In 1999 I took a weekend trip to Las Vegas to have some fun and play golf. Back then, the only way to find a golf course was from the hotel concierge, phone book or the best case was a booklet of all the courses in an area.
Vegas has no shortage of golf courses and from all the sources I had I realize every course was essentially charging the same price to play. So I randomly chose Desert Pines and it was horrible decision. It was target golf and I barely got hit my driver all day.
I thought there had to be a better way so I conceived the idea for Course Cam. If there was a way to take a video tours of golf courses in an area before traveling golfers could pick courses that suit their game. Just like those fancy fly-over videos you see when watching golf on television.
Since I had just bought a new Dell computer and lived paycheck-to-paycheck I figured that I would figure out how to build the website, make videos and put them onto the Internet. Keep in mind it was 1999 and at that point no one was putting videos on the Internet.
Back then there was anyone to call for help. Finding someone that had built a website was impossible. But I had a desire to make my idea a reality so I was at Borders (remember bookstores) everyday reading through every book because I had no idea where or how to start. I forgot to mention that I majored in Political Science in college so I was starting at zero.
Learning to program is not easy if you have an instructor let alone teaching yourself. Luckily for me I had three things going for me. First, I have incredible discipline to follow through on goals I set. Second since I was a kid I was always building things like remote controlled cars and skateboard ramps. And finally I knew what I was building. This meant I did not have to do mundane tutorials. If what I was reading didn’t apply I quickly moved on.
I bought a used video camera and went out and started filming course. Then I had to learn to edit the videos and add music. Options were limited but I somehow found a way to make and edit the videos. That was actually easy compared to how in the hell I was going to get them onto the web. Actually, I had to first figure out just how to get them onto my computer. I had to buy a firewire and a PCI card… long story short it wasn’t easy.
Eventually I had a website with 4 different course videos. On one side of the screen was the video and on the other I had a drawing of the hole. I had marker in the video that would change out each hole slide. I love telling that story because I was one of the first people to put video on the Internet.
I had and idea, a burning desire and that is WHY I became a software engineer. Course Cam was not a success financially but it made me realize that I absolutely love to ideas into reality. Engineering is extremely hard work… but helping companies turn their ideas into products is very rewarding work.