Scott Slater, founder of CodePunk LLC, on daring to dream
Scott worked for one of the world’s largest social network companies, but was tired of living someone else’s life and wanted to begin forging his own. Feel stuck and dreaming of something more? Read on to find out how Scott made his dreams a reality.
I am an app developer, musician/music producer, and survivor of young adult cancer. All of these experiences tend to weave about each other more than I ever imagined they would. In college, I completed two majors, completing Bachelors of Science in both Computer Science and Music Composition.
In the years since, I have been involved in a software development career with many ups and downs. I have also been active as a music producer, releasing three albums to Spotify, iTunes, etc. under the banner of my musical partner-in-crime, Michelle Hotaling.
Over ten years ago, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Although I am, for now, out of the woods, it should come as no surprise to say that the experience has effected me greatly. In those difficult and confusing years following, I happened upon an organization called Stupid Cancer, which advocates for patients, survivors, and caregivers affected by young adult cancer. To this day I volunteer actively with Stupid Cancer and continue to meet countless amazing, brave souls who have been similarly affected by this disease.
When I joined the Founding Members program in 2016, I was working as an Android developer at Facebook here in New York City. Though it seems counter-intuitive, although it was the best job I ever had, I desperately wanted to leave. It represented the culmination of everything in the world of tech careers that just were never a “fit” for me. I felt that most employers were perfectly willing to let their employees burn out, because there would always be more waiting in the wings. I was tired of living someone else’s life, and wanted to begin forging my own.
In October, halfway through the Founding Members program, I gave my two-weeks notice at Facebook. I had just returned from running my first international half marathon in Disneyland Paris. (In fact, in 2016 I completed multi-race running challenges in Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, and Disneyland Paris. But that’s a story for another day.) I took some glorious time off in which I didn’t worry about working at all.
Then in early 2017, I formed a new company called Codepunk, LLC, and just recently I began my first gig as an independent consultant, working as an Android developer at a startup called Airtime. In the longer term, I want to grow Codepunk into a company that creates apps and websites using the power of crowdsourcing and specifically working with underserved communities to find talent.
The biggest takeaway from the program was recognizing my “blockers” — the things that were keeping me in a life I didn’t want. It taught me that “taking the leap” doesn’t mean you are free of fear, it means that you recognize that the scarier outcome is NOT taking that leap. It taught me that we all have so many resources — family, friends, colleagues, and of course our fellow escapees — whom we can lean on for help, guidance, and inspiration.
First and foremost, I’ve always felt that I make people feel at ease, safe, and free to be themselves. I find this to be very important in any group settings in which people are trying to learn about themselves. I truly believe that another superpower of mine is the ability to co-create the life that I desire. At many times in my life, when I’ve wanted to bring about a certain outcome, I am almost always able to see that outcome become reality. (All of this, of course, makes me wonder why it would take me so long to leave a career that was not making me happy, but as all of us know, blockers are very powerful things.) I dare to dream. It may sound trite but I always find it surprising how many people put limits on what they allow themselves to wish for. Dreams should never have limits.
Sometime I would love to leverage my own company, Codepunk, to work with the brilliant minds I’ve met through the Escape community. Plus, I would love to be a part of spreading the message of Escape to other people who are stuck and dreaming of something more.
Curious about our entrepreneurship and career change programs? Click here to find out more.