After 6 months of research online in 2002, I founded a marketing newsletter (O.W.L) that grew to 60,000+ subscribers within 2 months. Five years later, after working closely with business owners and consumers in nearly every English-speaking country in the world, the newsletter had grown to just over 7 million subscribers. The support website I built for the newsletter was uglier than Craigslist, but at its traffic peak in 2003 it was ranked as the 161st most visited website in the world. Both my O.W.L and MusicForte websites were also featured multiple times by Alexa.com as one of the “Ten Fastest Growing Websites In The World”. During this time I also began developing various different e-commerce websites while improving my design skills, ultimately having to close down the newsletter to better focus my efforts.
After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1995 (Psychology/Art), I began a successful 8-year long career as the lead guitarist/composer in 5 notable Midwestern bands with the varying genres of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Folk, Alternative, and Comedy. This musical journey of over 800 live shows and 23 albums led me on some amazing tours across the country, and even set me on an international path of discovery with most of my time being spent near Sydney, Australia.
I had the great fortune of opening for an eclectic mix of famous Artists over the years: Flaming Lips, World Party, Social Distortion, Dave Mason, and even the enigmatic Vanilla Ice. I was also in one of the first house bands on the Jenny Jones Show where I got to play my song Wild Monkey live in front of 6 million+ TV viewers. Becoming a multi-instrumentalist over the years, I eventually retired from live performance and released 2 self-produced albums under the name ‘Mr. Rose’ while transitioning into my career online.
In early 2012 I completed a 2-year project with Television/Media conglomerate ComCorp USA (now Nexstar Broadcasting), gaining valuable experience working as a marketing consultant, web designer, and producer of both local and national TV shows. Presently I establish my office and home base in Phoenix, AZ, focusing my time on my Web Dev/Consulting practice Werbonics, non-profit charity work, and these exciting ventures…
More about some of my skills/hobbies:
Art – One of my first loves growing up, I was always doodling on notebooks in class. I found it hard to ever put my pen down. I loved cartooning, ink-wash, and creating caricatures of friends/family. I was honored to receive a handful of scholarship offers to college, ultimately choosing Millikin Fine Arts University before transferring to University of Illinois. By the end of college, the core of my creative expression had already shifted to music. I don’t draw much today but definitely use the same eye when approaching website design. You can see some of my old artwork HERE
Music – My passion for music has stayed with me my whole life. Having a grand piano in the house growing up surely helped, and a talented vocalist/pianist mama did too. I taught myself how to play the piano, bass, drums, guitar, and even took a few trumpet lessons in grade school…but it was the guitar I became obsessed with in college that lead me to start playing in bands and make it my career for 10 years. Once I started composing, I became fascinated with the correlation between music and mathematics, the subject in school I always found incredibly simple. On my Mr. Rose solo albums I sing and play all the instruments myself, and you can listen to a few of my favorites HERE
Golf – I taught myself how to play towards the end of grade school, and by the end of High School I was Conference MVP, All-Area, and First Team All-State. I played on scholarship for one year in college and had thoughts of making it my career, but again my music obsession had taken over and made the decision for me. I still play often here in Arizona, and I enjoy the game much more now without the stress of competition. And nothing beats an hour at the range to clear my head.
Martial Arts – I trained in various forms of Martial Arts from age 13 to 35, and I’ve always been drawn to Eastern Philosophy. I taught Kung Fu and Self Defense in Chicago for a few years between gigs, and my highest current belt rank is Second Degree Black in Tae Kwon Do. I’m taking a few years off from training, but I continue my practice of Yoga and Meditation.
Writing – I’ve kept a journal of my thoughts, ideas, inventions, etc., as far back as early grade school. I’ve also become obsessed with advances in technology, and one of my favorites on that front is surely note-taking software, which has allowed me to transcribe my old words, add new ones, and always keep them at arms length with mobile devices. I enjoy writing in a poetic style for the lyrics to my music, but also put the same energy towards ad copy for newsletters, reviews, and website content. My favorite style is satire and/or some form of comedy, and I find it very rewarding that I’m able to use this form of creative expression throughout my work online.