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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I’ve known Rich for a little over 10 years now and he’s definitely one of the more interesting people I’ve worked with in my career. I recently saw him again a couple weeks ago at the Roanoke Code Camp and he agreed to answer these NINE Questions:

RichBike 1. Where are you from?
I currently work from home, which is outside of Roanoke, VA.  I grew up in upstate NY though. That gives me the right to say things to the locals like “You call that snow?  I used to live next to Canada.”

2. What do you do / Who do you work for / What is your product? Give us the "10 second pitch" on why I should use your product or services.
I manage the team of developers at SoftWise.  Our dev team is scattered across the country, which is pretty cool.   Our product makes law offices more productive by automating legal document creation.

3. How did you get to where you are now?
I started out at computer camp.  Yes, it’s geekier than band camp (but I did that too).  I even went back and taught at computer camp.  A pivotal milestone in my development was when my friend’s dad hooked me up with some books and a Pascal compiler.  The books walked you through how to write a Star Trek game.  I knew that I was hooked on programming after reading that book.

4. What's your area of technical expertise? 
I’m a .NET / database/now manager kind of guy.   I still like keeping my fingers in the code, but I’m becoming more and more interested in the process side.   For the most part, writing code isn’t too hard.  Figuring out what code people want written is something else entirely.  Getting it tested before the support calls start pouring in?  Priceless.

5. You've been in this field a while. Got any interesting IT or employer horror stories?
Wow – where to start?  At my first management gig, I started out over two guys who had already been there a few months.  I eventually had to fire one of them (tardiness, attitude, etc).  The other one was upset that I had let his friend go so he walked out a few weeks later.  The funny thing is that he encrypted the project he was working on and hid it on his machine.   He eventually gave up the password, but his work was so awful I rewrote everything he did anyway.

6. You (finally) signed up for Facebook. How is that going? Any thoughts on Social Networking?
I’m a complete social networking luddite.  I tried MySpace.   All of the layouts there remind me of the noob web 1.0 – I kept on expecting to see animated GIF mailboxes and mouse trails.  Oh wait, I did see mouse trails.   Facebook is pretty tight – it’s not as cluttered.  I’ve caught up with a lot of friends from back in the day, so I think it’s a good thing.  I’m not a big fan of all the apps (poke, super poke, poke your dog, etc) but overall I like the experience.   I guess the next frontier is Twitter.   I’ve already planned my first Tweet: “I’m finally on Twitter.  Are you happy?”

7. Any thoughts on the Roanoke Code Camp? How did your session go?
It was my first time presenting at Code Camp and I had a great time.  It was a very positive experience and I hope to do it again next year.  I’ve always thought that the best way to learn something is try and teach it.

8. Any non-technical hobbies / interests? What's something the world doesn't already know about Rich Quackenbush?
I’m interested in electric vehicles (EV’s).   I’m currently working on converting my old motorcycle over to electric.    I think that the future is electric cars.  The ironic thing is that the electric cars came before the internal combustion engine cars.

9. Last of all, any interesting tattoos?
No, but my wife thinks that it would be hysterical to get a tattoo of NET next to a mole on my back.

Posted on Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:55 AM NINE Questions | Back to top

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