My programming “career” starts 30 years ago when I was 9 or 10. I was fascinated by video games at the beginning of the 80s. Those were my first steps into computer programming. From there I started programming at the local mall with other kids and soon got my own computer. After programming in Basic on a C64 and Amstrad CPC I moved to assembler programming (6502 and Z80). In the late 80s I bought one of the first Amiga 500s in Germany (later an Amiga4000/040/Retina), kept going with assembler development (68k) and got involved in the demo scene. Along the way I’ve learned E, Pascal, C and several other languages on my Amiga and DOS at school.
University and the internet
At the start of the 90s I went to university and came in contact with the first examples of the internet in Germany, years before the world wide web and even before DNS. We wrote IRC clients by hacking IRCII in C and some first web applications – in C (!). During my university years I’ve learned and used lots of languages like Modula-2, Oberon, Lisp, Prolog, Perl, TCL/Tk or C++ and used DEC Alphas, SUNs and NeXT cubes. My proudest moment was a ‘realtime’ raytracing program on a DEC cluster. Major subjects were distributed systems and databases, sprinkled in with some medicine as a minor subject and philosophy as a second field of study.
My first job
When the internet became commercial in the mid 90s I applied for a development job at a biotech startup, which brought a laboratory into the internet called virtual laboratory. Because of company growth I was soon head of development. With several such posts in some startups, with merges and spin offs, I’ve came into contact with Perl, Delphi and mostly Python. Working on the technical edge there I’ve written one of the first open source fulltext search engines without much information out there.
After finishing university – which took some time because of my manager jobs – I went to Berlin to found a startup with some friends. We got funded – with me as CTO – by a VC and specialized in a knowledge managment software solution in Java, EJBs, XML and XSLT. Although being one of the earliest commercial social media startups with a tagging, wiki and blog solution for companies, we later had to close shop with the bursting of the dot com bubble, investments dried up and because the market window for blogs and wikis hadn’t opened yet. But I’ve learned a lot. What did survive was my widely used Wiki render engine.
After some years of research and consulting into software development at Fraunhofer and as a team manager at ImmobilienScout24, the biggest real estate portal in Germany, I’ve been working for brands4friends, a fashion startup in Berlin. After brands4friends had been bought by eBay I was working as the CTO in the executive team of eBay Fashion Germany/brands4friends. Since 2015 I work as an Interim CTO for startups, one of them eventsofa. In my spare time I like to give speeches at conferences and help people optimize their software development.
Your blog is called “Code Monkeyism”, what does that mean? The term is taken from the song “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton and is often used as a self-describing, ironic term for software developers. So Code Monkeyism is about everything relevant to code monkeys and people who deal with them.