My Parents move to Australia
My Mum and Dad eloped from India to Australia in the late 60s. I was born in Adelaide a few years later. I don't remember much of it as we moved to Brisbane, where I spent the majority of my years growing up. Being raised in Australia, especially in the 70s and 80s, was a trip. I often wonder what it would've been like if my parents hadn't relocated from India and I grew up there.
I Got My First Computer
Dad was a mathematician and used to spend a year every decade teaching and researching in Canada. In 1982, he moved the family to Hamilton, Ontario where I spent a year surviving Delta High (the proper Degrassi scene). It was a rough steel town - very different than suburban Brisbane.
We lived in a huge apartment complex where I became good friends with one of the occupants, Brian Berneker. Brian and I both took a computer class at school and spent most afternoons mucking around writing BASIC programs and playing computer games on his Commodore 64. When we got back to Australia Mum bought me a C64. Owning that computer opened my mind to the possibilities of digital technology. I spent hours on that thing eventually having to dump it in 2011 when it got submerged in the Brisbane flood event.
Around the same time my Mum bought the family a Sony Cassette Recorder. My brother and I would spend entire afternoons making up science fiction stories and turning these into radio plays. It was great fun! We would listen to back to back recordings for hours at a time.
My First Company
Heavily influenced by Alien, Bladerunner, The Elephant Man and Pink Floyd, I decided to undertake a degree in Film and Media. During the course of the first film lecture, one of the academics explained we wouldn't be getting jobs from completing this degree, and should undertake Commerce/Law if a job is indeed what we wanted. I was twenty and didn't give a shit.
After graduation the family took a three month trip to India. While I was there shooting short films and indulging in my Grandma's curries, my Uni pal and also housemate Michael got his first job at the government state body, Queensland Tourism.
Our Dad's had bought us 28k baud modems and we were both using BBS systems for downloading software and low resolution graphics whilst experimenting with 3D modelling and animation.
We kind of had an idea that bulletin boards would eventually mature into something like an "internet", and upon my return to Brisbane Michael pulled me aside and said, "hey we need to get into this internet thing - it's going to be HUGE!".
We spent the next few months learning as much as we could (there wasn't much to learn in those days) and shortly after started our first website design company. Queensland Tourism became our first web client and we helped them build the front-end to their first holiday portal - Queensland Holidays.
My highschool headmaster, Mr Graham Thomson, was a formidable fellow "stern but fair" - when he talked, you listened. I remember in year 12 he was addressing the boys about his life's work and mentioned his deep regret at never having learnt how to play music.
Like a lot of young guys in late eighties, I somehow acquired a cheap electric guitar paired with an awful sounding practice amp and began in earnest to peck out "three blind mice", with a view to chugging out Guns n Roses riffs.
In '97 I met a guy who would become a life-long friend. Mr Gary Beavis was by far the most accomplished rock guitarist I had ever met or seen. I was inspired greatly by witnessing his precise yet sexy chops. I got the same inspired feeling I had when I discovered digital mediums. He and my brother (who was in and out of bands with Gary) taught me the basics of playing various licks and making out chords on the guitar.
Gary taught me how to de-construct music by ear and unlock the guitar neck (a work in progress) which I'm so grateful for. A decade later I gave him one of my old computers and taught him how to use it. He's now installing his own drivers and making digital artwork in his spare time. Full circle awesomeness!
Michael and I kept growing the agency. By 2004, two friends, Steve and Tony had joined alongside a small staff of designers and developers. We were actively involved in website design, video production and "pre-social-era" internet marketing. Michael moved to Cambodia and formed an offshore facility of developers who we would feed work to and eventually moved back to Australia and settled in Hobart where he lives now.
We Got Married!
Two important things happened in 2008. First, I married by beautiful wife Peta. Second, I sold out of the agency I built with Michael, Steve and Tony. It wasn't the best timing since the GFC emerged around the corner, but in another way it was perfect. Leaving the "tick tock" gave me much need time and space to figure out what was important to me and consider my next moves.
A New Agency
In 2009 I reconnected with an old friend Jayson. Jayson is an ex-lawyer who got the shits with law and decided to learn software engineering. He created a successful software company called Coeus Knowledge Systems and seeing me at a loose end, asked if I'd join him. We always shared similar visions for where digital technology and business could go but had never had an opportunity to work closely together. Now we did so we decided to join forces. Coeus is still our main business vehicle. Jayson is a great coder and I'm grateful to be working with him.
Peta and I almost lost everything!
In 2011 the Wyvenhoe dam overflowed and submerged much of Brisbane's river-side suburbs in a series of tepid interconnected lakes. Our townhouse got sunk and we lost pretty much all our furnishings. Thankfully I saved my server and workstations, music gear as well as our clothes!
We moved into my Mum's place for almost a year before finding a new place to live. While at Mum's I rescued two lorikeets who had been abandoned by their negligent owners. I brought these parrots to our new home and now they bring endless enjoyment (and frustration). They are crazy, fun-loving birds!