After quitting my first post-college job in 1997, I started a company named Mouken and began the life of an entrepreneur, creating software, t-shirt designs, online games and such. A few years later, my focus pivoted when an RSS to HTML converter script that I had created for my own use (CaRP Evolution) started attracting attention and became a viable commercial product.
I spent the next several years primarily creating tools for webmasters and internet marketers, and blogging about ethical marketing -- a topic that the internet marketing space seemed to need more of. Somewhere along the line, I changed the company name to Gecko Tribe.
As the years passed, my attention gradually shifted from Gecko Tribe's websites and products to work I was doing for one of my brothers and his many companies. For several years, Gecko Tribe lingered on, but got very little of my attention.
A few years ago, one of my sons started live streaming himself playing Fortnite. After I started playing with him, I decided that I wanted to stream too. I guess I just prefer to be a producer than a consumer, even when I'm being a consumer! Streaming Fortnite gave me the opportunity to get familiar with the Streamlabs platform. And as a programmer, the natural next step was to create my own tools for my stream.
After streaming Fortnite for a while, and having fun, but never finding much of an audience, I decided to add live music streaming (guitar) to the mix. It had been quite a few years since I'd played guitar regularly. But for a long time, I had wanted to learn to play jazz. and jazz improvisation seemed like the ideal thing to stream (at least from my perspective -- though maybe not the typical Twitch audience member's!)
My next two challenges were to learn to play jazz, and to find music I could stream without running into copyright issues. I had always been an improviser, but had never quite understood how to deal with the complexities of jazz -- in particular, the frequent key changes or non-diatonic chords. I won't go into how I worked through that issue.
As for finding uncopyrighted music to play, my first idea was to see if I could find recordings to play with that were in the public domain. To make a short story shorter, I found very little. Then I got the idea to back to my roots as a programmer and create my own software that would take everything I know about music and use it to generate background music for me. In my spare time over the next few months, I created JazzBot. It creates new background music on the fly, shows me the chord changes, and plays it through my MIDI keyboard. And I do my best to improvise something over the top of it.
So here we are today. I've decided to retire most of the old Gecko Tribe -- all the inactive projects that I don't want to be distracted by -- that I don't want to have to maintain anymore. Instead, Gecko Tribe will be focused on the things I'm doing for fun -- streaming music, art, humor, and a few deep and shallow thoughts. It may never regain it's place as my primary income source. But at least it will be something I enjoy.
And who knows...