He talked about how at the last ruby conf, he glazed over this topic because it deserved a talk of its own. This is that talk. He seems to be talking about starting your own business/independent contracting firm

So there was this Homesteading Act: There were big swaths of landing in the Midwest, and if you went out there, you could stake out like 400 acres of land and either live there for 10 years or live there for six months and pay a minimal amount to become the rightful owner of the land. So you start small, and end up with something neat. You ought to do that with software (and your life).

Opportunity Cost: What is the value of the next best thing you could be doing? Is it better than what you’re doing?

The one important point to take away from this talk is: We are at risk. We can’t see into the future. Call out the risks in your life and look at them.

How do we stake out our space? Take what you know, and see how you could use those skills to get to where you want to be - to be doing what you love. See if you can make a jump to get a bit closer to where you want to be.

Back in the days of the Homesteading Act, land was limited. Today, “land” is limitless. There is plenty of mindshare and plenty of silicon.

Time management is tricky. The book “Getting Things Done” is a hot resource.


  • The folks you work with are very important.
  • Your blood relatives are one of your most important supports: get your family involved with the business!
  • Neighbors: work with other homesteaders. They’re not enemies! There is a multiplicative effect - no subtraction involved.


  • You need a horse/ox to pull your cart.
  • These are multipliers (beg for them, buy them, or build them).


  • We need rest. We need a change in activity from time to time.
  • If you don’t have time to change your activities, you’re doing something wrong.
  • Why are you working if you can’t stop and enjoy the fruits of your labor?


  • You should be able to look back at what you’ve done and know that it is good.
  • People say “passion” because it’s more “proper” than love, but you should do what you love.
  • Never lose your love for people.
  • Never lose your love for learning and improving.


  • Bad weather provides the best opportunities and greatest risks.
  • We always make assumptions about the future - but we should always call them out and think about the “what ifs.”
  • If you have these homesteading skills, even in the worst of times, you’ll be able to adapt and create something new and useful.
  • Debt is really nasty since it makes it really difficult to adapt in the same way that you could have otherwise.

Death (Sorry, for the morbid ending)

  • What will it say on your tombstone?
  • Consider your exit plan when starting to homestead (when is the end of the thing I’m doing now).
  • How do you define success?
  • If you knew you were going to die in two weeks, what would you be doing right now?

Buy the Ticket! Code something I can use! Code something the person sitting next to you can use!

This guy is mad hot. Read his blog, possibly right now.