Reflections

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)

  • In 1982, I started as a programmer, technician and technical writer leading to a monthly column in a magazine.
  • While there, I created and managed online forums on Compuserve, the Source and Genie online services.
  • I spoke at major conferences of the day including 800 software, NetWorld, BrainShare, Comdex and Interop.
  • I started a technology education center growing it to 5 classrooms. I was certified by Novel and HP teaching a variety of technologies in those classrooms.
  • I started a company selling servers and networking.
  • I developed courseware as a contractor for Novell, HP and Microsoft. I trained instructors, dealer and major clients of those companies.
  • 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 Network Packet Analysis. Knowledge that to this day serves me well.
  • I migrated several large national law firms from Wang Word Processing to LAN based WordPerfect.
  • in 1997 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 and other offerings expanding their integration and services
  • 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. It also focused me on management objectives in addition to technology innovation. It was around this time I read Andy Grove’s High Output Management and become interested in management techniques. A post on Objectives/Key Results may be written on that.

  • I designed one of the first triple play hotels with voice, data and Internet over the same twisted pair cabling.
  • I designed and installed my first commercial buildings with Connected, Smart and Intelligent technology.
  • I started with the Internet of Things (IoT). Early on it was part of Smart Building technology but grew to include much more. I won a “Buildy” award for using IoT Smart building technology.
  • I designed a centralized voice system for 12 hotel/casinos.
  • I worked on a state wide mobile sports betting app using pagers for validation (Remember Pagers?) and also a new customer loyalty call center tracking customer interactions.
  • I designed the cabling infrastructure for a 3000+ room hotel/casino. (Designed much more but it switched owners)
  • I designed the technology for a boutique convention and meeting facility including many unique features & classroom integration.
  • 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 (NBCE) protected shelters. Because every home needs to prepare for the Zombie apocalypse.
  • 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. This included working with the testing labs like GLI and BMM from specifications through implementation. Being open on the regulator side was fun. Definitely a skill set I can now put to use more in business.
  • 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 either in innovating a segment or helping a specific entity improve and create better value for its customers.

What do I do for a living? I learn about, play with, teach and implement technology and management principals. I have a passion for objective setting and defining results to achieve them. 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 will be a bar dispensing legal advice with alcohol.

NOTE: This was meant as an informal blog for reference for those I meet and are interesting in my background. Packaged with a little humor, I hope it builds a base for some point of conversation between us.

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