Kurt Deutscher 17 February 2008
Chief Technology Evangelist, Portland Native, Jazz Drummer
Kurt is a graduate of the only elementary school in Portland serving beer in the classrooms daily.
Over 80,000 people have marched to the beat of this drummer; literally.
He has been shot at, gassed, threatened with bombs, nearly crushed in a moving vehicle twice and felt the hot lead of a hand-grenade in his back.
When he turned 18, his parents moved out on their own.
Kurt knows first hand that you can’t open the back doors of a police car from the inside.
Kurt knows how to make a personal flotation device out of his trousers.
He once lied in a job interview about being able to play the auto-harp and still got the job.
He got his first job at age 11, earned the money for his first drumset by age 13 and played his first professional gig at age 17.
Kurt is a former voting-member of NARAS (the Grammy’s).
Kurt developed the ZooTeen program for the Oregon Zoo over a decade ago; this program has won national awards for fostering youth leadership and has become a benchmark for Zoos around the world.
He is a first generation college graduate.
Kurt proudly served a four-year tour of active duty as a United States Marine.
Kurt has worked with youth at risk of succeeding in inner-city schools.
His drumming is featured in the sound-track of an international fly-tying video.
He’s a good guy to have around when there is a 6-foot lizard in your front yard, when your storm drain is on fire, when your third floor computer lab is suddenly flooding with water, when your gas meter is frozen, when you find your plumber is passed out in a coma and when you’ve got dried black berry thorns in your paw.
And yes… he did drive the jungle bus!
What are you up to?
I’m beginning a new chapter in my technology career as the Chief Technology Evangelist at EllisLab, and taking a step forward in my role as the founder of NetRaising. EllisLab creates the software called ExpressionEngine, that powers hundreds of thousands of websites all over the planet. NetRaising takes ExpressionEngine and configures it as a Content Management System (CMS) for nonprofits, schools and businesses.
Technology is my fifth career, after being a US Marine, a school-teacher, a professional musician, and nonprofit executive. I spent 30 years working in fields that we continuously shrinking in finances, mind-share or both. It’s a very different thing with the web. The web is exploding, and although I got into it late (just about 6 years ago), I’ve really enjoyed the forward momentum of this amazing resource and the community building it. The web is attracting the brightest and the best in the world and connecting us in ways that just weren’t possible a generation ago.
What are you into?
I’ve been a professional drummer for over 25 years. In Portland I’ve worked almost entirely in the jazz community, but in SanDiego I was in the USMC Band, and worked the “Chitlin’ Circuit” in the area on weekends. I’ve had a very good music career. Now though I’m focused almost entirely on web-related things.
I’m also into changing the world for the better. And that’s how I happened to start NetRaising a few years ago. I was working in the nonprofit world and was never happy with my organizations web site, or with the lack of web-savvy at the time, and I really wanted that to change for the better. NetRaising is changing this one nonprofit at a time.
What do you like most about Portland?
I am a *cough* native of Portland. I like how Portland is always trying to improve its self. This town is always changing and it has been really fun to watch. I love the music communities in this town too. Over the years I watched the first transit mall (why are we doing this again?) in Downtown get built, I was there for the ground-breaking of Pioneer Courthouse Square (have a brick there too), walked the indoor mall at Jansen Beach (basically gone now), watched 100′s of buildings get re-purposed (Kennedy School is my favorite, as I was a student there), had my image painted on the site of a building for an Oregonian ad, and I like the way our water tastes right out of the faucet.
What in the word is a Chief Technology Evangelist?
I work at the intersection of ideas and technology. I’m something akin to a paid story-teller, a listener, a motivational writer and someone who polarizes people’s thinking about technology and more specifically the web. I work for a company called EllisLab (ellislab.com) that’s based in Bend Oregon. We create CodeIgniter (codeigniter.com), an open source web application framework that helps people write kink-ass PHP programs. We also create ExpressionEngine (expressionengine.com), the world’s most flexible web publishing system.
In addition to being a one-man introduction service “Web geek, meet your new CMS”, I’m also taking the lead role in a new education initiative at EllisLab to assist folks in getting up to speed with our software quicker.
What drives you?
During high school my girlfriend dragged me to MESD’s Outdoor School to be a cabin counselor. I ended up spending a total of 6 weeks volunteering at Outdoor School as a counselor, then I went back to work for the program for 5 seasons after I got out of the USMC. That program rocked my world. It taught me about myself, about people, about life, about our connection to our environment, to the word and about the joys of service and striving to leave this planet a better place than it was before we got here. If I can make this life just a little better for one person every week, then I will have lead a successful life.