Ed Weissman writes software, books about writing software, comics about writing software, and software that writes books and comics about writing software. He has led dozens of teams and written over 2 million lines of code in a thousand applications for 80 companies. Some of it even worked. He has written two frameworks, four ERP systems, and hundreds of custom solutions that saved millions of dollars for his customers, many of whom actually managed to stay in business.
He has taught and peer reviewed thousands of others in person, offshore, and online. Some of them even listened to him. He's a real stickler about clean code and hates overly long conditionals, useless recursions, anything said twice, and anything said twice. He never doesn't hate double negatives. He especially hates when things are not named properly, at least according to his son DataGridSave. But most of all, he hates early ex
He is drawn to the critical path, focusing on getting the most important thing done without regard to convention, ease, or "coolness". He doesn't understand when others don't understand this and really doesn't like when others, especially managers, refuse to learn it. He hates platitudes and cliches but loves getting the most bang for his buck, shifting paradigms and enabling synergies by grabbing the low hanging fruit, all without vomiting.
He's been a frequent commentator on Hacker News, Twitter, and in any bar where someone else is buying. He hates writing in the third person, but has no choice because none of his family or friends can get out of rehab long enough to say something nice about him.
He codes better than he draws, so his comics are software generated. Check them out, along with his books and his full bio below. (edw519 at gmail) (@edw519)
Youngest child at Aunt Ruthie & Uncle Sookie's wedding, 4 months before my birth. Mom ate so much, I never got invited back.
Ate moth balls. Got stomach pumped. Never ate moth balls again. Been a learning machine ever since.
Read "The Cat in the Hat" in Kaufmann's Department Store while in my diaper. Strangers asked my mother what the trick was. She said, "No trick. He's reading."
Dad took older brother George to early acceptance pre-school exam. He failed. I passed. George mad at me ever since.
Fell out of Dad's MG at 25 mph, landing on my head. I'm fine, but Queenston Drive still has a crack in it.
Made roads for my Matchbox cars with a hoe in our gravel driveway. Enjoyed it so much, never did play with the cars. Loved building more than playing ever since.
Patty let me play with her Etch-A-Sketch. Prayed for one. Dad brought me one that very night. Been drawing ever since. (Been praying ever since, too.)
Passed out crayons. I was the only one who could read. Fell in love with girl who eventually married someone else. Trying to get a date ever since.
Dad took me to my 1st Steelers game. Fell in love with football. Mom took me to see Dick Gregory. Fell in love with comedy.
Straight A's so Mom & Dad took me to the Holiday House. Sadly, never got straight A's again. Sadly, Mon & Dad never took me anywhere again.
Mrs. Matsey made the "W"s sit in the back. Needed glasses to see. Became a nerd.
Mrs. Connelly read "Charlotte's Web" to us. Fell in love with books.
Caught homerun ball at Pittsburgh Pirates game, beating brother George and cousin Alan to it. The next day hit it into Mrs. Walsh's backyard. She kept it.
Mrs. Dautlick didn't like me. Only kid not a safety patrol, in talent show, or who didn't kick in kickball. Never let that happen again. Stopped caring who didn't like me.
First job. Delivered 60 Pittsburgh Post Gazettes before 7 am. Actually got paid to ride my bike. Still trying to find another job like that one.
Wrote first comic book. With cousin Alan. Our first all-nighter. Still my favorite.
Tried to sell magazines all summer. Sold 2. It would be 20 years before I figured out how to sell. (Hint: It's not that hard.)
Self-published Sad Magazine. Made the cover of the Monroeville Times-Express. Been self-publishing ever since.
McDonald's. Worked my way up from counter boy to #1 Bun Man in the world. (Don't laugh. All-American prize paid for freshman year of college)
Graduated with mediocre grades but perfect test scores. Accepted to college.
English major for one week. Math major for 4 years. Joined Theta Chi fraternity. Learned to write algorithms, play bridge, and drink beer, often at the same time.
27 different jobs to pay for college. Favorite: Exxon attendant 10pm to 6am. Grades suffered. Learned how to get everything done good enough. Still do.
Published "The W Function: An Experiment in Elementary Number Theory". Got 4 invitations to pursue PhD in Mathematics.
Fraternity president. #1 chapter in country. First management job. So much fun, decided to pursue business instead of math.
Cook. Best. Job. Ever. Between shifts, self-published "The Commissary Muckraker" on a table beside the broiler.
Restaurant Manager. Learned 2 valuable lessons: 1. Foodservice is hard! 2. Getting good in foodservice makes almost any other career easier.
Restaurant Manager. Enough foodservice! (And enough nitrates every meal.) Time to go back to school to find something better.
MBA. Learned: 1. A degree in business is a degree in nothing. 2. The answer to every question is "Who wants to know?" 3. The most important thing to learn about: each other.
First programming job. Wrote 1500 programs. 1497 went into production. The other 3 are 90% complete and should be ready for User Acceptance Testing next week.
Wrote Shop Floor & Capacity systems. Learned that restricting capacity (in anything) makes life seem easier but really hurts by not forcing us to find better solutions.
I.T. Director. Saved them $4 million. Got 2% pay raise. Quit that day and went on my own. Googled boss's mug shot 3 times since then.
Implemented Sales Order Entry for sophisticated technical products. First learned that small businesses can be fun.
