While Brian went to college to study Graphic Design, he ended up transitioning into programming. During college, he did a lot of graphic design consulting work, as a way to pay his way through school. Eventually, he agreed to create a website for a client and found that programming was a much better fit.
Brian built react-virtualized during his time he spent at Treasure Data. The company is really into open source, and many of his team members had projects out there. When they were writing the console, they used Facebook's fixed data table. However, it did not have the features that they wanted. So Brian volunteered and built what would be the first version of react-virtualized.
The exposure he got from sharing react-virtualized with the community is what landed him the job on the React Core Team. A developer's success tends to come from sharing the cool thing they built. Share your work everyone!
Brian talks about React's goals with 17. Dan Abramov and Dominique have been working on creating an optimizing compiler for react components. The idea is that the compiler can read your components and optimize them. You will be able to keep writing React components in ways that make sense to you, and it will compile them and optimize at runtime. The team is also working on making functional components more powerful, so you do not have to reach out to class methods. It will be interesting to see what will shake out of their work when using async and the compiler.