Larry O’Brien is a Developer Evangelist for Xamarin. He sold his first program at age 16 and has been an influential voice in the software engineering community since 1989. He edited Computer Language, AI Expert, Software Development, and Game Developer magazines, founded the Jolt Programming Awards, and has written the “Codewatch” columnist for SD Times since 2001. Three times, he architected the core component for a company that subsequently scaled from single-millions to >$100M sales. His programs have appeared in National Geographic Magazine, been collected in the permanent design collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, and have transacted more than $6B over the course of the last decade.
I grew up outside of Boston, in Belmont, Massachusetts, and went to Southampton College on Long Island, where I dual-majored in English and Marine Biology before dropping out.
I moved to San Diego in 1985 and worked for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration for awhile.
A screenplay I wrote led to misadventures in Hollywood for awhile.
In 1989, I moved to San Francisco to take the position of Product Review Editor for the magazines Computer Language and AI Expert.
In 1990, I was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Computer Language. Ditto for AI Expert in ’91.
I was the founding editor of Software Development magazine. Ditto for Game Developer magazine.
Along the way, I was promoted to Editorial Director of the Software Development publishing unit of Miller Freeman Inc. (now CMP)
In 1996, I quit publishing to launch an Internet game company called 1711 Software. We developed middleware for Massive Multiplayer Role-Playing Games. We went broke.
I rode the dot-com bubble from Architect to Vice President of Technology for a company called iMind Education Systems. On paper, I was a millionaire for, like, 8 weeks.
For a period of, like, 3 months, I was the VP of Development at an Internet marketing company called 10th Dimension
In 2003, I was offered an extremely attractive job at a major software company located in the Seattle area. The ease with which I turned it down led me to
realize that I was really willing to trade off a great deal for independence.
My wife, Tina, and I moved to Hawai’i in July of 2004.
We like it here.
I love the ocean. I think fish are really beautiful.
Tina really loves the ocean and fish, too, which works out well for us. I proposed marriage at 94′ at Blue Corner in Palau.
We’re both PADI Divemasters. We’ve dived in:
- Vancouver Island
- Sea of Cortez
- Bali & Komodo Islands
- Irian Jaya
- Papua New Guinea
- Almost every dive site in California & The Channel Islands
Since moving to Hawai’i, we freedive far more often than we SCUBA dive.
Favorite freedive spots on The Big Island are:
- Two-step aka Puuohonua O Honaunau aka Place of Refuge
- Four-mile marker on Ali’i Drive
- Beach on south side of Honokohau Harbor
I really like Frisbee. Go figure.
For those interested in disc golf on The Big Island,
on the first Sunday of the month, about 8 guys play at Manuka State Park. There’s a fantastic
course in Hilo, that you can read about at the Hawaii Castaways Disc Club. In late January, HCDC puts on the “Big Island Open,”
which is a pretty big tournament. The first day is played in a tight, wooded course at McKenzie State Park
and includes some insane over-the-waves shots. The second day is at the Hilo Wailoa course mentioned above.
There are also casual disc golf courses at Kealekehe High School near Kailua Kona and Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea.
I grow, process, and roast my own coffee. It’s insanely labor-intensive, but very satisfying.
Bigfoot footnote: 1