Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So, who IS this Bill guy?

I decided that I should do something more descriptive than the obligatory "description" that's posted on my blog user page about who I am, what I've done, and what I'm doing. So, without further ado, here we go.
I'm a software developer and manager who's been doing this professionally for almost 16 years. I've been writing software since I was 12 on a mainframe at the University of Wyoming and later in 9th grade using my Commodore 64. :) My first job was at HP and I loved the company - some of the people, not so much. Regardless, it was a great exposure to how enterprises develop and release consumer electronics. I worked on TWAIN, which allowed image editing software packages (like PhotoShop) import images from scanners directly (i.e., no saving the file and opening it - you just "Acquired" the image from the scanner software and BAM! there it was in your editor). I was a major contributor to the 1.6 version of the standard and learned a LOT about corporate/business politics there. I worked at HP for 6 years and was a manager of a software quality team for a year before I left in July 99.
I left to join a small startup in Boulder called Anark. I was a lead engineer there and led two versions of the authoring tool Anark Studio. The company was funded from VC money and while I was there we had two rounds of funding (I believe). In the end, I worked there for just over 3 years and was laid off in Aug 2002 due to budget cuts (high burn rate on the VC money, I imagine). It was also a month before I was supposed to get issued new stock options - you can draw your own conclusions on timing. I also worked with Danc and others to create a new agile development process for the company. That comes into play later.
I was unemployed for about a year following that, doing some part-time work and consulting for a game development company called Saint Studios (it's apparently not around anymore). I helped them define a development process (pretty much the same one I helped create at Anark). I also led the development team in determining whether to make, buy, or re-use 3D game engines. I had a new job before the decision was finalized, but I believe they decided to make. Could be why they're not around.
In January during my year off my daughter Cathy was born. It was great, but VERY different, to be a stay-at-home dad for her first 8 months. I'm not cut out to do nothing all day but care for a small child - Susie (my wife) was a God-send during the period. I love my daughter deeply, but there were times when I hard a hard time. It's tough and I have a lot of respect for parents who can do it.
I moved to Echostar (DISH Network) in Aug of 2003. I was hired to lead the OpenTV development team - they write the E* applications on set-top boxes. In what was likely an indication of things to come, I never interviewed with or even met the team that I was going to manage and on my first day of work my boss was sick and not present. Yeah, it was a precursor no doubt. I worked at E* for about a year and did what I could to change how the team developed software. I was happy to say that by my departure we had released 3x more projects than they had in the previous 3 years combined. Given that it was only 1, it wasn't hard, but it still showed that the team was capable of doing more. And we even lost 2 engineers to attrition while I was there.
I departed E* in Sep 04 and quickly found a new job that started in Nov at HID Global. It was HID Corp then and I was hired to be the manager for the VertX development team. It was a completely different industry than any I'd been in before - physical security. Fascinating stuff and I had to pick it up quickly. Needless to say, I started seeing what could be done to improve software processes and pretty soon afterwards began proposing some changes. Then something weird happened - my manager changed his mind about my role and hired someone else to manage the team. It was a bit off-putting and wasn't the first time he'd done so, or so I was told. Very disappointing. I got assigned to work on a national standards effort for the Security Industry Association. Talk about the blind leading the sighted. I had to pretty quickly come up to speed on security and then be able to speak authoritatively about it with industry veterans. Thankfully the people at SIA (especially Monica, the director of standards) and the people I worked with on committees (especially Hunter Knight from ICS, Per Hanssen from Salient Systems, and Rob Zivney from Hirsch) were incredibly helpful and provided much-needed insights. I did that through June of 08 when I (and most of my team and management chain) were laid off.
I was then recruited heavily for a job in Boulder (I was living in south Denver by this point) with imaging Technology international and I decided to go ahead and do it. I was leading a software team developing for custom industrial ink jet printer systems. I loved the VP that I was going to report to and I saw his vision and agreed 110% with it. He and I were working closely on trying to implement his vision. Unfortunately, he left in Sept of 08 and his vision departed with him. By November management and I had determined that there really wasn't a place for me in the new organization, so I was let go. There's more on that in my SW development blog.
I was out of work for about 8 weeks when I stumbled into my latest role at Maptek. Maptek provides software to help plan and develop mining sites (like open pit mines). It's once again an industry that I know nothing about, so the learning curve is pretty steep. It's been interesting work, though, so I'm hopeful that it will lead to something good. I'm currently a contractor, but it's a 3 month contract. The expectation is that I'll be hired on full-time once the contract expires in April - we'll see, I guess.
As for Otto Von, it's one of those things that I've been working on in a variety of forms since 1997. I did officially incorporate in 2001 and it's an official C corporation. I am the President and CEO, but since I'm the only employee it's a bit of a misleading statement. I'm also the VP of Engineering, Lead Developer, and regular SW Engineer. :) So, yeah. I've laid out my hopes and dreams for OVP in previous posts, so check those for what I hope to gain from it. Mostly what it comes down to is that there are games that I want to play that no one's writing, so I guess it's up to me. I'd rather have a whole team of developers that I can guide in creating those games, but since I've had trouble getting commitments to making that happen, I'll just do it myself. And besides it won't hurt to have all the money to myself - all $1.99 of it. :)
So that's all for now, I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment