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Flash Goddess
November, 2002
Kim Markegard
Casino Studios
Casino  Studios
Bonfire Snowboarding
Bonfire Snowboarding
Xerox Office Printing
Xerox Office Printing
2020 Green
2020 Green

Kim Markegard

With over seven years of experience in the multimedia industry, Kim has developed a myriad of successful applications and systems for such companies as Warner Bros., Microsoft, and the NFL. Kim has run the gamut of software development in alternative technologies through her efforts with physical computing, embedded systems, and media programming.

Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in a small Minnesotan town. I moved to New York for college and lived there for eight years. I still consider NYC my home; at least it's where my heart is.

You received a degree in computer science, right?
Yes, I received my Bachelors degree from New York University in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics. While there I was fortunate enough to participate in an internship at Bell Laboratories where I spent the summer in awe of, and learning from, the famous researchers there.

NYU also sparked my interest in hardware development and firmware. I collaborated on a project that involved both CS students and fine arts students. We created what we called "immersive environments." These were physical spaces that could be programmed to react and respond to actions by the inhabitants. It was a very successful project.

When you were in NYC what lead you into interactivity?
In 1993, after a short stint in the corporate world, I decided I needed something more challenging and innovative. I found out about a company called Interfilm that was making the first (and heretofore, only) interactive films for the big screen. I joined their team becoming the second of only two software developers. We created a custom hardware and software system for playing the films. It was installed in 100 theatres nationwide.

After Interfilm dissolved in 1994 I moved on to R/GA, the forerunner for CGI and interactive at that time in Manhattan. While there I worked on the first online multiplayer game show called NetWits. It was written entirely in C++ and wasn't designed for the web; instead, it was created as a standalone piece of software that used the Internet for communication.

Why did you decide to leave NYC?
Short answer, Giuliani was in office. Long answer, my current business partner and I were both freelancing at the time and thought Portland, Oregon would be a great place to start a boutique interactive shop of our own.

Was it hard to start a company in a city you'd never even been to?
It was difficult initially to acquire clients. Portland is sort of a small city and a lot of work tends to be secured via word of mouth or references. Fortunately, we had a few great clients in NYC who wanted to work with us regardless of where we were located. We were retained by the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens to continue development on video and animation kiosks for their traveling exhibit.

We also continued to work with Controlled Entropy and Planet Theory in NYC, creating numerous wireless, handheld, kiosk, and firmware applications.

While working with our existing clients we were able to get our name into the Portland multimedia and web community and began doing work for Second Story and other design shops here.

What are you currently working on?
We've just started a few projects dealing with heavy data and information manipulation in Flash MX. We're exploring new ways of visualizing information as well as experimenting with user interface ideas.

I've also contributed to the recently released Flash MX ActionScript Bible. My chapter covers the new drawing API from the basics to actually using it in practical ways.

Recently I was a panelist at WebVisions 2002, a conference dealing with the future of online technologies. I've also been given the honor of being the curator of the gallery right here at FlashGoddess.com.

What do you see happening to this industry?
Wireless will, of course, continue its tremendous growth. I think we'll also begin to see a lot more online/offline integration, meaning, online services that are complemented by short-range wireless communication. An example of this might be the act of planning a trip on mass transit online via your PDA (perhaps on your wireless network) and then using the same PDA to communicate with your transit station terminal en route via Bluetooth (or a similar technology) to check for scheduling or rerouting updates. Basically, more seamless and effortless communication.

Where does Flash fit into your company?
We're a functionality design studio, which means we take an idea from the concept stage, through information design, technical design, and through development, testing, and launch. We're basically problem solvers for people who have ideas about things like kiosks, handheld apps, web sites, games, and so on. We're completely technology-agnostic. We base our technical design on the needs and requirements of the projects, and since we're proficient in numerous languages and environments (including Java, C++, ASP, PHP, ActionScript, etc.), we're able to remain very flexible in implementation.

Having said that, Flash has been a great client-side as well as standalone technology for implementing innovative and challenging applications quickly. We've worked with Flash for over five years on a wide range of applications and have participated on the last two beta programs. We usually use Flash in tandem with a backend solution to achieve rich and deep applications.

Is it true that you once started a personal sticker and poster campaign against sexism?
Yes, it began with a parody of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue that I started in Manhattan. It was very popular and I continued it for three years.

I also launched an eight-month parody of Playboy magazine entitled Prayboy. I grabbed the cover image each month from their web site and modified it to create an image of women who were in control and powerful instead of being posed for the sexual pleasure of the observer.

Both of these campaigns can be seen at www.lifehack.org.

What advice do you have for people just getting started with Flash?
Explore every angle then find your niche. Most people try to run the gamut of Flash design and development. Figure out what you like to do most and master it.

Thank you Kim, very inspiring! We wish you continued success.