Like most techies, it was only two hours after I first laid hands on my family’s first computer I was the go-to man for questions. I don’t know what it is about computers, but I am able to just “get” them better than most. It was that day in 1990, at the age of 7, as I showed my family how to use everything from the word processor to the Hangman game that I had just whipped up in BASIC, that I knew my calling was to find new and better ways to enable business and pleasure using technology. I guess most of my friends still wanted to be firemen, but I was a technologist then and still am today.
After dabling in IT Audit (working for a private corporation ensuring their IT systems and spending were accounted for) and Technical Writing (I helped write an IBM Redbook), I found a sweet spot in infrastructure architecture. At IBM I went from Project Management Assistant (glorified words for grunt worker) to the youngest member of the 100 person Strategy & Architecture Consulting Group in a matter of months. I lead projects for travel companies, hospital systems, government agencies and more in the days when “virtualization” and “data center consolidation” and “on demand” and “service oriented architecture” were still as mystical and confusing as “cloud computing” is today.
When cloud computing started to take hold, I decided I wanted to branch out a little and join a company right in the middle of things. That lead me down to Charlotte to become one of the first employees of a brand new company called Adaptivity. We were a high-end consultancy focused on helping our (mostly Financial Services) clients embrace and understand the new paradigms in the world of IT (cloud included). The more demand we found for this type of work, the more it was obvious we could sell the ideas to a broader audience if we (the consultants) weren’t an obstacle. We needed to develop a software platform.
That’s where Blueprint4IT was born. My background as a developer started to prove useful instantly as I was able to help take the massive amounts of wisdom we had amongst our senior consultants and channel it in to software. My role quickly changed to the one I hold today, Product Manager. I love taking products all the way from a customer pain point, through design and architecture to a product and a marketing brochure; especially software that helps customers do the very things I’ve been working with them as a consultant on for years.
I still love Infrastructure, Data Centers, and Cloud Computing, but in late 2012 I got a great opportunity to move up the stack. Fannie Mae needed a new way to develop software in a challenging environment (A company that has to give all profits to the government and is expected to be shuttered in less than 5 years is quite the challenge). I have been increasingly leveraging not only my development background, but some of my softer skills in management and business to create a Development Factory at Fannie Mae. This model brings a lot of the ITSM and Vendor Management approaches from the CTO side of the business to the CIO side of the business.
In addition to working with technology for work, I, like most nerds, am always playing with personal technology. I was using a BlackBerry by the time I was done with college in 2005 and was one of the first to switch over to Android when RIM started going down hill (which I trace back to the Storm). I have two 30″ monitors on my desktop, a computer in my room and a number of laptops that I horse around with. However, even in personal technology, my goal is always to get more from less. I am always looking for the best/cheapest way to watch internet TV (if it weren’t for sports, I’d have no use for cable) or to create the most efficient todo list on my phone.