I was in an office, typing out an email when I heard my computer’s screen door open and the door creak.
A man wearing a trench coat and carrying a backpack came in with a stack of papers in hand.
He was a software engineer with a Ph.
D. in electrical engineering, and I had a Ph, but I knew that I’d never be a programmer.
I’d spent much of my life in academia, so I knew how to code, but that didn’t necessarily mean I had any knowledge of computer science.
He asked me to write down some details about my career path, like when I’d gone to law school, what kind of computer I’d used, and how many students I’d had in law school.
I typed it all out, and he asked me a series of questions about what I knew about computer science, and then he pointed at a diagram of a semahedron.
I had no idea what that meant, and yet I was hooked.
After he showed me the diagram, I was so excited that I wrote my dissertation about it, because I knew the answers were going to be huge.
I knew it was going to open doors for me.
What I didn’t know was that the answer to that question would open doors all over the world.
In this article, I will talk about how I went from writing my dissertation on the idea of semaphor, to getting a job in Silicon Valley, to starting a startup called Semaphore, and finally to launching Semaphores.
This article was originally published on The Atlantic’s Tech Dig blog.
It has been republished with permission.
For more from The Atlantic, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or subscribe to our podcast.