I was psyched to be asked to conduct an introductory interview with Phil Whisenhunt, the latest addition to the ever-expanding Foster Made team—and already our second Phil this year!
Q: So, what brings you to Foster Made? How did we land on your radar?
A: Working in PHP led to Laravel, which was so much fun I sought out a company that had similar tastes in frameworks. Foster Made is at the top of that list.
Q: Several members of the Foster Made team—myself included—had a background in “fine arts” before branching out into programming. What led you down this path, and how has the transition been thus far?
A: Google's homepage link to Hour of Code, Derek Siver’s blog, and freeCodeCamp helped me get started and illuminated a clear path of where to start. From there, it was programmer friends who were kind enough to untangle my first attempts. While the transition has been difficult, the challenge is rewarding. The methodical daily practice of drawing in a sketchbook is similar to the daily practice of coding, and the development and illustration communities share a key trait in that they are both full of people who are willing to help and pay forward the knowledge they gained when they were starting out. I am extremely grateful for that.
Q: What’s something that’s helped you continue to learn and grow as a developer that you’d recommend to others?
A: Use tutorials the first time, then stop and build your own project as soon as you can. Tutorials are needed right at the beginning, but then you have to build something from scratch only using select parts of the guides as a reference to help get that project up and running. It’s more difficult, but also a more efficient way of learning.
Q: You’ll be spending a lot of time supporting the CartThrob and Expresso Store add-ons for ExpressionEngine, which should be an interesting experience in that you’ll be directly helping to resolve issues for users. Do you have any expectations about this challenge?
A: I expect there to be a lot of upfront work to get the ticket list under control, and look forward to contributing to a good product, and making something that works really well.
Q: Tell me a bit about your illustration work. I’ve enjoyed skimming through some of your past creations, but haven’t seen anything new since “Inktober” of last year...
A: I have been working daily on one long comic, making it up one page at a time. I’m about 4.5 years in and have finished 132 pages. Over the course of a decade I hope to document both what is happening in the lives of the characters, but also the changes in my drawing style and storytelling.
Q: There are quite a few pop culture junkies around the office—movies, music, video games, TV shows—what are some of your personal favorites when it comes to these forms of entertainment?
A: In terms of podcasts, I am currently listening to Jocko Willink, James Altucher, Tim Ferriss, and Kevin Rose. In terms of movies, I’ve seen almost every Marvel and Star Wars movie in the past 10 years on opening weekend.
I “borrowed” these last few questions from the internet, which informs me that they’re allegedly “fun to answer,” so... if they’re not fun, please accept my apologies and blame the internet!
Q: You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
A: I would keep it in the garage. I’d feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage.
Q: What do you think of garden gnomes?
A: Good at booking travel, but not as good as Will Shatner.
Q: What would your autobiography be called?
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