About Bill

Professional

My GravatarCurrent Location: Mountain View, CA


I’ve held a number of interesting roles in software and Internet companies: building community and customer experience using blogs, forums, wikis, newsgroups and participating in many groups and meetups, as a developer using Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, CA-Clipper, MS Visual Basic, Java and PHP; in Tech Support as Knowledge Architect, Webmaster, Escalation Manager, and Support Manager; in Engineering, Tech Writer and Product Manager. I’ve also developed websites for fun and profit.

I’ve co-written a couple of computer books (both now out of print): Life With Unix, Special Edition, and CA-Visual Objects Developer’s Guide. I’ve also written around 55-60 articles for magazines like Software Development, Visual Basic Tech Journal, Windows Tech Journal, LAN Magazine, and ZD Internet Magazine. That burst of extra-curricular activity largely ended shortly after I joined NetDynamics after five fairly interesting years.

I was born in Livingston, NJ towards the end of the Baby Boom and lived there for my first 18 years until I went off to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Although I liked the city and had a great girlfriend, the school wasn’t quite right for me and I transferred to the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. USC is in Los Angeles so of course the weather was far, far better than I’d even enjoyed before.

Bachelor degree in hand, I returned to Livingston and took a job as the assistant to the Publisher/Editor for a short while at the West Essex Tribune, a weekly newspaper which was poorly named as it only covered Livingston and not the western part of Essex County. Since there were only three of us on the editorial side, really, I did a little of everything. Except the bosses would not let me write the wedding notices since these articles were held to the highest standards of accuracy in the paper. I particularly enjoyed typing the school lunch menus into a very primitive computer publishing system.

Eventually, after wasting two years at the Tribune, an aborted attempt at grad school (of which the less said the better), and a stint cold calling leads for a stockbroker, I enrolled in the MBA program at the Rutgers Graduate School of Management in lovely downtown Newark, NJ. This time around I worked reasonably hard, which was a good thing and easier to do without the distractions of La La Land, and I still had a good time while turning in a decent 3.45/4 GPA and majoring in Finance and Real Estate.

The rest, as they say, is resume. Here’s an amusing summary of my experiences:

Company Result Start Comment
Hanauer Financial Corp. 6/87 My first job out of grad school, this was a complete disaster. Going from bad to worse, I spend the second half of this period at a client where I ended up trying to collect on two year old $50 and $100 debts. Company went out of business.
Simon & Schuster 3/89 Hired on as a contract analyst and learned how to program in Clipper. Unfortunately, I was a contract analyst and I learned to program in Clipper.
Automated Concepts 4/90 Great oportunity to work with a real mentor on interesting projects. Too bad the management messed our group up and we were laid off along with half the region’s staff that year.
Home Insurance 10/91 One of my favorite jobs, working closely with a great boss and most often with a great business project owner. Many opportunities to learn new programming languages and travel. Too bad that the courts opened up huge new liabilities for old, expired policies and killed the company.
Dragoco 5/95 Taking this job was a mistake on my part although it did mean when the next job came along leaving was easy. Terrible boss who simply didn’t live up to his promises.
Centerview Software 3/96 Great opportunity, company had cool technology and got relocated to the Bay Area. Unfortunately did not have the management experience to succeed and so the company went under, with the technology sold to Informix. I was laid off–are you sensing a pattern?
NetDynamics 1/97 My other favorite job with the best boss I ever had. Extremely cool technology, essentially the first commercial web application server. Sold out (at a reasonable but not great price) to Sun with no layoffs.
Sun Microsystems 9/98 Wow, did some of us suffer after this acquisition. If I’d sold all my stock at the last high point (9/1/00) maybe I’d feel differently. But the executives messed up the decision making process and the integration with Netscape (to make iPlanet) and we and our products’ market share never recovered. My position was eliminated.
Consulting 4/02 Some interesting gigs including Pyra Labs, Lexen Chemicals and Intransa.
RawSugar 3/05 Very cool to be working at search an early stage company–I really understand what people mean about this experience and the ability to have a hand in everything.
Marketo 11/07 Worked with some very smart people, especially Glen ‘UX Genius’ Lipka and several of the engineers, but the execs were not a good fit for me.
Aptana 7/08 Everyone at this company is a techie, even the director of marketing, and the CEO and VP Engineering know how to manage a company and let me do what I know how to do; I joined just in time to be in for the launch of a sweet new line of service products.
Kachingle 8/09 We’re revolutionizing the way you pay for content on the Internet.
Glam Media 11/10 Part of a great team building a self-service media campaign buying application written in Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.

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