Not Invented Here syndrome (NIH) is the guilty pleasure that tempts engineering teams into creating bespoke approaches to problems that have already been solved. Even having your eyes opened to the temptation doesn’t immunize you from it. So, how do you know whether a bespoke solution warrants the effort or if it’s just plain hubris?
There seem to be two types of Texans, according to software developer Dustin Younse: those who want to move to Austin and everyone else who thinks those people are “godless weirdos.”
(“I mean, sure, we Austinites are, but we also perfected the breakfast taco. Game, set, match.”)
As an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Dustin eschewed a typical track in computer science to attend film school, which he credits with imparting a healthy respect for creators and introducing him to professional web development and content management systems.
“As much as I enjoy an attractive, well designed front end, I find myself more and more interested in making content creation on the back end easier.”
Dustin also enjoyed answering a few questions:
Tell me about yourself. Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Dustin Younse. I’m originally from Brenham, TX, home of Blue Bell, The Best Ice Cream In The Country™! I was raised in Houston, but got out as soon as I could.
What are three words that sum you up?
Tall, patient, friendly.
Where do you see web development in ten years?
I look forward to the day that restaurant websites are all dragged into the modern age. My what-I-would-do-with-a-billion-dollars dream has always been to open up a not-for-profit web shop that does nothing but build modern, mobile-friendly restaurant websites without a PDF or Flash interactive in sight, and give them to restaurants for free. 100% free, as a service to the rest of us. Unfortunately, it looks like Squarespace is on their way to make my dream a reality, but while making a profit. I think much of the future of web development will be companies like Squarespace who work to make building basic websites super easy. There will still be plenty of room for specialized agencies like Alley to build big websites and push state of the art solutions, but I do look forward to not having to debug the tangle of jQuery on a friend of a friend’s band website weeks before the band calls it quits.
Why Alley Interactive?
I wanted to challenge myself and build my technical skills in a supportive team environment. All of my initial interactions with Alley were friendly, and that’s not just the drink tickets at the SXSW Drupal Drop In party talking.
What’s the most satisfying project you’ve worked on — and why?
In 2005, at the end of my time in film school, I was promoted from intern to super intern at the film production company I had been working with, as they started work on their second feature film, a low budget horror film called Underbelly. I spent eleven 18 hour days in the Texas summer sun recording audio and then six months riding a Greyhound bus between Austin and Houston on the weekends to edit the film and work on motion graphics at the home of the director. It was the most exhausting and satisfying project I’ve worked on, with numerous technical and creative problems to solve along the way.
What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly?
For Drupal, I follow Planet Drupal, a curated feed of the best Drupal blog posts. For general tech news I try to keep up with DaringFireball.net, Marco.org and ParisLemon.com. For all the strange things that live on the internet, I’m a longtime reader of BoingBoing.net.
What is web development to you?
My favorite type of web development is when you’re handed a large pile of data and you get to figure out an efficient and hopefully fun method of displaying that data to someone who needs it, like a fancy, interactive bookshelf. But that may just be my librarian girlfriend’s influence on me.
If you had 24 hours to live, how would you spend it?
I’d go for a long bike ride, drink some good beers while eating some really good fried chicken. I’d also play a lot of pinball and hang out with my girlfriend while watching a movie or two.
What were your top three dream jobs when you five?
Fighter Pilot. There are no other two. After Top Gun came out, I wanted nothing more than to be a fighter pilot. Somewhere I have a Student of the Month certificate from kindergarten with my smiling face on it where I officially stated my future job was a fighter pilot.
If you had a theme song for every time you walked into a room, what would it be?
The Bookhouse Boys, from the Twin Peaks soundtrack.
What’s your soundtrack for an intense coding session?
After years of electronic music, lately I’ve been really into guitars and country tinged female vocals, and I’ve been listening to a lot of Neko Case, Jenny O and Caitlin Rose. When I’m feeling more electronic, I really like Maps, Katy B, Metric and CHVRCHES.
Tell me your best (web developer) joke.
Unix is user friendly. It’s just very particular about who its friends are.
What’s one quirky thing about yourself that you’re willing to admit?
I’m obsessed with finding and watching one season comedies on Netflix — the shows that just never made it. You often get to see actors swapped and new characters or crazy situations introduced to try and get people into the show. You also get to see actors past their acting prime or well before it. Some of my favorites include Friends With Benefits, Reaper, Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Kitchen Confidential. While not technically a comedy, Terriers is a criminally underrated one season show that I super love.
Half empty or half full?
Half full, unless it’s beer, in which case it’s half empty, and time for another.