- Who am I?
- My name is Williams Castillo. I am the last of four brothers. My parents are Germán Castillo Sauce and Marsela Díaz de Castillo.
- Where and when was I born?
- I born in Puerto Ordaz, Estado Bolívar of República de Venezuela on Tuesday, March 4th 1975 so I am a bit older than 39.
- Where do I live?
- I moved to Atlanta, GA, USA, in July 2011 after getting a job offer from one of the most wonderful companies I've known so far.
- Spanish is my native tongue and I am fluent in spoken and written English.
I would like to speak French.
- The easiest way to contact me is, undoubtedly, by email. You can reach me at will@[thisdomain] or by Skype through my username, williams_castillo.
You can also get in touch by any of the social networks described below.
- Social Networks
- For some reason I do not consider myself a good user of most social networks, however, my username in the ones I use are:
- Facebook: Only for personal and family matters.
- LinkedIn: Professional business. Everybody is welcome!
- Twitter: This is my personal account but everybody is welcome to follow me!
- My family
- On December 9th, 2000 I married Nadia Ghneim, Psychopedagogue/Behaviorist and Educator.
From our union, there have been two beautiful gifts from nature: "The Champ" Dylan, on May 8th, 2004 and "The Princess" Dalith, on March 9th, 2007. I do not believe we will have more babies but... who knows what might happen?
- My Great Goal
- My greatest goal in life: To be able to look back and see that everything I did was done with the best intentions... and when I look ahead, I'll see my children following the path of goodness.
- Between 1982 and 1985, I attended Colegio Fé y Alegría in Puerto Ordaz.
Then, after moving to Caracas, between 1985 & 1988 I finished my elementary education at Escuela Experimental Venezuela.
In the latter, I quickly learned how competitive life in Caracas can be. Much different from the peaceful life in the province (one child, Rider, told me on the very first day in the entrance, without even knowing me: "I run faster than you!". I bet he did not know how much he taught me that day).
- High School
- I spend my whole "High School" life at Liceo Andrés Bello, between 1988 and 1993.
Besides being a tremendous school for life, thanks to a weird planet alignment, I met the woman who was destinated to be my wife (she didn't study there or even want to know me... but -in time- she fell into my arms. Ha!).
- Higher Education
- In September 1993, I was the twelfth of a lucky sixty selected people, out of more than 600 applicants, to be selected for the title of Licenciado en Computación at Universidad Central de Venezuela.
My dream since I was an 11 year-old boy came true: To study Computers AND to study it at La Central:
U U UCV! U U UCV!
My favorite modules were those related to programming, designing and databases.
I studied here until March 2000.
- Among the courses I took I mention:
- PeopleSoft Foundation, by Arthur Andersen Consulting in Caracas, Venezuela.
- PeopleSoft Configuration, Administration & PeopleCode, by PeopleSoft, in México City, Atlanta and Miami.
- Emotional Intelligence with several focuses: For leaders, For managers and aimed to sale staff.
- Leadership and Effective Supervision, by Instituto Venezolano de Gerencia
- Effective Negotiation, by LatinFN
- A few specially worthy of mention:
- Excellence in Visual Basic, all flavors.
- Experienced in PHP and Perl. Some Python and RoR.
- Microsoft Operating systems, all flavors. SUSe Linux, SCo Unix, DOS.
- MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Informix.
- Agile Modeling & Development
- Former follower of RAD methodology :)
- During my studies, I received the following extra-curricular recognition:
- 2nd place at the 1st Programming Rally, Computer School, UCV (1995).
- 1st place at the 3rd programming Rally, Computer School, UCV (1998).
- The future
- I am a firm believer in Usability so I would like to explore this topic more deeply.
On the other hand, I have lately been open to study Economy or Internet Marketing.
Now that the "babies" are no longer babies, maybe some new inspiration will come from that source.
- Between 1995 and 1998 I worked for Distobera and Manapro Consultores (part-time in each company).
Distobera is a group of companies that manufactures and sells all kinds of screws. Here I worked as a sort of jack-of-all-trades: Programmer, Hardware Support, DBA, you name it, the most interesting for me being the design and development of their Invoicing and Accounts Receivables systems. I programmed them in Visual Basic 3.0 and Microsoft Access 2.0.
Manapro is a software company. Here I made applications around its administrative system, SAM. Basically I worked using Visual Basic 3.0 and 4.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 7 as the DBMS... I also made some dynamic libraries in Visual C to handle the reporting.
