Luke Melia


January 6, 2008

What I Do – a meme perpetuated

I’m not too into these blog memes, but I like Mike Moore, who “passed the pain” to me in his own What I Do post.

My Day Job

I recently left my job of almost 8 years at Oxygen, the cable television network for women. I’ll quote and hack apart my goodbye email to give you a sense of it:

I fell in love with Oxygen when I saw all those baby fists get thrown up in the air on TV in 2000.

See the last paragraph of this for context. At the launch party two weeks after I started, I danced on stage with Luscious Jackson.

I had just started here as a web developer and didn’t know much about television, media… or software development, looking back.

I started with some Perl CGI, HTML & Javascript skills and better instincts than I realized I had. At Oxygen, I learned VB, Java and C#, SQL, and lots more geekery. I learned Ruby on my own and then introduced my team to it. I learned Agile by encouragement (thanks, Ken), reading, and trial and error, including a solid year pair programming with the same guy. (Thanks, Kris.)

I’ve grown a ton over my time here, both professionally and personally. I was a grown child when I started, and I’m leaving today a man.

What does it mean to have become a man while working at a women’s media company? I’m sure I’ll hash it out in therapy in a few years. Just kidding – it means most importantly that I’ll be a better father and husband to my daughter and wife (who I met here…).

The emotional growth that happens between 23 and 31 is pretty substantial, and Oxygen seemed to have grown up on about the same schedule.

Thanks to everyone who I had the pleasure to work with over the last 8 years, and in particular, my team and department, & Gerry: you are collectively responsible for the best moments of my professional life so far. Much love & respect.

I started off as a Web Developer, and got promoted to Senior Web Developer, which changed into Senior Software Developer after the world changed it’s mind about the Web in 2001. Then Software Development Manager, and then Director of Software Development. It was all very rewarding, but best was the last year and half, when I hired a top notch team of developers and collaborated closely with our visionary CEO, putting everything we had learned about Agile into practice.

Mike tagged me because he wanted to know what I was going to do next, and all I’ve talked about is what I did the last 8 years. Sorry, Mike.

I’m involved with a startup that is not publicly discussing what we’re doing quite yet. We’re past the phase of totally secretive, so if you know me and ask me, I’ll probably give you an overview.

I can say that I’m working my butt off, being challenged in lots of new ways and loving it.

My “Contribution”

I’m following Mike’s format, because I’m a lazy blogger. So now I have a section about contribution to fill out.

The truth is, I’m kind of a selfish guy. I mean, we give a nice chunk of change to non-profits who we feel are doing important work. But everything else I do, I do either because I love it and enjoy it, or I can’t figure out how to avoid it.

Some of those activities could pass as “Contribution,” if you discount the impure motivations.

I helped organize GoRuCo last year, New York City’s first Ruby conference. This year, I’m less involved, but still trying to help out. I attended the first session with my 2 year old daughter, and basically, we were more of a hindrance than a help.

I’m an active contributor to an open source project called Tracks, which helps people get stuff done GTD-style. Since I started working on it, a whole host of commercial products have been released.

My Night Job

Maybe following Mike’s format is not such a good idea. I used to pick up freelance work here and there. A couple of projects for my friends the Sanborns helped me learn Rails. Anyway, I’ve cut out all of my “night job” because my day job is now my night job, too.

Other Stuff

I’m involved in the ALT.NET community, though I’m feeling like a stranger in a strange land now that I am working in Ruby and on my Mac 100%.

I prioritize my health and fitness pretty highly. A big piece of that is eating a mostly vegetarian diet full of all the stuff that is not fad-of-the-week but obviously a good idea, like organic fruits and veggies, whole grains and avoiding refined sugar. The other side is exercise: I use my inline skates as transportation most places in Manhattan, including my daily commute. I’m an avid beach volleyball player, and play a few times a week at my gym, which has an indoor sand court. By the way… playing sand doubles in your boardshorts when there is snow outside — that is luxury.

My Family

I come from a big wonderful family. My siblings and I have managed to find the positive aspects of my parents’ divorce — great relationships with each of them as well as their 2nd spouses. My wife and I have loved becoming parents ourselves — Chiara is a constant source of wonder and joy.

Who Next?

Pain begets pain it seems… I’m tagging:

3 Responses to “What I Do – a meme perpetuated”

  1. What I Do - onward flows the meme perpetuated « turnings chimed in:

    […] I Do – onward flows the meme perpetuated 7 01 2008 What I Do – a meme perpetuated: Far be it form me to break the chain… so here […]

  2. Unnsse Khan chimed in:


    Not that many people ascend from “Web Developer” to “Director of Software Development”.

    What’s next for you?


  3. mike Melia chimed in:

    Came across this sideways — love you –

Leave a Reply created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!