Technology has been a passion of mine since I was a child back in the 1970’s. Back then, I was captivated by game consoles you could hook up to your TV. My first one, in 1977, was a pretty expensive console called Tele-Games from Sears that allowed you to play a variety of crude games like Pong. But it was magical to me! I also read everything I could get my hands on – including past issues of Popular Electronics, which in 1975 introduced the world to the very first commercially available PC, the MITS Altair 8800. More on that later.
My father was the first Director of Management Information Systems (MIS) for the U.S. Army and he encouraged both me and my twin brother, Bob, to embrace the new world of personal computers. Throughout the 1980’s, we played and worked on variety of systems – TRS-80’s, Commodore’s, Atari’s, Apple’s, IBM PC’s and Compaq’s. There were probably a half-dozen more, each glorious, each flawed – but a thing of beauty for a young kid. I learned to program on those machines and, of course, continued to play games until my father regretted seeding my new hobby. Whether I was trying to find a key in some maze to open a treasure chest or arrange pixels into some image to be printed out on a 24-pin dot matrix printer, I was using computers and software to solve problems.
In the 1990’s, I started working with PC’s in the workplace and saw the birth of the connected office we know today. But it wasn’t until I watched a PBS documentary in 1996 that the course of my professional life would change. The documentary was called “Triumph of the Nerds” based on a book by Robert X. Cringely (Mark Stephens) titled “Accidental Empires”. The documentary was both a retrospective about how the modern computer industry started and also about the future of the role of computers, software and networking in the modern world. That documentary inspired me to become certified on Novell NetWare and then a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) in 1998.
The pursuit of technology certifications opened many doors for me, including a role with a young dot com called QuickArrow – a Professional Services Automation ISV. As their Director of Integration, I developed key partnerships with other ISV’s and implemented integration strategies and solutions. One of those companies was another very young company called Salesforce.com. This first integration with Salesforce, Closed Won Opportunity data in Salesforce would create new projects records in QuickArrow, was developed in 2000 and it worked exactly as we designed it – and it was cool!
Since that very first integration, my career has evolved, but I have remained very close to Salesforce over the last two decades as both partner and customer (a few times over). After many years of technology consulting, I lead Sales and Marketing for Cloud Performer, a Salesforce partner dedicated to solving our problems for our clients through technology (and with a bit of fun, too). I love working with these people that share my passion for technology, each with their own unique journeys. When clients or partners join a video conference with me, they may see a curious technology relic sitting behind my desk – one of the original (and still working) MITS Altair 8800’s. Its not the one Bill Gates and Paul Allen used over 45 years ago, but its special. I have it in my home office, along with a first generation 1984 Macintosh, as a reminder of my passion and my journey – and how far I have come – and how far we have all come. So thank you MITS for the start…and thank you Salesforce for 20 great years together. Its been one helluva ride!
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