Bio: I grew up a Navy brat. Once upon a time I was a finalist in a Michigan Mathematics competition, a member of NHS, and of Mensa. I earned an academic scholarship to college, then lost it. After a couple years of college, I bounced around for a bit, serving time as a ditch digger and a bartender, among other things. At age 21, I enlisted in the U.S. Army (Infantry), so I could fund my own return to college. I entered as a private, earned top “Distinguished Graduate” position of my 200-man infantry basic and advanced training company, was selected for and admitted into Officer Candidate School, then spent the rest of the time wearing bars.
As a Lieutenant, I served for several years training force-on-force unit combat in the Mojave with the Army’s elite mechanized OPFOR. We spent about 220 days per year out in the desert on maneuvers. It was hard on equipment, and families, but was the most exhilarating peace-time duty a soldier like me could have had. Later, as a Captain, I experienced the joy of command while at Fort Carson, CO. That time included the challenges and rewards of taking a company of 123 soldiers to Iraq and bringing them all home safely.
Within this period, I bought my first home computer. While in garrison and not otherwise leading troops, I developed an interest in computer games and game theory. I taught myself to code, studied computer networking, ran an online bulletin board, then single-handedly developed and sold a multiplayer computer game.
Peace broke out and I left the military in search of new experiences.
Like many who leave the military, I hit some hiccups trying to figure out how to communicate to civilian employers that a decade of training soldiers to aggressively close with and kill the enemy was experience that translated into small group and department management.Overcoming that communication challenge led to several years doing the “corporate thing,” pursuing a career that led from retail to IT, following the passion for computers and communications that I developed as an unlikely hobby while a soldier.
In the late nineties, I had the good fortune to hire into one of the pioneer companies in the (then new) massively multiplayer online game industry. It was a gamer’s dream to be part of that seminal period. While there I saw opportunity to start my own company and used all my experiences (and no small amount of my penchant for learning new skills on the fly) to build an online payment processing company.
That company, PayByCash, brought non-credit-card payment methods from around the world to Internet content providers with one very simple integration. We built a great team and, after growing for 8 years and earning the trust of the largest game content providers in the world (and most of the smaller ones as well), we merged with a VC-funded Silicon Valley company and were later acquired by Visa.
I’m still an entrepreneur at heart, developing (or occasionally funding) new ventures. When not torturing myself with the idea of nursing one whackadoodle idea or another into profitability, I enjoy life as a husband and father, and I write.
I’ve authored two books and co-authored another. I also blog, sporadically and spasmodically. When not writing, I indulge my passion as a medium-performance driver of high-performance cars and improve my skills in the shooting sports.
I currently serve as the President of Rakish Halo, LLC, an intellectual property development company that manages “The Saint,” based on the characters created by the late Leslie Charteris.