A Kid Writing Paramilitary Mapping Software.

^ 20 mins after I lost my virginity

I was a nerdy freshman wannabe-hacker hi-jacking Wi-Fi from my neighbors with a 75ft coaxial cable antenna superglued to an 802.11b PCI 1.0 card from my moms’ garage.

I took calls on a discarded Blackberry that I soldered a 3″ USB Type A port to because the charge port was fried. I paid the pre-paid phone bill with money I made selling Myspace and Neopets shop layouts (Damn I was cool)

My household was the one getting our Thanksgiving turkey from the fire department (Thank you 🥺) This forced me to find solutions if I wanted ANYTHING, and I always did.

I become a tech founder

Sort of..

My stepdad and I started a business doing odd-jobs called “Honey-Do Anything”.

He would take me to 100s of irresponsible and unqualified jobs from moving homes to digging ditches to replumbing entire homes.

I took care of our customers Windows 7 upgrades and handled our (epic) marketing across Craigslist.

I learned 3 key skills of being an entrepreneur.

  • How to learn anything.
  • How to try anything.
  • How to use the tools available to me.

I become a tech founder for real

To drum up more business, one of my ads was for software development where I offered the broad promise to “program anything”.

I ended up getting contacted my two entrepreneurial police officers for the St. Petersburg Police Department (The third largest PD in Florida).

St. Petersburg is one of those cities where the streets are numbered 1st Ave, 3rd St, etc.
These officers wanted a simple tool to calculate a perimeter as it’s called out over a radio.

“We need a 2-block perimeter for a suspect at 1st Ave and 3rd St.”

Cool – calculate however many points around an x-block perimeter and give them the intersections. EZ!

I decided to add these points to a map using the Google Maps V1 API and BOOM! The Perimeter Organizing Inter-Networking Tool was born- or P.O.I.N.T-MAN.

All I had was jQuery and a fresh caffeine addiction. No WebSocket’s, no web frameworks, no package managers.

These officers and I formed my first tech company XCALIBUR, LLC. (Nerds)

We expanded on this tool to include huge maps that tagged drug-houses, warrants, and even digested the logs from their core GIS software to update the live locations of officers.

I look back and still can’t believe I was training rooms full of officers on a HORRIBLY written PHP software I wrote in a garage.

The lessons you don’t forget

That little tale people tell you to watch out for, the one where people you care about start to put you down when you do better than they expected. It’s very real.

I had loved ones start putting me down. Reminding me that I was a script-kiddie and not a real programmer. That I don’t create things, I just embellish other people’s work. That I’m just a kid who hasn’t graduated High School and I know nothing…

At the time, in between Googling how I was going to spend my soon to come millions, it made me pretty upset.

But what really came from that was understanding that great things aren’t created from perfection or having every answer, they come from trying your best and knowing that the answer is always found when you ask the right question. They especially don’t come from yourself exclusively… They come on the shoulders of giants before us that allow us to improve and create new things!

How I spent my millions

On a 1993 Mazda Protege 😎… this venture was a success from every angle, except financially… We never charged for the software and turns out that flagrantly disregarding the Google Maps API TOS eventually catches up to you. We lacked the funding and the experts needed to create our own GIS software without it.

By the time I turned 18 I needed to turn a profit to survive and fuel my acquired Red Bull addictions 🥲

P.O.I.N.T-MAN was archived but I haven’t stopped creating ever since.

Nothing happens if you don’t try, and great things don’t happen alone.

See you tomorrow,