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IBM Champion, former director of the Atlanta User Group for IBM Collaboration, and architect of the .Domino framework on OpenNTF, Peter is a globally recognized lecturer, trainer and thought-leader within the IBM Notes community. As Red Pill Now’s CEO, Peter leads our market strategy and program management practice.
The Volcano King
The island of Tasmano’s first IBM Champion, The Volcano King has managed many the whizzes of many whizzlebies. At the ripe young age of 24, Peter oversaw the first farloon hatching, leading his kingdom to global recognition of it’s cavernous depths, and it’s proliferation of glozadils. As the elder spokesman for the volcano folk, Peter led them from fire and clay, to prosperity at breakneck speed.
In the style of Dr. Suess
In the uppermost up
Of the Island Tasmano
At the toppermost top
Of a fiery volcano
Where the luffernip luffs
And the whizzleby whizzes
And the hot spring of Zippula
Bubbles and fizzes
There, at the crest
Of the peakiest peaking
A boy-child was born
(In a manner of speaking.)
Not so much born,
The volcano folk say,
But more like assembled
From fire and clay
And the gribbly-soft down
Of a just-hatched farloon
And the wumpulous warbles
Of the bardabassoon.
Mixed well and salted
And brewed for a week
In the cavernous depths
Of a glozadil’s beak.
Presnell was his surname;
His first name was Peter,
And no volcano-born person
Ever was neater.
In the shade of the zoofletree
He grew strong as a melfoose
Snacking on zooflenuts
And drinking their juice.
His head filled with brains,
And his shoes filled with feet,
He explored and inquired
And became a smart Pete.
Tasmano was home,
And I’m sure you’ll believe it
When I tell you that Peter
Had no wish to leave it.
But a certain day came
With a certain feel to it
When a certain young Peter
Must certainly do it.
He’d explored to the limits,
He’d grown all he could grow
And without leaving the island,
He’d learned all he could know.
So around the caldera
The volcano folk gathered
(The aforementioned creatures,
And also the Zather,
The Mellifluous Melfoose,
The Venomous Vlex,
And of course both the Conformist
And the Contrary Crecks.)
They gathered in wonder,
They gathered with pride,
To see Peter off
And bid him goodbye.
The glozadil, in whose beak
Pete had gestated,
Was understandably fearful
That his boat might be raided,
Or tossed by a sea storm,
Or his feathered cape lost,
Or he might be captured by pirates
And served warm with a sauce.
But the other volcano folk
Soothed her with songs
That had been sung in those parts
Peter spoke a few words
And cried a few tears
And promised he’d come back
In a number of years
To tell the volcano folk
All the things he had seen,
Heard, smelled, and discovered
In the places he’d been.
So with his head filled with brains,
And his shoes filled with feet,
He waved fare-thee-well
And climbed into the seat
Of his seafaring vessel
Made of bamboo and hide
With a belching volcano
Tattooed on its side.
He unmoored his boat
And it drifted to sea
And Pete watched as the island
Shrank, small as a pea.
Peter’s seafaring vessel
Sailed far and wide
To unlikely countries
With Peter inside.
Each land where he landed
He encountered new wonders
Like the Bog of Burnandit
And the Spiralous Splunderz.
He traveled the globe
And made his own way
Keeping adrift till he came
To the land of El-Lay.
There was something about it
That Pete found intriguing
So he decided to stay
Until he found it fatiguing.
A strange place it was,
With odd-speaking folks
Who wore shoes called “sneakers”
And featherless cloaks.
Were fond of commuting
Back and forth to the hallowed
Halls of Computing.
It was in these great halls
That the El-Layans made codes
That made paper that paid
For their luxury abodes
And their featherless cloaks
And their shiny white shoes
And their meals that did not
Include zooflenut juice.
At first Peter thought it
An odd sort of system—
With so many protocols
No lister could list ‘em.
But when invited to try
His own hand at the coding
He took to it like
A vlex to its vloting.
He was fast as a flare,
And could type like the wind,
And when he’d finished
He wanted to do it again.
Pete pounded the keys
Til his fingers were sore,
Then he bandaged them gently
And pounded some more.
In no more than one year,
Six months and a day,
He became the best coder
That ever could say
He was made of farloon-down
And volcano fire
With a completely straight face
And not be a liar.
Many years passed
And Peter grew older
With the bright El-Lay sun
Shining down on his shoulders.
And one day it struck him
Amid strings of code
That he missed dear Tasman-o
And he really must go
Back to the island--
For a promise he owed,
and there’s no telling when
Volcanos might explode.
He stood up from the keyboard
And stretched all his limbs
And dusted the dust
Off his boat made of skins.
And wishing his friends
A fantastulous day,
He departed the sunny, strange
Land of El-Lay.
He sailed round the globe
Towards the home he was seeking—
He didn’t stop ’til he spied
The peakiest peaking
Of the toppermost top
Of the Island Tasman-o
And the uppermost up
Of its fiery volcano.
An ecstatic reunion
Took place at the shore
With the Zather, the Melfoose,
The Farloon, and more.
The glozadil wept tears of delight
And even the Vlexes were glad
To see Peter alight.
To this very day,
Peter Presnell remains
At the toppermost top
Of the Island Tasmane.
But though you look far,
And though you peer wide,
You won’t find the volcano
Where Peter resides.
