Tennessee bred and Arkansas fed succinctly sums up who I am. I was born in Dyer County in Tennessee and raised in St. Francis County in Arkansas. Both parents are college graduates of the Volunteer state. My pop graduated from the University of Tennessee and my mom from Memphis State, now University of Memphis.
Although I wouldn’t consider myself to be a digital native, my journey into computers began at an early age. I grew up a fan of the cyberpunk culture. To the chagrin of my parents, I was a kid who, by the time I was in middle school, was up to no good when it came to computers.
It’s safe to say my laid-back personality in real life was quite the opposite once my eyes were glued to a computer screen. There I was, the perfect candidate for the dark side of computing. I was a loner and had a huge chip on my shoulder for various reasons.
While others were splurging on typical purchases a kid would make, I was saving money to buy computer books or equipment. I remember saving $200 to buy a 10 GB internal hard drive that was on sale. One would laugh now as you can purchase a 1 TB external hard drive for one-third of what I paid for the 10 GB hard drive.
2600, The Hacker Quarterly and Phrack Magazine furthered instilled in me a sense of technological curiosity. Throughout high school my thought process remained consistent, which is why in college I had no choice but to declare a major that would keep me in my place of solace: cyber world.
What education seems to be doing to its students affected me in college. If you want someone’s creativity to be thwarted, strip them of their individuality and attempt to create a cookie-cutter student. That didn’t end well.
Relying on the skills I acquired over the years, I thrust myself into the real world and started working as an IT professional. A decade went by and I found myself needing a change. I had been intrigued by social media in the same way I took a liking to computers. It was the art and science that attracted me, not the likes and retweets. That’s how I became a startup person.