If you’ve used Torque and thought either 1) cool, now I can build something awesome with the power of BitTorrent’s protocol or 2) great, now I can easily share and access torrents on the web, then you have Patrick Williams to thank for that. Our Technical Lead loves Open Source software, enjoys kicking back with what he refers to as “Irish road bowling,” and even has a famous founding father.
Here’s his story.
What’s your role at BitTorrent?
I’m a Technical Lead for the Torque (our web API) team.
What inspired you to come up with Torque?
Basically, I had grown frustrated with trying to get my friends and family to use BitTorrent. I had no trouble, at all, getting them to use websites.
How long have you been a BitTorrent user?
I’ve been using BitTorrent since I was a teenager. I’ve been using µTorrent for about 4 or 5 years.
What’s the last thing you downloaded?
I’ve used Torque, quite recently, to share videos of the house I’m looking at with friends and family. It’s a long video, my Dad did a walk through the house, and it was too big to share with a traditional format. So, I just put it up on Torque and directed people there.
How did you get into programming?
I had a non-traditional high school experience that left me with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I went to community college during high school and before college. I found myself in physics courses with an incredible instructor named Francois Lepeintre, and thought that’s what I would spend my life doing.
But then I got to University of Washington, and had been programming my whole life, but never thought of it as something that I was going to pursue. Then I found out the Computer Science program at U-Dub was really good and very hard to get into. I had been lucky enough that Lepeintre had also taught a few computer science courses, so I did it to see if I could do it.
Any advice for people who want to get into it, too?
Yeah, send me an email and I’ll help them out.
Where are you from?
How’d you end up at BitTorrent? Why did you decide to come here?
I followed the unwashed masses from Check Point. Seriously, though, Ilan is a great boss and it was an easy choice.
How long have you been here?
What do you like about working at BitTorrent?
The level of engineering here is extraordinarily high and it’s fun to work with people that bring out the best in you. I have a lot of freedom in my job.
What are you passionate about?
I confess that I spend almost every waking moment programming. But, I’m getting pretty big into Irish road bowling.
My family has a cabin on Vashon Island, outside of Seattle. Every summer, we’ll go and set up fake traffic signs and block off sections of five roads so we can spend the afternoon drinking and rolling canon balls down the road.
What keeps you busy in your free time?
It’s getting really easy to collaborate on Open Source software. It’s a good way to learn and it’s a fun way to show off things you’ve learned, essentially. It makes programming in your spare time very enjoyable. It’s more of a social activity now than it ever was before.
What’s a fun fact about you? Something cool that not everyone knows?
I’m a descendent of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island.