I started coding in BASIC around the age of eleven, writing "cool" screensaver procedures, not really serving a purpose other than blowing my young mind. (and my parent’s – according to my mother) There was no Google, so most of the learning I had to do was trial by fire or verbal instruction from a select few individuals. Eventually, I made my way onto BBSes and the internet using SLIP/PPP or shell accounts. Then I got into scripting, interfacing with PROCOMM PLUS for DOS, so that I could have my text-based game played by the computer for me while I was "learning" things at school.
Around the same time I got into text-based games, I started hanging out on Internet Relay Chat, or IRC. I started scripting for Unix based IRC clients like bitchX, as well as writing scripts in TCL for Eggdrop bots. Eventually Windows became a bit more user friendly and I moved to GUI applications, writing code in VB. I also starting writing mIRC scripts, as well as DLL plugins. After a while this picked up and I started writing software and miscellaneous applications in languages like C# and Delphi.
I was doing a small amount of programming for the web, but web technologies were so basic at that time the only way you could create something that looked good was by using a lot of graphics... and tables.... lots of tables. So, I started getting into design. I took a couple classes in middle school for things like CAD, graphic design, and basic electronics. In high school I took four years and three summers of web design classes which introduced me to Adobe Flash along with ActionScript. At this point, I had a decent core group of friends who were all just as curious as I was. We would go to 2600 meetings, and BBS meet ups – anything that could feed our insatiable curiosities.
In what seemed like kismet, I was asked to be the junior network administrator at my high school. This entailed repairing computers, installing networks, and doing maintenance on any and all computers or systems. I had already taken some networking classes, but this is where my Information Technology interests were piqued.
By the end of my sophomore year, shortly after achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, I started freelancing. Small jobs like designing and implementing websites, servers and networks for local establishments, writing Excel macros to compile data from thousands of different spreadsheets into a comprehendible reports and fixing computers for people. I started bidding for jobs on the internet around the age of seventeen. I would go on to work for a local web design firm, and then move on to an internship at a design and print house for about a year. There I learned even more about the world of print. (sometimes, I wish I would have stuck with because it would have been much easier to keep up with than interactive design and development)
Around the age of twenty, I starting working full-time for a local marketing company. My responsibilities there included tech support, design for web and print, web development and motion graphics. This was my initial foray into the world of advertising. We had a lot of interesting clients – one of which was a new type of forklift wheel which allowed them to move sideways. One of the clients eventually merged with our company to form what would become Freedom4Wireless.
At F4W, I would become the senior software architect and a field network installer and operator. I was certified in Tachyon mobile satellite deployment and Motorola MESH Networking. I would go on to develop a multitude of scripts, applications and tools to help us deploy and monitor networks. Eventually, two of these applications – a peer to peer communications platform and video surveillance system – would end up being patented and thereafter cited by over fifty organizations including Oracle, Cisco Networks, Microsoft, Honeywell and GE. After hurricane Katrina, I was deployed to the New Orleans United States Coast Guard base to install and support an emergency network that consisted of satellite internet, a wide area MESH network, rapid deploy servers and VOIP phones. This deployment, one of many for F4W, lasted over two months. I would continue creating more integrated solutions until eventually moved on to a new position at Monster Media, an out-of-home interactive advertising company.
At Monster Media, I started off by designing and developing interactive OOH content and eventually, revamping their almost non-existent monitoring system, to a full fledged monitoring and control system. This system would poll each remote machine, it's connected projectors or displays and allow us to not only monitor performance but also control projectors and get alerts for hundreds of systems in real time. The components ranged from content delivery via BitTorrent, content scheduling, RS232 programming for communication to display devices, all the way to ARM based computer development.
On top of the monitoring system, I would work closely with clients and our internal team to design and develop cutting edge interactive experiences using an array of technologies including Flash, AIR, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). These installations included photo kiosks with face detection (pre-snapchat!), conference booth custom interactive solutions, rear-projection interactive displays and custom computer vision solutions. Clients included McDonald’s, Roche Medical, Charmin, Nesquik, TravelZoo, PepsiCo, CBS, Kraft, MTV, Disney and JetBlue. I would eventually move to New York, and continue to work for Monster Media until I took the plunge and went freelance.
I was brand new to the city, but overqualified for nearly every position I was applying for. So, I decided to freelance, get some contract jobs and build a name for myself doing, you know... all the things. This lasted three or four years. One of my main contract jobs was for BARKER Advertising and Interactive. I would eventually sign on full-time as Creative Technologist, where I would help create, deploy and maintain client websites, microsites and interactive solutions as well as SEO, SEM, UX and Information Architecture. After a few years I would end up taking over I.T. for the office. Projects included brands like P&G, ION Television, PDI Healthcare, SlimFast, Isotoner, Miele, Pirch, Roche Bobois, Breil and Burgess. I would go on to become Director of Interactive and a few years later, start a company.
Sometime in 2016, I ended up meeting a fellow native Floridian in New York who turned out not only to be a great friend, but also an ideal business partner. We began having conversations about our ideas (and ideals) and quickly realized we had something worth pushing for. We would soon end up starting our first SaaS web application and eventually a parent company.