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About the Webmaster

Are you here for geek cred or writer cred? Because I have both of those, but not much else.


As a young man in high school, three things converged which greatly steered me in the direction of writing. The first was that my parents had divorced, and like most kids in that position, I needed an outlet. The second was that, after seeing a shred of promise (or perhaps just taking pity), a few teachers said encouraging things to me about my stories. But the third event was the deal-closer: after reciting a poem in front of a large number of students, a cute girl asked for my phone number. Some other girls came by my house, stood outside my window, called for me, and serenaded me. I was pretty certain that writing was my way to a rockstar lifestyle.

I started an underground newspaper in high school, which landed me in the principal's office more times than I can recall. That paper may have been responsible for getting at least one teacher fired, but I'm a little fuzzy on that. It was hard for a 16 year-old to get in on the gossip in the teacher's lounge.

Fast forward to post-college life, and I had started my own poetry magazine, Whisper. I had been published around 50 times, in small press magazines such as Impetus, Alternative Press Magazine, and even Phoenix Broadsheets. I especially enjoyed the latter publication -- I liked thinking that my work was floating around Europe, as people in small cafes perused my words while sipping lattes.

But rockstar? Nope. I not only couldn't make enough money to support myself, I was losing money on Whisper magazine. By 1994, I had begun publishing Whisper on the Internet just to reach a wider audience without costing an arm and a leg. And that's when the geek took over.

Teh Geek!!!11

By 1995, Borland had hired me to work on their Web site. I continued to write, but now I was writing articles about JavaScript, and getting published in magazines like Boardwatch. I didn't mind that much, as I actually had enough money to pay for food. It was a good time, living in Santa Cruz, buying small press magazines at Bookshop Santa Cruz, eating pizza at Pizza My Heart, and writing like mad. At first.

By the time I took a management position at Actuate, I was all about technology. I was running their Web servers, designing their sites, and learning more than my fair share of office politics. My weakness was security -- I had never been a hacker, I knew that bad guys were better at that stuff than I was, and I needed help. I asked for help. I got a stunning response from the VP of Marketing (my boss): "Hey, how does security help me generate leads? It doesn't! It's an expense that benefits no one!" Two weeks later: hacked. I kept my head down and scanned the site logs, contacted the FBI, learned everything I could from the security breach. A week later, I quit.

During the hey-day of the dot-com era, I joined a startup run by Sabeer Bhatia. He was the guy who sold Hotmail to Microsoft for $400 million. His new company was rolling in cash, and we set about building the next great Web site. I was the Director of Web Usability, and had a team of 4. I learned all about grouping and organizing massive volumes of unstructured data. This is where I got really decent at database design.

Eventually, I ended up here. On my own. I have a handful of ideas for good money-making Web sites. I am trying to bring them to life. And I'm starting with my first love: writing. But this time, I want to provide the resource that I had been lacking when I was younger: a tool to help make and manage money from writing projects.