Appreciations and Greetz!
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have taken too long to actually write this down. There are, of course, a lot of people that I could thank for their help over my life. Too many, unfortunately. I do want to call out and recognize the people that left some lasting, dramatic, and career and life-altering change on me.
So, while your name is likely not on this list, I hope I have thanked you in some way for your guidance, assistance, or aid.
I have to start here, as my parents helped feed my young, tech mind with some of the equipment needed to dive in. My father had an interest in electronics and thought me to solder. (An aside: this is the greatest geek skill to have, impresses most people you tell, and it’s honestly pretty easy.) My mom is a big sci-fi fan, and particularly loved Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek has such an incredible vision of the future and influences so many nerds, this is an important touchstone to have in the tech community. I appreciate both my parents for supporting me going after a tech career, all while they didn’t quite “get it”. (Does any parent truly understand their kid’s career desires?)
While my parents liked technology, my Uncle Dave was actually in the business of technology. As a teacher in Brooklyn schools, after showing interest, he was put in charge of the technology program. This ultimately expanded to the entire Brooklyn school system. At that time, that also meant dealing with Apple. He became my Apple connection, showing me the Apple ][, ][e, etc. He was also the only other person at the time that had a modem, so we could dial each other and chat (which seemed like magic at the time).
Unlike today, when I was younger, knowing anything about computers was absolute social death. Ken Graham was a computer teacher that was inclusive, engaging, and, well…cool. He was happy to help the “socially awkward” among us find their unique talents and be proud of their own offerings.
I talk about technology a lot, but my other love is music. Specifically, audio engineering, and that’s where Matt comes in. I knew Matt in High School, and he taught me all of the early things I knew about recording, studios, microphones, and audio engineering. That it was more than the music and the performance: someone has to capture it. Not only do they have to do a good job, but the audio engineer’s choices shape what you hear. They’re like an extra member of the band. Audio Engineering is the perfect crossroads for me of tech and music. Since I’m not a professional musician or audio engineer, how did this impact my life? I fortunately did get to work on the tech side of several recording studios, but it also remains ingrained in me, and as an amateur engineer/musician, I still practice both crafts daily.
Dr. Robert Marose
Dr. Robert Marose is the only Comp Sci professor that I remember. I recently found out about his passing Dr. Marose made learning enjoyable. He introduced me to, “The Mythical Man Month” and, “The Soul of a New Machine.” How did no other professors mention these classics? He would often joke with students that, “if you’re having a problem with the computer, just pour a little water on the keyboard, it’ll fix things right up.” His humor could sometimes cover up his brilliance. I appreciate his ability to spend time with me outside of class, talking about ideas and concepts in computing.
Michael Watkins and Dave Russos
Michael and Dave were mentors to me on my first job. There was no formal arrangement, they were just happy to kindly share their knowledge. Their abilities and requests often would push me just past my current comfort zone. I appreciate the way they constantly kept me from simply remaining in my bubble of current knowledge.
Judy was the first manager that I had that not only cared about my career growth and opportunities, but was also kind. This was in the era of Managers being absolute in their ways and managing from the top down.
Ken Paehr, Dave Best, Audrey Block-Schnall, and Chris Matus
This was the tech crew at a video post house that I worked at. By “Tech Crew”, I mean the electronics masterminds that could not only maintain/service video equipment, but create new things. Their superpower is learning. I appreciate seeing people bring ideas into reality to improve other people’s jobs.
You can take all of the business classes you want, but if you’re lucky, you get to see it in action. Michael taught me about startups, making decisions, taking risks, customer focus and more. To this day I can call him and ask for advice and get a quick lesson, or ask about contacts in a certain field, and get connected.
I could write a ton here, and I bet many people have similar stories. Schoun helped get me included in the larger Mac Admin community, on which I’ve based most of my career. It’s because of Schoun that I had my first conference speaking opportunity, which also turned into a book-writing opportunity (and so on). This one is genuinely pivotal, as you don’t really do either of these things for the money, but rather, it’s an investment with a later payoff.
What a long and winding road I’ve gotten to go along with Neil. First as an author for MacTech Magazine, then as Executive Editor, and finally, as a partner in running the annual MacTech Conference. Behind the scenes, Neil will explain—in as much detail as you like—business decisions and processes. On top of that, he’ll extend that to helping with those issues that you’re facing outside of MacTech proper.
This may be the easiest one: my family supports me, my decisions, and I learn something from them every day.
I know I pretty much get to have a great view because I’m standing on the shoulders of so many others. I know there will be more in the future. I hope I’ve learned from these people, and others, to share my knowledge in whatever way I can.
I can’t thank these people enough. I only hope they find this through searching on their own name sometime.