This is my personal site where you can find my blog and learn more about me. Since you’ve arrived at this page you’ve either typed in my website name directly, searched on my name and found this page or clicked through to the “About Walter Elly” link from my blog. So, here’s all about me:
I am passionate about technology but let me be clear: I love people- my family, the most. I’m a proud father of two, loving life in New Hampshire. My philosophy is that technology is really something to harness in order to create more time in the world for the things that matter, whatever they are to you. I also believe that we still have a long, long way to go. The upside to this is that there’s TONS of value to still unlock in order to get there. Let’s find this value together.
Or you can catch up with me at one of my speaking gigs, stay tuned for upcoming events. Here is a selection of past engagements:
Another way to see what I’m doing these days is to check out V2 Strategic Advisors where I do business development for V2′s media and advertising consultancy.
You can also see check out some of my side-projects including Foursquare Day, Portsmouth Foursquare and my been-off-the-air-for-a-while (but was once on Sirius Satellite radio) podcast about dog training.
Still ready for more? Well, if you really want to get to know me, let’s have coffee or a beer sometime. But in the meantime let me share the origins of my journey into high-tech (starting with when I first started using a computer) and take you up to when I discovered the web (which lead quickly to my first job). After that you can check me out on LinkedIn for the rest of the story.
It all started when my father brought home his work-issued Tandy TRS-80 Model 100 laptop and showed me how he could type with his eyes closed. He typed the lyrics to James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James for me without looking. It was magic. I wanted to do that. From then on I took anything to do with computers dead serious. I was probably about 8 at this time. My school had a typing class the next year using Tandy 2000s. I was touch typing before I left elementary school.
Enter Ham Radio- I got my license when I was 11, learned morse code to get it and quickly gravitated towards PACKET radio. PACKET, for those who don’t know, was basically a precursor of the mobile web. I am not kidding you when I tell you that in 8th grade I did a show in tell with a ham radio portable HT in a backpack with a whip antenna sticking out, connected to a Tandy LT1400 laptop and a battery powered TNC, to show off how I could communicate digitally, portably. My moment of triumph in my mind was walking down the hallways while checking into PACKET bulletin boards on the laptop in between classes.
It was about the same time though that I discovered computer bulletin board systems or BBSes. These gems were the precursors of the public internet and social media as we know it. I ran a dial-up telephone computer bulletin board for about 4 years. I also experimented with running a PACKET based one, but the magic that I discovered within the realm of BBSes was far too compelling. There were strange groups and artists and interesting BBS-related political tracts to navigate. PACKET was black and white, BBSes had COLOR. PACKET was relatively well regulated by the FCC and active volunteers. BBSes, well- think of the internet. Yeah.
But it wasn’t long before I learned of what the next level was – I caught a glimpse of an X Window session while on campus at the University of South Florida visiting a professor friend and the sheer volume of information traversing the screen from something called USENET was mindblowing. It was like BBSes except insanely, deeply intimately connected. With BBSes I had experimented with and participated in several FidoNet style BBS networks, but THIS was the king of all networks – The Internet. I was hooked but this was 1993! Unfortunately getting the net at home wasn’t quite feasible yet.
In the meantime I learned more by talking to friends on BBSes and soon found out that DELPHI was giving away free trials to their service which came with a UNIX shell account. I connected up, tried some of the tools and quickly discovered IRC. That was it for me – BBSes started fading as IRC replaced multi-node chat, USENET replaced forums, Gopher replaced etexts, MUDs replaced door games and FTP replaced file download sections on BBSes (and GOODBYE ZMODEM AND HSLINK!). #doom and #nin were my hangouts on IRC by the way if you were there back in the day- I went by the handle of firestrtr, a tribute to my BBS username.
It wasn’t long before my ISP (Cybergate) began providing SLIP and PPP accounts to enable people to use this new program I heard of called Mosaic. Yeah, that Mosaic. Before long I was teaching myself HTML. With those HTML skills I was able to score a job at the local FOX affiliate (now O&O) WTVT Channel 13. My job was to help get them online with their first website in 1995. Here’s the oldest remaining copy from (from 1996).
After 3 years of helping to forge the beginning of the consumer internet through my work at WTVT, I left TV to pursue a business degree in management science at The University of Florida. From there I’ll let my LinkedIn profile catch you up, then why don’t you check out my Twitter profile to see what I’m up to *right now*! Isn’t this internet thing great?