Christmas Tree Dragger and Netter
My very first job was at a Christmas tree farm in Massachusetts when I was 12. The adults would cut down trees and my job was to drag them through the snowy forest and out to the truck where they were netted and loaded.
Ball Shoveler and Change Maker
In my junior year of high school I was a full time straight-A student and played baseball every day. But I found time to visit the batting range a couple times a week as well. When I saw a help wanted sign I sprang to apply. It was my dream job. I could work hard, make money, and work on my swing all at once.
Night Shift Janitor
When I started college I got a job as a night janitor at the Motorola plant where my dad worked as an engineer.
I was hired directly out of college to a technology company that snatched up all the top software engineers at ASU with the help of a professor who made it his job to identify top students.
My first full time job was a continuation of the internship mentioned above. There were two significant opportunities with this job. One was the chance to work with dozens of the brightest and most successful young engineers to come out of ASU. The other was the opportunity to lead the company from an antiquated embedded assembly language code base, to then-emerging object-oriented (C++) and modernize the entire development environment.
I worked briefly at a software contracting company. I was hired out to do a four week project that the company paid $20K for. I think I was paid $30 per hour or so and the company billed more than double that rate. I completed the job on the second day, and spent the third day making sure the code was perfectly commented. I was told that I’d have to pretend to spend the next several weeks working on the project so the client thought they got their money’s worth. It was not the right fit me.
Next I got a job at a local privately owned software company called PC Globe. It was a great work environment with people who had genuine passion for their product. However, right about the time I started, the owner died and his family sold the business to Broderbund. My choice was move to California or take a small buyout and look for another job. I chose to stay in Arizona.
Dot Com Telecom Start-up
In the late 90s I met one of the most successful businessmen in Arizona. He had started two successful companies that went public. And now he was working on number three and wanted to hire someone to develop the product and build a software team. It was a job perfect for my experience. It was a great opportunity to participate in the funding stage of a start-up including working with top Silicon Valley VCs. The implosion of this company was actually THE most valuable work experience I ever had!
This is a company I started on the side and grew over time until I sold hundreds of thousands of licenses. I actually estimate nearly two million, but with third party publishing, bundling, and site licensing, hard figures are impossible to prove. The products developed a loyal following and it was er ‘undermined’ by THE biggest software company in the world after they bought a direct competitor for over a billion dollars!
This was another side business hobby that turned into a small but profitable company. I made some of the best equipment that the new sport had seen.