- Development Manager
- Wendys, the fast food chain, started operating in Venezuela in July/August of 1997. In February 1998 I began to work for them.
My initial function was developing a program for its back-store operations, something that up to that time had been done using MS Excel spreadsheets.
After two months I finished the project and in two additional months, the system was fully implemented in their 6 stores giving them fully control of their inventories. This, among other reasons -obviously, allowed them to start an incredible expansion: it grew from 6 stores when I started working up to 63 by the end of 2000: It has been called the fastest expansion of a Fast Food Chain in Latin America... and I'm very proud of my humble contribution to that achievement.
After that initial project, I was asked to create the Development Department of the group and so I did. My title was Development Manager which was, at 24, my first experience in management. I hired a small group of programmers and started other projects: Operation Controlling applications, cashflow, invoicing, Banking, etc.
I was part of a team whose objective was the selection of an ERP for the company (PeopleSoft was the chosen one). Once selected, I was asked to work on its implementation so I was named its Interface Manager where my task was to ensure the correct interfacing of our different applications and the external ones too (banks, suppliers).
In November 2000 I decided to explore new experiences. Without doubt, to have an experience so intense, educational and operational like that, at 24, is something I am very grateful for.
- Project Leader
- In 2001 and between 2003 and 2004, I worked for a company dedicated to the real estate business called Anexinca and also for a software company focussing on the legal sector, called Spasic y Asociados where I led the development of their then-main application.
In ANEXINCA I basically helped to debug and stabilize the real state system. It took around one year of work.
In Spasic Asociados, I worked implementing a program that was originaly conceived as a turnkey system for one of the firm's clients (Hoet, Pelaez, Castillo & Duque) but it evolved after a re-engineering process and it became the first "boxed" application of the comany that worked "out-of-the-box": It was called Signus.
The application is a Patent and Trademark controller and invoicing system for Intellectual Property. It was developed in Visual Basic 6.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 2000.
It is easy to say but I have to admit that this is by far the most complex invoicing system I've created. I wonder if there exists anything more complex to bill, and control, than Intellectual Property.
- With the birth of my first son, my wife and I took the decision that she should work in our own company so in December 2004 we created Consultores EDUVEN, a sort of education behavior clinic. Its goal: To provide education behavior support for children, family and schools. It was accomplished thanks to a multi-disciplinary team integrating Behaviorists, Occupational Therapists, Language Therapists and Psychologists.
My functions here were, basically, administrative and -obviously- I was its "System Manager" :). I adapted a system I designed and sold to Hair Salons (that basically billed services) to the business model of EDUVEN.
This was a tremendous experience from a personal point-of-view because it allowed us to live, even on a small scale, the life of an entrepreneur: To handle conflicts with clients (even with internal clients!), to handle suppliers, tax payments, logistics among many others.
Unfortunately, after three years of operation, in September 2007, due to the birth of our first daughter, we decided to close the doors of our first company. Nevertheless, we have internalized it as a temporary closing because it still exists on the books. In theory we just need to reactivate it. Who knows what life is saving for us?
- General Manager
- After a sudden job in Banco Provincial as a Web Developer, in the first semester of 2005, I was called, in October of the same year, to work in Grupo SINERTEC, one of the 38 companies that belongs to Grupo MATCOFER, a holding company focused on manufacture and commercialization of electric cables, PVC pipes, car bodies for GM and Ford, etc. My job's title there is System Manager.
Initially, my objective was to finish a migration project started in 1999! (from BBX to Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 with IBM Informix as the DBMS). After 2 years, I accomplished my mission but, obviously, there was the need of a new migration right away so I designed a new migration project (now, from Visual Basic 6.0 to PHP/ExtJS/Informix) which should be finished in the middle of 2012.
In addition to my duties related to software development, in the technology area I was responsible for researching, selecting and buying the new tech toys for the group - composed of approximately 1600 employees, 300 desktop computers, 40 laptops, 42 country-wide located servers and a distribuited VPN.
My duties there were not confined to the technical side, but also to the administrative: Taxes, sales, salaries, suppliers and even maintenance!
If I think of Wendy's as my school... SINERTEC/MATCOFER was definitely my college so... who's going to be my postgraduate?
- Localization Engineer
- Briefly after I developed an Email Marketing application for the venezuelan market, the people at MailChimp offered me the wonderful opportunity to join them, something I gladdly accepted in August 2011.
