Where it really all started was as an 11 year old boy with a passion for video games. My biggest obstacle was my dad’s problem plagued Tandy 1000 computer. So I can honestly say everything I learned about fixing computers, prior to beginning my career, was a result of trying to make my games just work or work even better.
When the games had problems, I needed to figure out how to fix them, which would have been way easier if the internet was around back then! As the games got better, I needed better hardware and I had to install it. Before long I was building my own computers from scratch, and upgrading them to keep up with evolving game requirements.
While I don’t spend much time playing video games these days (although occasionally I get sucked into one, but hey, I’m only human!), I do still have a passion for fixing computer problems and finding ways to use technology to improve my life and my productivity.
My professional career started at Egghead Software
as a salesman of all things computer. When they shut down nearly overnight (we went home one day as normal and came back the next morning to signs plastered all over the windows about a going out of business sale), I got a job doing business sales and support at CompUSA
. I then did computer game Quality Assurance testing for Mindscape
which taught me a lot about troubleshooting and paying attention to even the smallest of details.
The StartUp boom happened and, drawn by my first official computer support position, I went to Food.com where I learned about corporate IT support and started to refine my customer service skills. After that I worked for Wells Fargo, a 3 month contract that lasted for 6, where I had the awesome duty of flying all over the country and driving all over a given state upgrading bank managers laptops. That was fun.
From there I went back to CompUSA, this time as a repair technician. And this is where I learned to repair laptops and started doing computer work in customers homes as the primary Delivery-N-Install guy. I eventually moved on to Best Buy where I worked on every computer problem you could imagine. And when they eventually started their Geek Squad in-home pilot program, I was one of the first 9 in the country to don the uniform and drive the now iconic VW Beetle. That was a terrific year long experience working in peoples homes, helping them solve problems, and leaving them with smiles!
But all good things must end, and that job soon become something much different than what it’s founders had built, so I moved on to Genentech at their help desk. After 6 months as a contractor I was hired full time into the Network Operations Center where I stayed for the next 8 years, learning about corporate backup administration, service and system outage management, and much more.
My other great passion in life? Movies. It would be considered inappropriate these days, but when I was 10 years old my dad introduced me to Science Fiction movies like Outland
, A Boy and His Dog
, West World
, and Ice Pirates
. And these films absolutely captured my imagination! It started a life long love affair with all things cinematic. The sheer volume of useless information filling my head about movies, actors, and directors would shock you.
When I was 12 or 13 I wrote my first screenplay. It wasn’t any good mind you, but it had a fun idea at it’s core about a group of army brat kids rescuing the daughter of the President of the Universe from aliens! I know, I know… But that turned into making stop motion films with legos and eventually to writing feature length screenplays and making short films.
But watching movies wasn’t neglected either. And when I was 24 I bought my first projector instead of a TV and I watched Aliens 12 feet wide on the wall of my living room… Mind. Was. Blown. And I never bought a regular TV again. That soon brought me to 5.1 surround sound and eventually to 7.1 (And now I’m eyeing Dolby Atmos, but I digress), HTPCs, drop down electric projector screens, and 1080p 3D projectors.
My grandfather was a migrant worker in Texas until he joined the army during World War II and later became an auto mechanic. Growing up I would spend summers with my sisters in the enormous backyard of his house filled with fruit trees and vegetables of all kinds. Inside the house was the constant aroma of amazing food prepared by my grandmother, who was a migrant worker as well and, along with her sisters, worked with Cesar Chavez.
Today, while my backyard isn’t nearly as big or accommodating, my fiance and I grow fruits and vegetables of our own and have dedicated the little space we do have to raised beds and wine barrel planters. And grandpa would be proud to know I have a big apple tree and a small avocado tree! Grandma would be equally proud to know that I have become a pretty decent cook, and I make a mean Chile Relleno!