Neil's Extra Curricular Activities

Extra curricular activities are not normally found in a résumé. I have included some of mine because they do have a bearing on my skill set and on what I bring to an employer. An employer is invested in the health and well being of its employees and a good employee will respect that investment. The following are some of the activities I participate in outside of work:

Scuba diving

For me, scuba diving - and the related art of taking pictures underwater - is a life affirming and grounding experience. I am fortunate enough to live within a two hour drive of Monterey, which has some of the finest diving in the world. At its simplest, I have to be healthy enough to carry 60 lbs of scuba gear across the beach and into the water before I can embark on a sometimes lengthy surface swim.

I help teach a marine ecology course at City College of San Francisco. By "help teach" I mean that I'm a guest lecturer for an evening, I show slides of underwater California, and I discuss the critters commonly found in our coastal waters. I find that this style of public speaking helps me in the business world and has a direct affect on:

I am a Dive Master, which is a professional level qualification. I help teach Scuba classes and act as a leader and safety diver for the Marine Ecology class I volunteer for. These experiences help shape my skills as a Manager and as a Project Leader.

Home remodeling

While the practical aspects of home remodeling don't necessarily relate to the business world, especially designing and using software for business, the tie in is the willingness to learn, to take on complex projects and finish them. I like working with my hands, it's a wonderful antidote to sitting in front of a computer all day, and I enjoy all the various roles like contractor, designer, and labourer. Some of my projects are:


This is in the extra curricular activities section because I make no claims that my webmaster skills are corporate ready. I have built and maintain my sites with Notepad, which required that I come up to speed on: HTML code; CSS code; Javascript; Excel VBA; Image processing; Website layout and design.

It has been and continues to be a fun adventure. By writing my own html code I have full control of file names and the folder layout I use, which makes site maintenance easier. That allows me to simplify the management aspects of website maintenance like:

I use the following tools to maintain my websites: In addition to this site, my personal website is


I am blessed to live near the Bay Trail, a mixed use bicycle and pedestrian trail that circles most of San Francisco Bay. I usually ride my bike for an hour a couple of times a week and prefer to commute by bicycle where possible. In addition to the health benefits, it is a good way to clear my mind of distractions and focus on what's important - I find it's a good way to think through business problems, to let all the different aspects percolate until clarity is achieved.

Building furniture

Designing and building furniture is a very different process from designing corporate software or managing a software project. There are the obvious differences of course, but I'm thinking of the different structure of the project.

In the business world, significant corporate resources are expended on any software project. That necessitates planning and approval and oversight. It requires an orderly process and a focus to complete the project within the elected time frame.

When I build something to my own requirements, I usually take a different approach. The build process starts when I have a sufficiently clear idea of the end result, which means I've scratched out the design and rough dimensions on paper. This allows me to start building what I'm confident about and allows many details to be designed later, when I have a deeper understanding of what I am building.

In some respects every piece of furniture I build is a prototype, because I build it once and then move on.

This is in direct contrast to the business world, where up-front planning, resource estimating and prototyping are the order of the day. The freedom I have in my own design process gives me much more appreciation for the (necessary) strictures of corporate life.