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Q&A with Eric L. Barnes

Product guy, developer and author from North Carolina

I’m Eric L. Barnes a product guy, a developer, and an author. During the day, I am a product engineer working on a help desk application named HelpSpot. In my spare time, I run Laravel News where I curate interesting links and resources related to the Laravel PHP framework. Outside of these I also recently published my first book on Laravel and Stripe.

I was born, raised, and currently live in Gastonia just west of Charlotte North Carolina.

How did you get started as a product engineer? What is a turning point in your professional career?

I somehow just feel into this role. I started my professional career with the idea of being a machinist, then later moved into motorcycle sales, and finally found my passion with web development.

Early on, I just built websites as a hobby but I knew this was what I wanted to do. As I got more confident in my ability I started branching out into development and found my home in using PHP to build applications. The product engineer role for me means I don’t have to focus solely on the code. Instead, I get to branch out into the UI/UX, marketing, and writing. I enjoy wearing many hats, and this keeps things exciting.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work in your office all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

I work all day in a home office and prefer to not branch out to other locations. I’m very much an introvert and have pretty strict schedule every day.

At this moment of my life, the perfect work environment would be Walden Pond with the internet and a nearby grocery store. :)

What software and hardware do you use for your work?

Currently, I’m using the new retina 5k iMac, with an external Apple monitor. I love having the most screen real-estate possible, and this pairing has been fantastic.

For software, I use a pretty good mixture depending on my mood and what task I need to finish. The apps I use includes PhpStorm, Sublime Text, Sketch app, Ulysses III (read the interview with Max Seelemann - WSP), Sequel Pro, and Todoist for keeping up with everything going on.

All work communication is via Slack, and I also communicate with friends via Telegram.

Where does your inspiration come from?

All sorts of things inspire me. From being in the outdoors to playing with my kids, walking the dog, to viewing what others have created. Basically my inspiration comes from anything outside the real task at hand.

Who are the people you admire most and why?

Of course first I’d have to mention my wife. Without her, I’d be lost. Plus being a stay at home mom a way more difficult job than I could ever handle. Beyond her, the list would be enormous. However, I admire anyone who creates and puts their work out there for the world. It's not easy to do.