He tells the story: “When I was a student at Colorado State University, I started buying and selling fly fishing gear over the Internet with a very simple web site. It was 1992 and, though I didn’t know it at the time, my little web site was one of the first e-commerce and social media sites ever. It was an early online community and had user-generated content—even before there were such concepts.”
When the Cowles Media Company bought the site in 1997, Michael moved to North Carolina and spent the next 12 years working in the web services and software development industries. He launched Bluespark in 2009, formalizing and going full-time with the web development projects he’d been doing on the side for a couple of years. He says, “It was a return to what I know how to do best.”
It was also a return to building and being a part of online communities. Of course, by 2009 everyone was talking about online communities, social media, content management systems, open source and user-generated content. And Bluespark clients were asking for these kinds of capabilities. “A typical Bluespark client,” says Michael, “needs a highly functional, CMS-driven social site. There are usually a large number of registered users who need to use the site for a variety of reasons and in a variety of roles. These users are often performing actual work in the context of the web. And there is very often an element of ecommerce somewhere in the mix.”
To build a site like that, you need a team of experts. And that’s just what Michael has recruited. Though geographically distributed, the team is made up of, in Michael’s words, “consummate professionals,” who are dedicated, innovative, and talented. Add to that the powerhouse web application development framework known as Drupal, and its supportive community of developers worldwide, and you get Bluespark. Unlike most Drupal-centric development shops, in addition to programming expertise, Bluespark has purposely cultivated equally powerful user experience (UX) design, user interface (UI) design, and expert project management expertise.
Work is play for Michael, who truly enjoys waking up every day to oversee and manage Bluespark. When he’s not working though, he drives his 911 Turbo, rides his Ducati Multistrada, plays guitar, likes to get creative in the kitchen, and loves to travel.