Like everyone else, I started out as a complete beginner. These are just some of the many cubers in the community that I owe thanks to.
When I was starting out, I received a lot of helpful advice on the JSCC forum, especially from Katsuyuki Konishi, Masayuki Akimoto, and Suehiro Kondo. My early heroes and sources of inspirations were Ron van Bruchem, Lars Vandenbergh, Thomas Templier, David Wesley, Chris Hardwick, and Jessica Fridrich.
I was fortunate enough to live close to Caltech when Tyson Mao started organizing competitions. Since then, we've enjoyed a long friendship.