Welcome to WintellectRAW – featurettes about your favorite authors.  Each month we’ll give you a quick glimpse into the life of a WintellectNOW author – how they got their start, some of their hobbies, their favorite projects, and more!


This month we feature Kevin Griffin, a Microsoft MVP, entrepreneur, and former childhood nuclear submarine pilot.


WintellectRAW: Kevin Griffin



Base: Home for me is Chesapeake, Virginia. I was raised here and have settled here.


A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away… I started with computers when I was about 10-11 years old, and my parents bought our first Packard Bell 486 running DOS 6.2 and Windows 3.1.  In general, I wasn’t allowed to touch the computer unless my Dad was around.  Lucky for me, he was deployed a couple times allowing me to read DOS for Dummies cover to cover.  By crazy random-happenstance, I read a small section on QuickBasic in the book.  It’s funny to think about how it just dumped you to an empty text editor without much guidance.  I ended up reading the help documentation and checked out a couple book from the library on building games with BASIC.  I love to say that I learned conditional logic in a DOS help file.


You Must Learn the Ways of the Force: The most valuable software development wisdom I’ve receive is probably to always think about performance, and don’t develop just for the common case.  Think about what would happen in the worse-case scenario, and build a solution that makes it less unbearable to use your software.


The Force is Strong with This One… My favorite project to work on is my startup, Winsitter, which I founded with fellow WintellectNOW author Bret Fisher. We’ve created a web app for customers to monitor their Windows servers and receive alerts when something isn’t right. It’s been a huge opportunity for me to think more about business outside of writing software.  As developers, we have a very one-sided view of how everything works.  We write the code, and people use it.  However, when you’re building a business based off the software you’re writing, there is a whole other side to learn.  How do you manage customer pipelines?  Are customers actually using the features you implement?  How do you elicit feedback from your customers?  How high can you go with pricing without turning customers away?  I’ve learned more in my time working on Winsitter than I have on any other project.


Here’s Where the Fun Begins. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my wife, Liz, and my boys, Zack and Eli.  Occasionally, I like to tinker in my garage or work on my vehicles.  A long time ago, I used to be an avid guitar player.  I really should pick that back up again!


At the Mos Eisley Cantina… My favorite food, hands down, is steak. I love a good steak.  Well-seasoned, cooked to medium rare.  YUM!


Fly Boy… If I had a super power, I’d fly. Travel would be so much easier (and cheaper too)!


If this is a Consular Ship, Where is the Ambassador? Raised in a military family, I had opportunities as a kid that others probably didn’t.  A little known fact – I once drove a nuclear submarine before I was old enough to drive a car.


It’s a Small World, After All… If I could meet one person, dead or alive it would be Walt Disney.  I’ve always been a bit fascinated with Walt because he’s revolutionized several industries just by having an active imagination.  Walt didn’t invent the cartoon, but he created techniques to make animation seem real.  Walt didn’t invent the amusement park, but he took it to a brand new level.  You can pick any aspect of life that Disney has touched, and you’ll see how he had a hand in making it better.  Walt didn’t even have to run the day to day business of the company.  He was primarily allowed to be the creative force and do what he wanted.  Wouldn’t we all like to have that opportunity?


Kevin is the owner for Griffin Consulting, Inc., and CTO of Winsitter and mastermind behind 757DevCon. To learn more about his professional life and experience, be sure to read his bio at WintellectNOW.