- Captained the Tasmanian track & field team at the Australian High School championships
- Purchased his first personal computer (Apple 2C) for BP Australia to help forecast demand for petroleum products
- Moved his family from Los Angeles to Atlanta for the opportunity to work alongside Lotus Legends Nathan T Freeman, Tim Tripcony, Keith Strickland, Chris Toohey, Paul Calhoun, Devin Olson, Chris Whisonant, and Brad Balassaitis at GBS
- Sat on a plane alongside Bob and Sandy Kadrie, and Keith Strickland while the Brussels Airport bombing of 2015 unfolded
- Gave up a career as a LotusScript (Notes) developer for the chance to be the conductor of an orchestra of highly talented people at Red Pill Now who have taught me more about myself than I have ever learned before
Nathan T. Freeman
Three-time IBM Champion, co-founder and director emeritus of OpenNTF, Nathan is well-known for his energetic and thought-provoking presentations, and his deep knowledge of Domino and Graph databases. Nathan is Red Pill Now’s chief software architect and leads our development team.
Nathan T. Freeman
Completely non-plussed by others’ expectations that he do absolutely nothing anyone else demands, the Master Defiantist is, unsurprisingly, also the founder and first practitioner of Defiantics—an art which seeks only to have its practitioners do precisely and exclusively as they wish. Even the longest and most egregiously run-on sentences written to describe his accomplishments render the Master Defiantist unflapped, largely because he has bigger fish to fry than grammar and semantics, and fry these bigger fish he most certainly and routinely does.
Nathan The Freeman began his illustrious career in the mystical arts of anti-authoritarianism early in life when, at the appointed hour, he obstinately refused to exit his mother’s womb. Labor had begun in earnest and all of the required paperwork had already been signed and notarized, and still, Nathan neglected to emerge. Days passed, along with a law or two regarding the need for a firm governmental response to the rising problem of prenatal dissidence. Nathan completely disregarded the mandates and continued to cling to the uterine walls in a contemptible display of disobedience. The delivery nurses threatened to strike and several powerful men in Washington were quite displeased. Finally, after he’d achieved notoriety as a dangerous anarchist-type and the president had declared him an Enemy of the State, Nathan leisurely made his way down the birth canal and, demonstrating incredible small-motor control for a newborn infant, proceeded to flip off everyone in the delivery room. Except for his mother, for whom he naturally felt a loving fondness.
From his origin story one can see clearly that Nathan was destined for greatness, though perhaps not the sort of greatness that gets people put in history books, and certainly not the sort that rulers hand out medals for. No, the greatness of Nathan The Freeman skipped the socially acceptable path of development entirely, forging its own course, thumbing its nose at the opinions of anyone who was not Nathan The Freeman. When, at the age of ten, he showed a promising capacity for magic, society urged him to try his hand at the art of soothsaying. After all, the priests and presidents of the world badly needed talented young diviners to assist them in their quests for domination, and the pay was quite lucrative indeed. Or, failing that, society suggested, he might look into bureaumancy. The job security couldn’t be beat. Society had rather a long list of ideas for how Nathan’s magical gifts ought to be applied. There was conjury and alchemics, bewitchery and curatives. But Nathan had no interest in any of these areas of expertise, and so he just made up his own. Thus he became the founder and first practitioner of defiantics.
Defiantics is an art in which the goal is to get the object of the magical experiment to behave as it wishes, rather than as society, physics or the defiantist wish it to behave. It is therefore a rather imprecise magic, and there is no way of predicting the results of a defiantist enchantment. While an ordinary magician might command an apple to change into a tortoise, the defiantist simply asks the apple what it wants to be. More often than not, the apple remains an apple, though it may be seen to expel a worm or to change its skin from red to green. But every once in awhile, the apple completely and unapologetically throws off the yoke of oppression and decides instead to be an intergalactic spaceship. This has caused some problems, as intergalactic spaceships are not supposed to exist, as such.
The prevailing opinion among experts is that defiantics is a useless and dangerous magic, and that such unruliness should not be tolerated in the magical arts. The academicians have succeeded in wiping the method out of the textbooks and barring entry for would-be defiantists to the most prestigious institutions of magical instruction. However, a few vocal iconoclasts claim that defiantics is far superior to the conventional schools. These rogue professors have been accused by the establishment of being themselves victims of defiantist spells and charms, to which the rogues have responded that even if it were so, it would only serve to prove their point.
Nathan himself remains silent on the controversy, saying that he is too busy being a badass to pay much attention to establishmentarian quibbles.
- Named after the Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale (“I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”) who was executed at the age of 21 by the British for spying on behalf of the Continental Army, an appropriate namesake to prophesy his antiestablishment trajectory
- At the age of 16, inducted himself into the world of radical design by publishing an underground newspaper with a friend; using only a Commodore Amiga computer running the earliest versions of Photoshop and desktop publishing software, the duo cobbled together three full pages of content and images which they cleverly dubbed “Lowlife,” the dark sibling of their high school newspaper “Highlife”
- At the age of 18, while studying finance and economics at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, taught himself Word Perfect overnight to qualify for a moonlighting job working the front desk of an international software consultancy; a self-taught networking geek, became “the IT guy” in an office full of programmers and incidentally trained as the company’s bookkeeper by the company president
- Became an Anheuser-Busch Certified Beer Master in 2002 and has worked with IBM in a whole different capacity—to create a Beer Reception for Business Partners
- Quit college to work full-time and started his own consulting company after four years specializing in delivering creative solutions to software problems
- Conjured the idea for Open NTF, the world’s first open source site, in 2002 and created it with a colleague; became the world’s first open source programmer
- An early adopter of Bitcoin cryptocurrency in 2012, now lives in an undisclosed, underground bunker overseas
Director of The Shadow Arm (but you didn’t hear that from us)
As is the case with most clandestine operatives, little can be shared publicly about the Director of The Shadow Arm or, in fact, the existence of The Shadow Arm at all. But just between us, what differentiates The Shadow Arm from all other counterterrorism units is, beyond its fully private-sector independence, its unique ability to eliminate terrorists without incidentally creating them. And what differentiates its Director from all other counterterrorism unit directors is his uncanny ability to access the most talented young programmers for his Network Infiltration Team using Red Pill Now as a front organization for his operations. They don’t refer to him in the counterterrorism world as the Down Lowest by happenstance.
