Life at cloudtamer.io: Joe
Meet Joe, one of our co-founders and our CTO, who unpacks our logo, talks innovation, and shares tips for avoiding Zoom fatigue.
1. Tell us a bit about what your position entails at cloudtamer.io.
As the company grows, I find new areas where I can provide the most value. When we started cloudtamer.io, I wore a lot of hats - customer onboarding, technical support, sprint planning, DevOps, conference booth staff, and general IT setup/maintenance. Since then, we have built out departments and brought on amazingly talented individuals that can focus and do that work much better than I can. The responsibilities that have been taking up most of my time lately have been interviewing new talent, working with partners to identify integrations that will bring more business value to our customers, building out our career progression and development program, and refining our long-term technical strategy. I also still have an opportunity to work with team members to help grow their technical and management skills and I occasionally get to troubleshoot issues with customers.
2. The cloudtamer.io logo seems to be a hot topic. Set the record straight on what it officially is.
Our logo can be viewed in two ways. Most people see a cloud when they first look at it. We also have "cloud" in our name so, naturally, when you're first reading it, you catch the word in your periphery and it reaffirms the image. If you step back a little, you'll realize the cloud is multi-dimensional (as most clouds are) and that it can also be viewed as a hat. Not just any hat though - a cowboy hat! For most people, the technical cloud is a pretty abstract concept. We joke that all of our data lives some place high up in the sky. For those that work in the cloud on a daily basis, we know how many concepts and services we have to understand in order to be effective. There are so many of them and they are continuously evolving - just like clouds. We knew customers had varying levels of expertise in the cloud and that many of them needed help "wrangling" their growing and evolving cloud resources - just like a cowboy who rounds up his animals.
3. Tell us a bit about cloudtamer.io's quarterly Innovation Days.
Each quarter we schedule a day where all team members have an opportunity to work on a project that meets one of these goals:
- Improves the function or feel of our work environment
- Improves our day-to-day in the office
- Improves our company or product
We start the day with a quick overview of the topics that are available for people to work on. All topics are submitted prior by the team on our #innovation Slack channel so everyone knows what is available to work on if they want to contribute. In the past, the team has created a corkboard around our office dart board to help protect the wall and add more color to our lounge area. We created a MagicMirror by leveraging a RaspberryPi and turning a monitor into a smart mirror. We developed a crowd-funding application - CrowdTamer - which allows team members to pledge funds to campaigns that other team members would like to organize. Each team member is given a monthly allocation of funds that they can contribute to one or more campaigns. We also had team members design a cloudtamer.io logo out of Legos, create a personal task tracker for GitLab, and many more. It's really exciting to see what the team can come up with! We then showcase our creations at the end of the day in a team meeting.
4. What Innovation Day project has been your favorite?
They are all really great so it's hard to choose! I really liked it when the team created their own meeting status indicators that could be mounted to a computer and would change colors based on your Slack status (in a meeting, free, focusing, etc). Cody organized all the supplies ahead of time and showed our team how to use a soldering iron on a RaspberryPi. That was a nice mix of software and hardware learning and a nice finished product in a single work day. Everyone really enjoyed it!
5. What have you found to be most helpful in transitioning to remote work for the time being?
I didn't have too much trouble adjusting to remote work at first, but once a few months passed, I realized that I could work on my computer for hours without moving around. My SO and I go for walks outside a few times a week to get our legs moving so we'll see how long that lasts once the cold weather arrives. It's been helpful going into the office a few times to have face-to-face meetings and to interact with a real person instead of a computer screen. I've also been focusing on better utilizing the hours in my day. Each morning, I spend 15 minutes planning the most important task to complete and then adding or removing secondary items in my list. I've been using Todoist to associate each task with a date so I know what to focus on each day.
6. Any tips for avoiding Zoom fatigue?
On calls that are more informational than decision making, I turn off my camera and either walk around while listening or stretch to combat the endless sitting that I feel we do these days. Heading into the office is also a nice change for those meeting-packed days.
7. What keeps you busy outside of work?
Lately, my SO and I have been trying to get in some fall festivities. The past few weekends, we went to Field of Screams in PA, a fall festival, and put together a little Halloween party for our parents. When driving or exercising, I've been working through the audiobook Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of Nike which has been pretty enjoyable and appeals to the runner in me. To keep the engineering side of me happy, I've been developing a library in TypeScript to understand how frameworks like React use a virtual DOM to make highly performant UI updates. I'm not strong when it comes to the front-end so it's been quite a lot of learning over the past few weeks.
8. What TV show have you binged lately?
The last show we finished was The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I've got to admit, there were a few times where I looked down at my computer screen when I knew something scary was going to pop up in the show, but I enjoyed the story and it made October feel more like itself.
9. Any plans for Halloween?
We'll probably go over to my uncle's house. His birthday is on Halloween and he has 5 kids so there is always something fun to do over at his place.
10. Give us a random fun fact about yourself!
When I was in my mid 20s, I went through a phase where I was growing out my hair and riding motorcycles - obviously because I was trying to be cool 😎. When I finally cut my hair to donate it, it was over 12 inches long! What I found interesting was a few of my friends met me for the first time when I had long hair so when I finally cut it, they didn't recognize me until their mental hard drive processed my new look.
Joe's team is hiring! Check out our open positions.
About the author: Ashley is the operations specialist at cloudtamer.io.