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Getting to know Rob

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

What is your background in?

In a word, “computers.” When I was eight years old, my mother brought home a new Macintosh II and said: “This is yours, but you have to set it up and take care of it.” It was the first Macintosh to support a color display — to say I was hooked would be an understatement. Fast-forward to college, I attended the University at Buffalo for their Computer Engineering Baccalaureate program. Between studies, I worked for the University’s UNIX Support Group where I gained my first exposure to Large Scale Computing. By senior year I was restless, so I started my first software business. Within a year I was hooked again, this time on bootstrapping startups that applied new technological solutions to preexisting industries. I’ve been starting-up or running new businesses ever since.

What do you work on primarily?

Lately, my primary focus is software and systems, usually wearing my developer hat.

What do you wish your clients knew?

The value of writing things down. Computers don’t understand the amorphous, thus leaving the indeterminate to be defined by the programmer. Whether I’m building a systems architecture or writing code, ambiguity is our nemesis. By writing down a request, one is forced by the rules of language to structure statements in complete thoughts, ideally inclusive of all the pertinent details. As a programmer, a verbal request is almost always absent that structure, leaving me to fill in the blanks with decisions my clients may or may not concur with. The more time clients invest in “writing it out,” the more value I can bring to their solution.

Why do you love coming to work?

Teaching. When I’m not mid-sprint, I love having the opportunity to explain why things are the way they are. It’s not enough to know there is a CDN, I want everyone on the team to understand why there is a CDN and how a CDN fits into our larger delivery model. I’m seeking understanding & that moment when I see the once disparate puzzle pieces “click” together makes for the best dopamine hit.

Can you share a professional or personal goal?

I want to get back into AI. After a few years at the fore, I mostly gave up on AI around 2008. I regret that I didn’t stick around in that space longer and plan to correct that error in judgement when the right opportunity presents itself.

What would you be if you weren’t a developer?

An Intellectual Property Attorney. I was all set to go to the Law School when the entrepreneur bug caught-hold, thank goodness.

Anything else we should know about you?

All my pets have human first names. Judge as you will.

Early riser or night owl? Night owl, for sure.

Last place you took a road trip to? Philadelphia

Which superpower would you choose? Flying looks fun!

What skill would you like to master? Playing the banjo, someday.

What brand are you most loyal to? Apple