Benjamin Lupton

Open-Collaboration Entrepreneur. Podcaster. Author. Vegan. Founded Bevry, DocPad, History.js & Startup Hostel. Aficionado of JavaScript, Node.js, HTML and Open-Source. Available for consulting, training and speaking. Contact.

I radically explore the known and the unknown.

I help make the web awesome.

Before I die, I wish to see everyone enabled to do what they love, share their love with the entire world, and live well. This is a big calling, and I'm chipping away at it steadily.

This has worked well for me so far; for several years I was the most active Open-Source developer in Australia and one of the most prolific in the world; my technical projects have been used in some of the world's biggest web-sites/apps (Basecamp, Spotify, Ustream) and by some of the world's biggest companies (Microsoft, Adobe, GitHub, Atlassian), touching their millions of users; my non-technical projects have also seen adoption over the years.

The key skill set I've used to accomplish this is my natural ability to quickly understand complex systems and simplify them in disruptive ways, a burning need to do good in the world, and an instinctive tenacity for always finding a way even in the most difficult of situations.

I'm human too.

I'm absorbed in the art of simple and nomadic living, with a vegan life-style and ahimsa values. The data cannot recommend this lifestyle more highly.

I also happen to be a life-long struggler of anxiety, which manifests itself in severity from spiraling thought patterns all the way to skin picking, hair pulling, and panic attacks. It's not pleasant, there's nothing wrong with me, it's just the occasional part of life for me, I accept it, and for the most part, I'm a functioning human being that cares a whole lot about everything. The only thing that bothers me about it, is the stigma around it. Hopefully my opening up about this here will reduce some stigma and provide some hope for other strugglers. Anomie has become a familiar experience. I dislike the term depression for me, too much empathy is never a bad thing.

I'm a privileged heterosexual white male born into a middle class society. I leverage this privilege to make the world a fairer place for everything/everyone within it.

I'm a big believer in ephemeral living, whatever that is. I've recently discovered that I'm my own person. Coming up with great questions and answering them - staying true to myself by discovering myself - enabling joy and reducing oppression through education - are all passages deeply rooted in my soul.

I've done many things.

In 1998 (age 8/9), I developed my first website for a Perth city council project as part of an accelerated learning PEAC course, the project went on to win a state award. A few years later I started developing in C# to interact with the iTunes DLLs for the purpose of organising my music collection, I also started programming in ECMAScript in the form of Flash ActionScript for the purpose of creating a kickass full-fledged media player for my self, I also worked with HTML and JavaScript on the side for fun and pleasure. Around this time, I was diagnosed with Trichotillomania and until University, I would often be found with large bald spots throughout my scalp. I saw many psychologists through my childhood, all of which were useless.

In 2002 (age 12/13), I started Central TAFE night school earning my Certificates 1 to 4 in different programming concepts and languages, working with C, C#, Pascal, COBOL, Perl, PHP, ASP and other languages. During the day I was at Como Secondary College in the accelerated learning SSST program (a year ahead in Science, Maths, and Technology subjects) as well as in the Hockey Academy (doing 25 hours a week of Field Hockey, I was fit). It placed me in an interesting position of being a frat-boy and a nerd, the teachers worked with myself and another boy to use our influence to squash the bullying of our peers, it worked well. For fun, I rollerbladed, played Age of Empires endlessly, did sleep overs, and hacked the school’s Windows network for fun with friends, earning us the position of “intern advisors” for the school’s security and network systems.

