About Darryl Erentzen
I wrote my first computer program in 1979, when I was eleven years old. An uncle had a game on his Commodore 64 that I reproduced. "Santa Peruvia and Fuimaccio", a resource-management and strategy game with an ASCII interface where you ran a small kingdom. It was on a Texas Instruments TI-99/4 computer. The TI-99/4 was cutting-edge at the time, but it was clunky and difficult compared to today’s computers with their Graphical Interfaces. Everything was done from the command line and I used standard audio tapes as my storage medium – there was no hard drive. I think it had something like 16k RAM, and that was impressive for the time.
Cut from the summer of ’79 to 1991 to find my next encounter with computers. This time it was a discarded 486 running windows 3.1. A friend and I managed to get it online via modem and started exploring using old-school tools like Bulletin Board Systems, Telnet, Gopher, and FTP. It was all pretty primitive, but we were inspired by movie images of hackers and felt like we were on the edge of a great adventure.
That experience led me to a Computer Programming Diploma program at CDI in Victoria, British Columbia, where I was employed as a bartender and felt like I was wasting my time unless I got back to school.
I went from CDI straight to Manhattan during the dot com boom, intent on making my fortune. It didn’t quite add up to a fortune but I had some fantastic experiences, first working with thing.net; a web site that evolved from a BBS that served the International Fine Arts community. At thing.net, we hosted sites for some fairly well-known art concerns, Artforum magazine, PS1, Museum of Modern Art, and others.
I actually think they’re doing important and meaningful work.Great parties, but there was no bottom line at times. The work at thing.net garnered me a mention in Wikipedia.
I moved on from thing.net and took over as the main developer for fusebox.com, located in the flatiron district of Manhattan. At fusebox, we created and maintained sites for Chase Manhattan Corp, Time-Warner, NickelOdeon, CBGB, and others. I was in charge of network maintenance and programming for all of the sites.
I was in a bit of a grey area regarding U.S. Immigration, so in 1997 I returned to Canada to sort things out, with the intention of returning to Manhattan as soon as possible. I ended up operating a Web Development business called Web Plant out of an office at 600 Bay Street in Toronto.
My biggest client at that time was RDA International, who were the ad agency of record for Panasonic, Packard Bell, Hewlett-Packard, Pontiac, Bayer, GTInteractive, Microsoft, and other mainly Fortune 500 companies. Web Plant became the primary Web Development contractor for all of RDA’s client sites. I hired a bunch of artists and junior programmers and together we executed multiple projects. I decided not to return to Manhattan.
After parting with a business partner in 2000, I took a break from contract work and did a couple of one-year stints at startups. i|money.com specialized in portfolio management software and stock market simulations that they "white boxed" and re-designed to suit the branding of customer sites. They got bought out by Sun Media Corp, but before the layoffs I got out and took a job with another startup that specialized in business process management tools, ZOX Inc. Their goal was to build a "dashboard" app that would allow a real-time overview of any business. Great idea, I’m sure somebody someday will manage it.
I also taught for awhile for a Youthlink program in Toronto called “Youth Skills Zone”, we took street kids and taught them computer tech, as well as getting them counseling and help getting jobs and apartments.
Now I’m back to full-time contract work, and things are going well. I’m also developing an Affiliate advertising network on over 500 domains that I control.
For the past couple of years I’ve been working with another startup as their sole Web Developer, putting together a website application aimed at the Executive Recruiting Industry. We’ve finally finished a proof of concept and client reactions are overwhelmingly positive. Now I’m fleshing out the site, assisting in creating Candidate lists, and helping write the business plan.
You can get the rest from my posts. More soon.