I love technology. I also love a lot of other things, but everything else eventually comes back to technology. I got really good at PHP and Web development in pursuit of other things and because I was always the guy who could get it done. Eventually, I decided to make a career of it. I have gotten even better since then.
I started playing with technology way back in the 70’s. I was just a little kid then, but my uncle was one of the very early technologists in my region, and I was fascinated with it. We frequently spent time at his house for regular family gatherings (his was the most centrally located house, so it always seemed to be there). As soon as we got there, I would disappear into his basement office/lab and try to absorb anything he would tell or show me.
When I was 10, we moved out of state, and my parents tried to support my interests by buying the newly released Commodore 16. We had an old black and white 10 inch tv that I got to use for a monitor. I coded my first program then, using Commodore’s really cheezy Basic language. I built a really lame space invaders knockoff, that only had 3 colors, black, white and gray. It had to fit in 16k of memory, and, once built, I had no hard drive, so I couldn’t turn it off or I would loose it. It didn’t last long. And neither did the computer. If it had, I might have ended up doing programming sooner in my career.
After the computer died, and my parents refused to “waste” more money on something that was just going to die and be worthless, I spent a lot of time at my dad’s business, where I got to learn and participate in doing high-end industrial machining. I began to be very interested in business and started dreaming up business ideas often with my younger brother. I loved any information I could get about money, banking, economics, and finance.
In high school, I got way into science, computers, business, and photography. I played one year of football, and won a small scholarship in a science fair. I also picked up regular use of the computer again. I even built a program to help me with some homework. After high school I got my own computer. I was an original IBM XT with a 10 megabyte hard drive. I had a game that I loved but that had problems with the floppy disk it stayed on. I copied it to my hard drive, but it had some really aggressive copy protection routines, but I dis-assembled it, figured out how to make it work, and even changed some of the basic game parameters.
After a switch in colleges, and a two year break, I started using the gopher-net and email pretty regularly, but that changed to the web soon after I found out what Netscape was (1994). I ended up doing some really simple HTML work for my on-campus job. I also ended up doing all the computer maintenance since going through campus computer services took forever.
My major switched around a lot at first. I had a lot of interest in business, economics, computer science, languages, teaching, and even psychology. I eventually heard about educational psychology, and that it combined several of my interests. I also learned that my school didn’t have an undergraduate program in it, only a graduate. They recommended I major in psychology, so I did. When I graduated, I felt burned out, so I took a job I felt would motivate me to keep my goal of going to graduate school, which it did. It also allowed me to use and develop my computer skills, including some more involved web development. I also picked up a side job working as a computer technician.
When I attended graduate school, I ended up being the go-to guy for computers. It seemed every time I turned around, computers became a bigger part of my life. I ended up working on the development a web application for tracking research contributions from researchers all over the world. I also managed a number of other websites, and ended the go to guy for my department for any computer related issues. When I finished my course work, I opted to return to where I had been living and look for work in my field. After months and hundreds of job applications, I finally relented and decided to look for something related to computers. That took only a week.
Ever since I was a teenager, my brother and I would bat around business or product ideas, but we had not really pursued them very much. Finally, in 2005, I was talking to my brother and said “Are we going to just talk about great ideas for the rest of our lives, or are we going to do something about it.” So, we started doing something about it. Our first effort didn’t work out so well. The program worked, but it didn’t turn out a financial success. Then we got an offer to build a web application for another company so we let it drop. I quit my job and we started our own business. Many times, I had my skill level really stretched, and was able to put together some really great web apps. We were doing quite well for a couple of years, but when the economic downturn hit, we decided to shut the business down.
I sold my house, and worked on a very complex and difficult side project while doing on again/off again job searches for a while. Eventually, I had to take what I could find, and I did that for a year, but it wasn’t what I liked doing. I finally realized that my PHP skills had reached a level that it had become my strongest suite for work. I was contacted by a guy who had briefly done some business with us when we had our own company. He ended up being my new boss. We have done some pretty remarkable things in the years we have worked together.
Which brings me to now. During the preceding years, I married and we now have 6 kids. Turns out, all our kids have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We needed more sun during the winter. In the last decade or so, we have lived in Texas, Florida, southern California, and Arizona. I again have my own company, and contract with a Promotional Goods, Logistics, and E-Commerce company as their Director of IT, in addition to other contracts and projects. I have a great IT and development team with members in the US and Europe.