So when he was home, he made sure to take full advantage of the lull. Just as he carefully strategized his missions, he also had a practical strategy for respite. Eat three squares. Sleep a full eight hours. Spend quality time with the wife and kids. And build something in the shop. There was something incomparably soothing about being surrounded by the sweet, earthy smell of sawdust, feeling the smooth wood grain under his fingers. There were no problems in the wood shop. No geopolitical strife, no secret identities, no global threats. When he was there, it was as if the rest of the world just went away.
Officially, Strickland was the co-founder of Red Pill Now, a tech solutions firm servicing top tier corporate clientele. Unofficially, he served as director and senior field agent of the world’s only fully private sector counterterrorism unit, The Shadow Arm, for which RPN was a front. In that clandestine capacity, Strickland’s unique skill set found its real world application.
Ever since he was a child, he’d been something of an anomaly. At five years old, every boy wants to fight bad guys, as cop or cowboy or soldier. And five-year-old Kieth was no exception, but unlike the other boys, he really meant it. In school, he’d excelled equally well in academics and athletics, and had taken up a varied range of hobbies. From martial arts to financial investments, theater to chess, computer science to sharpshooting, no field was outside of his purview. By the time he graduated high school, he was fluent in fourteen languages, had completed advanced courses of study in psychology, physics, and political science, and was competent in seven styles of hand-to-hand combat.
While his friends went off to college, he devoted himself to gaining the knowledge and developing the skills that would enable him to pursue his calling. With profit from investments he’d made as a teenager, he traveled around the globe, studying under a series of mentors—masters in the fields of strategy, weaponry, wilderness survival. He spent six months in a Parisian acting school and employed an accent coach to perfect the art of identity switching. He flew planes in Chile and disabled bombs in Nigeria. In North Carolina, he trained with a retired NASCAR driver in a series of simulated high speed chases, then flew to Las Vegas to learn the art of illusion from one of the entertainment industry’s top magicians. When, at twenty-six, he felt he’d completed his self-led studies, he got to work on a plan to put them to use, and thus was The Shadow Arm conceived.
There were plenty of laymen out there—amateurs, fancying themselves spies—who conducted independent investigations of terror groups from the comfort of their own basements. The Shadow Arm was of a different caliber. Despite its lack of government funding or connections to the international intelligence community, it was a highly efficient mitigator of terrorist threats, with, Strickland knew, a success rate far superior to both the CIA and MI6. This was not accidental; due to its independent nature, The Shadow Arm was the only counterterrorism unit in the world that did not create terrorists, but only eliminated them.
With RPN as its front organization, Strickland had access to the brightest young programmers, and from this perennial crop of talent he recruited operatives for his elite Network Infiltration Team. The team was responsible for penetrating into the darkest corners of the Internet to pose as violent extremists and to ingratiate themselves with the truly radicalized. From there, it was simply a matter of asking the right questions. Motives, locations, leaders, schemes, and logistics—all could be learned by a patient agent with the appropriate subterfuge. There was a time to coil and a time to strike, and Strickland had personally trained each of his operatives to recognize the difference.
Once a threat had been fully researched and certified by Network Infiltration, it was passed along to Field Operations. This was where Strickland took a more active role, and to say that things could get dangerous would be a monumental understatement. Religious extremists strapped neck to navel with explosives, malicious hackers with fingers poised to access a country’s nuclear codes, ecoterrorists bent on decimating the human population with a vial of designer disease—Strickland had dealt with all of these and more. And miraculously, survived.
If The Shadow Arm was his contribution to the world, then the wood shop was his refuge from it. There, in the warm light of the work lamp and the steady, droning buzz of the table saw, Strickland felt a wonderful sense of peace knowing that with each bench he built—each table, each pallet-wood shelf—he was adding something useful to the world, instead of taking something useless out of it.
- Served 5 1/2 years in the United States Navy Submarine Service where Keith learned about – and purchased – his first computer
- Discovered his love for writing code during his stint as Lead Admin for The Coca-Cola Company
- Learned what a real team was during his first job as developer for Sprint
- After years of asking to work with the IBM Notes "dream team," consisting of Tim Tripcony, Nathan Freeman, Chris Toohey, and Chris Whisonant, Keith was hired by Nathan Freeman at GBS. It was at GBS where Keith learned that nothing is impossible, and that people would pay him – not just for coding, but for his innovative thinking
Partner, Chief Creative Officer
During his career, Bob has garnered scores of design awards, and has served as advisor to senior business executives from AT&T, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Emory University, General Motors, J.M. Huber, Rinnai Corporation and Worldspan, among others. Noted trainer and speaker, his LUG appearances have regularly ranked among the highest. Bob carefully guides Red Pill Now’s brand, as well as the UX and UI design strategies for Red Pill Now's software and consulting practices.
