I’ll start with a very frank admission – I didn’t always love technology. I remember feeling utterly out of my depth in grade five while trying to create code that would display green @ and # symbols across my black screen in a lovely tree shape. I managed the shape – but it took 25 minutes to render, and I made a failing grade due to not quite comprehending how to optimize my code.
So that sucked. Later, in my mid-teens, my father created and marketed a Baseball video game – installed with floppies, featuring World Series stats, tactics and gameplay and…well just awful graphics. I wore a silver baseball suit designed for my older sister and stood outside the Baseball Hall of Fame at Ontario Place pitching game sales to the passersby (see what I did there?) That year I outsold Electronic Arts in total sales. 83 games. Boo-yah!
I got over the trauma eventually, and in the middle of my art-school/goth-electronica phase, I met a lovely fellow who introduced me to the first home computer I’d ever seen – and the wonders of Cu-SeeMe. I was pretty impressed. Later, when my mom bought a Mac – I met the father of my children when I asked a friend if he knew anyone who could help me install software for it.
A world of wonder opened up to us the moment we had a home system to experiment with. We ‘surfed’, we wrote emails, made rudimentary art in Bryce 3D, Adobe, and a million now-long-dead paint programs. My mother was somehow able to send my grandfather email messages via Mac-to-Ham Radio, a practice he immediately banned when she attempted to send a photo and left my grandfather with four reams of printer paper ruined before his printer was willing to stop spewing symbols.
I learned to install software, developed a passion for specific browsers (shoutout to Netscape – which I LOVED downloading Star Trek theme packs for) and taught myself the Adobe suite when it became apparent that my Graphic Design college wouldn’t. I had ideas galore and big visions for the future.
I got into pixel art on PDA devices and landed my first tech gig in a Gastown boutique (pre-bubble). I was the intended star, writer and host for a new WebTV/Broadcast show called ‘FuturePop’. I also developed another show with my best friend, called Wired Woman TV, and learned to encode, edit, and manage content via FTP for multiple broadcast clients of the company I worked for.
I lived online – consuming every single post on Suck.com, and then later joining Plastic.com (sort of a Reddit 1.0) and experimenting with my first websites and basic code. I also began to take on more Website Manager roles – writing, creating graphics, videos, bumpers, ads, etc – and thus my career as a content developer geared up to maximum.
In the years afterwards – including a few bumpy ones during the dotcom bubble burst – I worked on everything from CD and DVD navigation and production, audio design and mixing, database theory and interactivity design.
I built skins for audio players, project managed an interactive site for users to explore the TV show DaVinci’s Inquest Coroner’s office where visitors could open the Coroner’s laptop and email fan letters to the actor, and I even attempted to manage the build of my own WordPress-style content publishing platform. In 2002. For poets. Because dotcom bubble that’s why. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Later on I moved into content marketing and strategic growth – working with entertainment properties to run creative campaigns (like an April Fool’s site-wide Rebrand) and with smaller entreprenuers and non-profits to help them gain followers and solve expansion problems, and even government work and political campaigns. I ran the social media for Vancouver Mayor’s Office during the Stanley Cup Riots, and later tied together fundraising, voter contact data, and volunteer management platforms in drupal for a municipal campaign in which every single one of our candidates swept the slate.
Most recently, I was social media lead for Mozilla Foundation – an amazing experience I can’t recount in just one post. I promise to follow up with what I’ve learned there in the next week or so.
All I can say is – I LOVE THE WEB. You’ve given me my proudest moments and favorite memories. We’ve come a long way together, baby.