Mark Polelle is a freelance full-stack developer who specializes in blockchain technology. He is passionate about working with startup companies from inception through the point when the company is fully operational. He enjoys all stages of getting a business up and running, from planning to implementation. A developer with over a decade of experience, he has been an integral part of several major blockchain startups in the Oakland, California area, where he currently resides.
Mark Polelle was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Soon after graduating from high school he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in web development. He earned an undergraduate degree in Information Technology in under three years, and relocated to California. Once in California, Polelle began working in the online development field. In 2008 and 2009, Polelle was on the forefront of the blockchain technology movement, and helped bring the tech to the clients he was working with. Ten years later, now in his thirties, Polelle is known for his expertise in the area.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
My best subject was always math, which I suppose makes sense seeing that I now work in a very logic-driven industry. I always loved numbers and the clarity that math delivers. I was frustrated by subjects where there was no clear-cut answer.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a waiter at a Cajun restaurant. I liked the restaurant, and I liked the food, but I was a terrible waiter. I mean, really, really terrible. I lasted for about a year, and that seems way to long to me now, when I look back on it.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I followed a real excitement that I had inside of me about computers and technology. I remember sitting in my bedroom after my high school graduation, and thinking, what now? Working with computers full time seemed very impractical. I didn’t really know anyone, at the time, who was doing it. I come from a very blue collar family. I thought:’Well, if I try this and it doesn’t work, at least I’ll have tried.’ I set my sights on California because it was an IT hub at the time. I never looked back.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
At first when I moved to California I was taking any and all work that came my way. I didn’t have a specialty. I took a lot of short term jobs, because that was what I could find. But when the development strategies behind Bitcoin first started appearing on the scene about ten years ago, I knew that something big was happening. I started really focusing on that. All of the work I had done up until then gave me really solid footing in all aspects of development. I had the knowledge that I needed as a foundation so that I could really dive into the theory behind block-chain tech.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
I love days when I have a breakthrough. My best day of work is one when I can work on my own, and really focus. I love people, but I am an introvert so I really get in the zone when I am isolated. My best day includes working on a challenging project, and making a lot of progress. This happens to me quite often so it is impossible to pin-point one specific day.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
If I feel slow, sluggish, or unmotivated I’ll put on some really loud music. That picks up my mood and gets my energy moving.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Right now I am really excited by the potential behind cryptocurrency. I love learning about businesses that are making cryptocurrency practical. MIT is one of the first campuses to use cryptocurrency across the board, and that really fascinates me. I think there is a great deal of potential out there and I’m excited to see what creative entrepreneurs can do with the concept.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
Yes! When I was new to California, I was really desperate for work. I would go to areas where tech companies had headquarters, and then hit the bars after work hours. I would do anything to start up conversations with these guys… including magic tricks. I was that desperate!
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of my move to California. I was in my early twenties, and the idea of leaving home and my family terrified me. But I knew that it was my dream and I had to follow it. I’m proud of myself for not giving up to the fear that wanted to control me.
What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I would like to say something like, “It’s going to get better.” There are those lean years, when you’re really hungry for something but it’s just not coming. If I knew, back then, how good life would be now, I don’t think I would have suffered from so much doubt and uncertainty. The struggle of those initial years wouldn’t have been so bad if I knew that all of my hard work was going to pay off.