One of the things that I love best about the web is that it crosses the line between art and programming. In my high school years, I was an avid artist… always drawing something somewhere. In my senior year, I took some college courses in Industrial Drafting. The drafting took a little bit of the freedom out of my pencil, but I really enjoyed the precision of drafting. I aced the class but never took it up in college.
Instead I joined the Navy and became an Electrician. Lot’s of folks are surprised that my past led me to Marketing, Database Marketing, Web Design, and Web Application design… but it was a natural evolution. The logic and discipline required in working with industrial electrical and electronic machinery gave me some excellent logic and troubleshooting experience. This eventually led to me going to college for Electronics Technology. At the time, I started troubleshooting and designing ladder logic programming in PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers). That led to PC integration, Programming, Network Integration, and Database Integration.
I fell in love with both technology and the industry I was in… the Newspaper Industry. I wanted to move from the Production side of the business to the Marketing and Advertising side of the business… but once someone sees you in a blue uniform, it’s hard to get a Marketing job. So… I loaded up the horses and wagons and moved my kids West, working for a Database Marketing firm that designed, built and implemented Marketing Data Warehouses throughout the Newspaper Industry. It was fascinating work. I also worked with some of the largest newspapers and personally developed some great applications in the industry.
I stuck with the industry for over a decade and did quite well for myself. I was even nominated in the industry as one of the top 20 under 40. I wrote for several industry periodicals and put my experience to work, building up an outstanding Database Marketing initiative for the local newspaper. A change in management there brought about less of an emphasis on database marketing. Newspapers were getting swallowed up in my decade by huge corporations, so entrepreneurial talent wasn’t something you could put to use at the local paper. I eventually decided to leave the newspaper, and the industry behind. That was a tough move. Luckily I got a little push on the way out. 🙂
My next year was spent helping other companies build out their programs and I eventually landed a great gig with ExactTarget. It’s a fantastic company, one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. They have an excellent product and I’m challenged right now to continue to make it better.
It’s sometimes not enough, though. I still get excited about helping The Indianapolis Colts, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, hosting and designing a ton of sites for friends and colleagues, participating in regional Marketing events, and taking on new challenges. I helped launch I Choose Indy!, a grass-roots site where folks can voice why they choose Indianapolis. It’s a site that’s gaining momentum. I’m also working on launching my own business, Compendium Software, with another partner where I’m putting my blogging, technology, and marketing experience to work. I love working at a fast and furious pace and I love working with people that have a ‘can do’ attitude.
I enjoy exercising my ‘left brain’ and building out illustrations using Photoshop and Illustrator. It takes quite a bit of creativity. Tonight, I worked on a logo for a local band, Rok Hollywood. I sent this to them about an hour ago. I’m going to probably redo it a few times based on their feedback… but as you see, I’m having fun:
The bottom line is that I’m 38 and don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I do know that I’m very good at finding technical solutions to very difficult problems, and educating people on it. I have a veracious appetite for technology. I have no patience for people that make excuses, but I love helping people that ask for help. There’s nothing that satisfies me more than the smile on a client’s face.
I’m a King of all Trades (I’ve evolved from a Jack) but I’m still master of none. I can’t stand politics, especially at the office. I don’t like working on things that don’t have quantifiable goals. I hate meetings where we meet with no goal (I show up late and bring my PDA so I can do email). I like working late… my most productive time is usually between 10PM and midnight. And I like hitting snooze 20 times in the morning.
All this and I’m a single Dad! Time with my kids is fantastic. We still see movies when we can and we hang out a lot together. Both my kids are incredible. Oh, I am looking forward to my first ‘coffee date’ in quite a while this weekend… that’s a part of my brain that I’ve not used in quite a while so wish me luck!
Enough about me! Time for sleepy.