My name is Drew Stoddard.

I live in Draper, Utah.  I moved to Utah a few years ago after spending 16 years in Sunnyvale, California, which is in the heart of the Silicon Valley. I make my living as a software engineer, and during the late 1990's I was swept up in the now infamous dotcom startup roller-coaster of the high-tech bubble. Like most of my friends I'm now adjusting to the post-bubble world which is proving to be a more relaxed, if somewhat less lucrative, lifestyle.

When I'm not working with computers I love photography, horses, travel, sports, reading, and spending time with friends and family, particularly outdoors.  I'm single and lead a simple lifestyle that suits me well. I'm a quiet person, and some who don't know me mistake my social shyness for aloofness. I used to actively fight that image but now I'm less concerned with it. My friends know what's in my heart and they forgive the rest. For that I am grateful.

That's pretty much my story. If for some reason you want to know more, read on. Click on any picture to see a larger version.

A Brief History of Me 

The only way I really know to describe who I am is by explaining how I got here. So here is my story, condensed with a lot of pictures thrown in.

I am a baby boomer. I was born in Northern California, and I spent the first 17 years of my life there mostly in the Sacramento area.


My Mom and Dad shortly after they were married.

My father was in the Army, and when he returned from fighting in the Pacific in World War II he settled in Northern California where he became a General Contractor who built custom homes and apartments. My mother was a school teacher who eventually left work to spend full time with her growing family.


From left to right: John, Rick, Drew, Ron, Ann.

There are five children in my family, and I'm right in the middle. I have two older brothers, Rick and Ron, one younger brother, John, and my sister Ann who's the youngest in the family.

 


Me (right) with a friend and some new puppies.

I grew up as a regular kid in a normal middle-class American family. Our family was close but because I was separated by a large gap in years from my older and younger siblings (5 years in either direction) I tended to develop my close relationships with friends I met outside the family, and also stayed very close to my Mother. Those two traits have remained constant to this day.


An early college picture.

When I was 17 I left California and moved to Utah to attend college at Brigham Young University. With no idea what I wanted to do with my life I spent a lot of time in the Rocky Mountains thinking about my future.

And, of course, learning to ski.


At Alta contemplating some career choices.

I remember taking a class in my freshman year that was meant to help undeclared students pick their major. They gave us a test which claimed to match your traits with those of people who were happy and successful in various fields. Most of my results were average except for this one bar that ran off the right side of the chart under the heading "Data Processing". In 1967 computers were not exactly hip so I laughed it off. It would be nearly 10 years before I realized the significance of that event.

Of more immediate concern to me and my friends was how to keep from getting drafted and going to Vietnam. In 1968 my draft lottery number came up 359 making me virtually exempt.  Unfortunately some of my friends were not as lucky.


Playing racquetball at BYU.

Without knowing what I wanted to do I lost myself in sports. Along with skiing I discovered racquetball which had just been invented a few years earlier. BYU was one of the early hotbeds of the sport because for some reason the school had built 21 racquetball courts, more than existed in any other facility in the country. I spent more time on those courts than in class.

Eventually I lost interest in school, and after a broken engagement I left BYU and moved to Salt Lake City. There I was involved in a skiing accident that left a friend of mine seriously injured and for a time ended my skiing career. I concentrated on racquetball and worked various jobs to support myself while I attempted to play competitively at a national level. A professional tour started in the mid 1970's and I played as many tournaments as I could. I was a good photographer by then and taking pictures at the tour stops for racquetball publications paid for my traveling expenses. I gave it everything I had and I was successful in a few tournaments, but overall I was never able to compete with the top players in the country. We all dream about being the best, but I found out first-hand just how good the best really are and it can be pretty humbling.


Elaine and Beau in Idaho .

After a few years in Utah my wandering urge struck and I moved to Boise, Idaho, to be near some friends I had made there. While living there I met a girl from Pennsylvania named Elaine Lee. She played professional racquetball on the women's tour and we met at a WPRA tournament in Boise. We fell in love and she moved from the East Coast to Boise where we lived together in my apartment. To celebrate our first Christmas together I gave her a Golden Retriever puppy that she named Beau and we treated like a child. I don't remember now the specific reason we broke up, though I do remember it was my fault. I was a late bloomer in the maturity department. She eventually married and moved to Southern California where last I heard she was managing a health club. Messing up that relationship is one of those things I would change if I could do it over again. I don't think I ever told her that.


John backpacking in the White Cloud mountains.

During that same period I developed a friendship with John Egerman. John and I had met a few years earlier while I was living in Utah but I knew him mostly by reputation. He was a national junior racquetball champion and by the time we started spending time together he was already a top professional player. Although we worked out a lot together there was no competition between us on the court because his talents were far superior to mine. But we found that we shared a mutual fascination with the outdoors. I have always loved the mountains, but John grew up in them and he was an expert backpacker. The times he and I spent hiking through the wilderness mountains of Idaho, Utah and Montana are among of the best memories I have.


