In the beginning, Gore created the Internet
It was 1998 and the web was still in its infancy (and I had no gray hair). After earning a few academic awards and studying computer science at Florida International University, I started developing custom web solutions at an agency named Univox.
I used a little-known programming language called PHP. Today, over 80% of websites are built on PHP. We built solutions like e-commerce and newsletter subscriptions.
- Sun Spark workstations
Night of the Living Dead
Next, I worked at a startup called LifeFiles. We built a system that allows users to create online memorials for lost loved-ones. Users could upload photos, biographies and sign the guestbook. (Anyone remember guestbooks?) We worked with funeral homes to cobrand the service as a value-add to their service line-up.
I remember working through the night, drinking coffee, listening to Moby and compiling custom Linux kernels to support a custom PHP installation. Fun times!
- ipchains firewall
Wait, you did porn?
No, I was a developer at an Internet porn company. Yep, it was….. interesting. It’s here at the Web Entertainment Group that “shit got real.”
We had two priorities, scalability and a clean, collaborative workflow. We figured out ways to compress and cache output before they were “industry standards.” We created static site generators before it even had a name. The codebase was developed using a custom MVC framework.
Content producers used our custom-built content management system, our e-commerce system managed subscriptions, affiliate programs helped generate new traffic and income.
Hello Corporate America
I was hired by CreditGUARD of America and sister company Global Network USA Marketing to help build a credit monitoring and management platform.
I migrated their system off Windows servers and on to a Linux platform, saving them some cash in the process. I also brought the team together in a collaborative workflow.
Some of the goodness we developed
- Integrated with TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian for credit reporting and credit score improvement recommendations
- Create a debt consolidation platform which
- Decreased payments for clients
- Accepted a single monthly payment from the client
- Made payments to the clients’ creditors
- Integrated with the Department of Education to help those with student loans consolidate and find ways to decrease their balance and payments
- Tons of internal reporting and tools
- Background processing with job queues
- Complex affiliate programs
- PCI-DSS compliance
- ipables firewall
- Microsoft SQL Server
Side note, this is when gray hair became a thing.
Good-Bye Corporate America
Freedom! I wanted the freedom to use the latest technological advances in web development so I started freelancing.
So far, I’ve been the sole or lead developer on a handful of projects that helped generate a gross annual revenue in the millions for some clients. I should really start pitching a profit-sharing payment option! I also knocked-out a bunch of small business websites while freelancing.
I wound up saving FlexSeal some money on hosting and sped up their site load time by 40% by consulting during pre-contract negotiation.
As a sole freelancer, I’ve had to pick up some skills that support my strength of backend development. I picked up front-end development and design. Turns out I won a few small design awards. I even got my one-and-only SEO client to the top spot on Google for their primary search term.
Some solutions I’ve built for clients
- Multi-tenant Single Page Application (SPA) and RESTful API for an ergonomics assessments platform
- Multi-tenant, event management and registration SaaS
- Call center management platform
- Custom customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Employee rewards program for Sunbeam
- Custom WordPress themes and plugins
- Grunt / Gulp
- HTML / CSS /Sass
Certified or Certifiable: I’m one of those
Love them or loathe them, I has the certs. Learning or brushing-up on a technology without needing it at the moment can be difficult. I rely on certification programs to provide a bullet list of the most valuable topics to learn. The certification is a side effect.
- RedHat Linux
- Zend Certified Engineer (PHP 4)
- Zend Certified Engineer (PHP 5)
“I got friends in low places”
I consider myself a good conversationalist but talking to myself gets old after a while. So, I go out and meet the local tech community. I’m a member of a handful of user groups where we network and learn about the latest and greatest tech. You may even catch me giving a talk here or there.
Let’s not forget about conferences. This is the next best thing to having a hypodermic needle inject knowledge directly in my brain, and less painful. Love ‘em! I try to attend a couple each year.
Don’t you have a life?
Believe it or not, I do! I have a beautiful wife. Luckily, she has poor eye sight, that’s how I landed her. A solid night sleep isn’t easy to come by these days with a beautiful and healthy baby boy. We’re both dog people with a pack of 4 and we help dog rescues as much as we can. We both take advantage of the South Florida weather by paddle boarding.
I have a bunch of hobbies that I tend to cycle through. Since I said ‘cycle’, we’ll start with triathlon. It’s been a long time since I raced but I occasionally swim, bike, and run. I also like mountain biking, reading fiction, martial arts and flying radio controlled helicopters and planes.
My most recent attempts to stave off dementia include learning to play the piano and learning to speak Polish.
Stop stalking me
Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane. If you made it this far, you’re either stalking me or looking to hire me. If you’re the former, stop being weird. If you’re the latter, why not contact me now so we can chat?