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Coming full circle

Remember way back in 2000 when I started working at Hubbard Online?  They later became Hubbard One, and then eventually were snapped up by Thomson.  John Fish, Hubbard’s man-in-charge at the time, had a brother who owned some coffee shops in their native SE Michigan.  At least, I think it was his brother.  Anyway, Bob Fish owned some coffee shops called BEANER’S, and he wanted a website.  So, at some point that first year, I was tasked with building him one.  It was a bear bones HTML job handed off from the excellent Hubbard designers to the company’s newest intern.  Beaner’s (I’m protesting their egregious use of capital letters) wasn’t the first site I worked on, but it was certainly near the beginning of my Hubbard tenure.  Now, here we are, 7 years later, and I’m sitting in a Beaner’s coffee shop in Ann Arbor, MI, working on my dissertation proposal. Someone at Hubbard, or some other web shop, has updated their site since it was first built, but seeing it and sitting here gave me a bit of nostalgia.

I learned many things while at Hubbard – ASP, .NET, database architecture, how to eat lunch in the loop for less than $5, JavaScript, that project management is enticing, all kinds of things.  The skills that have come in most handy lately, though, are those I acquired during breaks and over lunch while I was schooled at the foosball table.  During my summer as an intern, I had a bunch of free time during which the other interns and many of the systems guys and developers would beat up on each other at the company foosball table.  That poor table endured a lot of abuse, and I’m sure it was a party to more secrets than any other piece of furniture in the place.  My favorite foosball memory was Chris yelling, “I love myself!” after making a particularly impressive shot.  I think that happened during the last company tournament in which I competed.

Thanks to Microsoft Research, we have a foosball table at SI North as well.  This table is much more well-built than the one at Hubbard, but it doesn’t see nearly as much action.  I’d like to see some revival of the SI North foosball “community.” I understand that there are a few of us who rarely, if ever, lose, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from challenging any of us.   I’m willing to clear the database and start everyone off with a clean slate in the foosball ladder.  Maybe we’ll even see a school tournament later in the summer.  Until people at SI North start playing again, you can find me schooling cocky wanna-bes at Leopold Bros. and in Bill’s basement.

What’s my point, you ask?  Well, I wanted you all to know that even though summer internships often feel like a waste, they are not.  You may get lucky like I did and learn not only how to build web apps but also how to talk smack and score goals on an angle.  See you at the tables!

So, what do you think ?

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