The Miseducation of Dan Turkenkopf

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed me expressing something of a desire for a PhD in computer science. While the tweet wasn’t really all that serious (I love what I’m currently doing), I got a lot of advice on the topic from some people whose opinion and experience I respect. Most suggested that the advanced degree probably wasn’t what I really wanted, since my interests tend towards the cutting edge (complexity theory, etc.), and new theories don’t get incorporated into academic programs until well after they’re accepted in the market.

Instead, learning from practitioners and, even better, learning by doing should prove more valuable in both knowledge and in actually creating something meaningful. That said, I do think there is value in building a stronger base on which to evaluate new theories (and possibly to generate some of my own).

My biggest impediments, though, are time and a predilection for procrastination. Addressing those issues would be the main advantage to a formal academic program – while introducing a whole host of other issues.

So instead, I’m going to create my own evolving curriculum to study the topics I find interesting and useful. The goals are to provide a guidepost for my learning (for both subjects and, more importantly, time), and to garner recommendations on sources (hopefully).

This will be a living post – updating as I find new sources, or new interests. And hopefully whoever reads this can learn something as well.

DLT-999: Independent Study
Last Updated: 7/17/2013

  1. Distributed Systems
  2. Patterns of Learning
  3. Concurrency Patterns
  4. Architectual Patterns

 

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I announced a few weeks ago I wasn’t going to talk baseball on Twitter anymore, which, by the way, has been very tough to stick to. Many of you recognized what that meant, but let me confirm that I have been hired by a major league front office.

I can’t tell you exactly what I’ll be doing, or who I’ll be joining (but I will say I am not following in the footsteps of my former BP brethren), but I think it’s fair to call this my dream job.

I got into sabermetrics by reading Rob Neyer almost 15 years ago while in college, and started doing my own analysis in earnest about 5 years ago. R.J. Anderson gave me my first break at Beyond the Box Score, and I couldn’t believe that someone wanted me to write about baseball. And then Dave Studemund asked me to write for the Hardball Times, and I couldn’t believe someone would pay me to write about baseball. I took a break for a while after my twins were born, but the team from Baseball Prospectus asked me to come help them out with some coding and analysis, and I couldn’t believe someone would pay me regularly to work on baseball. Never did I expect that I’d be able to turn my passion into my career, and I thank everyone whose helped make this possible. There are far too many to list, but I’ve learned something from just about everyone I’ve interacted with – whether it be in the comments on pre-registration Baseball Primer, or recently on Twitter, and I think the sabermetric community is a wonderful, supportive entity (as long as you don’t think Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer).

But in order to experience this dream, I regretfully have to give up another one. This Friday will be my last day at Apprenda after 3+ phenomenal years here. I can honestly say I’ve learned more at Apprenda than I have anywhere else. And not just about cloud and PaaS. We have a tremendous team full of whip-smart people who teach me something new everyday.

And I feel like I’m leaving a company poised on the brink of something great. I think PaaS in general, and private PaaS in particular, is reaching a tipping point in adoption. We’re going to start seeing more case studies like Diebold, where enterprises are making platforms strategic components of their infrastructure. And I think as people better understand the possibilities inherent in PaaS, they’re going to  look beyond the simple operational value props and seek out the transformational value. All of which leads me to be extremely bullish on Apprenda’s chances.

Despite leaving Apprenda, after spending three years pontificating about cloud, platform as a service, complexity and all those other things we like to debate on Twitter, I just can’t give that up. So expect to see me still contributing to those discussions, and other technology conversations, both on Twitter, and through this blog. This will be a location for me to talk about the tech-related things that bounce around in my head. It’ll range from commentary on cloud and PaaS markets, to my thoughts on various programming topics, to outlandish futuristic thought experiments. My output will be light at the beginning as I get used to my new role, but I hope to be able to write on a fairly regular basis once I get situated.

Thanks again to everyone whose helped me get to this point – both on the tech side, and the baseball side. I’m going to miss Apprenda horribly (although Sinclair has already told me I can come back for lunches and foosball), but I know the team can and will achieve great things. And I’ll be here to write about it.

Image courtesy of Sven-Kåre Evenseth on Flickr.