In 2005 (age 15/16), thanks to my night school studies of the previous years, I was able to drop out of High School, went to Central TAFE and earned my Diploma of Website Design & Development, which allowed me to start University only a year later. At this time, I worked casually in a factory stacking fences from a conveyer belt and developed my first long term relationship, it was a wonderful maturing time, and brought a long-term end to my Trichotillomania. Around this time I also started experimenting with cannabis and alcohol socially. Interestingly, in this year I also got into a bit of trouble for hacking Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger premium content services (winks and dynamic profile pictures) as I had no money or debit card to buy them… I used my Flash and JavaScript skills to bypass the Flash checkout process of the Blue Mountain premium content service, then scraping their predictable premium content path structures, then developing a C# installer for the content by reverse engineering portions of the Messenger DLL install process. At the same time I gained prestige at Central TAFE by discovering an exploit in their WebCT system and working with staff to rectify the situation, which I later published as my first white-hat security advisory a few years after. Later, I also discovered that the same exploit worked on my university's system, however with the university’s strict “hacking and your expelled” policy in place, I was too afraid of being expelled for sharing the exploit with them, so I never mentioned it… leaving their systems insecure and open to actually malicious people, good work policy! 🙃

In 2006 (age 16/17), I commenced my Bachelor of Computer Science (Information Technology) at Curtin University, while freelancing with PHP and JavaScript development on the side. Around this time was also my foray into Open-Source development with my plugins, freelancing, blogging, and core contributions to the b2evolution blogging system (a powerful alternative to WordPress). I also visited Switzerland for a month to visit my partner, started an open-relationship upon my return to Perth, which resulted in a first heart break 6 months later, and also partied very hard throughout the year.

In 2007 (age 17/18), I moved out of home with 2 other university friends into a house right next to the university, it was an amazing time, and an amazing Bachelor Pad of alchohol, pool billiards tables, bars, and mattresses and friends everywhere all the time, it was a non-stop study and work infused party, and we loved it. It was also the time I published the jQuery Lightbox Plugin, which went on to become one of the most popular jQuery plugins of the time. Throughout these university/freelancing years I was stepped into the worlds of Pickup Artistry, Personal Devleopment, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Open Relationships, Sexual Positivity, Halo 3, Road Trips, Open-Source, Simple Living, and other Extreme Lifestyle Experiments… it was all packed full of confidence and experimenting, and it was wicked fun.

In 2008 (age 18/19), after an intense week of exams, daily alcohol, daily marijuana, first-time LSD, and first-time MDMA, I ended up in a moment of pure terror believing my lung had collapsed, ended up unconscious, woke up in hospital via ambulance, and diagnosed with a panic attack… my Stress Bucket had finally overflowed and it was terrifying… I left that night with Depersonalisation Disorder, and over 6 months began hallucinating, hearing voices, and having night terrors, afraid to sleep. Having one terrifying night terror that left me questioning my safety, I had my family take me to the GP to get help and eventually see a Clinical Psychiatrist who helped me through it, with a further diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Panic Disorder. After 6 months of further recovery, I got through it to normality once again, and another 6 months later until I was able to have caffeine again.

In 2009 (age 19/20), I started feeling a lot of guilt for my fantastic life while others were in poverty. In January 2010, I went to Bali for the first time with my father and an Exchange Student, we had a fantastic time, but I was also harrowed by the poverty I encountered… It would go on to increase my investment to do good by the world.

In 2010 (age 20/21), my foray into kinder food choices began. I had watched this talk and immediately stopped consuming fish. A while later, for some reason or the other, I stopped using dairy for milk. I also developed a new relationship, and my first closed-relationship, to a wonderful woman who helped me mature in life and work very much so.

In 2011 (age 21/22), I was invited to speak in Austria by Gentics for their Aloha Editor Dev Con of which I was a lead developer, it was a fantastic insight to get to meet other great JavaScript developers at the time, especially for a small-town syndrome Australian! Upon returning, I moved to Sydney from Perth for better work opportunities and to be with my partner, who was fighting for custody of her children. I worked with miscellaneous startups earning street cred and an increasing hourly rate, due to my years of Open-Source experience and commitment to quality. I went from the $10/hour newcomer to the goto JavaScript expert within the year. Eventually, I obtained a full-time $60/hour contract with Sydney company Acid Green developing long-term JavaScript solutions for their medical and government clients. I also got married to my wonderful partner in a small ceremony overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In 2012 (age 22/23), I left the amazing Acid Green who where running out of work for me, to consult for the Melbourne startup BugHerd, earning my highest hourly rate so far. I developed their first Client-Side Web Application solution along with other innovations like Live Collections and a Cross-Browser Screenshot Extension. Once that ended, I burnt through my savings going all in with attempting to transform Bevry's loss-leader DocPad into a profitable income stream. At one point I ran out of money, and a person called Kasper Tidemann out of nowhere, a History.js user, bailed me out with some cash and sound advice for finding new clients, which I did, thanks to him.

