We plan to put five questions to each of the WXG (www.wxg.co.uk) conference’s speakers to give you a look into their talks, histories and what inspires them to do what they do. Introducing the sixth speaker, Peter Cooper. Why did you agree to speak at WXG?
I lived in Surrey for several years as a teenager so feel a bit of a connection with the place, plus I spoke at a Ruby user group organised by Kyan a few years ago and had a good time. I guess the question for me proved to be "why not?", rather than why?
What do you think delegates will get out of your talk?
I'm going to be taking a futurologist-type view of the future of programming, so it's going to be slightly hairy, speculative stuff. I hope people will be entertained, challenged, and ultimately pick up some new ideas or viewpoints, as I have in doing the research for it. It's not going to be the talk to attend if you want to pick up some new techniques to use in your work the very next day.
How did you get into programming?
My dad was a bit of an electronics geek in the 70s and 80s so we had some interesting computers around the place when I was a kid, things like the Vic-20, Acorn Electron, and eventually the BBC Micro. I just picked up typing on the computer at an age before I can remember, and with those computers that naturally led to typing out simple programs in BASIC. I don't remember beginning to code but nor do a remember a time when I couldn't.
Who is your inspiration in the industry?
I don't really have any particular idols, but I tend to follow a very broad number of people with a wide range of viewpoints, and while naturally some people stand out more than others, I'd find it hard to cite examples. As broad ranges of people I'd admire, though, I admire people who have the energy and emotional stamina to run events in our space because it's ridiculously hard. I also admire those who manage to keep their head down, study a topic deeply, and then share that knowledge with us. As someone who dashes from activity to activity like a madman, people who can do things in a deep, steady and progressive way stand out to me.
What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
Keep trying things and keep experimenting. If you have a good gut feeling about something or something catches your eye, give it a go. Be ready to ditch experiments that fail and double down on those that work. It's taken me years to figure out that's how all my best projects came about, but now I realise experimentation is key and often quantity outdoes quality until you find what actually works.
If you want to find out more or reserve tickets to the WXG event visit: http://wxg.co.uk/