I began programming at the age of nine in 1980. My parents brought home a TI-99/4 computer and I hooked it up to the rabbit ears on the television. I hope they didn’t pay a lot for it. New, it was about $1100. To put things in comparison, the Apple II which shipped out in 1977 was about $1300 but shipped with audio tape storage and 5.25″ disk drives and had 15 times the memory. That’s not saying much. The TI-99/4 shipped with a whopping 256 bytes of memory and the Apple II had 4K.
Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this new computer. It was a keyboard that plugged into the wall and used the television as a monitor. I turned it on and there was nothing but a dark screen with a blinking cursor. Now if you’re looking at this computer thinking that is a cartridge slot on the right side, you would be mistaken. That was for “future expansions” which came out years later with the release of the /4A model. This turned on and had a blinking cursor.
After a few minutes wondering what to do, I turned the computer off and was very confused why they got me this weird box. The next day, after school, I checked the mail and saw a copy of the TI magazine. I got to read about all kinds of scientific calculators and that was about it. Before tossing it to the side, I flipped to the back of the magazine and found 3 pages of something called BASIC code. The instructions said “Type this into your TI-99 and then run the code to see what it does.” What it didn’t say was “don’t turn off the computer or you will lose your work.” Lessons Learned. The TI-99/4 shipped with no storage devices. I’m guessing there was 300 lines of code that moved a block around the screen and changed colors. I remember my jaw hitting the floor. I was hooked and needed to learn more.
Each month I’d type the code from the back of the magazine to see what it would do. I soon began picking the code apart figuring out what the commands actually did and modifying them to make the program do something different. Throughout the years i’d take computer courses in school learning new languages more complex techniques.
In 1996 I launched my own company, SkuFlow Business Systems and the website launched in may of 2001. I have worked with clients around the world to help them manage their inventories, customers, and product catalogs. During this time I have managed over $54 Million in retail sales and coordinated shipment of over 9 million units. SkuFlow has been around since before YouTube (2005), FaceBook (2004), Flickr (2004), and Pinterest (2009). Heck, I started SkuFlow before the stable version of Napster in 2002. IPhones weren’t released until 2007. I have been there since the giants were born and I’m still changing and growing every day.
The point is, I offer decades of both programming and real-world experiences in multiple industries. I believe in balancing quality and quantity of code. I am creative and a highly divergent thinker. I believe in listening to my customers and making sure they get what they need, not necessarily what they think they want. I am an entrepreneur through and through. It is hard for me to find a boundary between hobby and work. I love what I do. I constantly try to learn new technologies an am amazed to see kids entering the work force and how much they bring to the industry. However, they have never double punched a floppy.