Par. Mike Clements Posté Apr 18th 2011
Quite often I am asked to tell the story of how Yellowbeard came to be. Well, as requested, here it is! The true tale of how a humble cop from Georgia became Corsair's most notorious web personality...
Two different times in my life I've thought to myself; “I have an awesome job”. The first of those times was when I was a police officer. I was in law enforcement for 16 years and I really enjoyed my work. I spent some time in the patrol division, detective division, narcotics, SWAT team, and I was even a bike cop for a while. (Please, no Pacific Blue jokes...)
The other time that I've had this thought about my job relates to my position here at Corsair. I'm extremely fortunate to have had two consecutive careers that I enjoy so much. And, quite often I'm asked how I made that transition from law enforcement to being Yellowbeard for Corsair.
I have to go back to my high school days and thank my electronics instructor, Mr. Vernon Adamson. He gave me a very solid fundamental electronics education. A good bit of it has stuck with me since I graduated in 1987 and served me well at times. As a side note, I have to applaud Mr. Adamson’s patience. He could be a double for Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame. Mr. Adamson showed no end of patience to a room full of high school students constantly addressing discussion topics in the form of a question. I’ll never forget someone saying “I’ll take Ohm’s Law for $200” or “what is hole current”.
During the latter portion of my law enforcement career, beginning in about 2002 or so, I became a Corsair customer and budding computer enthusiast. I can clearly remember buying my first set of XMS memory.
The process of my learning about computers paralleled my exit from law enforcement. In the summer of 2003, I suffered what turned out to be a career ending neck injury. During the 3.5 years it took to recover and rehabilitate, I spent an enormous amount of time online in a variety of computer forums learning everything I could about hardware and overclocking. I got to be known in quite a few popular forums as Specmike.
Since I was a Corsair customer, I of course spent a great deal of time in the Corsair forums. By learning online and with tutelage from RAM GUY and others, I became pretty good at helping people. I even got to know RAM GUY on a first name basis. (And no, I can’t reveal his true name... it’s one of our most closely guarded corporate secrets!)
I used to joke with RAM GUY, telling him that I spent so much time in their forums that Corsair should put me on their payroll. What I didn't know at that time was that my efforts were being noticed by some of the higher ups at Corsair, including co-founder John Beekley. I was very effective at helping people resolve issues, which is really what I did a lot of as a police officer. John decided that I should in fact work for Corsair so that I could go out into the forum world and assist Corsair customers in an official capacity. So, in the fall of 2006, they hired me. I was asked to take a pirate themed name and I chose Yellowbeard from the movie of the same name.
These days, instead of knocking down doors, filling out endless reports, going to court, etc I now spend my time surfing really cool computer forums, looking for people who are having trouble and trying to help out. I also get to spend lots of time overclocking, building and testing systems, and attending industry events to represent Corsair. I've traveled to a lot of places and met a lot of very interesting people at overclocking and LAN events. And luckily in all my time at Corsair, I've not been shot at, subpoenaed to court, and I don't have to wear a bullet proof vest — even though that might be a good idea when pouring LN2.
I have to say, other than when Elianne in Marketing recently cut off my head at the PAX East 2011 event, this job is a lot safer. Believe it not, this actually made my neck feel better too!
Now, I would not suggest that anyone take the same career transition path for employment in the tech industry as I did. The two ruptured disks, and two neck surgeries were no walk in the park. But it worked for me, and that’s the short version of how I jumped ship (so to speak) and became famous as Yellowbeard.