Fish Mystic aka Salmon of Knowledge aka Flounder of Joy aka Lobster of Sorrow aka Narwhal of Triumph in Maritime Battle aka Bob
As all big fish tales are wont to start, most who have had the great fortune to encounter the Fish Mystic refer to him wistfully as “The One That Got Away.” For those who know him simply as Bob, his reputation most always precedes him, and invariably he leaves a wake when imparting his gifts on those who visit his oracle.
The mystical has always been steeped in saltwater, bound up in seaweed, adorned with silvery scales. Once upon a time, the great fisherwomen of Hawaii could stand on the beach and cast their eyes out over the water to do their fishing for them. The old Hebrew water benders could part the seas or stroll atop them without even getting their sandals wet. The Dogon tribe of Mali credit their spiritual wisdom as well as their cosmological understanding to a race of spacefaring fish-people.
An Irish myth tells of a salmon who, upon being ingested by a king’s servant, gifted humanity with the knowledge of the universe. Bob Kadrie was that salmon. Of course, the salmon, being a special kind of immortal only the Irish could have devised, could be fried and eaten without dying. Can we say as much for Adam’s apple?
The fish mystic has appeared as man among men and as fish among fish, and has on occasion taken the half-man, half-fish form by which he is known in the folklore of various animist sects. His career did not stop at Salmon of Knowledge. He is also the Flounder of Joy, the Lobster of Sorrow, and the Narwhal of Triumph in Maritime Battle. He is the merman who seduced Leviathan, who raised her beluga babies and sent them off to dental school. He is the harbinger of the news of the flood who reminds you to pack a fresh pair of underwear before boarding the ark. But nowadays, most people just call him “Bob”.
Bob’s origins can be traced to the earth’s humble beginnings. He was not created—for whatever gods there once were fled our quaint ball of clay long before life took hold, holding up their robes on the way out so as not to muddy the pristine hems. Creation, he recalls, was more of a self-starter. He remembers when the world was new, its scant patches of dry land inhospitable to all but a few single celled organisms. He witnessed the great aquatic diaspora when ancient proto-sharks grew stubby legs and ventured out of the sea shallows onto the parched alien landscape beyond. He remembers the advent of men on the planet, their awkward, fleshy bodies made for the dirt but inexplicably comfortable in the water. He remembers the Great Deluge, when the whole world was covered over with water and for forty days and forty nights, fish was king of all.
It is said he can breathe underwater and speak the languages of the deep. Local legends claim that when he puts on his red trunks and hikes down to the swimming hole for a summer afternoon dip, schools of brook trout part down the middle for him, accepting him as one of their own.
Fishermen come to Bob’s hut to pay homage. For his blessing, they give offerings of ten dollars and a can of worms, and he murmurs a homily of unintelligible sounds like flourishing fins and bursting bubbles and the slow masonry that turns oyster puke into pearls. Afterwards, out on the river, the fish seem almost magnetized to their hooks.
When Bob goes out for dollar margaritas on Fridays, small children sneak around his bar stool, craning and tiptoeing for a chance to see if he has gills behind his ears. He doesn’t. The gills are not present in his human manifestation.
But if you creep around the edge of his hut on a warm summer night when the moon hangs large, reflecting a rippling yellow pufferfish on the surface of a parking lot mud puddle, you might hear Bob Kadrie utter the haiku that commands the ocean tides. If you venture closer, parting the undulating seafoam curtain at his doorway, you might catch a glimpse of shimmering scales or a whiff of fresh caught tuna. And if you gather the courage to enter the hut, you may find the fish mystic relaxing in a cool bath, his tail thrown luxuriously over the side of the whale bone tub. Look closely and you will see something of eternity etched in the scales around his glass bead eyes.
- At age 11 – and with some irony – was the youngest member admitted to IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians)
- Served as the special effects director and was an understudy at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
- Designed the first traveling exhibit for the inaugural Whitney Museum Biennial video exhibition
- Wrote, directed and scored “Real Live Robots," a short movie for Carnegie-Melon University and the Buhl Science Center
- Youth hockey coach for ten years, and league commissioner for five
- Founded and led accreditation of the Southeastern Center for the Arts Communications Design Program
- Worked on branding and visual identity system for Emory University
- Provided strategy, and design consulting for the acquisition of Worldspan by Citigroup
- Managed team of designers and programmers assigned to migrate 17 client-server applications for admins and agencies to web-based applications
- Lead UX and UI designer for Worldspan Trip Manager through three production versions
- Led UX and UI teams for Delta Air Lines interactive seating charts for use with all online travel reservation systems powered by Worldspan
- Led 3-year brand strategy, and visual identity system design teams for The Mission Society
- Led UX and UI teams for Delta Air Lines interactive seating charts for use with all online travel reservation systems powered by Worldspan
- Led international brand, marketing, advertising, trade show and collateral design teams for Worldspan
- Led 3-year brand strategy, recruiting and online application development teams for Emory Graduate school
- Led the conception and development of "Atlanta in the Civil Rights Era," an online document and precious materials archive
- Appointed to the Board of Advisors for the conception of the brick and mortar, "Center for Civil and Human Rights"
- Designed the inaugural website and ticketing system for the "Center for Civil and Human Rights"
- Led 2-year brand strategy, and visual identity system design teams for The Poynter Institute
- Led brand strategy, UX and UI teams to develop Atlanta PlanIt, an arts and culture search engine and engagement tracking system for Public Broadcasting Atlanta
- Co-created, and developed a highly successful, innovative, non-branded, consumer pilot program for General Motors. Designed to facilitate the collection of consumer data comparing GM brands to the others, this service provided a second chance at a first impression of GM products
- Led UX strategy, UI design, and social media marketing teams to significantly improve online lead generation, and sales for Rinnai Corporation over a two year period
Devin S. Olson
Over the past 20 years, Devin has built his reputation as an outstanding Notes and XPages developer. He is also widely recognized for his consulting, speaking, and training skills – always staying one step ahead of the industry. A car buff and motorcycle enthusiast, Devin also devotes time as a lay minister within his community.
