Seven Things – Tagged by Tony Bibbs

So there I was minding my own business and out of the blue, my friend – Tony Bibbs – tags me.  Does he tag me with some great terms that would inflate my ego and get my SEO into the stratosphere… or with an internet meme that I usually ignore?  Luckily, I'm in a good holiday spirit, so I'm going to indulge him and share some details.

Here are seven things you might not know about me:

  • I worked my way though the end of high school and the beginning of college as a drug dealer.  Before the internet and freelancing became available to those of us in the middle of nowhere, there weren't many jobs that a college-bound 17 year old could do…. unless you go a completely different direction and become a Pharmacy Technician.  It was a job where I could interact with nurses in a professional environment, constantly refresh and understand my chemistry knowledge, and make more than double the minimum wage.
  • My first startup was in college dealing with applying technology solutions to live performances, namely theatre.  When we started, I was taking a class – VA466 The Entrepreneur – where the prof joked that if we managed to land $100k in funding within a year of the class, he'd give us an A.  When I landed $50k, I called him on it, but could only negotiate a B+.  With the money, we managed to get a lot of concepts described, a small flock of specifications and designs fleshed out, and a pair of prototypes built.  I finally left that startup a year later when it became clear there wasn't a plan beyond what we had accomplished.
  • My Bachelors is in Electrical Engineering.  When I started college at 13, one of my professors was a controls engineer working at the local – new at the time – hydroelectric plant.  When I found out what he did for a living and what sort of education it took to get there, I made my decision and stuck with it ever since.  From then on, it was a tossup of where to go until I visited Rose-Hulman.
  • After my first year at Rose, I didn't know if I had to be invited back.  I spent the summer wondering if I was going to get a letter or what.  Turns out, you're supposed to keep showing up until you either fail out or graduate.
  • Of my numerous minors (4), the least surprising one should be Political Science.  The others are Economics, Business Management, and Engineering Consulting.  I was one class away from a Psychology minor but I ran out of time.  My focus in PoliSci was the Middle East and Terrorism.  Since this was pre-9-11, the terrorism focus was actually on Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City – oddly enough, a resident at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana while I was there – and the IRA in the United Kingdom.
  • My career goal was originally working Counter Terrorism with the FBI.  I decided on it during the Fall of 1993 and focused my education on it all the way through.  In addition to the point above, one of my mentors at Rose was an expert in Afghanistan.  When Osama Bin Laden and crew attacked Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, I was already studying him and ended up sharing the results of my research the following Fall while still at Rose.  I finally decided against joining the FBI in 2003.
  • When I started blogging, I didn't use my real name.  In 2004, I had a dead end job that I hated and had no interest in continuing.  I was already active on the Joel on Software forums and was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug.  The problem was my boss constantly monitored all of our online activity.  Having a blog with a different name slowed him from finding it until a month after I left.

To continue this chain, I'm tagging:

Here are the rules for my fellow bloggers:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.