David Maynard is one person who has been surfing the technology wave all the way back from 1969 when Berkeley University issued its first degree in Compute Science. He has had to quit some companies because he got promoted and couldn’t code again! David Maynard is a 65-year-old Android engineering manager at Box who still codes every day.
The software industry tends to venerate precocity, which makes the genial, white-haired Maynard an interesting counterpoint to the company CEO Aaron Levie, who is 28. Maynard has worked his way through 28 programming languages at some of the Valley’s most legendary companies like Lockheed, Xerox-PARC, SRI International, Electronic Arts, Google, and now Box. In a recent in-house presentation about his 40-year career, one slide charted “Nerd life satisfaction” as a quantity continuously increasing over time. “Because of Moore’s law and the fact that nerds love gadgets, it’s true I think,” says Maynard.
There are precious few people who have seen and comprehended enough of the rise of computing (and now mobile computing) to have some perspective on the industry’s mind-bending velocity. “The tools have just gotten so much better,” he says. “When I was working on the game for Electronic Arts, I did the entire development on the Atari 800 and it took me 45 minutes to do one compile off of a floppy disk which held a grand total of 380 kilobytes. Today I have a device in my pocket with can give me access to the world’s knowledge,” he says. “That is unbelievable–but I think we have lost the idea of the software artist. When the machines were much smaller, I did my game essentially as a one-man team. I did all the art. I did all the programming. I had one other engineer help me with some of the music. I have a friend working with EA today and he is probably working in a team of 120 engineers.”
Read the full article at the Co Labs.
[Image: Flickr user Marc Wathieu]