My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering and I spent over 10 years working on aerospace projects doing structural mechanics - Nastran/Patran stuff for anyone who knows what that is. I became an expert in those software packages and spent so much time managing the applications I became a Unix expert as well. Most of the aerospace projects at the time were based out of California, and while I absolutely Love that state, the cost of real-estate was always too high for me. I longed to find something I could do that would allow me to work anywhere I wanted, but didn't have a clue what that might be.
The big shift came while I was on a ski vacation in Utah, when I opened up the newspaper and saw two job openings for folks with Oracle experience. Working closely with IT, I knew a number of people with Oracle skills and felt confident it was something I could learn. Not being tied down at the time - I purchased a developer's license for Oracle and set about teaching myself a new profession. That was over 15 years ago, and I'm now a Certified Professional Developer and DBA - with dozens of Oracle applications under my belt.
I started working on GraphPad in 2010 while I was in between Oracle projects. I was intrigued by the iPad and wanted to develop business tools that took advantage of this incredible piece of hardware. Most applications I was working with were already web deployed, so I knew to really justify the effort I would need to develop something that had to run even when the user wasn't connected. One of the examples I found in the "iOS Developer's Cookbook" by Erica Sadun showed how to straighten lines. I realized if I could do that, I could develop a touch based CAD application and I set off to create GraphPad.
For much of the next two and a half years I worked exclusively on GraphPad. My goal always was to create business applications, and I saw the ability to create a simple dimensional sketch while in the field as absolutely invaluable. Combining business forms, costing data, and the ability to calculate lengths, areas as well as other calculations were my ultimate goal for GraphPad. It took a long time, but finally GraphPad does everything I set out for it to do and more.
Development of GraphPad is mostly done, although like any software product there will always be more that could be added. Unfortunately I wasn't able to turn it into a full fledged business but it will remain something I will work on as time permits. For now, it's back to working on other iOS applications, but GraphPad is easily the most interesting project I've undertaken.