Bob Clark


The Bob Clark Omnibus

If you took everything about Bob Clark — a résumé, a passion for Apple software development (Mac OS X, iOS, iPhone, iPad), a hodgepodge of social-networking links, a select cross-section of Clarkwood Software products, and links to family web pages — whizzed ’em up in a blender, and spilled ’em out onto a single web page, you might end up with this. This very page you’re reading right now.

If there were no accents in there word “resume”, SEO would be easier.

Bob Clark’s Personal “Brand Pillars”

My “philosophy” of engineering and engineering management can be scrutinized through the lens of what I consider to be my personal brand pillars.

These are four things I do that drive my career and my life.


Be Honest               Deliberate               Show Kindness               Catalyze


Be Honest

No long-term relationship — with a spouse, with a friend, or with a company — can survive without a pillar of honesty. Deception, even if it’s as innocuous as estimating a task too optimistically or sugarcoating an employee’s performance appraisal, will lead to situations that are worse in the end than if they had been handled candidly in the first place.

I can acknowledge that there are times (buying a car, say) when it would be a tactical advantage to be able to skirt the truth a bit, but for better or worse — usually better, to be honest — I strive to be honest.

Deliberate

Some disciplines require instant feedback and snappy rejoinders. Engineering, fortunately, is generally not one of them. Software Engineering involves crafting products of beauty and simplicity over the course of weeks, months, or years. Knee-jerk responses and overreactions are damaging. My deliberative approach to solving problems ensures that decisions aren’t made in the heat of the moment, but rather there has been a chance to let things brew for awhile.

Although it can be awkward the first few weeks I work with someone (“Let me process that for a couple days” is a phrase many of my managers and co-workers have heard), a professional relationship is much more successful when I deliberate.

Show Kindness

Kindness does not come naturally enough to many of us engineers. We can focus so strongly on a technical problem that we forget that those around us are humans, too, with human frailties and human emotions. Inadvertent hurtfulness can cause repercussions for years.

I have always enjoyed long-term (years or decades) working relationships; building and maintaining those relationships has required that I reciprocate others’ kindness and that I, too, show kindness.

Catalyze

A very few people have the ineffable quality of empowering the people around them. Somehow, you drop one of these people onto a project and everyone else steps up and creates magic. I have been fortunate to work with some people like this (Peopleware’s DeMarco and Lister call them catalysts, and so do I), and I try to improve the life and productivity of those around me as well.

In my own life and work, I try to catalyze.

The Work Experience
and Education of Bob Clark

Historically I have not been much of a job-hopper. I worked for nearly fourteen years at RealNetworks, and previous job tenures were just over seven years, and almost four years.

  • Apple (Cupertino, CA) 2012-present. Software Engineer.
  • RealNetworks, Inc. (Seattle) 1998-2012. At RealNetworks I was Development Manager for the development team creating mobile clients (notably iOS/iPhone/iPad) for several RealNetworks products. My team was also responsible for the Mac OS X version of RealNetworks’ flagship product RealPlayer.
  • Edmark, Inc. (Redmond, WA) 1995-1998. I contributed to Edmark’s award-winning “House” line (Millie’s Math House and others) and other products as Software Engineer and Lead Macintosh Engineer.
    Millie’s Math House; Bailey’s Book House; Trudy’s Time & Place House; Stanley’s Sticker Stories; Imagination Express; Astro Algebra; Travel the World with Timmy; Millie & Bailey: Pre-School; Millie & Bailey: Kindergarten.
  • Curriculum Networking Specialists (Walla Walla, WA) 1987-1995. Software Engineer. (The company was known as Computer Networking Specialists, then renamed to Curriculum Networking Specialists, then was bought by Chancery Software... and the cornerstone product still lives on elsewhere as ClassWorks.)
  • Walla Walla College 1995. BSEE (Electrical Engineering) cum laude

That cum laude was kinda like Ted Williams when he hit .400. He had to round up to achieve .400 until his final double-header in 1941. In my case I had to round up to hit a 3.5 GPA until my last quarter got me up to 3.509, so if “barely cum laude” was a category, I’d like totally own it.

My goal, whether it’s as a software engineer or as a development manager, is to bring a calm, deliberative presence to an often-chaotic environment.

Earlier in my career I vowed to avoid management, just as in college I vowed that I would never own a station wagon. The vagaries of life have ... revised ... my intentions for both of these situations.

If This Were the Résumé of Bob Clark...

My résumé would reflect a pragmatic passion for Apple/Cocoa software development: the passion necessary to release quality software, and the pragmatism necessary to release quality software.

