About Kendall Bennett

Kendall Bennett on the drivers standKendall Bennett is the CEO and co-founder of A Main Hobbies, a large online retailer of Radio Controlled products such as Cars, Trucks, Boats, Helicopters and Airplanes. Kendall started A Main Hobbies as his second business in the garage with his wife is 2004 which has since grown into a large online retailer with over 70 employees and more than 35 million dollars a year in revenue. Prior to starting A Main Hobbies Kendall was the founder and CEO of a small software company that he started in Australia in 1993, called SciTech Software, Inc. The company was moved to Chico, California in the USA in late 1995 where it went through a number of growth and shrink cycles until it was finally closed in late 2007.

 

 

Education

Kendall received his higher education at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Melbourne, Australia. Although initially starting university in first year Electronic Engineering, he quickly realized his passion was computers and computer programming and changed to a Bachelors of Computer Science in 1990. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the top of his class in 1991 in a record 2 years, having skipped the first year by getting credit for Electronic Engineering classes, combined with taking the final exams for Computer Science along with the final exams for Electronic Engineering. In 1992 he completed an Honors Degree in Computer Graphics, graduating once again at the top of his class with First Class Honors that year. Rather than continuing on with a master degree, he instead founded his first company, SciTech Software, Inc. in his bedroom in 1993.

Early Years

During the time that Kendall built SciTech Software, the primary focus was on graphics software and graphics device drivers. The main two products that SciTech Software created were the SciTech MGL Graphics Library and SciTech Display Doctor. SciTech Display Doctor was a universal graphics driver product that worked across any graphics card, on many different operating systems. The initial shareware versions of the SciTech Display Doctor, originally called UniVESA and later UniVBE, were actually a DOS based TSR program that would implement the VESA VBE 1.1 BIOS interface standard that were used by DOS based games to run in high resolution graphics modes. Without this TSR installed, most DOS based games were restricted to lower resolutions and/or slower performance. From around 1993 until about 2000, the SciTech Display Doctor technology was licensed and included with just about every major computer game published during that time.

The SciTech MGL product was a high resolution, high performance graphics library that initially ran on top of SciTech Display Doctor under MS-DOS. When Microsoft implemented DirectX in 1995 for computer games, the SciTech MGL library and SciTech Display Doctor were ported to Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and OS/2. Included in the new Windows version of SciTech MGL was a new technology, similar to DirectX, called WinDirect that allowed direct access to the underlying video hardware for game developers. This technology was licensed by id Software in 1997 to port Quake so it would run under Windows. Kendall travelled to Texas in 1997 to spend a week at id Software’s campus, working with John Carmack and Michael Abrash to get the product ported and running successfully on Windows. You can still find the core files for the WinDirect technology in the WinQuake 1.0 final release (all the DLL’s were part of WinDirect):

http://www.shacknews.com/file/109/winquake-v10-final

IBM OS/2 Contract

After porting SciTech Display doctor to run on Windows, Kendall worked on building a version of SciTech Display Doctor that ran on OS/2. IBM signed a contract with SciTech Software in 2000 to supply SciTech Display Doctor as the default graphics device drivers for OS/2 until a few years ago. As Windows gained traction as the main stream operating system for computer games, the IBM OS/2 contract kept the company alive while work was done to transition the SciTech Display Doctor and SciTech MGL products to run on embedded systems (effectively what has become the phone and tablet market today).

A Main Hobbies is born

In early 2004, having already become completely addicted to the hobby of racing radio controlled cars, Kendall realized that the IBM OS/2 contract would be winding down and he needed to find a new direction for the software company. A decision was made to start building E-Commerce software with the intention to one day license and sell the software through the software company. Since the company had to learn what was needed in the software to run an E-Commerce company, what better way to learn how to build E-Commerce software than to actually run a real company on it? Hence A Main Hobbies was born, merging Kendall’s passion for computer software development with his passion for racing radio controlled cars.

The platform chosen to begin the E-Commerce software adventure was an Open Source software package called osCommerce, written in the PHP programming language. Although the original intent was to improve the osCommerce platform and build a back end warehousing solution for the software so it could be sold to other companies, pretty quickly the A Main Hobbies E-Commerce business took on a life of its own and SciTech Software was closed down in late 2007 so Kendall could concentrate full time on A Main Hobbies.

Programming Experience

Kendall has a wealth of programming experience racing from low level assembly language programming for device drivers under DOS, Windows 3.1/95/NT/XP etc, to writing high performance C and C++ graphics libraries for 2D and 3D games. Since the start of the E-Commerce business Kendall has done a lot of programming in the PHP programming language, and in recent years with the C# language on the Microsoft .NET platform. His experience ranges from developing PHP and ASP.NET MVC web sites to Windows Forms and Windows Mobile SOAP based clients for warehousing solutions.

Although Kendall is the founder and CEO of A Main Hobbies, he still plays the role of lead software architect at the company and is actively involved in writing code to implement new warehousing solutions, web site solutions and solving interesting business problems with software.

R/C Racing Career

It should be pretty clear from the picture at the top of this page that Kendall is still passionate about racing radio controlled cars. Kendall started racing radio controlled cars around 1998, and by the early 2000’s was heavily involved in travelling to races around the country to compete. Kendall was accepted onto the Mugen Seiki 50% racing team in 2002 and raced for them until he was accepted onto the Thunder Tiger 100% race team in 2004 when the Thunder Tiger S3 buggy was released. However once A Main Hobbies grew, Kendall focused primarily on the company and not racing, although you will regularly see him racing at the A Main Hobbies racing facilities, or at larger race events around the country.

Below is a link to an interview conducted by Live R/C on Kendall’s racing career and the A Main Hobbies business:

http://www.liverc.com/news/special_features/868-LRC_EXCLUSIVE%3A_AMainHobbies_Kendall_Bennett/