Beat 3 others for a nice gig. But the work went to a last minute 5th candidate, the owner's nephew. Learned that great work still loses to the theory of relativity.
Wrote MSA payroll extract. Expanded "NbrOfExemptions" field to 3 digits for executives. When I finally understood that life isn't fair.
Wrote Agent/Manager Retirement Calculation System without Business Requirements or Functional Specifications. Been trying to get them ever since.
Implemented Qantel ERP System. Learned that parameter-driven packaged software is a poor fit for special businesses.
Built Purchasing System. Discovered McGraw-Hill Tech Book Store. Devoured hundreds of I.T. books. First realized hardly anyone knew what they were doing.
Screened 2500 other programmers. Almost everybody was interesting and no two interviews were the same. Could sniff out the posers very quickly. Still can.
Built Performance System. Learned 1) Get right data in right hands at right time. 2) Almost anyone can do almost anything. 3) If you can do it once, you can do it again.
Fixed horrible production software almost as fast as the software vendor broke it. First experience with seriously bad product.
Implemented my first full ERP system for 400 employees in 6 months. Still don't know why others takes so long. Got the gig with my first single page proposal.
Wrote Inventory System. Rejected by Code Review 14 times. That's when I really learned how to build bulletproof software. A Quality Code Review fanatic to this day.
Wrote first ERP system in less than a year. Leveraged effort with lots of parameter-driven building blocks. Been doing that ever since. Skills went from journeyman to master.
Wrote Production Scheduling System for process manufacturer. Put terminals on production line. Supervisors set up their own runs and reported results real time.
Submitted itemized invoice. Customer rejected half of lines. Never did an itemized invoice again.
Wrote ERP system for 40 person job shop. So much fun watching them go from pencil and paper to computer. Better than sex (whatever that's like).
Got ERP system to ship 1 item with 300 options. Learned how to insert square software into round business.
Did 30/60/90 Day Project to fix base data, inventory, production, and accounting systems in 90 days. Cancelled $2 million ERP purchase. Best project ever.
Wrote Quality Control Production Module of Photomask Production system. First encounter with hard-core process manufacturing: one part, 50 operations.
Maintained their production system. Did I mention how much I enjoyed small businesses?
First encounter with healthcare, to convert clinic software. Accomplished nothing. Wondered if all healthcare was like that. (It isn't.)
Engaged to rescue horribly late and overbudget project. Only time I failed to get anyone on board. Realized entertainment industry was a different animal.
Wrote logistics software for long haul trucking application. Computers, science, math, small business, and nice people make a cool combination.
Converted pawn shop system to relational database. Until then, didn't know there was any other way. Learned how cleverness can compensate for lack of tools.
Cleaned up their Accounts Receivable code and data. Needless to say, it was their #1 priority just before year end.
Wrote plan for reorganization of I.T. Department.
Rewrote one driver of their legacy software. Needed 2 conference room tables, 8 colored markers, and 9 Happy Hours to decrypt 10,000 lines of code.
Implemented Corrections System Jail Module. Loved working with Public Safety people. If they punched me for bad code, no one would have to call 911.
Another jail implementation. Wonderful people but led by an unqualified consultant. Is there anything these people can't screw up?
Wrote the medical module for their jail system. More public safety people I loved to work with. Could have done it forever if the software publisher didn't go broke.
Wrote the NAFTA module for their process production system. Still wondering why I did.
Maintained old jail software for acquiring conglomerate. Same software, different culture, awful! Finally realized that people are more important than technology.
Maintained sales and billing software for a huge international corporation. Boring. Why was I still doing this?
Great gig. Small company, nice people, only programmer. Built lots of cool software to run third party benefits administration. I take back what I said about healthcare.
Did nothing while my 5 bosses fought with each other. Was this place the inspiration for "Office Space"? No longer in business. Shocking.
Fixed HCFA Accounts Receivable software. If nothing else works, this must.
Added CRM capability to demographics module. Simple in concept. Complex in implementation.
Straightforward business was doing things the hard way. Simplified things and got them to work.
Converted Qbasic software into Visual Basic. Neat little business. Wonderful people.
Wrote intelligent outbound calling system for slow call center periods.
Dumped data from legacy software into Best of Breed package. Returned a year later to reload legacy system after half of customers switched to competitors.
Only programmer for small business that grew up. Legacy and web technology. Some fun.
Connected legacy ERP system to website, warehouse carousels, phones, UPS, and Amazon without middleware, which still makes no sense to me.
Sweet & Powerful
Wrote Sales Performance Reporting System that automated legacy data processing onto web pages and dashboards.
Built Stock Keeping Unit indexing into Inventory database for easy ordering and shipping. How quickly one SKU can become 256.
Converted fulfillment system to Quick Order Processor. (Yes, left-handed gloves are worn on the right hand.)
Sold software that never worked. When the boss asked, "How can you do your job without the software?" I knew it was time to move on. Nice people. Still miss them.
Wrote Inventory Planning System to save multi-national distributor millions of dollars. Won Employee of the Month: $50 but no parking space or day off.
Did $93,000 Business Intelligence for 1600 users in 1 month. Replaced by new bosses with 10 person Best of Breed "solution" that still doesn't work.
Oversaw offshore development effort. Had to get very rigorous. Loved watching young people grow up and build great software while I slept.
Wrote Replacement Cost App to improve competitiveness and margins. Great example of computers making money while humans focus on other humans.