Professor makes $2M on software sale
Byron Turner has been a professor of social science at Sierra College for the past 10 years. But last month he became a millionaire.
A company from the Bay Area paid $2 million for the core technology of a software Turner wrote five years ago for his students at Placer School for Adults. Throughout the years, Turner has revised the software multiple times.
“It is exciting in that we put a lot of time into creating something that a lot of people didn’t think was going anywhere,” Turner said. “Looking at those seven figures, I could have written myself a check for a million dollars. But I started to think what that could mean. I have a satisfying life. I have what I need and what I want. So to take more than that seems to me greedy.”
With the $2 million, Turner and his wife, Allison Minch, 37, a local high school teacher, plan to fund a project “to build a safe haven for women” recovering from domestic violence.
“The goal of our project is to develop a planned community where up to 30 families can stay in one location while they recover (from domestic violence),” Turner said. “My wife and I have both been long involved with the issue of violence against women.”
Turner is the president of Created Equal, a nonprofit organization. The group, he explains, is dedicated to promoting social justice and equality. Created Equal also markets Turner’s software online.
Turner’s software is called “TeachMac,” with a Windows version named “TeachIt.” The software allows someone using it to create online tutorials on topics related to computers, Turner said. Once a tutorial is created, it can be made available online for people to purchase. All the proceeds go to the creator of the tutorial, Turner said.
TeachMac was created with the help of Runtime Revolution, a software development system, he said.
According to him, Runtime Revolution is a more advanced version of Hypercard, a language learned years ago to create his first project on social justice – “my first attempt to teach about violence against women in the U.S.,” he said.
Turner, however, will continue to add new features to his software. “We have plans to open up the idea of individually made tutorials in subjects other than computers,” Turner said. “We are trying to release a new software product late this summer.”
To contact Staff Writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@ theunion.com or call 477-4229.
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