Larry O'Brien 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 wrote the "Codewatch" columnist for SD Times from 2001-2015. 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.
He is retired from Microsoft.
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. Oddly enough, I ended up working for them a decade later and ended up retiring from them in 2022.
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.