I think of my position as two levels. Level one of managing our systems is making sure everyone can do their job. If the internet goes down – the V+M world goes down. Level two is leveraging technology to help people do things better and faster so we can spend time with family and friends as well as helping those in need.
I’ve been using computers since I was five – starting first in MS-DOS, moving to Windows in ‘95 (like the rest of the world), branching out into Macintosh systems in 2004, and migrating to ChromeOS in 2016. Regardless of the operating system I’ve tinkered with spreadsheets since I entered a competition in the eighth grade and needed to create a bar graph and Paint just didn’t cut it. Since then, I’ve branched into automation software, API connections and Webhooks.
The most important factor for me is to maintain a “Yes” mentality. I’ve worked with a lot of IT guys over the years who say no a lot. At the end of the day the answer is never no. It might be that it costs too much or takes too much time or just doesn’t present enough value to the business. Regardless, the answer is never no – if Steve Jobs can put a computer in our pockets then I can figure out how to fire a webhook.
Second, is that I’m always learning. I was born in a town of 350 people and I firmly believe that a thirst for knowledge is what moved me out of that town. When I was younger I used to ask my mom if I could take apart broken things to figure out how they worked. Hours were spent combing through Microsoft Encarta (Wikipedia before Wikipedia but after Encyclopedia Britannica). Every day presents new opportunities for learning, and I’m constantly working to educate myself.
My main hobby is collecting hobbies. I love to spend time in the kitchen chopping and cooking and mixing cocktails. The garage is equally interesting for woodworking, home improvements, or general tinkering. A category unto itself is music – listening to vinyl (sometimes with a cigar), playing the piano, singing if I’ve mixed enough cocktails in the kitchen. Playing with and training my dogs is also a lot of fun. Overall I enjoy hobbies that help me think differently about a process and that allow me to combine knowledge from different areas. Ask me about Fibonacci sauces for an example.
I admire Antonio Vivaldi. First, because the man was an absolute BOSS with a string section. More importantly, the man knew how to build a system. Vivaldi ran an orphanage in Venice where he taught the orphans to play instruments. Then he wrote music for them and gave concerts to raise money to fund the orphanage. How flipping awesome is it to provide shelter for homeless children while giving them a lifelong skill and making world-class art available to a community. We need more people who think like Vivaldi.