Format: Items at the left margin are voiced by someone off screen. The remainder consists of Doug Lowry at a desk facing the camera and doing his own voice.
We start always with a human need, a problem to be solved. We go at that problem in the context of a set of values:
- a commitment to the dignity of every person
- a sense of wonder
- polymath curiosity
- a persevering drive toward simplicity
- coordinated creativity
- the lost art of efficiency in software
I am Doug Lowry, the founder and president of Marpex Inc. Please forgive the personal nature of some of my answers.
I started out as kid number six among in a family of six children. A fervent dislike for bullying goes with the territory. "You are bigger than me, but that doesn't give you any special rights."
In the 1970s, a lot of world travel. Through CheckPoint Charlie into the bleak tastelessness of East Berlin. Wandering the beaches of Cuba. Teaching a course in Zaire under General Mobutu's kleptomaniac regime, where the expatriates knew not to talk of politics except in a moving automobile.
In the 1990s, teaching Marketing with a growing conviction that people really matter and that it's poor Marketing to treat customers as if they are there to be used for our fun and profit.
You will see this same value, the dignity of every person, cropping up in the technologies and software that we choose to create.
A STEM education should lead us to marvel at this universe and its beauty from the microscopic all to way to the level of galaxies. This outlook enables designers to push through to elegant designs that reflect the same beauty. Caveat: My interfaces are not much; it's the underlying designs in which I take pride.
Polymath means having learned in many fields. My high school required us to take three or more years in each of four languages. That multi-cultural approach broadened later -- studies in history, theology, management, computers, and emergency medicine. Multi-disciplinary learning lets you transfer insights from one setting to another. It makes for curiosity; it makes for better solutions to problems.
No matter what the subject, if you haven't got through to the simplicity yet, you don't fully understand it. Keep at it! You see a lot of this drive for simplicity in the videos.
I am the lone designer and programmer at Marpex. On most days, it is pretty easy to coordinate a team of one. Creativity? That all comes as a gift. I choose to see all of my best insights as gifts from God. Creativity comes from the Creator. That outlook is politically incorrect and perhaps out of fashion, but it does make for a life of gratitude.
I started programming in 1964 on an IBM 1401 and 1440. The language was Autocoder, one step removed from Assembly and machine code. The IBM 1440 had 4,096 bytes of memory for both program and data. Everything else had to be written out to a stack of disks. Want to build good search? Watch out for the mentality that wants at every obstacle to pour on more resources. Instead, miniaturize, compress, make every bit tell you all manner of information.
Minnie Wray used to bake cakes for us, always with the label "Main ingredient -- love." Business has long been able handle the word service. The word caring is coming into vogue. Love makes sense only if you get past the silly common view of love as feelings. My definition, for what it is worth: "Love is persistence in a free decision to pour out self for the benefit of the other." Think that through, and you may persuade yourself that service at this level of commitment would make good business sense. Yes, make profit; that's a moral duty so we can pay the bills. But in the end what most lets us take pride in our work is the belief that we have served others with excellence.
If you want further resources on the values built into Marpex Inc., see articles and a video clip accessible at http://catholicfind.com/DL.
You ask whether there is some Christianity in all this? Yes, there is, together with a deep respect for those of other faiths who strive to find meaning through loving God above all and their neighbor as themselves. Christianity invites us to be love at every moment. This challenge is not for the weak of heart. We Christians serve, we inevitably fall short. So we reflect and repent, we pray, we worship, and we serve yet again, to the greater glory of God.