Devin S. Olson
Master Brewer of Forbidden Fruit and Flobbex 500’s 499th Richest Being in the Galaxy
Who in his right mind ever would have dreamed that a simple man having a solitary sit in the woods on a late afternoon in autumn would save the planet from imminent destruction AND become a galactic Who’s Who? The answer to this question is no one—no one in his right mind. But ask any member of Team Shork or the representative from the in-game comestibles department of “Can You Relate?” which Earthling was recently paid fifty billion blorbs to train a team to brew Forbidden Fruit, and you’ll see that right minds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
It was that late autumn time of year when the chill air threatens of snows to come and some men take to the woods to feel the wind on their faces, to sit alone and contemplate the nature of life. That was precisely what Devin Olsen was doing on the day Team Shork insinuated themselves into Devin’s perfectly normal life, shattering once and for all any pretense at normality. He had just taken a sip of his coriander-spiced beer, Forbidden Fruit, lovingly home-brewed for occasions such as these, and was thinking what a nice flavor it had, far better than what was generally available at the Qwik-E-Mart. That made him wonder what kind of snacks the Qwik-E-Mart had, and whether he should hike back to the road and buy some, but before he had time to answer his own quandary, he was unceremoniously sucked up a passing tube of what appeared to be liquid metal, and into a flying object that appeared to be an alien spacecraft. Luckily, he had the foresight to hug his jug of Forbidden Fruit tight to his chest during the ascent, and its precious contents remained unspilt.
Aboard the ship Devin met a trio of strange looking, orange aliens who called themselves Team Shork. He was surprised to learn that they spoke his language until their leader, Volgrun, explained that Team Shork had purchased the “All Languages Upgrade” for just 29 blorbs. Devin figured this was just as good an explanation as any, and politely but firmly demanded that Volgrun tell him what the bloody hell he was doing on their bloody ship, and when he was going to be returned to his camp chair.
Volgurn kindly explained that Team Shork required Devin’s assistance in a game. Can You Relate? was the most popular reality interface game in existence, and Team Shork was poised to obtain Level 42, which would make them the top relating masters in the galaxy. All they had to do was relate to an Earthling, and Devin seemed a likely candidate.
Devin would really rather be back in his camp chair, drinking his beer and feeling the cool autumn wind as it blew across his face, but the request seemed straightforward enough, and there was no telling what might happen if he refused. So he reluctantly agreed to participate.
Team Shork launched into a commotion of activity, and when they were done, Devin found himself sitting in a large, uncomfortable object which might have been a chair, with tiny, uncomfortable objects which might have been alien jewelry attached to various points on his body. Volgrun explained that they had just hooked him up to the Relater 5000, which would determine with 100% accuracy whether or not Devin was relatable. On their own planet, no one related in the old fashioned way anymore. Whenever a need for relationship arose, they would hook themselves up to the Relater and allow the machine to do the hard work. As an aside, he added that if Devin was found to be unrelatable, Team Shork would fall twenty levels and oh, also, Earth would be deleted permanently from the game.
Deleted? Devin requested clarification on this point. According to Volgrun, the entire Milky Way galaxy was the in-game world of Can You Relate? All planets, including Earth, had been randomly populated into it. If ten teams tried and failed to relate to a world’s sentient species, the world would be deleted within an hour, eventually to be replaced. Team Shork was the tenth team to attempt relating to humans. A wave of anguish crashed over Devin as he grappled with the realization that he was about to undergo an attempt at relationship-by-machine which, if unsuccessful, would mean the destruction of all he had ever known down to the last speck of Terran dust. He expressed his dismay in a long string of epithets that were apparently not included in the All Languages Upgrade.
Momentarily, a high pitched sound filled the spacecraft compartment, alerting them that the Relater 5000 had finished its task. Volgrun read a message that scrolled in strange symbols across a wall display, and announced that humans were completely unrelatable.
Team Shork was devastated. It had taken them 546 zorts to achieve 41st level relating masters, and now they would be dropped to 21st level. It was all so unfair. They never should have come to Earth. Devin suggested that perhaps his plight was more pressing, but Team Shork couldn’t relate. Devin was taken with two sudden, simultaneous urges. He wanted to be with his family. And he wanted to punch Team Shork in their orange faces. Instead, he lifted his jug of Forbidden Fruit to his lips and took a deep swig, and then, in a moment of unfounded generosity, he passed the jug around. Volgrun took a hesitant sip. It was lucky they had the Gastrointestinal Invincibility Upgrade, he said, making all in-game comestibles safe. The other team members tasted the beer and then they all wanted to taste it again. Volgrun opined that it was the nicest libation that had ever made contact with his taste blippers. The others agreed, and asked where in the galaxy they might obtain some for themselves.
Upon learning that Devin had produced the beer himself, and that there was only one jug of Forbidden Fruit in the entire galaxy, and that the recipe and all of the native ingredients required to make it were about to be lost in the deletion of Earth, Team Shork lamented. What a terrible loss to all races in the cosmos! They would not even know what they missed. It was a damnable shame, and they were filled with remorse that it had to happen as the result of their own actions.
