Who is Michael McKinsey and how did FlashByte happen?

Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:40 Last Updated on Monday, 03 January 2011 06:46 Written by Michael McKinsey


My name is Michael McKinsey I am the founder and managing member of FlashByte Digital LLC.

I have been obsessed with computers and then shortly thereafter computer networks since I was in elementary school.  Being a natural and being in the right place at the right time allowed me to "turn pro" in 7th grade.  I left school and started home schooling while pursuing my professional career as a computer programmer specializing in the development of telecommunication applications in 1982.  I have been maintaining and managing some sort of full time computer network services 24 hours a day since 1982, so in a sense you could say my last day off was 29 years ago in 7th grade, and I am relatively certain my next day off will be the day after I die.

I was setting up large scale computer networks and dealing with early digital telecom adaptations through the 80s and early 90s primarily focusing on implementation of network systems for small to medium businesses and maintaining dial up bulletin board systems and early private email systems.  I had been following the progression of the Internet and was keenly interested in participating in the formation of a giant worldwide network.

In 1995 I left Los Angeles and began moving around the country setting up dial-up ISPs, both consulting for other companies and starting and selling small dial up services.  While in Salt Lake City working on one of these projects I hired a beautiful young woman to assist with the startup and she later became my wife.  We have been working in the Internet business together while raising and home schooling our children ever since.

In 1999 I had sold my last dial-up based ISP that was based near New Orleans, LA and moved back to the west coast.  The Internet was now a national institution and I did not need to explain to people what the Internet was or why they would possibly want a web page.  There were local numbers to dial into the Internet in every small locale in the country and the rush to build out broadband Internet nationwide was on.  I was managing websites and creating custom web based applications based on early PHP/SQL implementations and consulting for local telecom companies in Palm Springs while remodeling an apartment building we bought in Desert Hot Springs when I was approached by a public company and asked to come on with them.  I was not interested in working for anyone else, but they made me an offer I could not refuse and so I began building a public company.

In late 2000 as part of our service offerings we launched a broadband wireless service based in Palm Springs and covering most of the Coachella Valley.  One of my sales representatives decided to wander up to Yucca Valley which at that time did not yet have any DSL service available, and see what the interest would be in broadband wireless Internet.  We made a deal with the local water district and installed a T1 in Yucca.  My first wireless broadband Internet customer in Yucca Valley went online in 2000, over 10 years ago.

On September 11, 2001 just as the public company I had now become a director of was ready to launch a full line of broadband Internet products to the public, the awful attacks of 9/11 happened.  The resulting crash in the stock market and finish off of the burst of the "dot com bubble" left the public company without financial stability, and the company folded.  However, I had become aware and experienced at delivering Internet services over the air rather than over expensive cables, and I knew that the future of the small locally owned ISP was certainly going to be on the air.

I believed that the greatest need for wireless services was in the Mornogo basin area, so I moved my family to Morongo Valley and bought a local business called "The Beatnik Cafe" which was an Internet cafe, and had been the site of a previous Internet Service Provider run by a character the locals will remember as Jeremy.  As it turned out the Internet part of our business did far better than the cafe part and I had to take consulting work down the hill in order to finance the beginning stages of FlashByte.  We began running testing and purchasing the property and building out the foundation for the network in 2002.  The technology was new and expensive and there was a lot of testing and trials involved in creating the network that now offers service covering a continuous area of over 400 square miles around Joshua Tree as well as services in three counties.

By 2006 the business was ready to grow up and stand on its own and we formed FlashByte Digital LLC and began officially offering services to the public.  We have managed to create a business model that uses independent contractors to keep overhead low and allow us to offer the best Internet services available anywhere.  Our commitment to pushing the limits of the technology available and continue to grow and evolve will always keep us on the very cutting edge of what is possible, and our customers can always be assured that if it is possible we will make it happen.

Nothing brings me more satisfaction and joy as knowing we have brought true high speed Internet to thousands of people who would not have been able to enjoy the modern Internet for many years had we not blazed the trail in rural broadband delivery.  This is truly my life passion, and I will always do absolutely everything I can to bring the world to your homes and businesses through the air.


Michael McKinsey

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