Howdy - I’m Craig W. Hansen, the father of seven kids, husband to a loving wife and an Internet developer for the past 18 years. In 1988 I graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a degree in Music Production and Engineering. On the same day I graduated, I got married to Sophia and we moved to Nashville to get started in the music business.
For 10 years I worked on over 35 records as either recording engineer, mix engineer or producer. It was a great time, but when the Internet started to materialize, my longtime coding hobby started taking over. I learned HTML and Perl and started building websites with a business partner, Cy Fenton. We launched one of the first music-related websites in Nashville for acclaimed artist/producer Charlie Peacock in 1995, and soon thereafter all the other record labels wanted in as well. Together, we founded NetCentral, one of the early music portals.
Our real opportunity came in the summer of 1998, however, when national retail bookseller Books-A-Million asked us to build Booksamillion.com. There were only three of us, and we had 12 weeks to build a competitor to the startup Amazon.com. After much caffeine and little sleep (I actually passed out and fell to the ground during a conference call), we launched the new site during the weekend before Thanksgiving. Those were heady-dotcom-bubbly-days, and BAMM’s stock rose from around $3.00 to $47.00 in one week. In January of 1999, Cy and I sold NetCentral to BAM and started working for them.
I stayed at Books-A-Million for 13 years, serving in several executive capacities including VP of Strategic Development and President of Booksamilion.com. I built websites, supply chain automation systems, real estate analytics, and ran a division. Now Books-A-Million is the second largest book chain in the US, and I’ll always be grateful for all of the opportunities and experiences I had there.
In 2010, Sophia and I were called by God to adopt kids - two of them - from Ukraine. Teenagers, no less. We already had 5 kids, but our lives were becoming dramatically changed by this calling. We spent the entire summer of 2011 travelling throughout Ukraine working with orphans and proceeding with our adoption plans for our newest children. The thing is, the longer we were in Ukraine, the more I knew it was time for a career change. By the time we returned home to Birmingham, Alabama, that path was clear.
Thus was born Platforms, LLC, an Internet development and consultancy group. We’re working on lots of cool stuff for several large and small companies, and a few SaaS projects for ourselves. We’re rubyists, chef geeks and we love solving problems. I also make some kick-ass Bar-B-Que, so our company lunches have been scientifically proven to be cooler than 99.3% of all Internet startups. Follow us on Twitter at @PlatformsDev to keep up with what we’re doing.