Since I was very young, and right on through college, I loved to swim. In high school I even joined the swim team and took life saving classes solely so I could get extra time in the pool. I think I got every Red Cross swimming certification that was offered during that period.
After I graduated from M.I.T., there wasn't a convenient pool near me, and I slowly got out of the habit of swimming. Many years later, long after I had forgotten about swimming, we bought a house that had a swimming pool. We didn't buy it because we wanted a pool, but simply because the perfect house happened to already have a pool.
Between work and moving, I didn't want to spend the time to learn how to maintain the pool right away, so we hired a pool service. The pool service actually flat out refused to help us. They told me that the pool was essentially a total loss. After seeing the look on my stepdaughter's face when she got that news, and finding out what the pool repairs he suggested would cost, I decided I had to get more directly involved.
It took me a month of searching and reading on the Internet to figure out how to solve the various problems our pool had. I was shocked by how drastically different the advice from various sources was, and by how poorly some of the things that were recommended actually worked. Then I found PoolForum (this was before TFP existed) and people who actually knew how to solve the pool problems we had. By then I was hooked. Ever since, I have read everything I can find on pool care, both on and off the Internet.
I am self-employed developing computer software and consulting on computer software and hardware. My main business is developing and selling a web server log analyzer called Summary. I also have a Sudoku player for the iPhone. And I consult for a couple of companies, including MOTU, a company that develops computer software and hardware for professional musicians.
Over the years I have founded three companies, developed accounting systems, word processing, computer games, music notation software, MIDI sequencing software, digital audio hardware and software, software development tools, video processing hardware and software, and done web server management. I have also spent a great deal of time working on and teaching cooperative business development, conflict resolution/mediation, fire tending for sweat lodges, and served on a couple of non-profit boards.
When you start your own company you have to do everything. For me that has mostly meant software development, sales, marketing, and technical support. Over the years I have found that for every hour I spend writing a program, I end up spending ten hours explaining how to use it. With apologies to my English teachers, I feel like I never really learned to write until I started doing tech support. Now that I have spent twenty years trying to explain something the best way possible so I don't have to answer the same question from the same person again tomorrow, I feel like I am finally getting a grasp on writing.
I love puzzles, and so far swimming pool care is the most complex and exciting puzzle I have ever run across. Figuring out swimming pools is a lot more fun than my current project at work. I often look to my hobbies for ideas for starting a business. The perfect swimming pool product hasn't occurred to me yet, but I know that it will.