I get asked about my work and background frequently.  To that end, I’ll answer the ten most commonly asked questions here.

  1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
    • Grew up in West Fargo, ND
    • Lived in Southern California for over 20 years
    • From 2007-2019 traveled globally, some years more than 50%
    • Moved to Minneapolis, MN to be closer to my family in 2019
  2. What do you do? What is your job?
    • Independent Cloud Architect, Developer & Educator since 2011
    • Doing contract work for clients globally
    • Client contracts can run as little as 1 day or as long as 1 year
    • 25-50% of my time is non-billable (learning & volunteering). 
    • Advisor and board member of CarbonDown.
  3. Who do you work for? Who do you work with?
    • Run my own company.  I work for my customers, rather than for any big company
  4. Are you an employee of AWS, Google, Linked In, etc…? How many people have watched your courses?
  5. What is your educational background?
    • Started college at age 15 (graduated at 19) from University of Minnesota
    • Am a life-long learner and learn new languages & concepts continually
      • New-to-me languages recently are WDL & Nextflow
      • New-to-me concepts include applied Linear Algebra
      • A few years ago a good friend got cancer, after that I started working with bioinformatics teams. I help build efficient, usable cloud analysis pipelines for genomics research, including for personalized cancer treatment.
  6. What advice do you have for me? I am starting a consulting business.
    • Understand work (you get paid) vs. activity (you are doing something)
    • Ask clients to pay you market rate or better
    • Work only with written contracts
    • Start with very short feedback cycles, one week long deliverables is recommended
  7. What advice do you have for me? I am a career changer.
    • Stop watching TV – use that time to learn
    • Work with college students on projects for non-profits
    • Work on projects you care about.  I’ve volunteered on tech projects for…
      • Global Education – MONA Foundation
      • Electronic Medical Records (EMR) – Smart Care in Lusaka, Zambia
      • Technical Education – TKP Java for middle & high school teachers
      • Variant Spark for Genomic Research (ultra-high dimensional data analysis) – CSIRO Bioinformatics in Sydney, Australia
  8. Which technologies should I learn now?
    • Statistics and Machine Learning – 3Blue1Brown is magical
    • Cloud data pipelines and security – build working stuff for non-profits to learn
    • Serverless, possibly Kubernetes – as above
    • Functional programming patterns
  9. Where are you favorite cities and why?
    • Sydney – fun people, beautiful city, did I mention fun people?
    • Berlin – art, music and multiculturalism
    • Santa Barbara – stunning natural beauty, perfect weather
    • Oslo – solitude in a major city, jeg snakke lit Norsk også
  10. Where will you go next and why?
    • Canada – I can drive there easily now, lots to see too…
    • Glasgow – whiskey and search for my relatives
    • Wellington – was in Auckland, loved it, want more New Zealand
    • Perth – must go to anywhere that is nicknamed ‘end of the earth’
  11. (Bonus) What are your hobbies?
    • Casual photography – on 500px
    • Contributing to Open Source – on GitHub
    • Short bike rides!