For many technology professionals across the globe, working from home, setting your own schedule, and ditching the cubicle is preferable to a 9-5 career. Martin Liss (MartinLiss) was no different.
When he retired in 2002, Martin was only working one day a week in a conventional office. At home without the distractions of the workplace, he felt that he always got more work done. The ability to work on programming projects in the middle of the night or not get out of bed until 10am were big benefits as well.
While working as a chemistry lab technician for Xerox he taught himself BASIC (an archaic version of the Visual Basic 6 language that is widely used today) and did some programming on the lab’s Sigma 7 computer to help analyze laboratory test results. At the time, Xerox was competing with IBM for personal computer market share, and offered a program to selected employees that allowed them to participate in a set of full time computer programming courses over 6 months. Martin jumped at this opportunity and he now has over 40 years of programming experience, which he demonstrates daily on Experts Exchange.
Why Experts Exchange?
Martin first found Experts Exchange when searching for an answer to a technical problem back in 1999. He had participated in other online Visual Basic forums, and had even reached administrator status in one, but when he stumbled upon Experts Exchange, he “…just liked the way things were done.”
He found the answer he was after and soon started answering questions of his own. He said of solving problems for others, “I do enjoy helping people, but it’s mostly about my ego!” All joking aside, Martin equates programming to more of an art form than a science, stating that he would have pursued woodworking if computer science wasn’t an option. “The two are essentially the same,” he says, “you nail things together that seem unrelated. At the end you have something useful and beautiful.”
Martin now holds an overall rank of Ace, and a Genius certification in Visual Basic Classic. He’s a prolific technical writer, and was voted Most Valuable Expert by his peers in 2015 for going above and beyond when answering questions, especially for those who struggle with the language barrier that is often found on a global site. He has also been a Microsoft MVP for the past 7 years, and owes his continued problem solving abilities in part to Experts Exchange. “It keeps me sharp,” he says, “at 75 years old you need that.”
Away from the Keyboard
When he isn’t helping community members solve problems, you can find Martin travelling, reading hard science fiction novels, and attending theater productions. He and his lovely wife, Sue, also enjoy tending to their 5,000 square foot garden, complete with fruit trees, a koi pond, and several chickens. It’s an enviable set up, that takes talent and dedication to keep up with. He also spends a fair amount of his time checking things off of his ‘honey-do’ list. He says with a chuckle, “It’s become quite a hobby in itself.”