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Luther Lowry

“Google Meet should have some sort of recording ability. It doesn’t, but it should.”

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As I interview Luther in his home office via video chat, he begins by troubleshooting our meeting. And weeks later while trying to find the audio recording of our video call, I have the same thought and remember, you know, Luther thought this might happen. This pattern is par for the course in Luther’s life. He has a knack for anticipating cultural shifts and technological needs. Except, because he’s Luther, he’ll create it, think it’s crap, bury it, and find it making someone else millions of dollars year later. 

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So come on a journey I obnoxiously gave the working title: Laudable Luther Lowry is the Lifestory of Computer Languages and Libraries. And if you want the full experience, grab your burliest drinking vessel and fill it with Diet Peach Snapple. 

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Luther Sr. was a self-taught programmer who read his Atari Programmer magazine religiously, retyping its code. He picked up an Atari 800 in the early 80s for his son and showed him basic programming. As our Luther grew an interest of his own, he acquired his first PC and started on a bulletin board system. He began to write apps, updates and modifications for it. What do you know, this childhood hobby would later become one of the most desirable skills in the nation.

Luther also followed his father’s artful footsteps. As a youngin’, he drew Ninja Dude. “It was a parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except it was just a teenage ninja. The hero was a wimpy guy. In fact,” he remembers excitedly, “that was his name. Wim Pee Guy. He got taken in by this master who was trying to retire.”

This tongue-in-cheek theme spilled into his next creation, a bunch of reject superheroes called The Zilchers. Fast-forward 20 years and there’s a Damon Wayans movie where a regular guy decides to go out and fight crime. “I was like, that’s my movie! They made it!.”

Sadly, all of Luther’s comics are gone, save this one final issue. 

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Luther did the whole college thing after high school, deciding to learn ancient coding languages like COBOL and Pascal. With a year left, Luther was approached by a recruiter who asked if he’d perhaps like to get back to the modern world. He dropped out and never looked back.

It’s funny. Luther doesn’t have an accent to speak of, but there are undoubtedly vestiges of a Southern upbringing. His voice is deliberate, calm and welcoming. He takes pride in cooking slow, long meals. And then, of course, there’s having his first developing job on an oil rig. With Interactive Systems International (ISI), Luther built testing applications for Shell to use on their deep well oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico—ones that needed to meet compliancy standards for the Minerals Management Services. Most New Orleans coding jobs in these early days were in oil, food and tourism, Luther explained. Two years later, a friend needed his expertise in St. Louis. So Luther moved from one Fleur De Lis city to another, and 18 years later he’s still here.

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While we know Luther as co-lead on the Paradowski development team, one of his earlier St. Louis jobs was as a Creative Director. At a real estate company, Luther was making ads, newspaper layouts and working up a sweat in Quark Express. He says it didn’t pay very well, so he moved back into development. And as the creative person writing this I say to you, Luther, good move. He mentions that if he ever finished his degree, it would be for management or possibly creative design. 

In his free time, Luther makes the world an easier (and more fun) place with personal coding projects. He built an electronic poll pad app for a company called No Ink. You may have noticed how in recent years, you can sign in and vote on an iPad. Well, that has Luther’s fingerprints all over it. Another favorite after-school project was an app for Spin Streak. The idea being: when you go into a restaurant, you scan a QR code at your table and pull a little lever to win a free free, a milkshake, etc. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t managed properly and the app is no longer active. 

The last thing you should know about Luther is that he isn’t easily thrown. Just look at these curveballs.

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CS:

What is your favorite Will Smith song?

LL:

I gotta say, that’s kind of hard. Because it’s “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand”, but halfway through the song, my head breaks out in “Nightmare on My Street.” I’m singing along, then basically right after, “I didn’t notice that police car!” I switch to “And then silence, it was a brand new day. Hehe, I wasn’t scared of him anyway.”

CS:

You should mix those songs.

LL:

That’s not a bad idea.

CS:

Speaking of, what’s your taste in music like?

LL:

Growing up, I listened to pop. Then I got introduced to rap, then hard rock, then heavy metal, then to pretty much techno, then techno stuck around until Dubstep, and for now it’s mostly Dubstep.

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CS:

What would you have me listen to as an intro to Dubstep?

LL:

To got into it? I’d start with some Skrillex... sorry. It’s not the best, it’s not the worst. The Skrillex/Korn collaboration is a good transition if you like rock and new metal. And I’ve bought a few of Derek Yeager's albums.

CS:

Do you play any instruments?

LL:

You mean this? (holds up one of those crazy music computer pads). I had a SoundCloud in ‘99. I thought I was horrible, but listening to what’s popular today I’m like, what? I was just ahead of my time.

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CS:

How did you meet your lovely wife?

LL:

We went on our first date 8 years ago. It was just supposed to be coffee at Coffee Cartel. But we hit it off so then we went to dinner at this place next to Jilly’s. Things were still going great so we got ice cream at Maggie Moo’s. It was only supposed to be coffee {chuckles}.

CS:

D’aw. And what’s been your creative outlet as of late?

LL:

Just drawing. I find photos on the Internet and draw them, mostly figure drawings. I’m trying to get the human form right. I don’t think I’m anywhere close, but I’m still trying.