A high pitched sound filled the spacecraft compartment, and a new message scrolled in odd, alien symbols across the wall display. Volgrun scurried over to read it, and then gleefully announced that they had succeeded, without even trying to, in relating without the aid of the Relater 5000. Who knew the rudimentary relating process still worked in the current zort? Team Shork would attain 42nd Level Relating Masters, Earth would be spared, and most importantly, Devin would live to brew another batch of Forbidden Fruit. After joyful farewells, Team Shork dropped Devin through the tube and back into his camp chair, where he resumed his contemplation of the nature of life, his understanding of the same having changed dramatically over the past hour. He returned home to his family that evening with a profound sense of appreciation and a new zest for living.
Six months later, Devin was contacted by a representative from Can You Relate?’s In-Game Comestibles Department. They wanted to pay him fifty billion blorbs to travel to headquarters and train a team to brew Forbidden Fruit. And that is how Devin S. Olson made the Flobbex 500 List of Richest Beings in the Galaxy. He hasn’t figured out a way to use all those blorbs yet, but he has all the time in the world.
- While pursuing a career in education, took an elective coding class on a lark and discovered his special purpose
- Earned multiple certifications in Lotus Notes during the pre-world wide web era while back-end programming for computer stores to track inventory in real-time and developed expertise in writing back-end code for the text marketing industry (pre-smartphone), using exclusively the Notes and Domino platform
- Consulted in development for the single largest Lotus Notes Authorized Education Center Business Partner in the country, eventually writing courseware and teaching development classes
- Created website in 2012 (learningxpages.com) to document his acquisition of XPages and his Legacy Notes application development
- Became an Anheuser-Busch Certified Beer Master in 2002 and has worked with IBM in a whole different capacity—to create a Beer Reception for Business Partners
Business Relationship Director
Since receiving his MBA in 2000, Turk has made a career from developing and cultivating business relationships. From using his law degree to help foreign nationals negotiate business relationships in Turkey, to becoming a top performer for Elon Musk, Turk is not happy unless he’s helping others find success in business.
If you haven’t heard of DeLorean, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Conceived by inventor and history buff Turk Ergun, news of the revolutionary new smart phone app has taken the world by storm, and it hasn’t even been released yet. It’s based on the principles of something called ‘Stationary Temporal Observation’ (STO). Basically, time travel—but without all the messy paradoxes that result in becoming your own grandfather.
STO differs from traditionally theorized time travel in that it allows you to observe—but not interact with—the past, through a video interface. And, as of yet, it does not enable observation of future events. In a way, it’s better than the time travel of science fiction, because with STO, there’s no chance of ruining your future children’s lives or accidentally learning the date and circumstances of your own death, thereby plunging you into a never-ending time loop of unsuccessful attempts to change your own fate.
According to DeLorean’s marketing material, the app will enable the user to “experience history firsthand.” That’s something Turk Ergun knows a bit about. During the ten year developmental process for the technology behind DeLorean, he experienced more than his fair share.
A casual student of history all his life, Ergun knew that developing STO technology was his destiny from the moment he first read a Popular Science article about the theory.
“I experienced a revelatory jolt,” Ergun says. “A lightning strike of inspiration. These scientists were talking about STO as far back as twenty years ago. But it was all just hypothesis. Everyone else regarded it as a science fictional concept, and so the research just wasn’t done to figure out a way to implement the theory. But by the time I finished reading the article, I knew it was going to be my life’s work.”
Fresh out of law school, he fit his unconventional hobby into off-work hours. He consulted top theorists and attracted many time travel enthusiasts to his project until he had a team of lay scientists around the world, crunching numbers on their lunch breaks and conducting experiments in their garages.
The team’s early work focused on the construction of a specialized camera that could penetrate the stratifications of space-time. It seemed an impossible feat, but with an unquenchable enthusiasm, they succeeded. By the end of the second year, Ergun demonstrated the camera for the first time for a small gathering of team members and scientists in his living room.
“We didn’t have all the math worked out yet to account for time passage and spatial drift,” says Ergun, “So the prototype device was very crude. I wasn’t able to enter in exact temporal coordinates—we developed that feature later. The prototype just selected a temporal layer at random. We had the camera hooked up to a projector, and what showed up on the screen appeared mundane—just a pastoral scene, with trees and grasses and stuff. But we had the video analyzed afterwards and found that the plant life in the images was prehistoric. There were a few skeptics in the crowd that day, but once the results came in and they all had a chance to review the data, they were satisfied with the results. That’s when research money started pouring in.”
The next few years of research produced a complex spatial drift calculation algorithm which allowed the user to enter in specific temporal coordinates to view. From that point on, Ergun delved into the practical application of the technology by using it to record historical events as they actually happened. During that time, he witnessed multiple important historical events, including the Battle of Hastings, the Coronation of Henry VIII, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the construction of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. But the majority of his research time was spent photographing ancient documents.
“I asked myself, what is the one historical place I could observe that would add the most new knowledge to our understanding of ancient history? After a while, it hit me: the Great Library of Alexandria. It was a bit weird to be leaning over the shoulders of these great scholars, taking photographs of whatever they were reading,” says Ergun. “Especially since I’m not fluent in ancient Greek. Most of the time I had no idea what I was photographing—it could have been a lost work of philosophy by Aristotle, or an instructional manual on how to tie a toga. How was I to know? And there was a lot of waiting involved. For instance, while shadowing Hypatia, I was constantly waiting for her to move her arm so I could get a clear view of the text. And Euclid—he kept falling asleep on top of the scrolls. So it wasn’t as exciting as a lot of people think.”
