My name is John Clark and I am currently attempting to sample the random nature of reality by owning a small programming business, writing stories (fiction and non-fiction) playing in a band (less often than I would like), brewing my own beer and doing quite a bit of woodworking.
Our story so far…
Sadly, I was not terribly interesting until I was about 26 years old, so I will not bore you with that part. Suffice to say that I served time as an electrician (a licensed Journeyman in Florida), my parents like me and my sister never seemed to feel the need to smother me in my sleep. So all in all, I was a pretty good kid.
I moved up to Atlanta in 1990 to go back to college, a periodic and seemingly futile urge I had nurtured since graduating high school. Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone when this time it actually took. I graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music Recording. I worked for several years in a local recording studio before realizing that I was spending more time with the studio’s Macintosh computers than I was actually recording anything.
In 1996, I left studio work “to pursue other interests.” (Despite the rumors, this had nothing to do with the alleged incident involving a famous vocal group, six pounds of feathers and some cheese whiz. I was cleared of all liability, and the penguin wasn’t even mine! …. uummm… never mind.)
Following my exit from the recording industry, I did some freelance computer stuff for a bit. Eventually, I discovered a wonderful company called MindSpring and talked my way in to teaching their Macintosh Internet classes. By late 1996, I was drafted full time into MindSpring to serve in the technical support department. This was the beginning of my Dot.com joyride.
Three weeks after I was hired we bought PSI’s dial up customers and suddenly MindSpring had a bazillion customers…and a bazillion phone calls to support. It was trench warfare for a while but we made it through. I have to say that I worked with some of the best and learned a lot in a short time. (Including an extreme dislike of Microsoft and the Windows OS. Hint: When your error’s are referred to as “illegal operations” something is very wrong.)
After several months in Tech Support, I was paroled and given a job as a Technical Writer working in the E-Services division. E-Services was in charge of the MindSpring help desk, internal help pages and documentation, and the MindSpring New User’s Guide (a new version is due shortly) The real bonus was now I got paid to work on a Mac. Life was good.
By the end of 1999, the joy of documenting every tiny bit of Internet Explorer had begun to wear on me, MindSpring had become EarthLink and I felt the need for change. I moved into Operations Documentation as an Information Architect (Basically a writer/programmer/designer combination). The Operations Documentation department created internal documentation for EarthLink and designed the delivery system for the documentation. The best part was I still got to work on a Mac, only now it was a G4 500Mhz with 256 megs of RAM and a DVD RAM drive. Ah, such heady days.
Operations Documentation got bounced around like rubber ball for a while and was finally split into two and the Atlanta team was moved into the Intranet Development group. Right about the time our feet hit the ground we got re-orged into our own department called Internal Development under BrYan Johnson (Who originally rescued me from support and into E-Services).
Soon after, they got the bright idea to make me a manager. Yes I was “The Man” with a license to repress people. Actually, considering the people I managed, I think this made me a Scruffy Looking Nerd Herder. Bryan Johnson, twice my former boss, ended up working for me. It was fun and a bit strange. All things considered… It was good to be the king.
In late 2002, the Tech sector went into panic mode and companies began laying waste to their IT divisions. Sadly, as with many of its other decisions, EarthLink followed the herd. The designers went first (It doesn’t need to be pretty it just needs to work). Next went the managers, including me (We’ll just cram all the programmers under a single overworked manager). Finally they started getting rid of programmers (We’ll just outsource). By the time the Grim Downsizer™ tapped me on the shoulder, I was ready to be out from under the thumb of the man.
I hung out my shingle as Twelve Foot Guru and enrolled at Georgia Tech for a Master’s degree in Human Computer Interaction. Both business and grad school seemed to take off at much the same time and so I partnered up with Bryan Johnson, my friend and co-conspirator from MindSpring. Bryan gave me the breathing room to finish school and an incredible code base to work with. We spend most of our time programming web applications for the web using Sencha EXTjs, Sencha Touch PHP and mySQL. We work our own hours, we only work for people we enjoy helping and we can fire clients who are less than fun. Neither of us ever want to go back to working for someone else. Life is too short.
In my copious spare time… I do wood working (turning mostly), I brew my own beer and wine, I write short fiction, I play guitar in The Ether Family Presents… , I have 3 cats and a rather healthy addiction to books and music.