The Early Years
I made the first of many websites in sixth grade, and started my first business while in 8th grade. It was the beginning of a persistant passion for web startups. Back then in 1999 it was a company with some friends called Dominion Technologies. We specialized in "dynamic website design" for small, local businesses close to where I grew up in Chanhassen, MN. It became my main summer job throughout high school, and taught me tools like Photoshop and Flash, along with skills like interacting and communicating with clients.
In 2002 the other three founders graduated from high school and left for separate colleges, so the company itself dissolved even though the friendships would survive, and our group is now known by Doom Triangle, the name of the company's logo.
Academically, the highlight of my high school career was attending the 2003 International Science and Engineering Fair in Cleveland for research I did at the University of Minnesota in biochemistry relating to Alzheimer's Disease.
High school also gave me the chance to flex some creative muscles. As a part of my growing thespian love for writing, acting, and directing I got a digital video camera, and proceeded to make some fun movies with my friends.
In 2003 I received my diploma from Breck School in Golden Valley, MN. I graduated with honors and began looking past my last summer of freedom to that awe-inspiring experience arriving in the fall: college.
I attended the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (colloquilly, just "Olin") near Boston, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. Olin is a brand new school that emphasizes a "do-learn" approach to teaching engineering, while focusing on multi-disciplinary aspects like business and design. It also provided a full tuition scholarship to every admitted student.
While there, I got to do a lot of interesting course work. I had some fun summer jobs back in Minnesota, including an internship at the headquarters of Magenic. I was also employed by the school as a Course Assistant for the class "Human Factors and Interface Design."
After junior year I got into Y-Combinator - which gives seed funding to new startups - for the Summer Founders Program of 2006. Thus, with the help of three friends from Olin, a new web-based business was born, called Mod Four. While living in Somerville, MA, we worked on it the entire summer and then through the next semester. We publicly released Shopkick.com, a site where people could make and share guides for buying products online.
When we graduated in 2007 as part of Olin's second class (and its first accredited), plans for "real" employment got in the way of our business. But that wasn't about to stop me from contuing to pursue the startup dream.
The Real World
I immediately went coast-to-coast: less than a month after graduating college I moved to San Francisco on my own. I was hired as the third employee for my first venture capital funded startup, Adroll.com. I was the Lead Developer for this online advertising marketplace for two years.
After that, I decided to take a break and try my hand at being self-employed. I vacationed over the summer of 2009 on a trip across Europe. Once the epic journey was done, I came back to the U.S. and began looking for a place to live.
I jumped around a bit, but finally settled on moving to Ann Arbor, MI in January of 2010. I worked on my own projects, including making software, while still doing web development and rapid prototyping for various clients.
The most exciting of my projects to gain traction are Molibra, where you can read free books on any mobile device; Staxup, a visual product comparison site; and drawtunes, a site for making music online.
After over two years of contracting and consulting, I joined Liftopia full time as Senior Web Developer. I stayed there for three years before venturing out on my own again.