Paypal’s Jonathan LeBlanc chats about taking chances and code beginnings

Web & PHP Conference 2013 is finally here! With our Workshops kicking off today and the free expo and conference kicking off tomorrow. We spoke to Paypal’s Principal Developer Evangelist and Web & PHP speaker Jonathan LeBlanc and got some interesting responses with our Web & PHP interview questionnaire! 

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Jonathan LeBlanc is a technology evangelist, Emmy award winning software engineer, and author of the O’Reilly book “Programming Social Applications”. Specializing in user identity concepts and data mining techniques, as well as open source initiatives around social engagement, Jonathan works on the development of emerging initiatives towards building a more user-centric web.

W&P – Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140 characters.
JL – We’ll learn how identity and personalization are playing pivotal roles in everything we do online, and how to begin using that ourselves

W&P – How did you first get involved in coding?
JL – It’s not as exciting as most developer stories. I first started coding in high school when I took a class in Basic. Around that same time I was building websites for fun and teaching myself from the source code of other sites I liked. It wasn’t really until I left college degree paths in fine arts and classical studies, and pursued a degree in computer science that I found my passion for development.

W&P – What advice would you give aspiring web developers?
JL – Take chances and suck in as much knowledge as you can from others. The best way to grow in the field is to surround yourself with people who are much smarter than you are and listen / be involved in as much as you can until your skills are on par with their own.

W&P – Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?
JL – The people that I most admire, or enjoy surrounding myself with, are those who truly see our industry as both a career and a passion, instead of a clock in and clock out job. I feel that people with this drive are those that can truly affect change, and push our industry to whole new levels.

W&P – If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?
JL – Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci (a big table of awesome)

W&P – Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.
JL – Definitely a horse-sized duck. If you’re fighting 100 duck-sized horses you will eventually miscount and think you’ve won, then as you’re taking your victory lap, POW, right in the kisser.

W&P – What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?
JL – Besides seeing more of the community and getting a sense of where the collective industry is trending towards, I want to see the innovation coming from companies, startups and developers, those that are breaking the typical models of technology implementation.

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