Over the last 20 years, I've kept journals of my software development work. My journaling started after I read an article in the now defunct “Database Advisor Magazine.” The authors, whose names I cannot recall, gave a number of useful tips on becoming a great software engineer. One of these tips was to keep a journal; they specially recommended Mead Lab Books.

Figure 1: Mead lab books make a great journal.
Figure 1: Mead lab books make a great journal.

I took this idea to heart. Over the last two decades, I have amassed a huge collection of notes related to projects I've worked on, conferences sessions I've attended, conference sessions I've given, and general notes of my explorations as a software engineer. To give you a perspective, I've included a photo of many of my original Mead Lab Books. For the record, some years ago I switched over to large Moleskine-style notebooks

Figure 2: I switched to Moleskine after a while.
Figure 2: I switched to Moleskine after a while.

The beauty of having all these notebooks is that I now have the ability to go back and see what was happening at any point in my career. This is what I plan to share here. Over those 20-plus years, I've had many opportunities to hear some of the greatest minds speak on many subjects. From software development, to marketing, to general inspiration, I've witnessed a lot. I thought it would be fun to share some of the best nuggets.

While I'm speaking, would you be so kind and close your laptops? I spent a lot of time preparing this information for you. –Anonymous Microsoft Software Architect presenting new ideas/concepts

Instruments are for players. Beginners are not yet players. Should Cellos Auto-Tune or have green/red lights when out of tune? –Rich Hickey, QCON San Francisco 2013 Keynote

If a team cannot be fed by two pizzas, it is too large. –Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon, as told by Werner Vogels at Amazon re:Invent 2013

Does that guy really have 10 years' experience, or one year 10 times? –Anonymous Genius

Meetings are toxic. –David Heinemeier Hansson, creator Ruby on Rails at SXSW 2010

Tackle hard problems with stuff that is simple. –David Heinemeier Hansson, creator Ruby on Rails at Railsconf 2010

Rather than saying thank you, use the phrase: I know you would do the same for me. –Guy Kawasaki, world-famous technology evangelist at SXSW 2011

These are just a few of the notes I stored in my journals from conferences over the years. Many of these presentations are available on YouTube, http://reinvent.awsevents.com, and www.infoq.com. Seek them out and get inspired yourself!