Mark has over 30 years experience developing nonprofit and educational software, including international best seller The Oregon Trail. Prior to founding thedatabank, he owned a company that developed e-commerce sites and web database applications. His interests include bicycling, cooking, music, and volunteering.
Get to know Mark a little better:
Why is working at a social impact-based company important to you?
My first career was in R&D, developing guidance components for nuclear warhead delivery systems: B-52 bomber, Pershing II medium-range missile, Tomahawk cruise missile. The pay was really good, I was working with wonderful people, and my professional life was off to a great start. A false start.
My partner and future wife persuaded me to attend a screening of a 15-minute documentary film that depicted the aftermath of our country’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was full of surprising and gruesome facts about the effects of the blasts and lingering radiation on the people, the plants, the obliterated society. I was sickened by the film, and I grieved to think I was working on bombs that were orders of magnitude more destructive. The more I learned about the ultimate product of my work –not just the fascinating gizmo I was developing– and about the nuclear brinksmanship played by our leaders, the more alarmed I became. If my bombs are ever used, I thought, my life will have been a failure many times over. I quit that job and that career, and became an activist.
Ever since, I’ve been trying in some way to dig out of this moral hole by caring for our natural world, its people and animals and plants. At thedatabank, I am allied with our clients to create the just and sustainable world we all need. Long story short, working at a social impact-based company feels restorative and good.
If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
What’s on your playlist while you’re at work?
It depends on the work I’m doing. If I’m reading, writing, or coding, it’s too distracting if the music has recognizable lyrics, so I listen to a lot of nothing, non-English-language music, lounge/chill, instrumental jazz and orchestral music. If the work I’m doing is more mechanical, I can rock out more. My latest discovery is guitarist Will Bernard.
What does your perfect Saturday morning look like?
The inside of my eyelids! JK 🙂 A run and an outdoor breakfast in the cool sunshine, where my wife and I linger over coffee and work on a NY Times crossword I stole during the week from an old deli newspaper. But not a Thursday puzzle. Those things too often feel like a cruel and incomprehensible pun.