Perhaps not, but Ergun’s patience at the Great Library has resulted in the addition of over one hundred volumes of classical study to the historical record—enough to keep translators busy for years. These finds are a treasure trove for researchers across disciplines, and include heretofore unknown works by Zethos, Herodotus, and Pythagoras. But the most astounding find from the archives may have referred to the photographer himself.
“I remember it was a slow day at the Library. No one was reading the scrolls from the archives, and of course I can’t interact with the material, all I can do is view what happened through the screen on my device. But there was a man, a poet, it turns out, who was writing on a short scrap of papyrus over in a corner. I stood behind him for a little while and took pictures as he wrote. Every so often, the man would glance behind him, as though he felt that someone was spying on him. That was not an uncommon occurrence, actually. Many of the scholars did this. I figured it was just normal library behavior. Protectiveness of their work, or something.“
But it turns out that the poet might have sensed Ergun’s presence through all those years and space-time stratifications. When the photos were sent for translating, an eery section of verse was discovered:
It breathes upon me, this god or ghost
I have felt it, O Claudius, and feel it even now
In flashes of unnatural light, I shiver
And write, and lower my head
But one cannot hide from the unknowable future!
While no one can know for certain whether the poem did in fact refer to Ergun, the mere possibility that someone from the past might have been able to sense a stationary temporal observer in his vicinity casts doubt on the claim that the technology is safe and paradox-free.
“If one can sense the observer,” argues Dr. Boyd Belmont, celebrated historian and Ergun’s biggest detractor, “then who’s to say that one could not interact with the observer? And if that is indeed possible, then what’s to stop an observer from leaving behind a timeline-altering artifact? Imagine if I went back to observe the first run of the Gutenberg Press and accidentally dropped my smart phone on the floor? Do you realize what kinds of horrendous repercussions that could have on the timeline?”
But Ergun’s supporters are unswayed by such concerns. His Twitter followers frequently refer to him by the hashtag #TMWSH (an abbreviation for “The Man Who Saved History”.) Judging by the social media buzz, there are millions of eager would-be observers out there, waiting breathlessly for DeLorean to launch. To these excited fans, the technology represents the dawn of a new human epoch:
Human history is 4ever changed by invention of STO technology. Years will be signified BD or AD - “Before #DeLorean” or “After DeLorean”.
w/ #delorean u will no longer need a PhD to make breakthroughs in hist. research. Now u just need a smartphone! Academic disruption FTW!
Miguel Luis Santa Lucia
THANK YOU @TurkErgun #TMWSH 4 bringing academic discovery to the masses! NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME! #TimeIsNoBarrier #DeLorean
1st thing I’m gonna do when @DeLorean drops? See my grandma who died last yr. 2nd:d: Learn identity of #jacktheripper! #allthetimeintheworld
Fortunately, they won’t have to wait much longer—the app is scheduled to debut in iTunes and Google Play before the end of the month. In the meantime, Turk Ergun says he’ll be standing over the shoulders of scholars in the Imperial Library of Constantinople, archiving the world’s lost knowledge and trying not to breathe too loudly.
- Born and raised in Berlin to Turkish parents, earned polyglot standing by the 8th grade
- Discovered his natural magnetism for genuine social engagement through a series of international transplantations, language acquisitions, and educational pursuits from through law school and business school
- Worked for many years in the financial services industry honing his natural abilities to develop relationships through a genuine belief in the products and services he represented, including Tesla solar energy systems
Director – Modernization Solutions
Former Global Technical Sales Leader for IBM, Viktor joins the Red Pill Now team, leading our Take 5 program, as well as other new modernization solutions being developed by the team. Viktor's experience coordinating over 400 people in pre-sales for IBM's collaboration suite of products makes him an ideal fit for Red Pill Now's rapidly growing modernization practice.
Mr. Smith hurried along the road until he came to the house where Viktor Krantz lived with his family. Even though all the neighbors knew him as Viktor Krantz, Viktor himself was always quick to point out that it was only a nickname. Sure enough, there on the mailbox the old letter stickers spelling out “VIKTOR KRANTZ” had been covered up by a colorful, hand-painted sign announcing the owner of the box as “Viktorissimo Bolivar Pineforest Grendelson Jim Salmoncake Krantz.” And below that, in larger lettering, it said: “Dimension Wanderer Extraordinaire.” It was true; Viktor Krantz was a dimension wanderer by trade. He’d been wandering dimensions since he could put one foot in front of the other, to hear him tell it, and as far as anyone knew, he was the only professional dimension wanderer on earth. There may have been other dimension wanderers on the earths in other dimensions, but on our version of earth, he was the only one.
Henrietta, the Krantz family’s guard-glyptodont, grazed peacefully on the front lawn. Mr. Smith paused to look up at the ancient beast for a moment, shielding his eyes from the sun in order to take in the animal’s full height as she scratched her head on a third story dormer window. Mr. Smith thought that Henrietta was surely the best and most awe-inspiring animal on the planet, and he was probably right. She was certainly the only prehistoric glyptodont in existence, in this dimension, anyway. Krantz had befriended her in the Bravenboar dimension, where prehistoric creatures still ruled the earth and humans had never evolved.
Mr. Smith reached into his bathrobe pocket and drew out a handful of potato chips. You had to offer Henrietta a treat when you came to visit Viktor Krantz, because otherwise she might think you were an intruder and pick you up by your shirt collar with her mouth and deposit you back on the other side of the fence. She wouldn’t eat you (she was an herbivore); but she would certainly ruin your shirt and wound your dignity. Henrietta lowered her massive armadillo head and snuffled the potato chips out of Mr. Smith’s open hand. Then she turned around, swinging her enormous, armor plated tail in a wide motion.
