Interview with Jared White

I'm starting a series of interviews with developers and designers from all over the world. Whether they work for a corporation, freelance, or they make stuff as a hobby, I want to interview them! Originally I was going to release a new interview every Monday, however due how hectic and random my weeks are, I'll release a new interview each week.

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to chat with me :) Could you start by introducing yourself a little?

Thanks James for having me on your blog! Yes, my name is Jared White, and I love telling stories through art and software. That's a cutesy way of saying that I've come to realize that in all my endeavors, the thing that I'm most passionate about is the narrative journey and how that's being communicated to an audience. So, in the music I create under the moniker of Yarred, I try to work based a specific concept and insert a feeling of a narrative flow to the music (like a soundtrack for instance). It's no accident my first solo album is called "Garden Journey". And when it comes to my startup Mariposta, I'm trying to create a tool that enables others to communicate their stories -- whether business or personal -- much more effectively.

Jared White

How did you end up in your profession?

Software & web development? Entirely by accident. :) I've always been interested in computers though, and even in the 80's when I was growing up, my dad was a computer programmer which meant the tech vibe was in the air! I really wanted to have a career in music and the arts, however, so I didn't really set out to be a tech professional. But this is what happened: the family band I was in back in the mid 90's needed a website, and since I was the resident geek of the band I decided I'd try creating one myself. So I learned some HTML and saved some rudimentary image files and cobbled something together. It sucked! (But pretty much every site at the time did!) I kept at it though, and made more and more refinements and upgrades over a couple of years. Then in 1997, our site caught the attention of a vendor who wanted a website and they asked me "so what do you charge to build a website?" (Hmm, good question!) That got me started on the path to designing websites and developing online solutions for clients. And, despite many ups and downs over the last 15 years, I'm still at it!

What does your desk look like?

Quite honestly my desk in my home office looks like tornado went through it right now, so I suspect your readers wouldn't care to see it. However, I have a desk at a co-working space in the town of Sebastopol, CA, and I try to keep it pretty neat. Here's a picture:

Could you give us a bit of information on any tools/services that you use?

I use a ton of services both in my own usage and in the process of running websites. For my own usage or with clients (organization, data storage, tools, etc.):

In terms of building websites or applications, I used to do a lot with WordPress but I've completely moved away from that world now (thank God!) and am focusing solely on Ruby on Rails development. Here are some technologies/cloud services I've worked with (not all on the same project!):

What websites do you visit daily?

It's far too easy for me to get lost in the sea of online information out there so I'm trying to cut back on the sites I visit daily. I've also gotten active on App.net (a new social network for paid customers) which takes up time. But here are some of the tech/business sites I visit pretty regularly:

Do you have anything awesome happening in the future?

I sure hope so! :) Right now I'm focusing all my attention (when not doing client work) on my new startup, Mariposta. Mariposta is "Web Publishing for Mere Mortals" -- it empowers normal people (not just geeks) to create gorgeous magazine-like websites optimized for touch, easily and quickly. It's a self-serve platform, so in a sense it's competing with services like WordPress.com or Tumblr, but what you can do with it is pretty different and quite sophisticated. For the techies out there, we've engineered a brand-new content engine using HTML5 & CSS3 and some pretty clever Javascript that rivals the kind of high-end publications you find in the Apple Newstand. But unlike the Newstand, Mariposta is 100% web-based and supports not just the iPad but desktop browsers like Chrome/Safari & Firefox (and hopefully soon, IE10), smartphones, and we're finishing up Android tablet support as well. We're in private beta now (you can sign up here for an invite) and plan to launch a public 1.0 version later this fall. So that's what I'm super excited about right now!

How and where can we find you?

My personal website (powered by Mariposta of course) is http://jaredwhite.com where you can learn more about my music and some of the backstory behind Mariposta. I just started a new personal blog there too that will sometimes be tech-related. You can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yarredmusic and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jaredcwhite -- and now on App.net: https://alpha.app.net/jaredcwhite

Thanks Jared!

Wow Jared - you seem like a very busy man, so thank you very much for taking the time to write such in depth responses to my questions :)


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