Meet Gary Murphy, Schema App’s Tech Lead

We’d like you to meet Gary Murphy, our technical leader, and master musician.  You may have got a response from him in Schema App Support if you ran into a bug, or may secretly thank him when Schema App does something awesome.  Below is the interview I conducted with Gary to share a little about him as you get to know our team.

Tell us About Yourself?

Working in computer communications since about 1981, the main theme of my work has been in opening computing and especially communications to everyone. I helped usher in desktop computing, pioneered the early FidoNet and earliest Canadian free-net. I was there when the Internet first opened the gates to the public and was among the original Sympatico crew bringing kids and grandmothers together online. I even served as a director with Vint Cerf on the Internet Society’s Societal Task Force ensuring an open and global Internet for all.

One day back in about 1991 I was giving a talk on augmented reality at the McLuhan Program Coach House and afterward, this fellow came up to remark that, just the previous evening, he had seen me performing old folk tunes on the banjo at the Free Times Cafe. Here I was, presenting on bleeding edge tech.  I told him, “It’s all just communications.”

What do you do at Schema App?

I assist Mark van Berkel, the creator of Schema App, in the technical infrastructure across the suite of tools. This includes: implementing new features, updating current systems, handling the technical customer support issues and ensuring Arthur (our tree) gets watered at least once a week.

Why did you choose to work here?

There are many reasons, foremost among them was on meeting Mark and Martha, recognizing that this wasn’t just any start-up, it was two good people with a solid plan on a mature technology whose time had finally come. Again, this gets back to “Internet for Everyone”, and empowering everyday people with technology.

What do you think is the best part of your job?

There are many things to like about this job, the sensible corporate culture, the autonomy and respect, the challenge and rewards of the semantic web tech, the location in beautiful downtown Guelph, the openness and sincere care Mark and Martha show the staff, the bottomless coffee cup … but the really best part is the task. It is not just in enabling marketing and SEO teams to do their own schema-markup and guiding them to get their best results, but on the other side of the search fence, our work ultimately gives the everyday Internet searcher better results, better choices and brings them closer to enjoying the true value of this Internet thing.

Favourite Online “Thing”?

My favourite ‘thing’ is the Internet itself, it is amazing, not just for the tech of TCP/IP itself or hypertext or email, but in the way it was built by anonymous collaborations, tearing down walls that divided, reaching every corner, archiving virtually the sum of all human knowledge (and also deceit, just for balance) — it is the ultimate triumph of human openness, collaboration and sharing.

Where can people find you online?

In general, they can’t. I’m notoriously bad at replies.  Although I post tech or commentary bits now and then to Twitter or LinkedIn.  I mostly use social media to troll my kids with dad-advice.  I do have a YouTube channel, mostly of my kids playing their music, and I am active on a number of mailing lists, mostly to do with big band and concert band music.

What’s your superpower?

Career-wise my most-plied skill is in bringing bleeding-edge research-level technologies into commercial deployments, but really my top superpower is in making the best Gumbo.

Favorite Youtube Video

Tough question, there are so many, but here’s one my favourites of my own, simply because it not only delivers a message with an original song by Kee-May, but does so in a hilariously esoteric send-up of another far more famous video.

Favorite Schema Markup Class?

Wait, what? There’s classes? Probably because it’s not a Video, it’s a media object!

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