Each month, we are delighted to introduce you to one of the members of the Alkaloid Networks community, a coworking space on the Eastside Atlanta Beltline. This month we visited with Stephen DeLorme of DeLineator.
What are you working on right now?
I am a front-end designer / developer. Delineator‘s primary business is helping creative agencies build websites for their clients. I also contribute to open-source projects like the Bitcoin Design Guide.
Who is your ideal client/target audience?
My ideal clients are creative agencies (advertising, marketing, branding, etc.) who are great at finding new business and delivering solid creative, but need help with the technical side of their business. Perhaps they have more web development work than their in-house team can handle, or perhaps they need guidance on how to fix specific issues they are encountering with their websites. Some of my clients work with me on a project-by-project basis. Others have a subscription with me because they are busy and need frequent assistance.
What is a common misconception about your industry or work?
People think of development as a form of magic, and all developers are wizards who studied at Hogwarts for seven years to earn their Master’s Degree in Computercraft and Digital Enchantment. The reality is that a developer can follow many paths. Perhaps you focus on a specific programming language. Perhaps you focus on a specific way of using that language. Maybe your knowledge is broad and shallow, or maybe it’s narrow but deep.
I’ve had numerous encounters where I am speaking with another developer, thinking that they are more skilled than I am, only to learn that they feel the opposite. The reality, of course, is that different people will learn different skills and form different specialties; it’s not a matter of being more or less skilled.
To those paths I spoke of — they have no end. At the beginning of the path, you will feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Ten years down the path, you will still feel like you don’t know what you are doing, because you have learned so much that you hold yourself to a much higher standard.
What is your superpower?
People have told me that one of my strengths is having a very wide skillset. I think that comes from having worked in creative and technical roles. That doesn’t mean I’m an expert at everything. As the saying goes “Jack of all trades, master of none”. I omitted the third line. It’s entirely up to you if it belongs there or not.
What is your favorite business or productivity tool?
Pen and paper. All digital productivity tools should be regarded with extreme skepticism and suspicion, especially ones that live in the cloud and are easy to use.
What book(s) should every entrepreneur (or everyone) read?
If you’re into pain, try The 10 Essential Habits to 10x Every Aspect of Your Life.
Otherwise, The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is a good read. It’s a history of the computer, from the days of Babbage and Lovelace all the way through the early 2010s. Our ideas about technology our often skewed. If asked about the internet’s origins, we might point to the military; or if asked about the personal computer’s origins, we might point to Steve Jobs. While these default answers aren’t entirely wrong, they also don’t tell the full picture. When you read the Innovators, you may start to think that it’s not always about the right person, but the right people, in the right place, at the right time. You’ll see ideologies that seem contradictory and ideas that seem counterintuitive become synthesized into something new.
For me, this book that helps put the world into perspective. It’s humbling to read about loads of really smart people who have brilliant ideas, but simultaneously, get so many other things completely wrong. tl;dr Pick it up for a nice anthology of entrepreneur war stories, leave with a lot of interesting insights on the nature of innovations and some fresh perspective on your place in history.
The price is right, location is great, and I like being in an environment that feels more creative than corporate.
What is your favorite amenity/perk at Alkaloid? Or maybe 2 or 3?
- Unlimited conference room time
If you were working from Alkaloid during the pandemic, why and/or how are you using the space?
I was here everyday working the works at my dedicated desk.
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