Dustin Shelley, May 19, 2015 | 3 min read

Running, While Running a Business, While Running Rails Servers

Spring is generally a pretty good time for me, running-wise. My fall/winter race schedule is over, and I can take some time to relax and just run before I gear up for the Peachtree Road Race. While I now prefer trail races set in the woods, the Peachtree holds a near and dear place in my heart, as it was my first race, and a race that I hope to run for many years to come. I tend to register for races that challenge me distance-wise (e.g. 50 kilometers, 50 miles, 100 kilometers, and 100 miles), but the Peachtree is different – the Peachtree is a chance for me to see how fast I can run (which comes with a whole different set of challenges); however, those that know me know that I love a challenge.  Perhaps that is what brought me to coding.

I have no real coding or CS background; my background is more in advertising and in having a very specific skillset. I’m an entrepreneur running a graphics/wraps installation company — I’m sure everyone has seen wraps and other large format advertising, but what you may not have seen is how these products come to be. That’s where I come in. I sort of by mistake found out that I was very good at installing wraps, so good that I competed in a national competition in Las Vegas, won it and won a car! (It’s pretty funny for me to think about that event…I mean who really wins a car…in Las Vegas, no less?! Ha ha ha). That was in 2009, and it has been great for my business, but having done well, I’m always looking for that next challenge. Enter coding.

What I know so far of coding is that the challenges are limitless. In the same way that I may not be able to count the times a loop will run when my code breaks, I also won’t be able to count the challenges that I will encounter…but I like that. Some may say that I’m a glutton for punishment (ask me about running 100 miles and I’ll let you decide), but there aren’t any worthwhile accomplishments that don’t involve challenges, and I embrace those challenges just as much as the accomplishment. The only thing the brain learns from an accomplishment is how to release dopamine, which is extremely valuable because it drives us forward, but when we fail, the brain learns how to become better so that we don’t fail again; thus, eventually leading us to succeed.

Being halfway through my part-time course at TTS brings a nervous excitement — I’m excited to learn more and dip my toes into the startup world, but I’m also nervous because there is so much to learn! In just four short weeks, we have covered HTML, CSS, Twitter Bootstrap, GitHub, Ruby, and Rails (I’ve even made my life more difficult by adding a little PHP contact form on my business website, which I’m currently working on).  Sometimes I don’t feel like we’ve even scratched the surface, but what we have learned has been great. I think being in part-time gives me a little more time to soak in the curriculum and implement it; we move pretty quickly, so I assume full-time is twice as fast. For now, I’m excited to find out what the future holds, so here is to four more weeks and a lifetime of challenges!

P.S. I didn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or ANY social media accounts before class, but I got with the times, so if you like ironic or moronic hashtags, follow me at: