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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Carl is one of the folks I credit (blame?) with getting me started in my career as a VB developer. Back in the mid 90's when I worked for the DoD down in New Orleans, I was a regular visitor to Carl & Gary's VB Homepage. If not for those guys, I'd probably be selling crawfish for a living or worse, coding in Java. So I'm happy to bring you these NINE Questions with Carl Franklin:


1. Where are you from?
I was born in New London, CT and lived until I was 19 with my family in Mystic, CT.  I spent many evenings at Mystic Pizza with my friends. I went to school with the kids who's family owns MP.

2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch: Why would I want to work there, or why would I want to hire them/you?
I work for my company, Franklins.Net. It along with Pwop Productions are small. We have one employee (me) and everyone else works as a contractor. Our main revenue stream these days comes from advertising on or very popular podcasts. Pwop Productions is also a full-blown audio and video production/post-production studio. The guys that work for me are into all aspects of audio and video production.  They tell me regularly that they love their jobs. :) It's a great place to work, and I hope to be able to hire many more talented people as demand for the studio grows.

3. You've been a public figure in this industry for pretty much as long as I've had a career. What's something the world doesn't know about you?
I was in the first American choir to sing in Westminster Abbey in London. I was a boy soprano in the Community Chorus of Westerly (Rhode Island) from age 8 to age 13. We went on a tour of England and Scotland in 1980. The first concert I did with them when I was 8 was Beethoven's 9th Symphony. It was a great experience. You can thank my mother for that.

4. Some of the younger folks in this industry might not remember Carl & Gary's Visual Basic Homepage. If it was still around today, what would it be like?
I think it would probably be called Carl & Gary's .NET Home Page, and it would be more along the lines of a search engine. The whole Yahoo-style managed list of resources turned out to be much more difficult to maintain than a good search engine. I think Dan Appleman's is about as close to as we have today.

5. This is the first year Tech Ed was split up into two conferences. As a Tech Ed veteran, what was your initial reaction to hearing about the split, and how do you think it went now that it's over?
The first TechEd to split was Europe in 2006. I heard mixed reactions back then. Most negative feedback naturally came from those people who were both IT and developer people, which happens to be small business owners who can least afford to take 2 weeks and pay twice as much to attend both weeks. Fortunately, they are in the minority, and most attendees feel better about having a dev only week and an IT only week. I think the IT folks are especially happy about that.

6. The whole Code Camp, Tech-This and Day of That scene has really exploded over the last 4 years. Are we anywhere near a critical mass? How much is too much?
I think it's great. People who would otherwise be priced out of a major conference can meet and get real face time with some of the same speakers that the big guys get. Also the whole Open Spaces thing is very valuable in a small setting. You can participate in small-group discussions without feeling drowned out. I think it will continue full-steam-ahead for years to come.

7. I contacted you through Facebook to do this (and thanks again for agreeing, by the way) so how about giving me your take on the whole social networks scene. Is there any common ground between the LinkedIn and Plaxo sites versus the Facebook and MySpace type sites? Where do you see this heading?
They each have their niche, don't they. MySpace seems to be about bands and music. LinkedIn is for professional contacts. Plaxo is for contact info. Facebook is for... ah... what is Facebook for again??? I guess I don't really utilize the social aspect of these as much as I do LinkedIn for doing real business. I get crap because I don't Tweet enough... Damned if I think people are interested in what I'm doing all the time. It also feels like a bit of an invasion of privacy (twitter) not only for me, but for those whose lives I'm spying on. I guess I'm not the best person to ask about those.

Tell you what, though. I'm sick of being recruited to join every new network that pops up. At some point this has to stop. :)

8. Aside from being Carl Franklin, the technologist, you also have some musical ability. I recently started guitar lessons myself, and it's hard work. So what all do you play, and how long have you played? Which came first, the music or the technology?
Music came first. Piano lessons at age 5. Singing/voice training at age 8, guitar and trumpet at age 10, baritone horn at age 15. Somewhere along the way I picked up bass guitar and drums, although I didn't have a drum set until age 33. I started playing in bars when I was 15 with my brother, and I was playing with a bar band/wedding band when I was 17. While my high-school friends were flipping burgers on the weekends I was playing Z Z Top and The Cars songs to the bar crowd and making good money.

I didn't start with computers until around 1983 when I taught myself TRS-DOS and Basic on the TRS-80 Model 4. I got an XT clone in 1986 and after learning QuickBASIC and later using Crescent Software's tools I got a job there in 1991, which really launched my career.

9. Last of all, any tattoos?
Not a single one.

Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008 10:09 AM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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