So another Internet meme is making its rounds… and here’s how I got it:

Josh Holmes > Michael Eaton > Sarah Dutkiewicz

The questions I have to answer are:

Who has inspired you and how?
What have they inspired you to do?
Who else have they inspired?

There are two guys who came to my mind when I initially thought about this post, and since Mike talked of two guys, I’m going to talk about two of my sources of inspiration as well.

When I graduated from college, I came back to a fairly dead technology market in Cleveland. I ended up answering an ad placed in the local newspaper and got into tech support. A few months after being at the internet service provider, they brought in a new postmaster (Martin Hebrank). Since I did a lot of running between departments, I would stop and chat with Martin every now and then.

Just talking with him and seeing the various things that he worked on outside of mail server stuff (like his work with NOOSS) inspired me to keep up on my programming skills even though my job didn’t use it.

Martin has been good at encouraging me on checking things out and staying up on my programming skills. When he heard about my IronPython presentation this past May, he emailed me and sent me links to PyOhio, ClePy, and other python resources.

I have no idea for sure who else he may have inspired, but hopefully they are as enthusiastic and chaotic as us!

As I mentioned, there were two guys who came to mind. Martin was my source of inspiration at the ISP. After the ISP, I disappeared into the void known as the 80% and out of the realms of influence. When working in manufacturing, it’s easy to fall out of the sphere of influence where the 20% live. After falling in the 80% and hitting a dead end, I knew it was time to follow my heart and get back into programming. So I accepted my current developer job, and thanks to my buddy Russ, I started going to user groups.

Now going to user groups is something that people in the 20% do, but the overachiever in me wanted to come out and do more. However, I didn’t see much there that I could do – nothing at that point could inspire me to get involved more. Little did I realize that going to user groups would lead me to another source of inspiration.

At the December user group meeting, Jeff Blankenburg came up and showed us his presentation of cool stuff. Some of the things he showed us really caught my attention, so I looked at them later when I got home. His excitement for technology came across in this presentation, and it had me wondering more. So I read his blog, wondering who this guy was and why he seemed so excited about technology.

In the beginning, there was Twitter. From there, I somehow ended up meeting a lot of people. Then, he mentioned that he read my blog. At that point, I realized that I probably should setup a technical blog – hence how this site came to be. And apparently I hadn’t mentioned it once it was setup, because once he found it, he told me that I needed to talk about it more. Then, there was Central Ohio Day of .NET and the poker event afterwards. This poker newbie wasn’t sure about it, but he talked me into that too. And the inspiration continued from there…

As quiet and reserved as I tend to be, Jeff somehow saw through all of that. He’s been a great source of inspiration and encouragement, and I look forward to seeing what I’ll be inspired to do next.

As for inspiring others, maybe he inspired John to get more into Silverlight? I don’t know for sure, but the more he gets his name out there, the more chances he has to inspire others.

These guys have a strong passion for technology, and that’s what caught my attention and inspired me. They’re incredibly brilliant and know how to present technical stuff while keeping it exciting. It’s gotten me this far, and I plan on running with this as far as it will take me.

Call to Action

But all this inspiration here makes me wonder… who inspires them? And for some of my Tweeps, who inspires you? So I’m tagging these 5 people to write their “Inspired By” posts:

Jeff Blankenburg

Jennifer Marsman

John Stockton

Joe Fiorini

Mark Gilbert (his response)