Around the age of nine, when we got our first IBM compatible PC, nobody knew much about it. Being a curious kid, I dove in head first.
Because nobody around knew a lot about computers, I had to learn on my own. Fixing IRQ conflicts (so I could connect to online services without moving the mouse) drove me deeper into the inner workings of a computer. It was not long before I was coding in BASIC. Google did not yet exist, most of the learning process was trial by fire. Eventually, with the help of some friends, I made my way onto BBSes, eventually, and the internet using SLIP/PPP or shell accounts. I began scripting automation routines PROCOMM PLUS for DOS so that it would play a MUD (text-based online game) for me while I was 'learning' things at school.
Around the time I got into text-based games, I began frequenting Internet Relay Chat, or IRC. I started scripting for Unix based IRC clients like ircII, and writing TCL scripts for Eggdrop bots. Eventually Windows became a bit more user friendly and I moved to GUI applications, writing code in VB, and creating mIRC scripts and DLL plugins. Over time, this evolved into writing software and miscellaneous utilities in languages like C# and Delphi.
In what seemed like kismet, I was asked to be the junior network administrator at my high school. This included repairing computers, installing networks, and doing maintenance on any and all computers or systems.
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 comprehensible 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 print and design shop.
Around the age of twenty, I started 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 serve as the senior software architect as well as network engineer 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 remote machines along with any connected projectors or displays and allow us to not only monitor performance but also control and maintenance 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 software 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 began to get some contract jobs and build a name for myself doing... 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. I helped create, deploy and maintain client websites, micro-sites and interactive solutions as well as SEO, SEM, UX and Information Architecture. After a few years I would end up handling I.T. for the entire office. I would go on to become Director of Interactive and a few years later, start a company.
In 2016, I became friends with a fellow 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 parent company for future ventures.
In 2018, HERETIC was born, a multifaceted service provider without all the red tape, to take on clients and work more closely related to my core experience and goals. In 2020 we have helped our clients to stay productive remotely, as well as keep their websites running and performant – and even helped to increase monetization to the tune of around $30-40k a year.