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Bio & Resume

Keith Soares

Left brain, right brain, middle brain?

From an early age, I wanted to combine my aesthetic sensibilities with my technical know-how, and the first evidence of this was video games. Not playing them, making them. With the very first computer my parents bought, I began teaching myself to code so that I could bring ideas to life on screen, starting with nothing and fleshing out the concept, functionality, design, and programming. Sadly, none of those old games I made still exist. I’d love to go back and revisit one of my first games, like Grog, where you control an airplane on a bridge bombing run, or even its oddball successor, Grog II, which shifted the action to a soldier climbing up towers (I really can’t remember why, or how, the two had anything to do with each other). But they worked.

Once those seeds were planted, it wasn’t too many years later before I realized the Internet gave me the opportunity to show off both sides of my brain, the logical, analytical left half that loves the intricacies of technology and how things function, and the imaginative, artistic right side that drives me to make things that both look and function well.

And I know that not everyone wants to keep scrolling, so if you’re just looking for my resume, here you go:

A Brief Bio

After graduating with a degree in Applied Design from the University of Maryland College Park (Go Terps!), I worked for the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in their Exhibits department. It was a fascinating experience, contributing to one of the most visited museums in the world, and being able to go behind the scenes for all sorts of great exhibits, including their Star Trek anniversary exhibit. I then moved on to a couple of stints at associations in Alexandria, VA, which is how I ended up making this city my home. In those jobs, I was responsible for the online communications and web presence of each organization, though I was already dreaming up my next big thing…

In 1997, I founded Bean Creative, a web (and later, app, mobile, game, and interactive) agency. From humble beginnings, I grew the company into a seven-figure studio working for such clients as Verizon, CES, National Geographic, PBS, American Red Cross, Carnival Cruise Lines, the Library of Congress, HarperCollins Publishers, the United States Army, and even “Weird” Al Yankovic. Take a look at my experience highlights to get a sense of the range of projects I worked on and what my role was for each.

Our work at Bean Creative was the recipient of numerous awards, including eight Webby Awards.

At the end of 2020, I sold Bean Creative and its assets, deciding it was time for a change. Since then, I’ve been a freelance technology consultant for several clients, both local and national. And, I’ve published eight novels in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Our office building was a fixture of the Del Ray neighborhood for almost two decades, including the grassy lot next door which we provided free for countless neighborhood events including our own fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a yearly haunted graveyard that would have kids lined up around the block.

My Core Tech Beliefs

One Size Does Not Fit All

Every organization is different, and each one deserves the time and attention to assess its needs accurately and without a predisposition to one technical solution or another. I believe it’s critical to carefully analyze each organization’s needs, requirements, internal skill sets, resources, budget, experience, partnerships, and – most of all – expectations, before determining a technology solution.

No Tech is an Island

Technology that can’t interconnect to other technology is like a person stranded on an island. It can survive in a limited way, perhaps even for a long time, but it isn’t doing everything it can to advance the organization’s cause or meet its needs.

Form and Function are Intertwined

If you’ve ever struggled with the interface to a website or computer program, you understand that the user experience does matter. Any technical solution, whether network, programming code, cloud service, or whatever, eventually will have these warm-blooded walking computers called humans using it. It’s important that the user experience and interface is considered right from the planning stages.

Past Clients

Skills

My skills include: Programming languages/scripts including ObjC, C++, Java, PHP, Javascript, and associated technologies like HTML, CSS, XML, JSON, jQuery, Twig, etc, as well as related IDEs for development.

Relational database design and maintenance using SQL. Content management including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Sitecore, and others, including custom theme and module/plugin development. Windows and Linux server management and network administration.

Want to Know More?

And for a bit more personal info on me, keep scrolling…

Et Cetera…

Since all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, I have a number of hobbies and interests outside of the tech world. A glimpse at the back half of my office is pretty enlightening in that regard. I’m a drummer and guitar player, an author of eight novels (and counting), and I have a somewhat unhealthy fascination with Godzilla (the Godzilla painting on my top shelf was done by my daughter for my birthday). Other things I’ve been known to spend perhaps way too much time with include The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek (TOS), Rush, and I’ve put in quite a few hours building cosplay components for myself and members of my family.