This is a work in progress.
I was born in San Francisco and lived there for the first two years of my life. For those who know SF, we lived near the corner of California and 10th. In 1950 my father took a job in Seattle at the University of Washington. We spent four years in Seattle of which I remember very little. We moved back to the San Francisco area and set up shop in San Carlos. My dad was back at the University of California, San Francisco in the Dental School. After a year or so we moved to the best home a kid could have - on a dead end street that ran into the center of the biggest park in town. It was also about two blocks from the local elementary school. I had pretty much an Ozzie and Harriet kind of childhood in the middle of silicon valley (before it was silicon valley).
By the time I got to high school I had figured out that I wasn't going to be a great athlete, I wasn't a total klutze, but I was more into tennis and distance running than any of the "popular" sports. I was pretty good at school, but not terribly challenged.
Somehow I got hooked up with another kid my age by the name of Phil Rossi who got me interested in amateur radio. That turned out to be a very important turn in my life. Radio caused me to find a challenging academic/practical subject to spark my interest. It also caused me to meet a lot of people, both on the air and via local clubs and activities.
I survived high school and went to college. I entered the University of California, Berkeley in 1966. It was a wonderful time to be a student on the campus. I got a great education and a chance to sample all sorts of subjects. I was also able to experience a period of great turmoil from the center of the activity.
I moved to a really different environment to go to graduate school. I went to Brandeis University in Massachusetts to study Mathematics. The experience of a very small school (and the east coast) was different, but very good. One thing I learned was that I really liked teaching. At Brandeis graduate students taught independent classes and I got a chance to try a number of techniques in teaching. That experience has stayed with me.
After about three years at Brandeis I saw a study that told me I would end up in a pretty dead end job if I decided to work as a mathematician. I was qualified as an electrical engineer and I had done a little bit of computer programming. I did some work to improve my programming skills and ended up getting a job as part programmer, part engineer in the very early days of microcomputers.
After a while, I moved to Digital Equipment Corporation which was the hot place to work in the 70's. I learned a lot about software development and working in groups.
In 1979 I went to a new subsidiary of Xerox that had the mission of creating a nationwide business to business data network that would move one megabit/sec into a building. It was probably the most exciting project I ever worked on. We never got to build it. Xerox is noted for having great ideas that never get to commercial viability. I spent a year learning a lot about networks, protocols and statistics.
After Xerox folded the venture, I ended up back a Digital where I found many interesting projects to do. Generally I stuck with software projects that involved making something that was available to techies more accessible to non-techies. That's what I think of as application software. I did that at Digital until 1994 with increasing degrees of responsibility.
In 1994 Digital was clearly in a downhill spiral and I decided to look for a small startup to grow with. I was surprised to find Transparent Language in the appropriate stage of growth and just around the corner. I joined when there were about a dozen employees and less than a million dollars in revenue. I grew the engineering department from nothing to a very effective team that builds products for both consumers and enterprises. Later I took over the linguistic department which does amazing work at making language learning and translation technology. We grew the retail business to around 45% market share against the likes of "The Learning Company", Microsoft and others.With the dramatic downturn in the venture capital space the transition of Transparent Language from a consumer products company to an enterprise products company ran out of steam and we had to go into survival mode. I chose to leave at that point and enjoy the summer. As the fall rolled around I thought the housing market had peaked (dummy) and I put my house on the market. It sold in a day and I found myself homeless. With winter coming I decided to head to a warmer climate.
I'm now located in Phoenix, AZ which is a very nice place to be for the winter and not too bad in the summer. I've been enjoying semi-retirement for about three years now. I do a little contract work when the projects are interesting and the pay is right. My latest adventures include making applications for the PalmOS and WinCE and the PC applications that synchronize with them and for cell phones.
Latest update. I'm among the fully employed again. Making web browsers do amazing things.