My main function is to do the neccessary adaptations to internationalize their application.
For security reasons I can't give more information except that I'm extremelly happy with this opportunity.
- Right now, my expectatives in the professional field is just one: Do an awesome, kick-ass job at MailChimp!
- Moodle, is the Open Source e-Learning platform most widely used in the World. It was the main reason why two of the biggest players in this area joined forces (WebCT and Blackboard). It was, also, my first experience with Open Source platforms.
I used to be very enthusiastic about this application since its early versions up to 1.36, if my memory serves. There, I developed one of its standard modules (The Glossary Module) and contributed to some characteristics that are now included in its core modules: Tabbed interfaces (something silly nowadays but absolutely revolutionary in those days!), auto-linking, text-filters among others. I began (although did not finish) other modules such as WebQuest and Annotations.
I am very proud of being listed among the Main Developers of this great application.
- I have to confess that I feel I entered late into the WordPress Community, the most widely used blogging platform in the world... and now a popular CMS too.
This is one of the greatest Open Source applications that have been created to date and I regret not having contributed to it from the first rather than "wasting" time in CMS that went nowhere (like phpWCMS).
However, I'm glad to have been involved with it anyway because this is a piece of program so beautifully structured and designed that one can only wonder: Wow! What could be the next big thing?
So far, I've been busy creating plugins for this platform mostly related to web and email marketing.
- Nowadays, if you want to succeed with a product or service, whatever it is, you should do it the smart way and in Email Marketing, MailChimp helps us do it in the easiest and most effective way. And this is not a cheap sales letter or a rhetorical comment: It is as I say.
Thanks to its intelligent API I have been able to develop interesting applications in a quick, efficient and even funny way.
These people, in my humble opinion, are setting the tone for what an Excellent Company should be in this Society 2.0.
By the way, I'm proud to have been listed as the only Latinamerican expert on it's Experts Directory for a long time... until I was hired for them (and I asked to be removed from it).
- My Own Projects
- Together with all the aspects mentioned so far, and adding others like Xajax, jQuery, ExtJS, PHP, among others, I've created applications and plugins that I've been able to publicly market and privately sell as well.
I can mention, for instance, wpCJ. This is a WordPress plugin that allows bloggers to market products from Commission Junction's advertisers. CJ is the biggest affiliate network in the world.
Along the same lines, I can mention what I have called Tu Correo Masivo or TCM. It is a set of WordPress plugins that allows you to pack WordPress, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, organic search results (SEO) and MailChimp as a whole Email Marketing solution on Steroids. This application has the potential to really put their users ahead of their competition, even more in countries like Venezuela. This program has been commercialized privately. In other words, it is a system that needs some level of customization in every client.
And more stuff like this, most of the time mixing open technologies.
- Buying and selling domain names is an area I began to play in a couple years back. However, I have sold only two domains in that period... even when I got a huge 16.000% for one of them. Doing the maths I haven't lost money but I think two years is more than enough to show more transactions (perhaps I have scared a couple of potential buyers with two extremely high balls).
Anyway, in the meantime I have been trying to monetize most of my domains in one way or the other: With PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and PPA (Pay-Per-Actionn). I have to admit that using PPC is not my best bet, in fact, I have only two domains where, for some mysterious reason, PPC has worked for them. In all other domains I've used PPA with far more luck.
My rule of thumb for every domain has been: If in a timeframe of one year it has not generated enough income to pay for its renovation, I cancel it. So, at this moment, all my domains (except for a few I recently bought) are self maintained.
- This is the section where I would like most to tell you that I have succeeded. However, that is not the case. Thank God I can say that I haven't lost a great deal of money: Most of the time I have got out of the thing with at least my initial investment. In few cases I have lost money which is, in itself, a win.
Nevertheless, I feel that I have to do the next step, to take bigger risks to earn bigger benefits. But the fear still stops me and that is so, I'm sure, because I deeply analyze the opportunities and if the balance is not strongly tilted towards me, I don't get into it. That shouldn't be so anymore.
If I want to get different results, I should stop doing the same things.
- Why a tiger?
- Curious about the picture? It's a tongue-in-cheek reference to Venezuelan people. There is a local idiom that literally means "To Kill a Tiger" which really means to moonlight (sort of): Any job done outside of your formal job is considered a Tigre or Tiger so that's the reason for the picture of this section.
