On Taking a Slot

I went to high school with a girl who later attended a prestigious university. Everybody was stoked, “What will she do next?

We haven’t spoken in years, but my understanding is she’s teaching English in a foreign country. What a waste.

Often I wonder who got the rejection letter because the girl I know took their slot. What where their dreams?

Anybody can take a TEFL course for $250 and hop on a plane for an “experience of a lifetime.” But that’s not what our world needs. We’re tired of the adventure-seekers, digital nomads, life-hackers. We need visionaries.

Of course, not everyone is (or wants to be) a visionary. It’s a title reserved for a small group through nothing more than self-section. So while no one can declare you aren’t a visionary, the statement rings true until you prove them wrong.

Two months ago I moved to San Francisco, the tech capital of the world. And it got me thinking…

I’m taking a slot.

It’s disturbing how many talented engineers I meet — from Spain to New Zealand — who aspire to live here. They have the talent, the drive, and they embrace America’s free-market culture. But their visas run out in 2 weeks.

For the next couple years, or however long I live in San Francisco, I’m going to do my best to make it count. I’m not here to make friends, go to brunch, or learn to surf. None of that matters.

To my euro-asia-latin-african peers, know that this California dude is trying to make a difference. That he isn’t interested in rising rents, long walks on the Embarcadero, or weekend Tahoe escapades.

I’m here to make the world a better place through software.

Wish me luck.


  1. Jason White January 17, 2016 at 7:00 am

    And this is one of the reasons thats I’m proud to call you a friend. :-D Congrats Ryan! I know we’ll talk more about this soon!

  2. Daniel Kerek May 3, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Good luck! Or is it now music you put your heart in? Perfectly understandable.
    The beginning of your post reminded me of a late friend of mine (from New Zealand) who went to Vietnam to teach English. Not very interesing, is it?
    But based on the experiences of his 3-year stay there, when he got back to NZ he wrote a book. As he finished it he died at the age of 39. It was his first and last book.
    Was he a visionary? I don’t know. I’d rather call him an eye-opener. Because the things he writes in the book make me think (and also gives excitement as it is a thriller).
    The book: Full Moon Fever by David Rodewald.


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