Sawtooth lake, Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho.

At about the time Elaine and I broke up John was having some personal problems of his own. We talked about it one day and decided we'd had enough of Boise so we packed up and headed for the real mountains: the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. We worked for a racquet club in the town of Jackson Hole and in the summer we traveled around the Pacific Northwest conducting racquetball clinics. Actually, John did the clinics, I just organized them. We didn't make much money but we saw a lot of amazing mountains.


My friend and publisher Jason.

In 1982 another friend of mine from college, Jason Holloman, called me and proposed that we start a racquetball publication. I agreed and moved back to Salt Lake City where International Racquetball Magazine was born. Jason was the publisher, and he was terrific. He sold all of the advertising space and did most of the layout. I was the editor and did most of the tournament coverage and photography. We wrote it together and put out an issue every month with a staff of never more than a half-dozen people and about as many computers.


The Sept 1984 issue of International Racquetball magazine.

Professional racquetball was in a state of turmoil in the early 1980's as the sport's explosive growth gave birth to some major power struggles. Jason and I were never shy about expressing our opinions and the popularity of the magazine thrust us quickly into an unusually visible position within the sport. The biggest battle was waged over control of the men's pro tour, and as an ex-player I felt strongly that the tour belonged to the players. I took an active role in helping to organize the players into an association that eventually became strong enough to run the tour which it continues to do to this day.


Me as a politician: my Commissioner "tie" picture.

In 1984 I was asked by the Racquetball Manufacturers Association to become the first independent Commissioner of Men's Professional Racquetball. The RMA agreed to fund the Commissioner's office and to let the players control their own tour, and they remained true to their word. Together with a committee composed of the top 16 professional players we changed the ranking system, created a code-of-conduct, and modified the rules to guarantee that the pro tour would be open to anyone who had the skills necessary to compete.

It was a tremendous honor for me to be able to work closely with the players I had idolized for so long. It was an experience that taught me a lot about people and lot about myself. I might have stayed in that position for a long time had I not fallen in love with computers. Feeling I needed to point my life in a different direction, I resigned the Commissioner's job and left the sport of racquetball in late 1985.


Me as a coder.

I was introduced to the microcomputer on a winter night in 1979. A friend of mine, Al Macmillan, was preparing to open a ComputerLand store in Boise (which by the way made Al a rich man) and he brought an Apple II over to my house and left it with me. I stayed up all night trying to get that machine and a damned Centronics printer talking so I could use Electric Pencil to type out a simple letter. I am sure there is a psychologist somewhere who could explain why that little obstinate machine captured my imagination. All I can tell you is from that night to this moment the fascination has steadily grown.

Over the next few years I owned a series of machines and taught myself to program. After I resigned the Commissioner's office I moved back to Northern California and supported myself doing contract programming while I studied computer science at Cal State University at Sacramento. By 1988 I was a skilled C programmer and while still in school I accepted a job offer in the burgeoning Silicon Valley. Yes that's right, I've now been to college twice and still don't have a degree.

I worked for two companies - ENSR and US West/MRP - over an eight-year period then returned to consulting. In 1997, just as the Internet bubble was forming, I entered the start-up world by joining an early dotcom company called Impulse. I was the first employee and remained there for about 18 months before the company was sold to Inktomi. Late in 1999 I left Inktomi to form a new company called AlterEgo Networks with my friend Richard Ling. AlterEgo was sold in 2002 to Macromedia.  In 2003 Richard and I started an eDiscovery company called MetaLINCs which was acquired by Seagate in December 2007. Seagate combined MetaLINCs with another company they had acquired and formed i365 where I worked as Senior Scientist until 20011.  I then joined another startup called LiveHive that was formed by several former MetaLINCs comrades.

On the 17th tee at Pebble Beach.

In my leisure time I like to travel and indulge my lifelong love of photography. I also love to play golf, a game I discovered about 20 years ago when a couple of friends at work took me out to play. I quickly became addicted. When I can get away I love to travel to Hawaii and play the courses there. When in California I'm close to the Monterey Peninsula so occasionally I get the chance to go with my friends to play some of the world's most challenging courses, like Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. The golf we play isn't always pretty but it's off-the-scale fun.

In February of 2004 I moved back to Utah where I lived right after college. Life here is mellower than California.  I live at the base of the Wasatch Mountains where, after many years of longing, I can once again spend time with horses.  I have three of them, all boys.  Now when I have a few hours to myself I can ride with my horses into the magnificent canyons that sit just outside my back door.