A new phase of a recurring theme
After 11 years of being a self-employed one-man entrepreneur, and loving it, I am very pleased today to join an even more exciting team, Acquia, as Principal Engineer.
I've actually been an entrepreneur for a long, long time. In 1981, when I was 11 years old, my family got an IBM PC. Within a couple of years, I developed an adventure game called "Dungeon Adventure." I wrote documentation, paid a friend to draw cover art, packaged it up with a 5.25" floppy disk in a zip-lock bag, and tried to sell it via the local Computerland store (in 1983, software actually got sold this way). The store manager didn't buy it and no copies were ever sold, but I was hooked.
I've also been involved with free software for a long, long time. In 1982 my family got a modem and I started using PC-Talk, one of the first shareware products ever (PC-Talk's "freeware" license predated the GPL by at least seven years). I studied PC-Talk's BASIC source code to learn how it worked. Inspired by the model and, with my teenage "I can do that better!" naiveté, I wrote my own comm program in Turbo Pascal and gave it away via the local computer clubs.
As an undergrad at MIT and afterwards, I developed or contributed to several well-known open source software packages. After graduation in 1992, I joined a start-up as employee #3. In 1997, I switched to full-time self-employment and developed and marketed interMute, the first commercially available web ad, cookie, pop-up, and general annoyance blocker. In 2002, I developed and marketed Spamnix, the first spam-blocking product for the Eudora e-mail client.
So open source software and entrepreneurship are a recurring theme in my life.
In January 2006, I discovered and started using Drupal. By May, I had climbed the learning curve and in June I hung up a shingle as a Drupal development contractor. Before long my inbox was overflowing and I was building Drupal-based web sites full time. I did not take it too seriously; at the time it seemed like a fine way to earn a great living, working for myself, while figuring out what my next entrepreneurial project would be. Little did I know...
I finally met the larger Drupal community at DrupalCon Spring 2007 at OSCMS in Sunnyvale. I was immediately blown away. Online it had felt a little hard to break in to the "inner circle" so I could contribute significantly. In person, everyone was friendly, welcoming, and enthusiastic. To my utter amazement, several people even recognized my name from some modules I had developed. After nine years of working basically alone, suddenly being a part of such a community was a wonderful feeling. I left the conference more energized that I had been in years.
So when Jay Batson approached me last fall to ask if I'd be interested in Acquia, the answer was pretty obvious. Open source software, entrepreneurship, and community: it is a perfect fit for the next phase of my professional life. I have many ideas and I look forward to contributing greatly to Acquia, Drupal, and the community. Time to get started!