How We're Livin' @ thelab - Q&A with Rob Eberhardt
- Posted by Jaclyn Marinese in How We're Livin', 29 December 2011
Rob Eberhardt is the lead web developer for thelab. His career has taken him on a long journey from slingin’ shakes at fast food joints to selling early personal computers, teaching people how to use those machines, developing software for himself and even a short decade stint in the music business. Here at thelab he is responsible for the architecture and development of all interactive digital projects. He also happens to be a pretty fun guy to be around and his viral video insight is massively mind expanding. Read on - that is if you’re not scared to have your virtual world reconfigured.
Where are you from?
I was born in Ecuador (my parents were teaching school there), and grew up in La Jolla, CA. I moved to New York in 1990.
What was your first job?
My first job was the lunch shift at Wendy’s, cooking fries and making milkshakes for stressed out engineers across the street from General Dynamics in San Diego. After seeing my first paycheck, I found my second job, which was at a small family-owned computer store in San Diego. I sold Apple and Atari computers and taught training classes to happy new computer owners.
How did you get started in the tech world? What was the first thing you remember sparking your interest in the profession?
A friend of mine from school told me about something called the Third West Coast Computer Faire happening in L.A. (November 1978). His Dad agreed to give us a ride up there. I felt in my bones that my life was going to involve these new machines somehow, so I bought a couple of programming books and started learning to write code in my head and bugging my Dad to buy me a computer from Radio Shack.
How long have you been with thelab?
I joined thelab in February of 2009.
You spent ten years working in the Music Industry? Any favorite moments from that part of your career? Did you party on a boat with Diddy while eating caviar and drinking Cristal or anything like that?
You know the boat that T-Pain was on with Andy Samberg? I was on a boat very similar to that one. I believe deli sandwiches were served, and we got drunk and sang the Star Spangled Banner floating next to the Statue of Liberty. But seriously, one of my favorite moments from that part of my life was riding in an elevator with Robert Plant. That dude is sexy.
What are some of your favorite brands - the kinds of brands you have loyalty for?
I highly recommend Carhartt t-shirts. They fit well and last a long time. Also Bob’s Red Mill Blueberry Granola. Yum.
Having been in the tech business for so long, what was your response to the loss of Steve Jobs?
At first I was surprised by how deeply I felt the loss of someone I had not known personally. But I’ve spent almost 10,000 days (32 years * 300 days/yr - rough estimate) with my hands on some kind of an Apple product; I think that creates a powerful connection to everyone who designed and developed those products, especially him. The Crazy Ones (Unaired).
What do you see as some of the most important technological innovations of your lifetime so far and why?
iPad – It’s surprising to me how much it has changed my daily routine. It really is a new interaction category, different from traditional desktop and laptop computing, different from mobile.
Internet – In the 80’s, I ran a BBS (look it up kids). If you told me that 20 years later most of the world would be connected and utterly dependent on the evolution of that technology, I would not have believed it. But here we are. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook—huge structural changes are taking place on a global scale, facilitated by these technologies.
What are some of your go to blogs, magazines or types of books?
Blogs: Daringfireball.net, Ars Technica, Asymco.com
Magazines: Atomix Mag (gaming), Tap! (iPad stuff), Wired
Books I’m currently reading: Diamonds are Forever, Stasiland, Random Acts of Senseless Violence
Podcasts: The Talk Show, Hypercritical, Build and Analyze, Filmspotting
Feel free to download an OPML file of my Google Reader.
Now that 2011 is coming to a close, do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Clean and organize my home office so that I can mess it up again building a robot or something.
You can tweet Rob @robeberhardt or check him on Google +. Be prepared though, some of these posts are frighteningly awesome.