Tell me again: what's your name, what's your purpose?
I started writing code 15 years ago because I wanted a sweet website for my band. Then, other folks started asking for their own. The "I" became more of a "we" and HandPicked Entertainment replaced my name on the checks and invoices. I loved taking on projects that had a requirement bar set higher than my skill-set -- paid learning. I surrounded myself with people who knew the skills I didn't, and always tried to be damn easy to work with.
Over the next decade-and-a-half we watched new trends like hawks, and made hundreds of websites and dozens of custom applications, hosting most of them ourselves. But I never had as much fun invoicing and being a salesman as I did making things, so these days the "we" is returning more back to the "I". I still surround myself with tons of talented people who know all the stuff I don't. I have less clients now -- but my clients have more customers. Instead of always running my own show, I like to subcontract and consult these days.
I've sat in corporate board rooms, sipping coffee, during scrum meetings and conference calls making magic happen; and I've sat in my pajamas in my office by myself, sipping coffee, making magic happen. I prefer the latter when I can. I've led teams of 30 developers or a half dozen subcontractors or just my own schedule on projects. I like the variety. I don't mind calling the shots but I also don't mind taking direction. I actively maintain habits of learning, increasing skills, and improving technique. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
I've been a part of many great projects with many talented people over the years. A few highlights going backward in time:
These days, I've been working with Ruby on Rails and recently completed the user interface for Voltari's mobile advertising demand side platform. Mobile has been king lately and everyone's priority -- I had a stint with the mobile marketing start-up, Serrano Mobile, and created a mobile site builder tool for use in their platform. Previously, I was contracted by Motricity, once the mobile content global leader, to create a prototype for an HTML5 mobile content portal for Verizon. That solo contract quickly turned into gig leading the UI dev team into making the prototype into a product.
I developed the front end module for CreateSpace, a self-publishing tool used on Amazon.com. As a musician, I got to know many music companies and other musicians which led to expertise creating audio / video streaming sites and catalogs. I worked with universities too, including pretty cool web apps for UPenn which allowed faculty to create custom application forms for students applying for grants. I did my time with ecommerce, article portals, and fringe social network sites.
For a few years, my bread-and-butter product was a robust and customizable content management system written in PHP, which could easily be customized to handle lots of types of data for lots of types of websites. It humbly ran over a hundred sites back in it's hay day. I had a great connection for many years with the Logical Dog Company and developed a customizable property search component used by thousands of home buyers/sellers in the Northwest. We ran a bunch of real estate websites on my CMS with the property search and a handful of other custom components I created for Logical Dog.
Thanks for all the work!
Voltari specializes in predictive analytical solutions and delivers targeted mesages to individual consumers. I created the UI for their DSP, giving agencies the ability to manage their ad campaigns, exchanges, and creative inventory with dynamic dashboards displaying reporting metrics data.
All of a sudden everyone needed a mobile site and/or needed to convert their old desktop-only site. Serrano Mobile helped businesses create mobile marketing campaigns. I created a tool in their software suite to build templated, responsive, theme-able mobile sites in minutes, with tools to import the current desktop site's content.
Motricity used to give almost everyone their purchased content on mobile networks - although times have changed. This mobile web portal showcased new features in HTML5 like native audio & video interfacing with the Motricity marketplace.
It's pretty cool when you get to help build a book self-publishing module for the world's largest bookseller. My guess is a more than a few people used that thing.
The first website I made had an audio player, so did one of the most recent ones. Audio players and how they work on websites has changed alot over the years, but audio has always been an integral element at HandPicked. Culture Yard Productions, one of my favorite clients, produces regional reggae concerts and is radio show playlist maker.
Like audio, video has danced around with advances in technology over the years from flash and quicktime to HTML5. I've built and incorporated many custom video players in past projects. The Screenplay website allows users to demo video streaming options and take a sneak peak into their expansive video catalog seen by over thirty million people each month.
I got turned on to music catalogs submitting my own music for licensing in TV commercials. Soon, I was building websites for the folks I was doing audio work for. On the ThwakIT site, users can search the thousands of songs in the catalog by a variety a parameters including genre, instrumentation, lyrics, tempo, mood, style, artist and others. Users can also create custom projects and save songs to those projects to view later or download.
This piece of software was used by the medical college at University of Pennsylvania, enabling faculty members to create and maintain online grant application forms and track student submissions and run reports.
