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John Sonmez was a shy, unathletic kid who one day decided that he could be anyone he wanted to be. With this realization, he began a journey of personal and career growth. Today he teaches software developers how to plan and execute their own journey of increasing their hourly rate, have better relationships and live a healthy lifestyle.

John Sonmez is the creator of, a PluralSight author and trainer with over 50 courses and the author of of the book Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual. John officially retired from his regular job at the age of 33 by focusing on his personal brand. Through his book, YouTube channel and podcast John Sonmez teaches software developers to succeed by turning up their productivity dial to 11, developing their people skills and establishing their own personal brand.


Key Takeaways

  • You can be whoever you want to be, even if it means faking it until you make it
  • The attributes that “define” you aren’t permanent, you can change them
  • A prophet is not always welcome in his home town
  • Create a blog – it can be your first step in building your personal brand
  • Being known as a specialist is valuable – if your garbage disposal breaks, you are more likely to hire Mr Garbage Disposal Inc over ABC Plumbing
  • Focus on a small framework, component or style of development and be known as The Expert
  • You want to be the big fish in the small pond
  • Dominate a small niche then spread out
  • Most developers do not want to pigeon-hole themselves, they want to be known as a polyglot
  • Creating value to others is the best form of marketing – people will spread your message for you
  • John’s strategy is to give away 90% of his stuff away for free, and charge for the last 10%
  • If you want to make a million dollars, change a million people’s lives and give them value
  • We all need to view ourselves as entrepreneurs
  • Treat your self as a business, even if you only have one customer (your employer)
  • Creating content and giving free value scales exponentially over time
  • There is no reason why you can’t write articles for big blogs, speak at conferences or host a podcast, just don’t be afraid to fail along the way
  • Opportunities may not come, you have to search for them
  • Expand the view of your self and be willing to do what others won’t do

Resources Mentioned

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