I’ve been around for a while. I studied at U.C. Berkeley and graduated in 1975 with an honors degree in Computer Science. I did pretty well in school, and earned a membership in Phi Beta Kappa, which is a legendary honor society that I haven’t heard much about in the years since.
Right after college I left technology behind and dove into my passion – a love of dance and movement and music. I became a professional dancer and was fortunate to make a living at it, performing as a founding member of Toronto’s Danny Grossman Dance Company for 8 years and a few other companies as well along the way.
I even met my wife Le’ema through the dance, and we have performed together many times over the years. She continues to dance and perform to this day, as well as being a certified yoga teacher.
In the mid-eighties I got back into computer technology when they started being usable for graphics. I rented time at Kinko’s and taught myself desktop publishing so I could create flyers and brochures. It was fun and daring and finally a good use for all that computer training I had. In fact, I got good enough that I started being a desktop publishing consultant, and eventually got a job at York University setting up a computer lab in the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Through a combination of circumstances that seems rather incredible looking back, I ended up working at Get Info Computer Systems, a Mac dealer that also did a lot of training and consulting. My boss there was Neil Wainwright, and he did something that changed my life forever. I had learned Architrion (an early 3D architectural software) as part of my work at York University, and had helped out at Get Info in a large project to make 3D computer models and video walk-throughs of a series of luxury homes. This was perhaps the first time it had been done in Toronto, for computer animation was in its infancy in 1989.
When the project finished up, I was the person mopping up the pieces and making sure the client was satisfied. Neil took me aside one day and said “I’d like you to head up our new department of computer services for architects.” I thought for a while, then said “But I’m not an expert in that area.” Neil looked at me and smiled. “You will be.”
And so, my new career was set in motion – a computer consultant working with architects. That was 1989. A lifetime ago, it seems.
Right around the time of that conversation, we started to work with ArchiCAD, and it has been a love affair ever since. Oh, there have been many ups and downs, but I still get a kick out of the amazing technology that Graphisoft provides, and love working with architects.
Did I tell you that my brother Michael Bobrow is an architect – in fact, he’s a Fellow of the AIA. His firm Bobrow Thomas Associates made a great many hospitals and university buildings over the years. Maybe I should also mention that my oldest brother Danny Bobrow is a computer researcher at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), the research facility set up by Xerox in the early 70s that pioneered many ground-breaking innovations in computer technology. Danny has been there almost from the beginning, so he’s a senior scientist and a legend. Oh and the third brother is a well-regarded computer researcher at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) in Cambridge Massachusetts. Rusty Bobrow has done some amazing work in artificial intelligence over the years.
So somehow I ended up combining the computer technology that two of my brothers are so adept with, and architecture, that the middle brother became famous at. I’m the youngest, and we have no sisters – it was “my four sons” who made their parents Ruth and Jack proud.
Finally, since I’m getting all of this personal story out on my website (for the very first time, I realize), I have to tell you about our son Ayden Graham. He is attending the University of California at Santa Cruz. At the time of this writing, he is 21 and in his third year, majoring in literature and minoring in electronic music. He LOVES music and is very talented at guitar, violin and piano and is making great headway with creating music with his buddies. I’m very proud of him, in case you didn’t notice. My one son. We only rolled the dice once, and we hit the jackpot with him. He’s going to go far, I’m sure.
Anyway, that’s probably more than you wanted to know about me. Oh, in case you didn’t know, nowadays I work mainly on my own, although I still have the company that bears my name, and some consultants like architect Scott Bulmer who remain on call and able to jump in at an instant’s notice. I am now focusing on developing training materials and other resources for ArchiCAD users around the world. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. And I love the challenge!
Next year, who knows? I’m starting to feel that reinvention is an ongoing process. There are a lot of things that interest me in this world of ours. The web, video, marketing, reaching people, helping people…some combination of people and technology for sure.
Or perhaps I’ll get back into my dance clothes again. I could be in better shape. Get out and away from the computer for a change. You never know. You might see me on stage again!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you’re so inclined, I’d love to read your comments.
P.S. If you enjoy working with ArchiCAD as much as I do, or would like to learn how to use it better so that you can enjoy it… please get in touch.