In 2013 (age 23/24), I was invited to Meta Refresh in Bangalore to speak to 400 people about finding your way despite competition. I then flew to Bali with my partner to setup the first full-time Startup Hostel. I didn't enjoy the setting up procedure much, however fortunately enough other people did. There are now more than 30 hostels for startup folk around the world. In June I also received retribution for my gamble in DocPad with a full-time income to work on it from Toronto company Myplanet (and got to visit them twice!). I also visited Berlin to train students in JavaScript. This year also marked my introduction to Mindfulness via Eckhart Tolle's works, and started reading Paulo Coelho.

In 2014 (age 24/25), the funding ended and I burned out from 10 years of professional programming and of life in general, after a while I embraced Moneyless Living and became a volunteer at a donation-based vegan soup kitchen in Sydney. It was perhaps the most rewarding work I've ever done in my life. I actually got to smile, laugh, and interact with people, solving a real need - joyous food and great company - without discrimination (even financial). I also was unable to find enough paying work that allowed me to continue my Open-Source endeavours and lived homeless in the streets of Sydney for a few months.

In 2015 (age 25/26), I hitchhiked 10,000KM throughout Australia, notably between Perth, Uluru, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Nullabor, and back to Perth. It was an adventure of a life-time. At some point, I desire to commence foot on the Bibbulmum Track, a 1,000KM walk from Perth to Albany in Western Australia. I plan on doing this alone to discover what doors it opens and closes for me.

In 2016 (age 26/27), I look forward to spending the year teaching JavaScript and exploring new businesses around Open-Source end-user applications. You should follow me on Twitter to keep up to date.

Reach out.

I'm not particularly interested in work offers, however if you are a company implementing a cause (Tesla, Animals Australia, Green School, Lentil as Anything, etc.) or would just like to touch base, I'm all ears.

You can support me by donating to me via my open-company and community, using my referral links, or having a chat with me.

Resources

I write, some of my favourites are:

I talk, some of my favourites are:

I teach, some of my favourites are:

I code, some of my favourites are:

I read, some of my favourites are:

Awards

Top 10% for JavaScript, Node.js, jQuery, HTML5 and Ajax via StackOverflow

With 20,000 reputation on StackOverflow I’ve been able to help approximately 3 million web developers with my shared knowledge and expertise.

The 5th most active open-source developer in Australia via GitHub
The 169th most active open-source developer in the world via GitHub
Created 263 open-source projects via GitHub

Working with open-source every day, I'm serious about open-collaboration. I've made over 1,600 contributions to the open-source scene in the past year and had my work starred by over 19,500 fellow developers.

The 4th most watched JavaScript developer in Australia via GitHub
The 8th most watched developer in Australia via GitHub

By following someone on GitHub, you are indicating that you love their work enough to be notified of every single piece of code they publish, big or small. Having 824 followers is a fantastic testimonial of my professional taste and impact on the web development community.

International speaker and trainer

The opportunity of speaking and training people around the world is one that I'm so humbled to have. I can think of nothing better than inspiring, empowering, and connecting with amazing individuals all across the globe.

Created DocPad
One of the 20 most popular CoffeeScript projects in the world via GitHub

DocPad rethought web development and created a new kind of content management system. Each day more and more websites built with DocPad are going live, and more and more developers are joining the DocPad community.

Created History.js
One of the 40 most popular JavaScript projects in the world via GitHub

History.js became one of the most game changing and popular utilities for web developers. Enabling and empowering freelancers to thought leaders to create the leading stateful web applications easily and effortlessly.