters pre-school friends some basic science by melting egg shells with vinegar.
I also love travel, seeing and experiencing new cultures especially around Asia. Having lived in Hong Kong and Thailand I really enjoy sitting down to some Asian street food.
5) What first got you interested in software development?
My parents. They bought a ZX Spectrum back when they first came out (yup, I'm that old) and as well as playing games on it, I also learnt to program in Basic with their help. My mum was awesome at copying out listings from magazines!
My interest waned at school as back then schools didn't have the facilities to teach programming, but got back into it at Uni on a course that including programming with Chemistry. I dropped the chemistry part after graduating and never looked back.
6) Where in the world would you most like to live?
I currently live in New Zealand which is an awesome country (yes, it is just like Lord of the Rings), and eventually I’d love to retire to Thailand. It’s an amazing country with everything from a vibrant, bustling Asian metropolis to beautiful countryside and beaches. Thai people are the nicest, friendliest in the world and their food is amazing. It would also be amazing to live somewhere in the US near to the tech scene - somewhere like Seattle/Redmond, as I hear there are some awesome innovative tech companies around there!
7) If you weren't in software, what would you be doing?
Teaching, without a doubt. I can actually see myself 'retiring' from programming to become a teacher, either teaching science to young kids or technology to older kids or adults, though I would seriously need to up-skill first!
8) What's the most overrated software skill?
UML, domain modelling and anything related to upfront documentation. 'I can model the entire system we are building using UML and use case diagrams' - that's nice, but when the system is built it won't look anything like your diagrams. I've worked in a lot of banks where they still care about this and it's utterly pointless. I don't care that you can draw UML diagrams, I care that you can build software that works and can be easily changed.
9) What music do you listen to while you're coding?
I vary, but I love female vocal and classical, mainly piano and violin (they do say women voices and violins light up the same part of the brain). Nothing too heavy - I used to love me some indie rock and metal but my tasted have mellowed. Give me some Ludovico Einaudi or Nicola Benedetti when I want to concentrate hard, or when I need something livelier someone like Caro Emerald or Gabrielle Aplin.
10) What's your motto?
I don't really have a motto as such - but the words I try to live by are 'don't be an arse'.
Bonus! What's next for you?
More of the same - my book, Xamarin in Action, is preparing for publishing now so I have more time to blog again. I'm going to submit for a lot of conferences world wide next year so hopefully should be traveling a lot more and speaking about Xamarin. I've also got some ideas for apps to build and blog/vlog about - more apps than I have time (so if anyone wants to pay me a huge stack of cash just to write blog posts let me know!).
Oh, and now that my book is done my wife has signed off on a PS4 so things may go quiet for a few months as I plan to lose part of my life to Detroit: Become Human when it comes out - I love Quantic Dreams games!
Bonus! Where can people find you?
In New Zealand. On Saturdays you can find me eating pancakes in Browns Bay. :op
I'm on twitter @jimbobbennett, my blog is https://jimbobbennett.io with links to my everything (github, linked etc.) on there. And if you want to buy the best book on Xamarin around, Xamarin in Action, head to http://xam.jbb.io!