Monday, September 29, 2008

MindSpring Revisited - Ron Meinsler - 500th Post!

Being fortunate enough to know Ron is like drinking a bottle of ice cold absinthe: surprisingly mellow, very refreshing, a touch of bitterness just to keep you on your toes, and if you take too much, you end up going a little crazy. He's an extremely unique individual. part bluesman, part rural Neo-con, and part Zen motorcycle philosopher. He pulls no punches, suffers no fools, and makes the meanest Hot & Sour soup this side of China.

I worked with Ron at MindSpring. He was in HBG. I was in ATL. We had a love-hate relationship on the clock. We drank like villains off the clock. Almost a decade after (literally) parting company, we still swap emails or IMs or the occasional phone call nearly a daily basis. Many are the times I've referred to him as: The Older Brother I Never Should Have Had. And one of our running bets centers on my attempts at "healthy living" versus his "anything but healthy" adventures, but in the long run Ron will very likely outlive me and have the last laugh.

For my 500th post on Tales From The Eye, I present my friend and cohort, Uncle Ron, in his own words:
  • How were you involved with MindSpring?
    I was hired just after the Pipeline acquisition.  Those were the days of 45 minute hold times and every call was an upset new yorker.  I spent a year on the phones and then started working my way up the ladder.  First as a tech support coach, and then into a new project called the bridge where we bridged the communications gap between tech support and the NOC and handled other network monitoring and alerting responsibilities.  Eventually I got the opportunity to build a full fledged NOC in Harrisburg and ultimately became a senior manager of network operations for the unified company of EarthLink.

  • What was one of your favorite adventures at MindSpring?
    Actually, it was after I left MindSpring.  I traveled to Atlanta to visit you and a few other MindSpringers and saw Robinella and the CC String Band.  Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't read about that night in your blog :-D

  • Share a memorable event from MindSpring?
    Beer at every company meeting.  I'll never forget that.

  • What is something other SpringHeads might not have known about you in those days?
    I didn't keep any secrets.  What you saw was what you got.
  • Why did you part ways with MindSpring?
    They closed the Harrisburg office and I declined a relocation offer.  Atlanta is just too far from my family.
  • What are you up to these days?
    Over the years I've come to realize that from a professional perspective, I am much happier working day to day with the technical challenges as a *nix systems administrator than the brutally mundane aggravation of a being a manager.  I am now, and have been for roughly 6 years, an avid Linux enthusiast both for work and for play, and I love my work.  In the summertime my passion is sailing.
  • Did you learn any lessons at MndSpring that you still carry with you?
    MindSpring played such a huge part in my life that I could never do it justice in a short writing like this.  MindSpring's core values and beliefs  changed my life forever.  Not only did I adopt them  as the framework for which to conduct myself  in the workplace, but I  bought into them as a way to build my character and live my life, and I am a much better man for it now.  I am in debt to Charles Brewer, Miller, the other Miller, Stanley, McDougal, Rietmulder and countless others who have given me knowledge, guidance, direction and some unforgettable life experiences which I reflect upon often.

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