Apr 3, 2024 • 2 min read

Highlight Pod #7: Pipe.com co-founder Zain Allarahkia

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Chris Esplin
Software Engineer

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From non-technical to technical founder

Zain, Chris, and Jay all broke into software in different ways.

Zain and Chris both started in finance and transitioned after the Great Financial Crisis. Jay discovered hackathons in college and became obsessed with building, eventually interning at Google Deep Mind in Britain.

Zain and Chris taught themselves

Zain started off with lower-level languages, teaching himself methodically with books.

Chris taught himself on-the-job, initially automating his job with PHP and gradually transitioning into a software engineering career.

Software engineering removes barriers to career success for a certain class of people, because the primary resource required is study time, not money or other capital.

LLMs are changing the game

The rise of tooling like Next.js has simultaneously boosted productivity for building web apps, while also introducing new complexities around debugging and maintenance.

We may be entering a golden age for programming aided by powerful language models like GPT-4 and AI code assistants. These can generate functional code, explain concepts, and even help learn new languages through immersive project-based prompts - transforming how developers learn and work.

The increased abstraction makes initial learning much easier, but it comes at a cost, because the engineer may not understand what's happening under the hood.

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