Meet Your Meta: Jason Webster, CTO
What did you do before MetaLab?
I grew up in the trades. My dad was a carpenter, my grandfather was a carpenter. It’s what we did. I started working when I was 12 years old, during my summers, for my dad. I remember being 12, 13, and sheeting a roof for my summer vacation with my dad while my mom took my younger brothers out on vacation. And that was respite. That was what was fun. Why that was fun, I wasn’t particularly sure at the time. But in retrospect, everything about that taught me what was valuable about doing a good job.
Throughout high school, I worked my summers as a carpenter. I put myself through university by working as a carpenter 8 months out of the year, saving up some money, and then paying for a semester of school.
Then one day, when I was about 23, my truck and all my tools got stolen. And being young and stupid, I wasn’t insured for anything, so I didn’t have a job. Now, I had always done web development, but at the time, I’d have never at that time called myself a programmer, because I really didn’t know what I was doing.
Do construction and programming borrow a lot from one another?
Absolutely. Programming is a trade, and it should be taught as a trade. That’s one thing that we try to do here. Great software developers are great tradespeople. They are craftsmen in the truest sense of the word. They are almost artists, building a great system, and engineering the perfect solution - this requires a mind that takes absolute utmost pride in what they’re doing.
Look at the historical ideals of what we value as a society - for example, antique craftsmanship. Furniture builders from the 17th century. We admire the attention to detail in something like that: someone spent 6 months of their life sculpting with hand tools this piece of walnut into this immaculate piece of perfection. And I like to think that that’s what makes a good programmer - is someone that has that drive to do the best job that they can possibly do.