- I've been interested in stamp collecting since I was around 7 or 8 years-old, but I decided to seriously study it in 2000.
In this regard, I can proudly say that I specialize in a very special period of our philately: Our locals up to 1903 and the Escuelas series from 1870 up to 1879.
So if you are a collector of these topics, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with me!
As a social contribution, I have created and maintained the website of Asociación Filatélica de Caracas, ASOFILCA, formerly Club Filatélico de Caracas.
- Ahhh... This is a hobby in which I would like to spend more time!
I just love the feeling of "flying" in a marine environment, feeling that unique peace around me and only listening my own breathing admiring all that beauty that we barely know about.
Unfortunately, I can only practise it when I am close to a good shore... something that, Thank God, has been happening more frequently of late but still not so frequent as I would like.
- Dominoes & Pool
- My two great vices :)
Since my teens, these two games have been my favorites... and they still are even after I lost contact with my former partners.
I do remember that I placed second in a Domino Championship held at the university in who-knows-what-year.
In the same vein, I also placed second in a Pool Championship held at Sinertec a couple years ago but I didn't win because the gal who won cheated in her last shot (the 8-ball entered an unexpected hole; we were playing 8-Ball) and the referee validated the shot (yes, I'm still angry about it, so what???).
- Do I need to say that I am passionate about computer programming? I've been programming since I was 10 or 11 years-old, I began in 86 with GW-Basic (with what else could I begin?), then I jumped to Turbo Basic (up to circa 87-88) and quickly went to DBaseIII and DBaseIII+ only to make the jump to Clipper Summer '87 (up to circa 1992) before I got into university and started to do programs "officially".
The first "real" software I sold was a system that handles the operation of an electronic warehouse and video-games rental. It was sold to IntelliService for Bs. 18.000 (around US$1000, a fortune to me!) when I was 13 years-old (1988). My big surprise came the first week of 2000, when working at Wendys de Venezuela, I got a call from Mario Gil (the owner of IntelliService) who managed to locate me and he told me that my program didn't pass the Y2K!!! Luckily, after paying a visit (ages without seeing him) I checked the program and he realized that my program did pass the Y2K but the computer didn't: He bought a new one (about time!) and problem solved.
Do I need to say that I am passionate about computer programming?
- Star Trek
- This is one of the TV series that I have liked for many years. Unfortunately its transmission was a sort of miracle in my country. With the rise in popularity of the Internet I could get closer to it and in 1999 I created HISPATREK, El Portal Trekker Hispano, as the website was called, that ended up being the reference point for Spanish-speaking trekkers worldwide (although many didn't know that a Venezuelan was in charge... so simple were things then).
With this website I took my first steps in web programming. It was heavily based on Perl (which makes it extremely slow, mod_perl was not available at that time). It helped me to implement some characteristics that could be considered innovative at that time. For instance, now it is fairly common to see the comments section in today's blogs everywhere but in 1999 it was just unthinkable... except for HISPATREK, where any visitor could leave their comments in the very articles that were periodically published by a guy from Argentina, another from Spain and me, thanks to a very incipient Content Management System.
And not to mention that most visitors eagerly waited every Sunday at 00:00am, the time when TriviaTrek started (an automatic weekly thematic trivia held at the site.)
My favorite series? DS9 of course!
- This is perhaps the hobby where I spend less and less time each day. For some reason they have ceased to hold my attention.
I used to like strategy and adventure games like Old War Sea and King's Quest. Then, I preferred to play simpler games like shooters (i.e. Doom and Duke Nuken) but now it's rare when I like a game.
Perhaps the reason is that they have made the whole thing incredibly complicated so if you want the hero to do the simple things you will need to train yourself in 500 movements that need to be done in a precise order and timing: C'mon!!! I wanna play! I don't want to do a Specialization in Applied Game-o-logy and, additionally, to do a three-months course in Digital Yoga to be able to twist my fingers the way the game needs. Forget it!
The Pelota de Letras' Colombian guy might be right: "In the eighties you could do all those things with a knob and a button. Now you need two knobs and a dozen buttons to do something similar!"
And no, console games didn't attract me either (none of them).
Uhmm... the reason maybe just that I'm getting old :)
- The easiest: When I have nothing to do... I mess around the web :)
This site does not pretend to be or to replace my resume. This is just a thumbnail sketch of my life.
Should you need my traditional -and boring- resume, do not hesitate to ask!