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A Brief (and mostly technical) History of Mark Roth


Born on planet Earth in Louisville, KY. April 28th.


My brother (David) and I played with our first Atari Home Game System before we became entranced by the new games showing up for the Apple II+ and IIe, and IIGS.


BBS on 1200 Baud is the first taste of life on a network.


Online with BITNET + FIDO, precursors to Internet and a much bigger world than the modem driven BBS could offer.


Senior Year of High School I was exposed to worldwide networks via the French MiniTel and CompuServe.

While attending Northwestern University, I acquired my 1st Unix Shell Account ( and was first exposed to "life on the server" with a shell account. Ah, the glory of the "talk" command and email with PINE.



Took a class on the topic of Computer Mediated Communication with Professor Joe Walther and became fascinated with the early research on virtual communities by people like Howard Rheingold.

Began working with Art+Performance Magazine to produce a free concert series called "Free-For-All" and met Chris Crone and Isaac Josephson, future partners in Centerstage.

The web browser Mosaic launched, HTML and HTTP were brought up in our CMC class, but was too novel at the time to warrant much study.

Chris Crone, currently music editor of Art + Performance Magazine at Northwestern, published the "Virtual L Guide" to the web. It was one of the first 50 websites about Chicago online.



Built my 1st Website (my personal college home page) while working at a software company during spring quarter of college.

NTIA, Dept of Commerce. - Summer Intern in Washington, DC. Met Giles Hendrix.

The Virtual L began crashing servers at Northwestern so it was moved to a local ISP and became Centerstage.Net. Isaac Josephson and Chris Crone invited me to join them as founders of that fall. I jumped into working on the business plan after Thanksgiving break.



Worked on Starting Point website while still in school. First job as Communications Consultant, worked with an established Marketing firm too.

Centerstage Media, LLC was incorporated in Illinois in March, with four of us as founding partners. We pitched the Chicago Tribune, they made an offer for it, we refused. They promised to build something that looked just like it and we still decided to walk away from the deal-- with no immediate alternative, just youthful enthusiasm.

June: Graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Communications.

Yahoo Chicago launches, we accept that Centerstage Chicago will not be alone for long. I get us listed with all the search engines at the time and we realize Yahoo's Chicago focus may help us more than it will hurt.

1996 Democratic National Convention, Chicago Host Committe Webcast. - Volunteer Web Producer w/ Giles Hendrix and first collaboration with Tom LaPorte.

1996 Radio Hall of Fame Awards Dinner Webcast - Web Producer with Tom LaPorte.

Lauch of for Chris Witting, my 1st consulting client.



CS Logo1st major redesign of takes place in the spring. Thanks to Derek of Twisted Media who helped make us look as cool as we thought we were. launched in time for my visit to the Dominican Republic to webcast a conference. Many thanks to Dave and Dominic @ for their help designing the site. We received a grant from IBM following my return from DR for $10,000 worth of computers for our program.

Met Carlos Miranda Levy while in Dominican Republic. Carlos showed me the original ICQ and demonstrated by Instant Messaging's potential and his incredible view of the world (and the internet) thru his online community (now

Produced Help Me Harlan's first website. Worked with Giles @ WebslingerZ.

Centerstage joins US West's new 10-city DiveIn cityguide effort and we become the DiveIn Chicago. (also: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and the Twin Cities).

Left Chicago, IL and moved to Boulder, CO.

Volunteered with Boulder Community Network; became webmaster for Education Channel and also began teaching their 3-hour intro course for Non-Profit managers to learn HTML, hands on.

Met "Rageboy" (Chris Locke), Tony the Bricklayer, and other interesting characters.

Hired by ccg://online as Technical Producer. My first "full-time job with benefiits" after college, but I was excited to no longer need to work for myself or as a consultant. Learned alot while working there

Thanks to Ira Barron, I learned to alpine ski, acquired mountain biking skills and became comfortable backpacking around the front range.



Chicago Tribune launches We worry, I get really angry, then everybody yawns and ignores them. ;) launches. As the lead Technical Producer, it was my first major project, our agency's first Windows NT server website, and the Rockies' first website, so all of Colorado was waiting for that URL to go live! I became intimate with Microsoft's new NT Server, IIS, SQLServer, .asp and Cold Fusion.

Universal Studios Florida Launches - As the lead Technical Producer, it took a large team of very talented people a lot of work to make this one of the most sophisticated sites, at the time of launch. I became intimate with Informix Relational Database (even passed a certificate course), Free BSD Unix, Perl, Flash, Javascript, Quicktime movies and more.

While a Technical Producer, I also worked on:

By the summer, CCGOnline had been acquired by iXL. I remained on staff until the fall when I became an independent consultant.

Began working for SCC Communications to redesign their website.

Thanks to the recent split of MediaOne Group from US West, MediaOne city guide sites, formerly known as DiveIn began shutting down.



