The People Who Make Voxox Rock: Penn Jillette Meets Gaming Geek

Posted by Tristan Barnum on Sep 19, 2011
The Voxox team isn’t just your ordinary group of geeks, we’re a group of wild and enthusiastic people who love what we do! “Just another day at the office” doesn’t apply here. Whether it’s Nerf gun wars, free ice cream extravaganzas, or Monday morning bagels, there’s always something for us to get excited about! Get to know the team with our behind the scenes, Q&A style blog series, “The People Who Make Voxox Rock”…

The People Who Make VoxOx Rock

Nickname: [>Bowtie<]

Department/Position: Director of Quality Assurance

What is Quality Assurance (QA)?: Quality Assurance is one of the tools we use to measure how effective our software is. We are constantly measuring our products and services to ensure that we are consistently maintaining or adding to the value that Voxox provides. One thing not well understood about QA is that it's a very broad discipline: it's not just about testing, but I must also be familiar with multiple platforms of technology, networking, infrastructure, implementation and delivery--working in QA keeps my chops warm in all of these areas, and then some.

What’s your favorite part about working here?: For the first time in a long time, I'm working with people I really like--every one of them, from every part of the organization, we have great talent and fun, focused energy. I love startups, but we have something special here with the Voxox team, and I think it's one of our greatest hidden strengths at our company, Telcentris, Inc.

What are your hidden talents or hobbies?: Almost too many to name: I'm a musician (bass player), a photographer, a serigrapher (fine art screen printing), a hiker/backpacker, and a poker player. But I've always been a computer geek. My dad ran a Radio Shack, and brought home our first computer when I was twelve. I immediately took it over, teaching myself to program that summer. I started coding games--my first was a port of Donkey Kong--and by the time I was 16, I had over 20 games on the market. But I soon branched out into other software types, building word processors, music transcription, sound wave analysis and language compilers. I also ran The Boardwalk Bulletin Board System (BBS). A BBS was a kind of local precursor to the Internet, using home computers and modems and phone lines. Currently, I’m working with textfiles.org to try to archive the history of The Boardwalk, as we think it is one of the earliest examples of what would eventually become an MMORPG like Everquest or World of Warcraft."

How did you get your nickname?: It’s kind of a long story, but it came about when I was running The Boardwalk BBS from 1982 to 1986, which at its peak had over 300 paying users. It was modeled on (my fourteen-year-old imagined) 1920's-era Atlantic City, and had casinos, games, gangs, hotels--everything I could think of. Users would sign onto the BBS and take on a character with a name and character details and money (kind of like a role-playing game). Users would have to treat their character like an actual person--you couldn't just sign off and leave your character wandering The Boardwalk--that was the fastest way to get mugged, lose all your money, and find yourself in the sand under The Boardwalk the next time you signed in.  On the BBS, I was [>Bowtie<] -- shortened to [><] -- a mob boss that ran all of the casinos, and the guy behind the scenes on all of the weird happenings on The Boardwalk.

Who is your doppelganger?: Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller (but I have to grow my hair out and pull it back in a ponytail).

Shaken or stirred?: Tossed out and filled with Long Island Iced Tea.

How do you take your coffee?: Tossed out and filled with Pepsi.

When you were little, what did you want to be?: An Architect! (I'm being serious, but that's also my Monty Python reference for the day).

What should people know about Voxox?: The message of unification is really important. Looking across the landscape of communications, the rest of the industry is bent on building "walled gardens" designed to lock you into *their* tools and *their* way of thinking. I think this is a real danger to the open nature of the Internet and to real freedoms--people can get locked into these gardens without really understanding the implications, and not all of these companies have the best of intentions. Voxox turns all of that on its head by reaching around those walls and allowing our users to consolidate and own their communications entirely, and I think that's more in spirit with the notion of an open and democratic communications platform.

Think you've got what it takes to ace this quiz? Show off how well you know "Bowtie"...

[polldaddy survey="8053D4D65D6D8724" type="button" title="TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE" style="rounded" text_color="FFFFFF" back_color="851CD6"]

If you have questions for “Bowtie” or for our next Voxox rock star, post them here or on our Facebook page!

Tags: Voxox