Steve Benting


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Me:

I'm currently a Tech Lead/Manager (and as you can tell, I'm clearly not some sort of graphic artist) with Google. (Well, technically YouTube.)  And for the first time in my career as a professional geek, I don't need to explain to anyone what my company does. 

I'm also married (since 1991) to Margaret Warton, who has her Master's in Public Health in Epidemiology and BioStatistics from UC Berkeley and is now working for Kaiser's Division of Research in Oakland. Check out her page for more details -- although she's even less likely to update it than I am. Other immediate family members include my parents (Duane and Mae Benting) and two brothers (Scott and Shane.)

I received a degree from the Computer Science Department at the University of California at Berkeley


Past Life: (or "Do You Know Me?")

Let's see... Usual statistics: Born in Fargo, North Dakota. We moved out of the midwest to Presque Isle, Maine when I was less than one year old. Eventually tiring of winters with real snow, Mom and Dad moved us all to Portland, Oregon when I was elven years old. I graduated from Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, Oregon in 1986 where I was basically a flake with a decent GPA despite a general lack of effort. I was also a band geek (and stage band geek) and ran track and cross-country as well. (Well, I didn't run track as well as I was a band geek, but I got by...)

Following graduation, I went to Portland State University to pretend to be a student in some nebulous form of "engineering" (although I switched to a music major after my first two attempts at the second term of college-level calculus resulted in less-than-spectacular results.) I spent two years as a music major there, performing with the band, orchestra, and occasionally taking on paid gigs around town.

I was also a percussionist with the Portland Youth Philharmonic and its Preparatory Orchestra during my later high-school and early college years. Acting as Principal Percussionist and Stage Manager for PYP's European Tour was a lot of fun and way better than going to school any more -- which segues nicely to the next subject...


Well... How did I get here?

Shortly after dropping out of Portland State (I ran out of funds while on tour with the PYP and was not going to borrow money to go to school -- at least not with my GPA at the time) Margaret and I (well, I dropped out of school, while she got undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Flute Performance, but you get the idea) married and moved to California. We both found ourselves in jobs at Phoenix Network (a long-distance rebiller that no longer exists) and I soon reached the heights of entry-level-management. (Boy, I feel so darned important...) When the time came to leave Phoenix and for me to go back to school, I got in contact with Marc Goyette (who just happened to have hired both Margaret and me at Phoenix.)  Marc was on the Board of Directors at AVIRNEX Communications Group (an interesting little company that dealt in international telecommunications and that also had a penchant for misspelling the word "access" as a matter of corporate identity. This is another company that no longer exists. I believe that I detect a theme here...) They (AVIRNEX -- I know this is confusing, but do try to keep up) were looking for a part-time programmer/network admin/phone systems admin/billing geek and a controller (NOTE: Margaret and I were not trying to get jobs together again, it just worked out that way) and we never looked back. (Did you get all that?) (I'm not particularly worried about it, but I just wanted an excuse to throw another set of parentheses in here. I can be like that...)

While I was at school (and working at my frequently-more-than-part-time job at AVIRNEX) I started watching the companies that came through looking for software developers. One such company was Wink Communications. When they came to campus, they sounded interesting enough to check into. (Of course, their drawing for free televisions -- which I won -- probably didn't hurt.) After another campus visit closer to my graduation date, I started talking to them more seriously.  This eventually led to a job in 1998. (Yes, I was even there for the IPO at the height of the boom. And because of the timing of my hire compared to the IPO, the lockups, and the dot-com-led market crash, I did NOT make enough to retire from our stock before we were sold. Not even close. But I still had a job after Wink was acquired by Liberty Media, then sold to/merged with their other new acquisition: OpenTV (now part of Nagra). I spent a good six years playing geek and actively pre-empting any possible offer of going back into management. But my manager left, so my Director asked to take over as a Manager, then as later as Engineering Director. 

Fast-forward another few years, and Google came calling at a time when my job at OpenTV was definitely going to change in some fashion that wasn't clear to me.  After some discussions, I decided to move and managed an engineering group working on our AdSense for TV project until we shut it down in late 2012.  But Google took very good care of my whole team and in my case had a couple jobs lined up and I work in our video processing group for YouTube (and several other Google products.)  

Astonishingly, it's very nearly my ten-year anniversary at Google now!


This page by , using KompoZer. Last updated on 03 May 2017.