The Memoirs of the Mashquatch

The infamous Mashquatch

Today I wrapped up my last day at Intel. After numerous Maker Faires and what feels like hundreds of hackathons and workshops, I thought I would  summarize what happened in a blog post while I can still remember it.

The Intel MIG planning team and DroneSmith

Looking back at my photos, I feel now vaguely like I have just woken up after a raging party and am surveying the scene on the morning after: There is a goat wandering the kitchen, someone has stuffed a xylophone down the toilet and for some reason my mailbox is stuffed with confetti.

DFRobot and Anina Net, my friends from China

Long story short, I was a technical evangelist for IoT devices and APIs and I went to a whole lot of events, trained a whole lot of developers and met a lot of interesting people. I wanted to take a moment to remember my favorite parts of the experience.

It went something like this…

National Day of Civic Hacking in Seattle, my first hackathon

It started with me joining the Developer Evangelism or DEVO team at Intel Mashery 3 1/2 years ago. With 300,000+ developers and something like 50+ APIs, we had a small team of 6 whose job it was to travel the world promoting customer’s APIs to developers at many kinds of events. As an API evangelist, it was my job to get developers interested in using our APIs.

The DEVO team

With a tiny shoe-string budget, DEVO operated at an extremely high velocity, covering something like 120 events per year between us. It as a shock to have to operate at such a speed. The DEVO hackathon experience really got me used to being able to plan, improvise and execute on the spot and then change my plan (once everything inevitably went awry) to the next best plan I could come up with.

The evangelization process in action

After supporting multiple back-to-back events, all of the fear of getting on stage and pulling together a workshop at a chaotic collegiate hackathon were systematically “seasoned” out of me.  To this day, I find it impossible to get nervous about supporting any events anymore as a result of this experience.

So how did we get developers to adopt your APIs? Well, through a combination of persuasion, helping developers with technical issues (whether they were associated with our APIs or not), interesting coding challenges, neat prizes and providing useful APIs that allowed developers to build great stuff. Learning to do technical evangelism from some of the best in the industry was definitely a highlight of my career.

The first Intel IoT Roadshow, there was a chicken and I think it was probably illegal to have it indoors.

And I wouldn’t be a real evangelist if I didn’t spend a moment talking on behalf of the developers…

It is hard to understate the weird inventiveness that lurks in the minds of most developers. Everything from smart chicken coops, to robots, to sign language gloves, glasses to help the blind see and much more. Once we began bringing Intel’s IoT hardware like Intel Galileo and Intel Edison with us, that inventiveness skyrocketed.

Using a pile of rags, rubber bands and “found schwag,” developers would turn the Intel Edison turn into a system for converting sign language into text (for example). It soon became clear that we had to begin bringing more to our events than just the Intel Edison and Intel Galileo boards, so the concept of the “HackleBox” emerged…a mobile hackathon supply wagon.

The projects got more and more interesting. Some of them even became products.

My personal favorite is definitely the work done by the OpenAPS community which ultimately was recognized by the Edison Foundation.

The OpenAPS crew

As time went on, Intel Mashery was spun off to become part of Tibco and I joined the larger Intel. Most of the Mashery team either found other things to do or went along the their lives at Tibco.

I got to do cool Intel things such as help launch the AWS IoT platform support for Intel Edison at Amazon re:Invent 2015.

I even met Mark Cuban! Mark. Cuban.

I also got to be a part of the amazing Intel Makers and Innovators Group, where we worked directly with folks like Massimo Banzi.

I grew up thinking that I would be an electronic musician one day. I was wrong about that, but I did get to work with DJ Qbert and the crew from ThudRumble.

Did I mention the giant robots?

After three years, the relentless events had started to wear on me, there are only so many weekends I could spend staying up until 3am helping college kids debug broken Android apps. I have read that the shelf-life of an evangelist is around 18 months, I definitely did that and much more. After doing something like 60+ events in three years, I had enough of the evangelizing and began to turn more towards ecosystem work.

Other stuff happened as well. We got a kitten.

Then we got married.

The kitten grew enormous.

We moved to Portland.

And had a baby.

So things change.

I am leaving the field of evangelism to let someone else with the energy to do…whatever the hell it was I just did…go do that instead of me. More to come soon.

So thats it, adios Intel (and Mashery).