If this were my résumé, I’d be sure to include bullet-item buzzwords associated with expertise. Buzzwords like C, C++, Objective-C, Cocoa, Carbon, Xcode, Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, and iOS.

If this were the résumé of Bob Clark, surely there would be room to mention low-level expertise in techniques like multiprocessing, networking, and optimization, and could mention source control experience (especially git, subversion, and cvs).

Bob Clark’s résumé might include some words about how I am effective (and happiest) when I am thoroughly and deeply involved in nurturing a product through all phases of development, from inspiration and planning through implementation, deployment, and ongoing maintenance.

(If this were, in fact, the résumé of Bob Clark.)

If only the past subjunctive mood were something that made sense.

Do-It-Yourself Search Tips
for Invading Bob Clark’s Privacy

Robert is the third most common male first name in the US, and Clark is the twenty-first most common surname, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there are a lot of us Bob Clarks. It does add challenges for someone trying to find out information about a specific Bob Clark.

Since I share my name with the director of Porky’s and A Christmas Story, a dude who sells reptiles, a major-league baseball catcher around 1890 (go Brooklyn Bridegrooms!) as well as with a lot of other people, a simple Google search won’t necessarily find me.

(The problem isn’t limited to Google searches. The TSA always pays “special” attention to me at airport security because some Bob Clark somewhere probably did something bad; on behalf of all law-abiding Bob Clarks everywhere, I say “thanks a lot, jerk.”)

If you are looking into my professional history, here are some guidelines to get you started...

In general, you might have better luck searching for “Bob Clark” “OS X”.

Much of my work at RealNetworks has been done in the Helix Community, so a search like “Bob Clark” site:helixcommunity.org will find me and many of the publicly-viewable code changes I have made.

You can find much of what I’ve done at Clarkwood Software by searching for “Bob Clark” site:clarkwood.com.

This “Search Tips” section reflects a downside to having a common name. Of course, if my ancestors hadn’t been so “prolific” I wouldn’t be here to complain about it.

The Social-Networking
Pool O’ Links for Bob Clark

The social networking sites I currently play with are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a bit of dabbling in Shelfari. I haven’t quite figured out how Google+ fits in with my social networking strategy. (Yet.)

This plethora of social networking sites is ... inelegant. Each of them has a slightly different way of doing things. Twitter has its one-to-many asymmetric relationships vs. LinkedIn’s and Facebook’s two-way connections; LinkedIn has its professional perspective; and Facebook has its superior number of (my) acquaintances — which almost makes up for its annoying quizzes and other crap.

And, to make the situation even more inelegant, there’s no good way to social-network between social-networking sites. I see invitations from the same people on LinkedIn and Facebook, and then see them following me on Twitter. (Or vice versa, I’ll send invitations to the same people on different sites.)

Yuck! It offends my delicate sensibilities to have to reproduce the same work over and over.

I’m generally rather discriminating when it comes to whom I invite to social networks — like, I have to actually know the person(!) — but I’m pretty “easy” when it comes to accepting others’ invitations. So invite away! I’ll be your friend.

The Personal & Family Side of Bob Clark

I am currently a resident of San Jose ... the Bay Area ... Silicon Valley. For many years I lived in the also-awesome Seattle area. High tech and playing outside is a sublime combination.

I have a bookshelf with “Bob’s Top Five Novels.” Right now that shelf includes:

  • The Brothers K, David James Duncan
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, Douglas Adams
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

 

A Selection of the Clarkwood Software
Projects of Bob Clark

Clarkwood Software is where I have gone for creative release, to work on products and ventures that don’t fit into my day job. This is a place to work, alone or collaboratively, on products that fill a niche or scratch an itch. It is luxurious and fulfilling to be involved in the end-to-end creation of Mac OS X and iOS (iPhone/iPad) applications. Among my products are...

  • Peek-a-Boo, a process watching utility for Mac OS X.
  • Flowing Pennies, a personal finance application for Mac OS X.
  • ZibblerTrip, an iPhone GPS app that can act as a speedometer during trips; and thanks to Core Data, it can perform several kinds of analysis on trips afterwards.
  • ZibblerScribe and ZibblerPict, finger-painting/doodling/scrawling/note-taking iPhone applications.

...and some older products like ramBunctious and the OS 9 version of Peek-a-Boo.

Other Nerdy Projects and Articles
Related To Bob Clark

There are a number of projects in which I have been involved, from college assignments to just-for-fun tinkering.

More Clarkwood Software articles are available from the Extras page.

Ask me about F.A.R.T. logic sometime.

Contacting Bob Clark

If you need to contact me without the overhead of “friend”ing me on Facebook, or “connect”ing on LinkedIn, you can find my email address on my résumé.

RFC 793: section 2.10