Magneti Web Developer Rus Miller isn’t just a maestro when it comes to creating and maintaining exceptional websites. He’s also a talented music producer, a whiz with his piano and guitar, and a force to be reckoned with on a mountain bike.
Oh, and if you’re ever swimming along the shores of Cuba and catch a glimpse of a beautiful ‘76 sailboat named Ladybug — that’s Rus on his way to Puerto Rico.
We’re so excited for you to get to know him!
What drew you to Magneti?
I worked in higher ed for 10 years until the pandemic sent everyone home and I decided I preferred working remotely over commuting two hours every day. When it was time to return to the office, I returned to contract work instead. After completing a few freelance projects for Magneti, Technical Director Matt Gallant reached out to me, asking if I’d be interested in joining the team. It all happened really quickly and I jumped at the opportunity to work with such a great team!
How did you get into web development, and when did you discover your passion for it? Was there a ‘Eureka!’ moment where it all clicked, or did it happen gradually?
It was a hobby at first. I was doing the singer-songwriter thing in New York City and I had a lot of songwriter friends. I started dabbling in Macromedia (later Adobe) Flash and built websites for several of my friends to showcase their music and list their gigs. One of those friends showed her site to the owner of the restaurant where she worked, and he hired me to make a site for the restaurant, which he then showed to some of his friends, and so on, and it just took off. I soon had more work than I could handle, and I quit college where I was studying computer science and history with no clue what I wanted to do with them. I became a full-time freelance developer, feast or famine, and created my own content management systems for a couple of years until I discovered WordPress and fell in love with it. It’s been my bread and butter ever since.
Tell us about the first website you ever created.
It was in 2003 for a friend, whose album I had also produced. It was a pretty simple site that listed his upcoming and past gigs, and allowed people to listen to MP3s of his music directly on the site, which was novel at the time. It also had a cringey splash screen, which was cool then but a gigantic no-no now!
Music seems like an important part of your life (and your high school wall of record albums may be the coolest teenage room ever!). How did this hobby/passion develop, and how has it played out in your everyday life over the years?
I have always been making music. I play keyboards and guitar but my passion is production. I love working in the studio on my own weird music, and I’ve helped a bunch of my friend’s record albums.
Biking or hiking? Will you share a favorite memory involving either one of those with us?
Hiking is great but so slowwww. I prefer mountain biking; it’s got the natureness of hiking, but I get off on the technical skill and endurance of climbing, and being rewarded with the thrill of whipping down a singletrack without breaking anything important.
What is a 1976 Bristol sailboat? Tell us a little bit about what this means to you.
Ladybug is my pandemic crisis child. During the pandemic, I realized I hated working in an office and commuting 10 hours a week. I was tired of the noise and hassle of the city, but rural life is too routine…I need new experiences. I saw a TV show where this couple was moving from their sailboat into a house and I was like, wait, you can live on a sailboat? I couldn’t shake the idea and I started watching every YouTube video I could find on living aboard a boat, traveling from place to place, off the grid, constantly tested on endurance, skill and self-sufficiency. I did a lot of research on the kind of boat I would need and eventually found Ladybug, a 34’ Bristol centerboard sloop built in 1976. I sailed her from Rhode Island through the Long Island Sound, around Manhattan and up the Hudson River to a boatyard near Albany, where I am restoring her to a safe and liveable condition, learning everything as I go.
If everything you ever lost was suddenly returned to you, what would you be most excited to see?
My sanity. Jk, I never had it.
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower and name be?
Lance Monotone, no superpower needed
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to beg for permission.
Your future biography will be titled: