Five years of working on a 3D project for no pay, while working full-time, sleepless nights, working evenings and weekends, and trying to find family time … following seven years of a doctorate dissertation project with the same dedicated passion and drive to completion. Insane? Some may think so, but I asked myself, why do I do it? Here is one good reason.
Several years ago my wife Karen and I were visiting my mother-in-law Maggie and her husband Ray. We were sitting on their front porch in Maine discussing movies, when Maggie mentioned seeing the movie “The Social Network”. She knew I was a programmer and was always working on something. I will always remember her words (in a Maine accent), “Aaron you’re smartah than that guy, why don’t you come up with something bettah and make millions. I know you can do it.” Little did she know I already started on an inspiring idea about 3D Internet Browsing.
Since that day, every time I get frustrated about slow development progress or the tunnel to completion getting longer, I turn on the movie “The Social Network”, take a couple deep breaths, and get back to work. I have seen it so many times that I rarely look at the screen and just know it is on in the room while I program. So thank you Mark Zuckerberg and the cast of the movie. You and Maggie have inspired me.
Now there is a new chapter in my admiration and inspiration from Maggie, at 78 years old has ALS and is fighting for her life. Recently, Karen and I were fortunate enough to be able to fly to Maine and spend some time with her at the nursing home. Once again, I am inspired by Maggie. At first glance, I saw a lady in a power wheelchair fighting sclerosis in her legs. Seconds later, the wheelchair fades from view as her warm smile and caring eyes overtake the room. While we try to find out how she is doing, all she wants to talk about is how we are doing! By the end of the visit and all challenges considered, I can say that she is doing well. Maggie shared with us dozens of old family photos dating back to the Civil War as she named almost everyone in each photo. She spends her time visiting other patients, knows everyone by name including the regular visitors, and even got reprimanded by the therapist for putting her wheelchair in power level 2 (P2) and zooming past her door! P2 is for outside only! She has touched so many lives.
I understand how she will be remembered and loved by many people. Now I will push play on “The Social Network” and get back to work!