My expedition to Arctiq began at the age of eight at the green-screen of my dad’s 286 PC running DOS 5. I was completely fascinated! But not by games, as typical among my grade-3 peers, (although Oregon Trail on my school’s Apple II rocked!) but simply by how the machine worked.
At that age, while most kids were fiddling with their Nintendo NES, my father taught me about config.sys, autoexec.bat, EMM memory tuning, direct memory access, IRQ's, system interrupts and file allocation tables. I would watch over his shoulder as he opened up the case and taught me about CPU's, memory, IDE cables, floppy drives, and all the little gotchas to remember about installing components. These were not lessons you would find your average kid learning at that time (today is a different story!).
I still remember the day when he brought home a Texas Instruments math co-processor for our 386DX computer, all 40Mhz of it! It would still be a while before I even saw Windows 3.0. I learned all about living on the command line and harnessing its power - initially because there was no alternative. I loved it from the start and things never really changed.
In grade nine, computers weren't exactly popular among youth of the time. I was an early ‘geek’...you might say I paved the way! I recall sitting in a Cole’s book store with a friend who was telling me about this new thing called Linux. The Internet was loud and slow over my dad’s 9600 Baud modem. Documentation was sparse to nonexistent, and a young Google lived the shadows of the mighty AltaVista (R.I.P.!). For a few dollars, I picked up an O'Reilly book "Learning Red Hat Linux" with two 3.5" floppy disks in the back (man, I wish I kept those!). While my dad ran Windows 95 on our home PC, he gave me his old 486 for my new "hobby OS". Red Hat was a tiny shop with only a few people at the wheel. I recall thinking this OS was a throwback to my DOS days. I patiently installed it (tried 10+ times before I got it right) and spent hours troubleshooting online access. After some work, I was able to get on IRC and display my achievements to a very small community of Linux users (UnderNet!). It was clear to me that Linux was going to be something big. Open source tools and early adoption taught me a lot about self sufficiency and failing-fast. Lessons I have embraced to this day.
Shortly after graduating, and after an eye-opening experience on a help desk for a bank trading floor, I started my hunt for a Linux job. Having little to no "business world" experience with Linux I had a hard time finding anyone to take a chance on me. I knew Linux like the back of my hand, I just needed someone to show! After working my way up through sys admin jobs (mainly at Windows shops where I would do my best to push Linux!), finally someone took a chance on me - an off-shore gaming company that ran a pure BSD/Linux environment. I was in heaven! I loved the experience and everything about it! I was getting experience day in day out. My colleagues were super knowledgeable and I got to soak it all in. Things changed quickly in that industry, and as they shuttered operations, I took my new skills and went hunting.
I was off to the races, and Linux skill was in demand! I got my next job for a multi-billion dollar company as one of their key Linux admins in North America. Big IT budgets meant lots of “toys”: servers, storage, switches, and all kinds of goodness! Working with an international team of architects (some of the brightest minds I have ever had the pleasure of working with!) taught me more than I could imagine. Complex hardening standards; Linux in PCI compliant environments; performance tuning to handle millions of interactions; making Linux sing like never before!
At this point in time, Linux was sitting at the summit of the operating system world and Red Hat was King! Linux was everywhere and running everything. From underpinning the infrastructure of many corporations, to running your smartphone, to welcoming you when you open your fridge. Everything was Linux. The years of commitment to my "hobby OS” was starting to pay off!
I loved my 9 to 5, I really did. But the insane demand for Linux and my years of experience was opening many doors. I wanted to strike while the iron was hot. It was time to become an independent consultant and put my skills to work.
Timing can be everything, and meeting one of my partners Kyle Bassett couldn’t have happened at a better time in my career. He told me the plan for the client and right away we hit the ground running. We came, we saw, we conquered. I very quickly knew that Kyle and I had the same view of the industry and opportunities to harness it. We would prove this time and again with new clients. Each situation growing in complexity, but all having similar needs: A need to evolve, a need to grow, a need to adapt, a need to transform.
When the idea to form Arctiq came to light, I didn’t hesitate. I knew the mission, vision and values we shared were common. We all have a deep love of technology, and even more so, an understanding of how to help companies transform. Arctiq is a chance to work with like-minded people, who understand and see the vacuum left in the industry by rapid advancement of technology. New technology is moving faster than the people and organizations who try to employ it. As individuals we see how amazing this change of technology is for many organizations. As Arctiq, we help clients recognize the opportunity to shift - in a coordinated, secured, efficient manner. This is why we created Arctiq - to help clients build continuous improvement strategies using automation, orchestration, DevOps, and security. To really help companies get the most out of their tools, technologies, and employees. We will help them transform.
So here we are, at the frontier of the next step in our journey. After all is said and done, through all the trials, tribulations and challenges...it’s time for us to leap forward!