Dustin Boston is a Sr. Software Engineer at SheKnows and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Thinker of things, typer of words, cooker of food. Burgeoning fashionista.

Arizona workhorses

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Arizona Makes Workhorses—Not Unicorns—and That’s a Good Thing - Pure Chat Blog

Here [in Arizona], we develop products and services that rock, but more importantly, they solve problems. And then we effectively price and market the hell out of them. Now, there are tech companies everywhere that do this. But there’s a big difference between the companies here and those in Silicon Valley: We have to focus on a solid business plan right from the beginning. Because there are little to no institutional investors here, tech companies worry about revenue from the beginning. We hone in on profitability and scale. And because it’s a struggle to get funded, businesses are forced to be scrappy and run lean. We don’t have the luxury of focusing only on top-line growth, and we could never be short-sighted enough to burn significant cash in the name of acquisition or IPO. Because of this environment, startups here have a patience, passion, and dedication unlike those found in Silicon Valley.

I’ve always looked at the Arizona tech scene as barely-there, mostly because we don’t produce many super shiny billion dollar tech companies. But I’m starting to come around to the idea that we just do things different. In fact, it seems a lot like the tech industry may be starting to embrace our approach, as it swings back toward the idea of simple, honest work.


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RECONSIDER – Signal v. Noise

There’s an incredible connection possible when you align your financial motivations with the service of your users. It’s an entirely different category of work than if you’re simply trying to capture eyeballs and sell their attention, privacy, and dignity in bulk to the highest bidder.

I’m going to pull out another trite saying here: It feels like honest work. Simple, honest work. I make a good product, you pay me good money for it. We don’t even need big words like monetization strategy to describe that transaction because it is so plain and simple even my three year-old son can understand it.

Simple, honest work. I love that. Personally, I don’t want to own the univerise, dominate the markets, or capture the customers. I just want to build software that people love to use enough to pay for it.

Tech books

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They say if you read a certain amount of books related to your industry that you’re an expert. I don’t know how many books you have to read to qualify for that, but here’s what I can remember reading over the past 15 years (excluding books from college). For the record, I still don’t feel like an expert.

General programming


Design related

Business and productivity


The books that got me started

Look out for motorcycles

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My coworker’s brother was just killed on his motorcycle while stopped at a stoplight. As someone who rides a motorcylce every day, my heart goes out to my coworker and his family.

Inevitably when things like this happen, the conversation turns toward the people who ride motorcycles, like myself. I’ve been in countless conversations about how “I need to be careful out there” and “how dangerous it is to ride a motorcycle.” But I think that’s the wrong conversation to be having.

The better conversation to have would be centered around how people in cars can spot and avoid hitting motorcyclists. There are a few situations that I constantly encounter which would be a good starting point:

  • Cars making left-hand turns. This is the number one offender when it comes to motorcycle-related deaths. It can happen at an intersection or when a car attempts to turn across oncoming traffic. I worry about this the most when there is heavy traffic.
  • Cars changing lanes. This one usually happens on the highway for me, but it happens on side streets too. A car will change langes into my space. This can happen because a driver fails to check their blind spots before merging into the new lane.
  • Drivers on their phones. I often see erratic, unpredictable driving. Almost every single time it is because the driver is on their phone. This has to stop, for the sake of everyone.

Rather than redirecting tragedies like this into discussion about the dangers of driving a motorcycle, let’s try to instead to have positive discussions about how we can better handle potentially dangerous scenarios while driving our cars.

Smashing pumpkins

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When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. A wide grin emerged upon my face.

There I stood, almost giddy, staring at the broken corpse of a pumpkin which I had spent hours methodically cutting and sawing. My smile was that of victory and pride, not in the crafting of the jack-o-lantern, but of its horrible demise.

You see, it suffered its fate by the hands of its creator. Tossed through the air and dashed violently to the ground in a fit of laughter and delight as it came to its end.

It was there that I, a grown man, lived out a long-awaited dream; and it was there that I learned a very important life lesson: cleaning up a smashed pumpkin is a real pain in the ass.