Meet William Sikkens – One of August’s Most Interesting Developers

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William SikkensJelastic has selected William (Bill) Sikkens as one of August’s most interesting developers.  He was nominated by a work colleague, Gretchen Winkler.  Bill is a quantum physicist and has a knighthood in two Orders.  He has been part of the technology industry since the early 1990’s. His first programming project was to create software for a local paralegal office in Reno while he was still in high school. During that time he also assisted in upgrading the library at McQueen to a digital book catalog for which he was awarded the annual Soroptimist International recognition.

Tell us about yourself

I have never worked a day – and what I mean by that is they say if you enjoy your job you don’t work, and that has been a fact that I have enjoyed. I started my career after finishing school working for Norwest/Wells Fargo Bank running the network for Nevada and then moved over the years to Intel and a number of other fortune 500 companies as a contractor. I have been at the helm of Cumulus since it started as a store in Park Lane Mall under the name Crossbow PC Consultants.

Do you think you are interesting? If yes, why?

I like to take a novel approach to what I do. A key part of this is to make technology understandable to everyone, as along those lines I host a radio show called “User Friendly“. The show start’s it’s second season in September and so far we have a great listener base and will be syndicated in a number of markets. In addition, I like to offer community computer classes and other related things to make technology approachable. In answer to the question, yes, I do think I’m interesting, and mainly because of the reasons above, I can do things most computer people can’t or don’t.

Can you tell us a little about your first development project? Is it still available today?

My first development project was a piece of software for a local paralegal company here in Reno. We were able to take the process on some of the documents they prepared for clients and speed the production time up by almost 500%. This increased the amount of work their business could take in and lead to the success of that company until they retired in 2001. A version of the software is still available today, and I support one of the largest paralegal Living Trust companies in the country which is also based here in Reno.

You are the CEO of We Are Technology. What services does the company provide?

We Are Technology is the primary brand of Cumulus Technology. Our company offers custom business software and website programming/design (our longest service offerings). In addition, we are proud to offer mobile phone applications (Android, iPhone) for smart phones as well as HIPAA compliant applications for the medical industry. Beginning this fall, we are proud to add patent services through a new intellectual property attorney that has joined our team as well as media production services in several of our markets.

Our newest programming offering is for wearables, like Google Glass and Smart Watches including the upcoming Apple Smartwatch.

Cumulus has offices and/or Franchise partners in 9 U.S. States and 3 European Countries.

Preferred coding language?

Object-C

Why?

It’s widely used. With Object-C we can work with the C language (which is one of the longest used modern programming languages) and directly develop for platforms like Apple iPhone/iPad and Linux. Languages for Android and Windows are variants of C, so this background allows us to support most programming environments from one standard.

Any groups or opensource projects that you are part of?

I was the first certified trainer for the international CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) program and hold the level of Master Site Designer. This group is a wonderful place for networking and new ideas.

In addition, I have been a professional member of IEEE for many years and hold professional memberships in organizations such as certified WordPress Designers and Microsoft’s Engineering programs. I am also a member of the development programs for Oracle, Google and Apple.

Is it true that you are a Quantum Physicist? Can you elaborate on that?

My background has always been in Math. I study and work in the Quantum Physic’s field with theories like string theory and so on. While there isn’t really a direct income from this, keeping on the cutting edge of technology does benefit our programming activities as you always know what’s up and coming.

You are a regular technology expert guest on Dan Mason’s talk show on KOH. How is that experience?

Bill Sikkens RadioI very much enjoy working with Dan Mason. He is a great radio host and very intelligent. What you hear on the show on Tech Tuesday is only part of that experience, and we have some conversations off air that actually make me think. Dan has also been a bit of a mentor in learning how to do our own show. And one that has been very much appreciated. We shoot the pilot for the television version of User Friendly this month, and that has been a whole new area for me. I am so glad we have professionals like Dan around, and bottom line, doing radio has just been fun!

Who do you think is the most interesting developer in the world (excluding yourself) and why?

I look to several of the greats who all started in a garage (we started in my parents basement), including Larry Page, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The hayday of both of these companies where when they were at the help, and most of the technology we take for granted today wouldn’t exist without them. Love it or hate it Windows has been a part of business for well over 30 years now. Larry and Google are a very basic part of the Internet – to the point that last year when Google had an outage for about 90 seconds Internet traffic went down by almost 70%. Steve of course is the mastermind behind Apple and all the iPhones, iPads, iPods and other devices we all use today.

If you happen to use Jelastic, can you tell us what you like about it or share any apps or projects created with Jelastic?

Jelastic is an open cloud hosting environment. While it’s not something I use directly I have heard good things about it, including local options. Maybe we could get someone on the show to talk about Jelastic???? (Hint, hint!)

And just for fun…Choose one of the following:

Fly or read minds?

Hmm… Read Minds!

Time or money?

Time, much more valuable than money!

Finish this sentence: Technology compared to 1995…

In 1995 we had the first version of Microsoft Windows. Cell phones existed but very few had them yet. The Web was under a year old and very few websites existed. You didn’t see Internet yet in marketing, and e-mail was a very different beast that in many cases used dial up modems to work. There was no commercial digital television, no high definition anything (invented in 1998) flat screen electronics or DVD’s (they were invented in 1995 but didn’t go to market until the following year). People carried pagers. It was a very different time.

A scientist for Intel named Dr. Moore created in the 1960’s “Moores Law” which states that computers will double in power every 18 months. This law holds true today, so like the idea of starting with a penny and doubling it every day for a month in which you would have $10,737,418.23 (The equation for this is (0.01*2^30)-0.01) the same can be said for computing power and everything that goes along with it. As such, technology has been increasing at Dr. Moore’s projected rate. Which means everything we double our capability it is exponentially faster. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore’s_law).

I work on the cutting edge (or bleeding edge by some) and enjoy every moment of it. But even in just the past few years we are seeing a faster and faster increase in the capability and change in technology.

Thanks Bill!

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