Hello from Citizen Tim


My name is Tim Broeker (aka Citizen Tim) and I have been building the web since 1994. Currently, I am a co-founder and technical director at Electric Citizen, a digital agency that does great work for great clients and causes in the public sector. Many years ago, I had a client and friend who introduced me to the concept of the Winter Count, a Lakota tradition of marking the most significant event of each year with drawings or pictographs. If you’d like to learn more about me, feel free to read my version of a winter count below.
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Pandemic World Headquarters, Minneapolis, MN (2020)

Winter Count 1987-2020

  • 2020 – spoke at DrupalCon Global, discovered Eleventy, launched spacebook.app for fun, experimented with an ever-widening variety of headless CMS, static site generators, and other frameworks; daughter #1 heads to college in the middle of pandemic
  • 2019 – completed four talks in California, Iowa, and Minnesota about the modern web, leaned heavily into React and modern JavaScript, experimented heavily with Svelte and Vue, bought nodeapi.io to host my own Node APIs for fun
  • 2018 – spoke at DrupalCon Nashville, introduced to Gatsby at BadCamp, thus beginning my obsession with new and better ways to build websites in a way that is very different from what we have been doing for the past 20 years (but yet so much the same; see my entry from 1994!)
  • 2017 – began my obsession with devops and automation of all the things; spent most of the year bringing myself and our team into the modern age
  • 2016 – spent most of the year helping to grow our team, and refining our Drupal 7 install profile, with heavy and early usage of Panels, Panelizer, and Media modules
  • 2015 – first speaking engagement at Twin Cities DrupalCamp, hired first official employee at Electric Citizen!
  • 2014 – attended the Replacements reunion show at Midway Stadium, got divorced
  • 2013 – completed major Drupal projects for the American Swedish Institute, Perpich Center for the Arts, and Center for the Victims of Torture
  • 2012 – officially started my third agency (Electric Citizen), again as a co-founder and again with a mission to build powerful and ambitious websites for the public sector and other good causes far and wide
  • 2011 – attended my first DrupalCon (Chicago); by this point, Drupal 7 is out and I am deeply in love with the platform and convinced that it can be used to build almost anything

  • 2010 – spent almost the entirety of the year as a solo developer and designer to launch a massive Drupal intranet for Mayo Clinic’s largest division (HSR division)
  • 2009 – spent almost the entirety of the year as a solo developer and designer building a stunningly large and extremely complex website for the Hennepin Theatre Trust (home to the Orpheum, State, and Pantages theaters in downtown Minneapolis)
  • 2008 – a tough year with some strange clients, taking work we do not want to take, feeling the effects of the housing crisis and financial collapse, and battling the depression that started four years ago when Pops died
  • 2007 – launched big Drupal projects for other great Minnesota institutions such as the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Star Tribune, and others
  • 2006 – retired from the Joomla team and begin working on beta versions of Drupal 5.0 full-time; Joomla was great for its time, and remains one of the most popular open course CMS on the planet, but Drupal allowed us to say β€œyes” to a lot more things
  • 2005 – continue working full-time on the core Joomla team and building Joomla sites for clients
  • 2004 – became completely obsessed with web standards, created a standards-compliant fork of Mambo 4 called xMambo, joined core Mambo dev team, and eventually became founding member of Joomla; my Dad dies unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 64
  • 2003 – daughter #2 is born, continued growing agency and building custom CMS tools (I have built at least 4 different versions of my own custom CMS by this point, 2 in ASP Classic and 2 using PHP)
  • 2002 – we leaned hard into our slogan – Websites that matter – and began working on projects for a variety of Minnesota institutions and other good causes
  • 2001 – daughter #1 is born, part ways with first agency, start a new agency with a focus on the public sector, open source, PHP, and custom CMS solutions

  • 2000 – got married, continued to enjoy the fruits of the dot com boom and being at the center of something big and transformational
  • 1999 – leave my short (and only) stint in the corporate world to start my first agency as a co-founder; also launched the popular Ventura Files one of the first celebrity blogs (winner of City Pages Website of the Year)
  • 1998 – continued building the internet with and for agencies, startups, national retailers, Democratic political candidates, and non-profits on behalf of the son of the eccentric local billionaire
  • 1997 – in deep now; left university without a degree, and started working on the Internet full-time for the son of an eccentric billionaire, freelance writing for Wired magazine and others
  • 1996 – launched my first major website for a commercial client, got first job as a freelance β€œwebmaster”, began receiving international emails asking how I’d pulled off a four-column nested layout with a then-innovative use of Tables
  • 1995 – bought my first home 14.4K modem, rarely left my bedroom for the next two years as I learned how to build the web in real-time along with the rapidly-changing web itself; began accepting small freelance projects, CSS and JavaScript were not yet a real thing
  • 1994 – discovered Mosiac and Linux, built my first personal homepage, and became the founding editor of the Minnesota Daily Online (to my knowledge, the third daily newspaper in the country to begin publishing its entire contents to the web on a daily basis – ours was an automated Perl script we called the β€œcooker”, which extracted text from Quark Express and generated the full site on each build. A giant static site generator with a custom template engine, publishing dozens of articles and photos 5 days a week, year around, in 1994!)
  • 1993 – switched majors to Journalism, and began working as a political and legal reporter at the Minnesota Daily; a significant turning point in my life
  • 1992 – started pursuing a degree in Humanities and semiotics, but was searching for something better; considered joining professional miniature golf tour (to my knowledge, I may still hold the course record of 21 under par at Lilliputt in Blaine, MN)
  • 1991 – returned to the land of ice and snow for good, enrolled at the University of Minnesota, got an email address, learned how to use Gopher at the walk-up terminals in Wilson Library

  • 1988-1990 – hitchhiked and travelled by van and train throughout the American west, in search of myself and looking for some kind of purpose
  • 1987 – graduated from high school, did a 56-day backpacking trip in the Arctic Circle (Brooks Range, Alaska)
Made with ❀ in Minneapolis