Born in America's Heartland in the state of Kansas, I was raised and grew up in Orange County, California before moving down here to San Diego as a pre-Med to study Biology and minor in Psychology but eventually ending up with a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Computer Design. UC San Diego was very accomodating and looking back at my years as a Jacobs School of Engineering student, one of the things I am most proud of was my senior project which if you knew my grade for it, you probably wouldn't think that.
Can you imagine more than 15 years ago, my individual and open-ended senior project was building a voice-controlled wireless light switch? I remember being so proud of coming up with that concept let alone making it work, however the grade I eventually received for it was anything but to be proud about. If anyone is using voice assistance to wirelessly control their devices these days, then maybe I was too early with my timing for that concept and therefore had missed the ball there.
Upon graduation, I started my own third-party software company and named it Pennovate, developing and selling pen-based note-taking applications for what eventually grew to be tens of thousands of Palm OS users with amazing testimonials that I am still honored and humbled to have received, which you can read some of them here. I was doing well but no one who I had reached out to could imagine pen-based note-taking on mobile phones/devices becoming more mainstream to want to partner with me and take things to the next level so my business remained a lifestyle business until Palm OS ended. If anyone is using pen/stylus for taking notes on their smartphone these days, then maybe I was closer with my timing here but still a little too early and so landed a single instead.
Fast-forward to late-2015 when I found myself on the short end of a 1,314-person layoff (15% reduction in force) at my previous employer, Qualcomm, who I am grateful to have been a part of. I would soon be turning 37 with two small kids. What was I to do after nearly 8 years as a Senior Software Engineer at one of the most respected technology companies in the world? I decided to take the setback along with my severance pay as an opportunity to pursue a newfound mission and purpose. I remembered having experienced a personal dilemma where I was quite surprised and disappointed at how there was no easy way to figure out, especially given our internet-enabled and "socially" connected society. I made it a personal goal to at least try to come up with some practical solution.
After committing myself to improving this problem and wrestling with it for days on end, I finally reached that light bulb "aha" moment with a simple yet promising idea. However, I soon realized why this problem still remained since it really did feel like opening up a can of worms to say the least with so many moving parts! Maybe it was my natural optimism but something inside made me feel that if I kept at it, I was going to be able to make a difference here. Hence, I kept thinking and brainstorming until I was able to conceptualize a more complete solution. Once I had it, I immediately started to code out a proof-of-concept.
At some point when working to prove it out, I realized the possibilities of what I was creating and eventually had the foresight to see the potential of it being far bigger than another lifestyle business, far bigger than what I could ever do alone. After coming up with the company name and purchasing the website domain (another story for another day), I made it official by incorporating the business as WebBadge, LLC in May of 2016. Even without an income, I was still excited and quite confident that I would be able to find like-minded individuals who would be interested enough to understand my point of view to this widespread problem and who could then either help me build out the initial solution or financially back me to bring in help. However, it wasn't as easy as I had thought.
With many unknowns and differing opinions, I was torn between attending more networking events or spending the time to "de-risk" the idea which meant taking matters into my own hands to develop a more complete solution. With many unfortunate stories of why startups initially fail when it has nothing to do with core products or services, there was no clearer way and quite frankly no way more responsible than to try and build out an initial platform myself. With all the tools, resources, and knowledge readily available online combined with my conviction in my vision and what I have to bring to the table, there was no reason why I shouldn't be able to get something viable out.
As I embark on the next chapter for WebBadge, I'd like to thank everyone who has been part of my WebBadge journey thus far either directly or indirectly. It has truly been a humbling experience in self-discovery and personal growth dedicated to hard work, perseverance, and patience. Amazing what you can accomplish over time by making sure you just keep putting one foot firmly in front of the other with what you learn and following your internal compass towards a vision that you have. Last but not least, thank you for reading my story! I hope you will at least give WebBadge a try and offer any suggestions for improvement. Here's to using technology for good to make positive differences in the online and offline world we all live in. Here's to interoperability!
- Back-End Dev | ASP.NET Core | API | C# | EF Core | Identity
- Mobile Dev | iOS | Android | Xamarin
- Database Admin | Microsoft SQL Server* | MySQL | DB2 | Oracle
- Cloud DevOps | Microsoft Azure* | AWS | Google Cloud | IBM Cloud | Oracle Cloud
- InfoSec | Cyber-Security | Privacy | GDPR | Compliance | Government
- Cryptography | Blockchain | DRM | Authentication | Authorization | Biometrics
- Data science | Big Data | Analytics | AI | Machine Learning | Personalization
- Wireless | 5G | IoT | Bluetooth | RFID | NFC | Standards
- Sales | Partnerships | BusDev | Global | B2B
- Marketing | Brand | PR | Social Media | SEO | Localization | B2C
- Finance | Accounting | CPA | Budget | Timeline