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The Founders Society Spotlight: Micheal Morgan, 2006
Class 1 - FY2011-2012
Class 2 - FY2014-2015
As the President, Chief Technology Officer, and Director for publicly traded Vidaroo Corporation, Micheal Morgan leads a technology company that provides a best-in-breed online video platform and state of the art video production. He also serves as the President of his own SaaS, e-commerce, and software development company Stand Vertical, Inc. Having graduated from Crooms Academy of Information Technology, Micheal is also one of the most prominent entrepreneurs from the class of 2006 and is now a member of The Founders Society.
Born in Houston, Micheal Morgan moved to Seminole County at the age of seven. Eighth grade at Milwee Middle School proved to be a pivotal point for him. "At the time, I was evaluating the benefits of attending Lyman's engineering program," Micheal explains, "but, Crooms AoIT offered so much more with its focus on IT and the Cisco Networking Academy. It was a presentation by Crooms' assistant principal during my tech resources class that cemented the deal." During his time at Crooms AoIT, Micheal pursued a regimen of networking courses and was also active in extracurricular activities. This included serving as Student Body President, Student Body Vice President, and head of Crooms' delegation to the Seminole County Association of Student Councils when it served as the Secretary/Treasurer school; being an active member of Business Professionals of America (BPA), BETA Club, and the National Honor Society; and, being a part of the BPA e-commerce team that would place first at national competition.
Micheal's work experiences would be what changed his trajectory from networking to software development. One of those experiences started during the summer before eleventh grade when he was hired at Adeptech – partially because of the CompTia A+ Certification he earned at Crooms AoIT. "During my time at Adeptech I realized I wanted to be creating technology rather than fixing other people's technology," Micheal recalls, "and, it was because of this experience that I used my senior capstone project to shift gears and explore software development." This new focus on development ultimately leads to a promotion to Vice President of Web Development and Hosting.
"The promotion at Adeptech is when things took off. I started forming relationships and bringing in development contracts," a visibly excited Micheal states. "At some point we decided to spin off our development operations, and Zen3 Interactive was born." After a year and a half of leading Zen3 – and, while still in school at the University of Central Florida for Digital Interactive Systems – he decided to launch some of his own ventures. Trilaterate came first in December 2007 as an e-commerce site. An on-demand web hosting company - Magnify Host – was the next to be launched in the summer of 2008. And, Magnify Agency rounded out the lineup with a focus on creating custom web applications; past projects include systems for use in nuclear quality control, software-as-a-service (SaaS), distributed HIPAA-based secure health care software, and e-commerce dataflow automation. "It was a pretty hectic time in my life. About the same time I was transitioning contracts from Zen3 to Magnify Agency under a licensing agreement, I was still growing Magnify Host and Trilaterate." Eventually, Trilaterate became the Altamonte-Springs based Stand Vertical, Inc. and served as a holding company for the three lines of business.
At the time Micheal was building his own start-ups, he also joined Orlando-based Gen2Media as a senior software developer. "Gen2Media was the predecessor to Vidaroo. I saw a great deal of potential, and within three months I submitted an architectural proposal to the Board for an online video platform that would later become the primary initiative for the company," Micheal states. In December 2008 he was promoted to Vice President of Development where he would build the online video platform that later became the focus of the company. Starting with a blank slate, the system grew to surpass 10 million+ video views a month and a database environment handling over a billion records. He also built the business model for software licensing, recruited additional staff, and handled the technology requirements for a number of joint ventures including Emmis Communications, Varsity.com, and over 100 radio station websites.
Less than a year after becoming Vice President, Micheal was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer, and also gained a seat on the board. At the same time, Gen2Media transitioned into Vidaroo to officially cement its new focus as an Online Video Platform ("OVP") and its software-as-a-service model. Less than a year and a half later, the board would appoint him as the President of Vidaroo Corporation starting November 2010. As the President of Vidaroo Corporation – which is publicly traded (OTCQB: VIDA) on the OTCQB market – Micheal oversees a growing on demand OVP and production company whose ever expanding roster of current and former clients include Microsoft, Coca-Cola Company, Tribune News Company, Toyota, Emmis Communications, Clear Channel, Black Eyed Peas, and Justin Timberlake.
- Mac or PC?
This is a loaded question and depends on what you are trying to accomplish. A computer is a tool, and what tool you use depends on what you need to accomplish. A tool is an extension of the human. As a developer, I prefer my MacBook Pro. I have used Windows, various Linux platforms, and Mac OS X; to date, Mac OS X has proven the most reliable.
- What is your opinion of "The Cloud"?
Vidaroo is cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere. I'm a huge advocate of cloud-based technology, and it is a terrific way to distribute software. As an entrepreneur, cloud-based software is a great business to be in. In 10 years from now, I see a world where you won't deal with localized media. Your computing environment will all take place in the cloud. Services such as Apple's iCloud, Dropbox and Bitcasa are great steps in the right direction. The biggest driver will be internet connectivity: as our high-speed infrastructure continues to scale, and as wireless speeds improve, virtualization will catch up with replication and we will see some big leaps forward.
- What is the next "new" thing in web development we should be keeping an eye on?
- Do you have any side projects we should keep an eye on?
Well, I have plenty of side projects, but not many I could share. I am an active member of the open source community, and you can find me on Github. I recently released Kohana-Restify – an interface for simplifying and testing RESTful requests - and Kohana Storage – a key/value storage abstraction for cloud storage.
- What is the "end goal" for Micheal Morgan?
I do have personal milestones that I am interested in reaching. That being said, every time I have looked out into the future and tried to focus on one goal, I somehow end up surpassing it. At my core, I am a software developer and entrepreneur; I would like to continue to be able to develop software and develop companies. My current focus is Vidaroo, and to continue to grow this company and create value. Lifelong, my goal would be to contribute to the computer science field through open source projects.
- Why did you decide to become a member of The Founders Society?
I fell in love with Crooms as an 8th grader looking forward to high school. Crooms AoIT has given me more than any other educational setting I have been in. I believe in what Crooms AoIT is doing, and I would like to see our Alumni Association be able to be more actively involved with the school itself. My hope is we are eventually able to create a bridge between the alumni and the student body, and create some interesting synergies when it comes to hands-on learning for Crooms AoIT students.
- Any other parting thoughts you would like to leave us with?
Looking back, Crooms AoIT allowed me to join AdepTech, and that is really what opened the door for my professional career up to this point. It was a unique opportunity that Crooms AoIT provided. These are the type of bridges I would love to see us build as an Alumni Association. From the personal perspective, Crooms AoIT will always be the reason I met the love of my life – Jenny Petrie. We met at the summer school program that prepared us for going into Crooms AoIT. Our relationship has lasted 10 years now, and together we get to reflect on all the amazing times we built at Crooms and all the friends we made there.
Updated: November 27, 2011
The Founders Society was established in 2011 to recognize the Crooms AoIT Alumni Association's most generous benefactors. These individuals, couples, or companies have made significant one-time contributions during our capital fundraising periods for the advancement of Crooms AoIT. Society members are sending a message that philanthropic support of Crooms AoIT and the current student body is vital to our alma mater's future success. Their financial support is changing lives and helps promote a culture of community support and involvement. To learn more about The Founders Society visit www.croomsalumni.com/about/founders.