Skip to content

About Larry

In the beginning, Gore created the Internet

It was 1998 and the web was still in its infancy (and I had no gray hair).  After earning a few academic awards and studying computer science at Florida International University, I started developing custom web solutions at an agency named Univox.

I used a little-known programming language called PHP.  Today, over 80% of websites are built on PHP.  We built solutions like e-commerce and newsletter subscriptions.

Technology used

  • Apache
  • Gimp
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Solaris
  • Sun Spark workstations

Night of the Living Dead

Next, I worked at a startup called LifeFiles. We built a system that allows users to create online memorials for lost loved-ones.  Users could upload photos, biographies and sign the guestbook.  (Anyone remember guestbooks?)   We worked with funeral homes to cobrand the service as a value-add to their service line-up.

I remember working through the night, drinking coffee, listening to Moby and compiling custom Linux kernels to support a custom PHP installation.  Fun times!

Technology used

  • Apache
  • CVS
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • ipchains firewall
  • Linux
  • PHP
  • PostgreSQL

Wait, you did porn?

No, I was a developer at an Internet porn company.  Yep, it was….. interesting.  It’s here at the Web Entertainment Group that “shit got real.”

We had two priorities, scalability and a clean, collaborative workflow.  We figured out ways to compress and cache output before they were “industry standards.”  We created static site generators before it even had a name.  The codebase was developed using a custom MVC framework.

Content producers used our custom-built content management system, our e-commerce system managed subscriptions, affiliate programs helped generate new traffic and income.

Technology used

  • Apache
  • CVS
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • Sendmail

Hello Corporate America

I was hired by CreditGUARD of America and sister company Global Network USA Marketing to help build a credit monitoring and management platform.

I migrated their system off Windows servers and on to a Linux platform, saving them some cash in the process.  I also brought the team together in a collaborative workflow.

Some of the goodness we developed

  • Integrated with TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian for credit reporting and credit score improvement recommendations
  • Create a debt consolidation platform which
    • Decreased payments for clients
    • Accepted a single monthly payment from the client
    • Made payments to the clients’ creditors
  • Integrated with the Department of Education to help those with student loans consolidate and find ways to decrease their balance and payments
  • Tons of internal reporting and tools
  • Background processing with job queues
  • Complex affiliate programs
  • PCI-DSS compliance

Technology used

  • Apache
  • Bootstrap
  • CodeIgniter
  • Gearman
  • Git
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • ipables firewall
  • Jquery
  • Linux
  • Memcached
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • Postfix
  • Sendmail
  • VMware
  • WordPress

Side note, this is when gray hair became a thing.

Good-Bye Corporate America

Freedom! I wanted the freedom to use the latest technological advances in web development so I started freelancing.

So far, I’ve been the sole or lead developer on a handful of projects that helped generate a gross annual revenue in the millions for each client.  I should really start pitching a profit-sharing payment option!  I also knocked-out a bunch of small business websites while freelancing.

I wound up saving FlexSeal some money on hosting and sped up their site load time by 40% by consulting during pre-contract negotiation.

As a sole freelancer, I’ve had to pick up some skills that support backend development.  Turns out I won a few small design awards. I even got my one-and-only SEO client to the top spot on Google for their primary search term.

Some solutions I’ve built for clients

  • Multi-tenant, event management and registration SaaS
  • Call center management platform
  • Custom customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Employee rewards program for Sunbeam
  • Custom WordPress themes and plugins

Technology used

  • Ansible
  • Apache
  • Bootstrap
  • CakePHP
  • CodeIgniter
  • Docker
  • Git
  • Grunt / Gulp
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Laravel
  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • Nginx
  • PHP
  • Postfix
  • Redis
  • Sass
  • Vagrant
  • WordPress

Certified or Certifiable: I’m one of those

Love them or loathe them, I has the certs.   Learning or brushing-up on a technology without needing it at the moment can be difficult.  I rely on certification programs to provide a bullet list of the most valuable topics to learn.  The certification is a side effect.

“I got friends in low places”

I consider myself a good conversationalist but talking to myself gets old after a while.  So, I go out and meet the local tech community.  I’m a member of a handful of user groups where we network and learn about the latest and greatest tech.  You may even catch me giving a talk here or there.

Let’s not forget about conferences.  This is the next best thing to having a hypodermic needle inject knowledge directly in my brain, and less painful.  Love ‘em!  I try to attend a couple each year.

You can always catch me helping others online in web development groups on Facebook and Reddit.  I’ll occasionally post something interesting on Twitter.

Don’t you have a life?

Believe it or not, I do!  I have a beautiful wife.  Luckily, she has poor eye sight, that’s how I landed her.  We’re both dog people with a pack of 4 and we help dog rescues as much as we can.  We both take advantage of the South Florida weather by paddle boarding.

I have a bunch of hobbies that I tend to cycle through.  Since I said ‘cycle’, we’ll start with triathlon.  It’s been a long time since I raced but I occasionally swim, bike, and run.  I also like mountain biking, reading fiction, martial arts and flying radio controlled helicopters and planes.

Stop stalking me

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane.  If you made it this far, you’re either stalking me or looking to hire me.  If you’re the former, stop being weird.  If you’re the latter, why not contact me now so we can chat?

 

© 2018 Larry Kagan