Gotta make that money. I've helped small business sell their goods with custom shopping carts and payment solutions and also have incorporate many third party ecommerce solutions into projects. This site for GBI Labs has a custom content management system to handle the vast product inventory of biomedical reagents sold to research and diagnostic communities, biotech and pharmaceutical industries around the world.
I've done my duty to create pit-stops on the information highway. Everyone needs a blog or an article portal like this one from Sound Integrated Health - a dynamic health news site with scheduled article publications, videos, and third-party advertisements.
I've built niche network sites, like this one for Eat Your World, which includes an extensive public user section where folks can upload photos of their favorite local fare as well as stories about their food travels. I've also developed third-party applications for Facebook, like virtual-gift sharing apps for non-profits and to-do lists for small businesses.
A few years back, I got sick of creating custom CMS's or trying to mess with out-of-the-box solutions and created a customizable and robust CMS that got tweaked and extended for a few years. The CMS solved the problem where all sites I was working on had data models that were a bit different; this CMS allowed devs to easily customize the modules for the specific site resources via a UI. I was able to use and re-use and re-use the same code base for lots of sites while creating a unique custom content management front-end UI for the user.
For years, I worked in tandem with The Logical Dog company and developed the UI for many versions of a re-usable property search component that was used in over a hundred real estate agent and office sites, servicing thousands of buyers' property searches around the Northwest. Alot of sites used it and some still do. I bought my house with the proceeds (and also using the search). But, well, you may have heard about the real estate crash...
The Seattle housing market used to be scorching hot. Add in a fast property search and custom CMS for sites as well as other user tools to manage listings and make real estate flyers = good business. I've built enough real estate websites to probably be able to pass the broker's exam.
Camp HandPicked is pleased to annouce the upcoming new release from Jonny Sonic: "The Grit: Deluxe Edition" -- featuring 13 oringal Grit songs backed by 13 remixes from a stellar list of producers and DJs. Check the press release or listen to a track. Also upcoming is a resurrection of HandPicked's favorite band, FULL, for a 15-year anniversary special edition 20-track retrospective. More details TBA.
HandPicked has hundreds of licensable tracks of many genres in our music library. Our music is also featured in many industry music catalogs and websites. Here's a few highlights:
TV Spot for VH1's Save the music campaign featuring some meticulous sound-for-picture percussion playing. Display of this video is for demonstration purposes only. Distribution is prohibited. All copyrights and trademarks reside with their respectful owners.
Fun re-running Christmas spot with the soulful singing of Freddie Cole and the funky beats of Jonny Sonic. Display of this video is for demonstration purposes only. Distribution is prohibited. All copyrights and trademarks reside with their respectful owners.
Popular spot during the Canadian Open. Display of this video is for demonstration purposes only. Distribution is prohibited. All copyrights and trademarks reside with their respectful owners.
Getting together with 20 awesome musicians/friends and dozens and dozens crazy Super Geek League performers and running around and playing music at the beautiful Gorge Ampitheatre with thousands of dancing people at Northwests premiere electronic music festival... yeah, pretty sweet.
Spooky costumes, spooky arrangements, spooky dancers. Arranging and leading the Crash Crown Circus Marching band at USC's FreakNight Festival -- the longest running Halloween dance festival in the nation. Every Halloween weekend the freaks of the night descend on Seattle for a bone-chilling celebration of the dance music community.
We produce most of our magic out of Black Vegas Studio in Seattle. Our setup is very minimal compared to what it used to be. Analog consoles, racks, and cables have been replaced with digital interfaces, iPads, and WiFi. We focus on post-production: mixing, mastering, and sound for picture. We can record in-house or remote and have contacts with a wide array of very talented musicians.
Black Vegas Studio started back in metro-Detroit in 1998 and moved to Seattle in 2004. We produced a bunch of funky and avant jazz and dreamy pop albums -- of course, we had our share of rockers and rollers. We like to record horns alot. We've been known to make a tasty remix or two. We also had to pay our bills with some live recordings, both at noisy night clubs with lots of mics and channels and at concert halls with just a couple mics in a nice room.
does most of the production and mixing, is the head drum engineer/tech and tracks the acoustic drums out his Yellow Magic Studios, and Chief Sc!ence holds down the mastering. We also really like Soweto Mastering for alot of our projects.