The most frustrating and useless professional advice I ever received was “Follow your passion.” That counseling office battle cry doesn’t account for ability, opportunity, demand, or a dozen other considerations that are equally important when selecting a career.
But that’s another post. Despite its failings, I’ve always admired those who discovered their passion—the earlier the better—and were in a position to follow it. Gallagher Pryor is one of them.
Gallagher is one of the co-founders of ArrayFire. He’s a brilliant engineer, and he is as passionate about his work as he is brilliant. Gallagher gets real joy out of engineering. Awake or asleep, his mind is in his work—that’s his preferred thought. He has his eccentricities, but they all make sense considering his singleness of aim.
Gallagher had a brush with death over the summer. He recently bought a house in a rural area outside of Atlanta, and was jogging along one of the backcountry roads when he was clipped from behind by a car going at high speed.
He was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition requiring immediate surgery. He had two badly broken legs, a fractured pelvis, a compound fracture in the left elbow, a fractured vertebrae (near an artery), some traumatic brain injury, and ugly gashes all over.
We waited with baited breath for Gallagher to wake up. The doctors said that only then would we know the extent of any brain injuries. When he finally woke up, a family member reported, “The first thing he said to me is that he is worried about his IQ.”
Gallagher then felt a pressing need to give updates on his projects at work, “He said the kernels bork each other. And the runtime is inefficient.”
That’s Gallagher’s passion, right there. You just escaped death and you’re concerned with your IQ, kernels, and runtime efficiency.
The doctors said that recovery will take at least eight months, and it will be a couple years till his full mental capacity is restored. Even still, our CEO reported, “He is trolling me, wants to rebel and run off to work, I think. He had some chicken broth. Talking about work mostly today.”
The world is advanced by Gallaghers. They are enthusiastic and proficient in their chosen fields. They are fascinating to talk to and a pleasure to work with. May we all develop the passion of Gallagher Pryor.