Consulting for Boulder Outdoor Survival School, Weavers Dive and Travel, PlanetOutdoors Prolink Program, Green Manning & Bunch. 5th year Fundraiser. - Corporate Development, Website Production.

DiveIn is no longer. Centerstage returns to it's former glory, but retains our relationship with the cable company that Media One has become.

Completed the Wilderness First Responder course certified and taught by the Wilderness Medicine and hosted by B.O.S.S. at their Boulder, UT location.

Enjoying the outdoors more and more, I desired more experience with nature and less with computer technologies. That summer, I left Boulder, CO to test the boundaries of telecommuting and experience more mother nature than you can find locked behind a computer monitor.

Completed the Standard Course at Tom Brown's Tracker School in New Jersey. Met up with Mark Virtue, who really opened my eyes to new possibilities as well as turning me onto Shiraz red wine. Mark was backpacking around the world with his PDA and digital camera, posting to his website all along (before blog software!).

Completed the 21 day backpacking/sailing trip at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Rockland, Maine. Discovered where I could push my comfort zone and love it.

Attended, as a guest, a special "white house press corps" party with Bill Clinton on the White House lawn. Prototype Development - Technical Consultant, Washington, DC.

Attended Tony the Bricklayer's art opening in NYC in October.

NYE: Joined Dubtribe and friends for a millenium party on the beach in Maui and stayed over for weeks afterwards.



February: Arrived in San Francisco, found an apartment in SOMA on the infamous Folsom st.

Began consulting as "Interim CTO" for, and later a Techincal Producer for the launch of

Attend Round Table Group's Ecommerce Bootcamp.

Met Howard Rheingold and joined his Brainstorms Online Community.

Celebrating Solutions! project picked up steam. - Brought on as Web Producer by Howard Rheingold.

Media One is merged with ATT in July. The Centerstage partnership remains intact , for now.

Hired by for Business Development on Software Donation program and development for, the leading portal for non-profit technology managers.

Attend a special 3-day workshop with Bill Mollison on Permaculture near Shriveport, LA. Then completed the two week Permaculture Design Certificate course taught by Geoff Lawton.

Centerstage launches our new fancy and cool (at that time anyway) improved website search.



Collaborated on genesis of as a member of the video team. Ad Banner Campaign launched and traffic to the site increased 3000%. Also established a relationship with Macromedia to make their products available for donation.

Sept 11th - I was camping in the mountains above Santa Cruz, CA. Did not even know what had happened until Friday afternoon.



Returned to Chicago from the west coast to pump the prime on Centerstage again. Exec. Producer, website launch.

In September, we launch a full redesign of as; back-end and front-end website overhaul. - Producer, IA, Webdevelopment, Manager, etc... many thanks to Matt, Dan and Hideki at GoodFoodProductions. [Check out the Before and After ]


2003 - As Chief Technologist, I worked with the business plan team to develop all of the technical portions and much of the vision. At the time, this plan was to become the groundwork for a national collaboration between United Way and PBS.

I find out what a blog is and start experimenting with the technology of self-publishing. WOW! This is going to be something.

Centerstage In Print! After months of discussion, our new section launches in August inside the Red Streak Newspaper, an edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. Centerstage begins a new business syndicating it's website content to a print publication designed for the youth market.


2004 picks up more steam. We hire our first sales person, I learn what it takes to become a sales manager. (I realize I really do not want to be a sales manager forever).

In May, I was asked to join other successful entrepreneurs to speak at the Boomerang Conference on the survival of Centerstage compared to other startups. Check the video for our story. prototype preview website launched in tandem with Business Plan/Fundraising efforts. As a consultant to the Exec Team, I managed the Technology and Communications efforts.


2005 - Consultant/Advisor to the project coordinators. - Exec. Producer, Website launch. Joined Board of Directors of the Chicago Music Commission. - Exec. Producer, Website launch. Created partnership with Centerstage and Chicago Music Commission. - website re-launch with streaming video, donation mechanism and new branding. Two networks pick up programming for television: Lime Tv and Link Tv. - Consulting client. Website launched. - My own site for my new advertising company. Website and Branding launched. Start pitching clients for a local chicago media network.

Dec. - RIP Red Streak and the Centerstage 20pg Pullout Section in print every thursday goes with it.


2006 - Consulting Client, Website + Podcast launch. - Re-design Production begins in earnest. Our first improvements rollout in March. We begin making noise for our 10th year anniversary and decide to revamp the Virtual 'L with dynamic maps this year. - A public Beta begins as we start testing our new mapping system, thanks to Brandon @ for giving us a platform to work with besides the maps from Google or Yahoo.

July: Centerstage Media's assets are acquired by a major media company. Kate and I are brought on as a full-time employee to direct the growth of the company and work with the new media team. Life is good.