As a child, I always imagined myself playing professional hockey for the Red Wings, zooming around the ice next to Steve Yzerman and winning the Stanley Cup. Instead, I ended up with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and worked at GE. Let’s be honest – Yzerman? Really good at hockey. And me? Not quite that good. With that said, I doubt he’s as proficient at web and software development, so can we call it a wash?
I like to look at my position as an iceberg. Our customers, only see the tip through our apps and products while the rest is hidden in the minds behind our computer screens. Athletic Directors might log-in to use Pressbox, Alerts, Teammate, our sites and everything else, but when they push a button within those apps, a complex set of logic happens behind the scenes to sync schedule pages, make sure the email to the media is triggered, or alert a coach that something happened. It looks like magic from the outside, but that only happens because our team spends hours figuring out how to make it work. The people I work with are geniuses.
Day-to-day, work on our development team is a delicate balancing act. On one hand, we’re working on new products – and that includes figuring out the magic behind the scenes. On the other, we have existing products that we want to improve, as well as work on features that didn’t work as well as we initially planned. It’s all about moving all our pieces forward smoothly.
VNN stands out to me in our industry because we have a plan and a vision for creating change. We have such a dispersed sales team unlike any other in the business of high school sports. Literally, you can call a someone who lives close to you and he or she can come visit the next day. That’s awesome. Our support organization is hands down the best, too. Working with people like that give me a reason to truly enjoy my job. I won’t sugarcoat it, I’ve got quite a reputation for being the loud troublemaker in the corner, but I care about being the best and contributing to the best product and company in the industry. Due to my experience, people lean on me for my experience and expertise – but at the same time I like to have fun with things and can be known for being easy-going, yet intense. It’s great working here because I essentially get to do whatever I want- within reason. I’m empowered to help make decisions, guide the makeup of our product team, and I also have the freedom to complete tasks based on our individual styles, helping us all strive and obtain the same goal.
VNN has an amazing Application Programming Interface (API) driving Alerts, Pressbox, and Teammate that we built from the ground up. It stores and translates the data that we receive for later usage and is the secret sauce behind us being able to sync up multiple products and experiences. Not only is it stable, reliable, maintainable, and capable of future growth, it’s also one of the things I’m most proud of here. Getting software in that position is a lot of work – and through the work we’ve been doing here at VNN, in November, I’ve been invited to give a software presentation about making APIs to others. It’s a huge achievement for us inside the company but outside of work, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am most proud of my two beautiful daughters.
You can read more about me and my presentation here: http://2015.madisonphpconference.com/talks/B2/