When I was nine, I got my first computer. It was a Texas Instruments TI 99/4A. It was awesome in it’s off white glory! A friend of mine had one and also had a number of game cartridges as well, he let me borrow some, that one could create games for it seemed amazing to me. I learned whatever version of basic it had and the art of writing programs is beauty to me.

I distinctly remember grasping the concept of multi-dimensional arrays under my friend’s tutelage while writing a character generator for Dungeons & Dragons on a trusty Commodore 64. It was a rush to which I am at a loss to put into words.

He got me my first paying programming job at 16 converting a dbase database to delimited text.

He got me my first career job in an industry I have been faithful to for 17 years, though sometimes seemingly  it not wanting me 😉 at a small Internet Development Company, mostly B2B but some consumer sites. 6 years there I learned and poured my heart and soul into my craft. To this date, this was my favorite job. The people were amazing, the talent, again, amazing. Management, well not so much, at all really.

A number of jobs later, he again reached out and helped pull me into a online auto insurance comparative rating company. Again, amazing people, the talent could not have dreamed for a better sampling of professionals and expertise. Hands down, the #1 platform I have developed on, EVER. And I’ve done a lot over the years, ‘nuff said. This is my second favorite job. Again, management could have been better, and when I say that, I mean at the board level. Best developmental management I’ve had the privilege of working for, hands down. Oh sure, there are always room for improvement, but truly, very solid, balanced, and supportive.

That company has recently been acquired by a marketing company (whatever that truly is.) I have mixed emotions, on the one hand, I feel awful for the 150+ people, most of which I knew on some personal basis, even if in passing in the break room, are now out of a job in a poor economy.

On the other hand, for many, this is a great opportunity whether having just felt stuck or having the opportunity to move with the purchased company back to the new mother-ship in much sunnier locales then depressed Cleveland. To say my friend was lucky enough to have been offered a position, doesn’t really do it justice, he earned every last bit of the opportunity.

I wish them all luck, but in particular to my friend, without whom my life would be greatly diminished.