Mark Widawer’s Techie Biography

People often ask me how long I’ve been working with computers. The answer surprises them a bit.

I was 13 years old at Portola Junior High School, and was enrolled in the “AE” level math class. We had a Monroe Programmable Calculator in the room, and we learned how to program it to do math problems using punch cards. The one thing I remember about programming that machine was that “401” was the code for “HALT”, which is what you put at the end of each program.

That was 1976 — a loooong time ago. But I’ve stuck with computers since then.

I wrote my first real computer program, with the help of my older cousin Lawrence. We wrote a program to play the game Mastermind, which was popular at the time. We did that in the BASIC programming language on a teletype machine using paper tape for storage.

I caught the bug, though, and saved my own money to buy myself a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III computer with 16 kilobytes (NOT megs or gigs) or RAM, and two floppy drives. I upgraded it myself to a 10mb hard drive system, and a whopping 64kb of RAM. (I was a real tinkerer back then.)

I’ll fast forward a bit, through my time at UCLA and then graduating at CSUN with a degree in Computer Science.

After working as a programmer for an Aerospace and Defense Software company (where I created the company’s first office computing department), I started a business and computer consulting business with my college friend Mitch Silberman. From there, I co-founded the Los Angeles Times Financial Fax with my friend Joel Block, and I ran the department for the Times until Joel and I sold it to the Times in 1997. I stayed on another two and a half years, and left in 1999 to become CTO of  Total Funding , a company specializing in online equipment leasing.

The big BIG IDEA about  Total Funding was that their company would be the first to allow a small business owner to apply for and be automatically approved for equipment leases — all online and in minutes. The owners (who shall remain nameless, at least here) had hired Deloitte & Touche and spent a quarter million dollars on developing their website to automate this whole process.

That’s when they hired me.

At our first meeting with Deloitte, they showed us the site they had developed. It allowed the customer to enter in his credit app. It had screens that showed the approved lease plans. But in between — the magical part that was supposed to run the credit apps and compare the results against available lease plans — had not yet been developed. D&T didn’t know how to do it.

I designed and finished the program, providing the critical parts of the website and the business as a whole, for about $5,000.

The desire for some people to overspend, simply for the ability to tell a story about the value of what they are buying never ceases to amaze me. The owners of this company truly had no idea what they were doing.

So when their company ran out of money (due to mismanagement and other issues), I went to work for Datalicious Corporation, a company that merged online and offline marketing. I was the Vice President of  Technology. The largest project we had there was one for a yellow pages advertising company. I wrote the software that allowed their clients to run and manage their yellow pages advertising for their customers.

When Datalicious died in the Dot Bomb of 2001, I started West Hills Web, a web hosting and web development company.

In 2003 I started working with Google Adwords and developed the Keyword TurboCharger to help make keywords for Google Adwords.

Shortly after that, I developed the Landing Page Cash Machine ebook.

You can read more about me and my infoproduct and training business on the Internet Marketing page.

And now, at least, you have a better understanding of me and my technical life. It’s been long already, and just getting longer.

Now, I find most joy still in doing two things…

1) Teaching people how to use technology to build their online business.

2) Building websites for local companies for those who just don’t have the time or knowledge to do it themselves.

Of course, there’s more, but you’ve spend enough time on me. I’d really much rather know a bit about you.

If you think I can help you in any way, contact me. Let’s see how we can work together.

To Your Success,


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