Michael Brook

My name is Michael Brook.
I'm an Entrepreneur, Developer, and Designer.

About Me

Last updated April 2016

My full name is Michael Cory Brook. I am 26 years old and currently live in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Des Moines in 2014 after living in California (north and south) all my life. I make stuff (some people call that being an entrepreneur), and I use technology primarily to do it. I taught myself programming from the age of 16, but I owned my first business when I was 7, printing and selling custom calendars in 1997 to all the kids at recess. I've been making things ever since.

On the technology side, I'm what they call a "full-stack web developer." I also do design, not because I have to but because I actually like it. I'm not a "backend" guy or a "frontend" guy, though I know how much people love boxes. I do both equally as well. On top of that, I also do server administration, database administration and optimization, building scalable architectures, information security and encryption, graphic design, API development, responsive design, can work with Facebook and social APIs, data mining, CMS building, multimedia processing, mobile apps, bulk emailing systems, NLP, GIS, and the list goes on. If you want to know my experience with anything specifically, shoot me a message.

I hope to create a repeatable model that reduces inequality, starting with creatives who have so much to offer the world if only enabled to do so.

I like to make things that get noticed. When I was 17, this personal website was listed as one of the top 10 websites on StumbleUpon. I shared a list of songs that I loved, and it resonated with a lot of people. Since then, I've dabbled in many other types of businesses, but I was always captured by music. In 2010, I created a full-blown music service called BluePlaylist. It received noteriety as being one of the top 5 music apps at the time. A couple years later, Spotify, Rdio, and MOG took over the space and made the general population familiar with on-demand music streaming. BluePlaylist wasn't the first, but it was the first to have features like Spotify Connect and the Discover Weekly playlist using collaborative filtering (now a dedicated area of study).

BluePlaylist brought me over 120,000 registered users (over 200,000 unregistered) from almost every country on the planet. But after actively developing it for 2 years and then letting it sit zombified for 3 more years, I finally put it to sleep. I sought investments from Google Ventures and an investment branch at Adobe while attending college at UC Santa Cruz, but I could not conclude the business to be profitable, ever. I cut my loses and spent years researching the music economy instead. This went well with my college major of Legal Studies.

When I graduated from college, I pursued my next venture. A plan to reduce inequality in the music industry and enable creatives to reap sustainable benefits from their work. It was (and is) called Songtwist. Years of research had prepared me to take on this challenge, and years of studying inequality in school gave me the philosophies. I had the knowledge and tools to build what was needed. So I began. "The music industry is really hard to get into" is a common utterance. I've studied it for 6 years. I hadn't noticed.

I'm proud to say that I launched Songtwist, after years of treacherous study and revisions, on April 20th, 2016 (4/20 was a coincidence). I am currently accepting new artists to be on it and am looking forward to its continued growth. When it is a little more established, I look forward to sharing it with the hundreds of thousands of music-goers I have acquired over the years. And ultimately, I hope to create a repeatable model that reduces inequality, starting with creatives who have so much to offer the world if only enabled to do so.

If you would like to contact me, you can do so here.

Technical Skills

Professionally, I do almost everything web-related.

I am a backend, frontend, and all-end product developer and designer with a decade of experience using some of the most popular languages and tools on the web. Everything from server deployments to UX design and business logic.

I primarily work with the following technologies:

Very Proficient

  • HTML / HTML5
  • CSS / CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Meteor
  • MongoDB
  • jQuery
  • JSON / XML
  • AJAX
  • Nginx
  • Apache
  • Linux (mostly Ubuntu or CentOS)
  • Amazon AWS (EC2, RDS, S3, SNS, SQS, SES, Route 53)

Moderately Proficient

  • Java
  • C / C++
  • PostgreSQL
  • Bash scripting
  • Node.js
  • Android
  • Lighttpd
  • Rackspace

Practical Applications

  • Scalable server architecture
  • Database Management
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Distributed task queues & batch processing
  • Git repositories & deployments
  • Data deduplication systems
  • Opcode & memory object caching
  • Push notifications (using Node.js)
  • Image, audio, and video processing
  • Data mining & web crawling/scraping
  • Bulk & automated email systems
  • Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Information security & encryption
  • Content management system (CMS) development
  • Facebook Login & Graph API
  • API development
  • SEO & social media optimization
  • Responsive UI & UX design
  • Native Android app development
  • General app development (with Cordova)
  • Reactive programming
  • Graphic design

Other Interests

  • Photography
  • Video editing
  • Racquetball
  • Hockey
  • Writing long lists

For a full copy of my résumé, click here (needs to be updated).

The biggest risk you can take is not taking any.
— Michael Brook