Mr. Smith shuffled onward until he rounded the corner behind the Krantz house and came up in view of the back deck. Viktor stood behind the grill, wearing a red checkered apron over his usual attire of a bright Hawaiian shirt and leather riding chaps. (The chaps were for when he got a sudden craving for some fried cheese curd or gooey butter cake. He would climb up Henrietta’s armored plates, hop into the huge saddle he’d made himself out of four cowhides stitched together, and head into town. The chaps kept his legs from chafing.) Mr. Smith had seen this outfit enough times that it no longer startled him, but he was not accustomed to the large black kettle that Krantz now wore perched atop his head like a hat, and he didn’t know quite what to make of it. As he stood there on the lawn, studying the new head adornment, Viktor saw him and waved a pair of grilled sausages in his direction. “Smith!” he said. “Come on up and have some sausages.”
Mr. Smith did. In between bites, he said, “I like your new hat.” (It wasn’t exactly true, but Mr. Smith wanted to know the story behind it, and it would be rather impolite to say “Well now, Krantz, that is one of the uglier hats I’ve seen in my long and varied exposure to ugly hats.”)
Viktor looked confused for a moment, then felt around atop his head with the spatula he was holding. The spatula scraped against the kettle and Viktor said, “Oh yes, I’d forgotten all about this. I got it in the Harrington Harrington dimension just last week.”
“Do many people wear kettles as hats there?” asked Mr. Smith. “Of course not,” said Viktor. “That would be silly. No, in Harrington Harrington, people drink a lot of tea, and so they carry tea kettles on top of their heads to keep the tea warm inside.”
“How do their heads keep the tea warm?”
“Because they wear tea cozies as hats, of course. I was given one, but I lost it on the way back.” Viktor flipped a sausage off the grill with his spatula and caught it on a plate in midair. He wiped his hand on the front of his red checkered apron, and it was only then that Mr. Smith noticed that Viktor was missing a thumb.
“Why, Viktor!” he exclaimed. “What has happened to your thumb?”
Viktor looked down at his hand and said thoughtfully, “I suppose I’ve lost it forever.” Then he smiled a big smile. “But no matter. I’m sure that nice man in the Harrington Harrington dimension will make good use of it.” “Whatever do you mean?” asked Mr. Smith.
“Well, in Harrington Harrington, all of the people are modular, sort of like IKEA kitchens. All of their parts are detachable and interchangeable. They can rearrange their freckles any time they like, and when they have an eye infection, they simply pluck out the eye and send it off to the doctor to be tended to. No one ever worries about breaking their arm, but when they say ‘I think I’ve lost my mind,’ it means something entirely different from what it means here.”
“What has that to do with your thumb?” Smith asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” said Viktor. “The people of Harrington Harrington are always taking off their thumbs and trading them for other people’s thumbs. They do it so often that no one even has to say, ‘excuse me sir, but would you like to trade thumbs with me?’ Instead, they just do it while shaking hands. Well, I shook hands with one of them, and he took my thumb right off. He was very sorry to find that I could not make use of his, since I’m not built to be modular. But I let him keep my thumb as a spare, and he gave me this nice tea kettle in return.”
“Oh,” said Mr. Smith. He finished up his last sausage and licked his fingers. At that moment, Henrietta lumbered around back of the house and lowered her head to the level of the back deck. She snuffled her snout against Viktor’s shoulder, and Viktor said, “Oh yes! I almost forgot. I have an urgent appointment beginning shortly. Would you like a ride back to your house?” Mr. Smith had never ridden on Henrietta’s back, but had always dreamed of doing so. He leaped up and said, “Sure! Why not?”
Viktor showed him where to place his feet and hands to climb up Henrietta’s plate armor, and in just a moment he was sitting high on top of the glyptodont, gripping her saddle horn with a nervous hand. Gazing about him, he could see the whole neighborhood, the forest, the lake, and miles off, the town. With Viktor sitting behind him, he swayed in the saddle as Henrietta lumbered out of the yard and down the street.
When they reached Mr. Smith’s house, he slid down Henrietta’s tail just as he’d seen Viktor Krantz do so many times before, and landed right on his front porch, where Mrs. Smith sat rocking in her rocking chair. “Where is he going on his glyptodont, do you think?” she asked. “You never can tell,” said Mr. Smith. “You just never can tell about anything when it comes to Viktor Krantz.”
- A Swedish national and American football fascinate, first touched US soil in the '80s as a high school exchange student in Missouri; walked on to Varsity team as a first-time player and became local celebrity as first exchange student to play sports; honed public speaking skills presenting Swedish slideshow over 50 times in 11 months
- Played semi-pro football for 12 years in Sweden while working full-time as an ad agency designer; honed communication skills as chaperone for US football players coming to play in Sweden
- Among the earliest adopters of Mac computers, designed using MacWrite and MacPaint for desktop publishing and beta tested Photoshop 1.0 (distributed at the time on a 3-1/2" plastic disc)
- Segued from design to programming Domino databases when owner of ad agency early adapted websites using Domino servers
- Worked for IBM business partner as expert in Quickplace (later renamed "Quickr") and wrote "Customizing Quickplace" Red Book; joined IBM in 2011 as expert in IBM collaboration software
- Led #1 Lotusphere session "The Great Code Giveaway" for ten years