When sitting next to someone on an airplane, there are 2 choices, put the headphones on and get through the ride, or look them straight in the eye and say, “hello my name is Mark.” Well you may say your name is your own or maybe you are Mark for this flight.

Then the inevitable question comes up, “What do you do?” I’ve listened to a variety of people talk about how to respond to this question but we know what they are asking, they are asking us what we do for a living. With so much that I have done for a ‘Living” its never an easy question. And since this is my blog, I thought I would expand.

Over the past 30 years, yes, I started young, I have been blessed with a variety of “Livings.” Though I don’t think the luggage store and stocking the liqueur department at Vons are at the top of the list, they certainly did provide some character. (And a few Christmas presents purchased on Christmas Eve. Never call me a procrastinator though!)

But more to the point. Here is some of what I have done. Reflections of sort. (And if I say I, please don’t take it that “I” did all this on my own. I had some great partners, team members and customers who made this all possible)

  • I started as a programmer, technician and technical writer leading to a monthly column in a magazine.
  • I started and managed online forums on Compuserve, the Source and Genie.
  • I spoke at major conferences of the day including 800 software, NetWorld, BrainShare, Comdex and Interop.
  • I started a technology education center and grew it to 5 classrooms. I also got certified by Novel and HP and taught in those classrooms.
  • I started a company selling servers and networking.
  • I developed courseware for Novell, HP and Microsoft.
  • I traveled the country teaching for Novell and HP to customers and dealers.
  • I co-authored my first book. (What a rush of seeing my name on a book in Barnes and Noble!)
  • I learned and consulted on Packet Analysis. Knowledge that to this day serves me well.
  • I migrated a few large law firms from Wang to LAN based WordPerfect.
  • I started a VoIP dealer as a distributor for Selsius, which with their acquisition by Cisco in 1998 brought me to a relationship with Cisco.
  • I taught Cisco employees, resellers and customers about VoIP
  • I led an Internet Service Provider in developing their DSL offering and expanding integration.
  • ARE WE OUT OF THE 90’s yet? NO….
  • I installed my first Hotel with High Speed Internet Access (HSIA)
  • Now we are leaving the 90’s.

I look back on those days and think it was a lot of fun. Working with engineers in the HP Labs when they released the first Server. I still remember the education on memory busses and snooping and snarfing. It was hard not to make fun of it the first time. It certainly made a lively chapter when teaching.

With the 2000’s came a relationship with Cisco, Hospitality, Gaming, IoT, Connected Real Estate, Security, and more:

  • I designed one of the first triple play hotels with voice, data and Internet over the same cabling.
  • I designed and installed my first buildings Connected, Smart and Intelligent technology.
  • I started with the Internet of Things. Early on it was part of Smart Building technology but grew to include much more.
  • I designed a centralized voice system for 12 hotel/casinos.
  • I designed the cabling infrastructure for a 3000+ room hotel/casino.
  • I designed the technology for a small convention and meeting center.
  • I designed, managed and/or installed the technology for over 20 restaurants, hotel, and casinos. Casino floor to hotel to nightclubs it all got connected.
  • I’ve worked in physical security including nuclear, biological, chemical and EMP protected shelters.
  • I’ve helped design and bring to market new casino games for real money and social gaming.
  • I’ve helped write laws and implement regulations for land based and interactive gaming. Though I will never claim to be a regulator. I enjoy the other side way too much.
  • And most recently, I’ve had the chance to design and start planning a new online casino company.

Why write all my life out. Because what I do for a living is what I am involved with at the moment. I tend to migrate toward new and exciting projects. Or projects that I can provide significant value.

What do I do for a living? I learn about, play with, teach and implement technology. My work is my hobby and my hobby is my work. When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Clichéd enough? You get the point.

Well I tend to answer that I am a technologist. Though I keep thinking I may want to be a transactional attorney or bartender. Maybe my next career move with be a bar dispensing Legal advice and alcohol.

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