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I graduated from Rutgers College in 1989 with a double degree in Computer Science and Psychology. In 1990, I moved out to California to pursue my career in computer software. My first job was at a company called Logica, where I worked as a software developer for an X.400 based e-mail system.
In 1992, I partnered with a business associate to design computer based training solutions. We started a company called Advanced Software Products. In 1992, the idea of using computers for training was fairly new. Most large corporations were still using DOS for their productivity applications. Many of our initial clients were pharmaceutical companies with large numbers of sales representatives. The sales trainers at these pharmaceutical companies were looking for unique ways to use the laptops that all their sales representatives recently were given. Our first innovative product was Quiz Bowl.
Quiz Bowl was a Jeopardy-style game that let trainers create their own question sets. Pharmaceutical companies were especially happy to have a way to let their sales representatives review material in a non-threatening game environment. Our first version of Quiz Bowl was extremely popular. The software ran under DOS and took advantage of VGA graphics, the most advanced graphics at the time. I designed the interface and wrote most of the code for this project including a custom graphical user interface and natural language parser.
The success of Quiz Bowl led to companies asking us to design a testing system and surveying system without the game-style format and with more reporting options. Digital Professor was born shortly thereafter. Digital Professor was originally designed as a custom solution for the training needs of Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, as more and more companies expressed an interest in this kind of solution, I designed a generic version that could be easily tailored to meet a company's specific testing needs.
Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) was a termed coined in 1991 by Gloria Gery. As the personal computer became a part of the work environment, Electronic Performance Support Systems became frequently requested by our clients. We worked to develop many custom solutions for clients that helped provide easy access to information, sales simulations, advice, and custom simulations. I personally managed several of these products which were met with a great deal of enthusiasm by our clients. The PC was becoming more capable and a better tool for training.
Wireless keypad technology was a frequently requested feature for our products. Wireless keypads were used in large group settings and provided an easy way for a large audience (up to 250 people) to interact in a group meeting without having a laptop or personal computer. I managed the porting of our Quiz Bowl and Digital Professor software to take advantage of this new technology. With wireless keypad technology and our new software, up to 250 people could participate in Quiz Bowl games and take electronic exams in an auditorium setting. The games were especially popular and many companies offered prizes for the people who answered the most questions correctly. Instead of falling asleep at meetings, employees were asking to play Quiz Bowl.
By 1995, most of our clients had switched to Windows and started to demand applications that would run natively under Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. Quiz Bowl for Windows and Digital Professor for Windows were our first native native Windows applications. By this time, I was doing less programming and more managing as the amount of clients and programming work increased substationally.
As computers became more powerful, our clients started to request custom enhancements for our software. Glaxo Wellcome wanted a version of Digital Professor for their sales representatives that would run on a Macintosh computer and communicate with the corporate headquarters over a modem connection. I was the project leader and client coordinator for this large endeavor. We ended up porting our Digital Professor software over to the Macintosh, and wrote a custom window-based application to handle the modem communication and reporting.
1998 saw the explosion of the Internet. Although many big corporations were slow to adopt the Internet into their work flow, it was obvious that web-based applications were where the industry was heading. In 1998, I managed a project to bring both our Quiz Bowl and Digital Professor software to the Web. Our Quiz Bowl for Java game and Digital Professor for Java testing system were some of the first Java applets to provide online training through a standard web browser.
After the success of our Digital Professor software, Glaxo Wellcome requested that we design a custom system to track employee training. Train Track was born as a client-server application to track the training of 3,000+ sales representatives and provide reports over the Internet. Again, I managed the project and functioned as the client coordinator for this large project. I hired web designers, graphic artists, writers, and software engineers for this project. We completed this new piece of software within 8 months and continued to add functionality to the project over the next few years. The project was quite sophisticated and incorporated a custom HTML parser, data synchronizer, and a automatic report generator.
While doing custom projects, we continued to update our Quiz Bowl for Windows and Digital Professor for Windows software. I took the most requested features that clients were asking for and incorporated them into a new version of the software. Quiz Bowl for Windows v3.0 has been amazingly popular. The software has hundreds of powerful features and is still easy to use.
After 2000, most of our clients have requested web-based solutions for their training needs. I have managed several projects that make use of relational databases and dynamically generated web content. In addition, I have lead updates of our web-based versions of Quiz Bowl and Digital Professor. This software now sells as much as its Windows counterparts.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
1236 Dolores St.
San Francisco, CA 94110