Home » News » Business » 40 Under Forty
On the cutting edge, where Ian Muir prefers to be
Ian Muir, 30Home: Manchester
Immediate family: Wife, Kelley Muir; son, Mannix Muir, 5
High school: Coe Brown Northwood Academy
College/post-grad degrees: B.A. in new media from the University of Maine
Current job: Lead Solutions Architect at Piehead Productions in Portsmouth. This is a newly acquired position for me. My new role is to work with developers, management and clients to create a technology vision that both motivates our team, as well as providing exceptional solutions to the business challenges faced by our organization and its clients.
Key past positions held: Developer evangelist at Ektron in Nashua; senior web developer at CustomScoop in Concord; senior web developer at Amplify Studios / SendLabs in Manchester
Volunteer activities: Organizer, BarCamp Manchester; mentor, Float Left Labs; volunteer, New England GiveCamp, BarCamp Boston
Most admired person (outside of your family): Bill Gates. He took a small business in his garage and turned it into the largest software company in the world. What's even more inspiring is the fact that he is now using his wealth to help people in need around the world.
Current professional challenge: My biggest current professional challenge is my new position at Piehead. I'm tasked with taking a team of developers and programmers with a diverse background and creating new technical direction that both fulfills the needs of the development team will also supporting business goals. Finding the right balance between cutting-edge technology and proved tools has and continues to be an exciting challenge.
Last major achievement: My biggest achievement this year was having multiple articles recognized on YCombinator's Hacker News. Most of the discussion at YCombinator is driven by folks located in the typical tech startup regions, like Cambridge and Palo Alto, so it was a unique privileged to be representing a growing area like New Hampshire in a national technology forum.
Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: The polarization of politics in the state is the biggest problem that I see. I've always viewed our state as a place that took a pragmatic and even approach to politics, but over the last few years, the partisan bickering that has dominated national politics is now common in our own State House and State Senate. It's disheartening to see politicians more concerned about making a point than helping their constituents. When I see unemployment rates rising and businesses closing, it's hard to understand why the house is focusing so much on bills related to gun control and family planning issues.
Favorite place in New Hampshire: This is easily the hardest question here. There are many places in the state that are important to me, but the one that stands out most is the Basin in Franconia Notch State Park. When I was younger, money was always tight and the White Mountains were a great place to go and have fun without spending a lot of money. The Basin was special both for its beauty and because of all the great little creeks to swim in. The area around the Basin is kind of like a big natural water park carved into the granite.
What book are you reading now? I generally have a couple of books on my bedside table at any one time. Right now I'm reading “Beautiful Teams: Inspiring and Cautionary Tales from Veteran Team Leaders” when I'm in a productive mood and “Jon Stewart Presents Earth” when I need to unwind.
How do you relax? Playing guitar and doing Japanese number puzzles are my go-to relaxation techniques. When the weather is good in the summer or fall, nothing beats a nice walk around my neighborhood or a good hike.
What websites do you visit most often? http://www.thisiscolossal.com and http://ffffound.com/ are where I go when I need inspiration. When I need news about technology I rely on http://www.slashdot.org and I'm also known to spend a fair amount of time on http://www.consumerist.com.
Favorite TV Show, radio station or musical artist: My favorite show is definitely “Game of Thrones.” It's a great story set in a well-crafted world and has enough complexity to be interesting without getting confusing. On the music side, I've been listening to a lot of Pendulum recently. They manage to successfully merge a variety of different styles and are always creating new and interesting collaborations with other artists.
MANCHESTER - If you're looking for people on the cutting edge of technology and Web design, you don't have to go to California. Ian Muir is doing it right here in New Hampshire.
Muir is a Web developer for the Portsmouth-based Piehead Productions, where he guides the technical direction of the company, as well as programming and executing websites for clients such as Pepsi, Liberty Mutual and Comcast. After his day at Piehead, Muir also puts in time at Sunder Media, a Manchester-based Web-development company he co-founded and focuses on small, creative projects.
Muir is also a co-creator of BarCamp Manchester, which hosts free technology conferences aimed at bringing local tech professionals together. Muir often serves as a presenter at these networking and collaboration events, sharing his programming skills and tips he's picked up through his career.
The BarCamp model has proved popular, spreading to cities like Boston and last year was part of the music, film and technology conference South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, where Muir took the idea to a national audience.
“We spoke about organizing BarCamp, what the process is like and the work we've done with local companies to keep it free,” said Muir.
Outside of work, Muir is spreading his love for innovation and technology to elementary students as a FIRST Lego Team coach at Mount St. Mary Academy in Manchester. He has also served as a mentor at Float Left Labs, a nonprofit, student-staffed media design and consulting company.
Someone with Muir's talents could take his skills to any of the major technology hubs in America, but this New Hampshire native has settled down in Manchester.
“There are quite a few Web-development companies doing interesting things here,” said Muir. “We've found a good balance, especially in Manchester and Portsmouth. There's enough about these cities we like, it's close enough to Boston to be connected to the Cambridge technology companies but is far enough away where it's without the headache.”
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Intruder, a burglar, and attempted break-in keep Manchester police busy - 0
- Afterschool activities canceled in Jaffrey - 0
- Banker convicted of fraud in scheme involving press maker exec - 0
- Mass. man charged in Nashua hit-and-run - 0
- Bedford's Shapiro hits lacrosse milestone - 0
- NHIAA boxscores, summaries for May 20, 2013 - 0
- Police say man held girlfriend in car, arrest him - 0
- Overtime puts stress on Nashua police budget - 1
- Manchester, church group seek accord on breakfast for homeless - 11
Experts weigh in on UNH logo designs
Texting + driving = deadly consequences
UPDATED: Derry marks a soldier's death
Memorial Day Observances 2013