An interview with Shaun

We’re back with another entry into our interview series! (If you want to read any of the previous interviews, check them out here.) This time around, we’re chatting with @D-D-D-D-DropTheTable from the Automox engineering team -

Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Shaun. I’m a quality engineer at Automox, and I’ve been chilling here since tax day 2019. I’m a 10th generation American (Irish ancestors moved here in 1703), born in Hollywood, raised in San Luis Obispo, CA and Denver, CO, but really I’m just a boring Colorado suburban dad. I’ve got a degree in computer science (it’s BS), and like a lot of IT folks I dream of a day when I never have to work on a computer again.

How did you get your start at Automox?
A sincere phone call from a former coworker. I had a couple friends leave for Automox, and they would say nice things about the company when we met up for dinner and beers. They’d always half joke that I should join them, and I never took it seriously since I had a steady gig going, but that changed when one of them called and told me they thought I’d be perfect for a gig in their quality team. I came in for an interview since what the heck? (I hadn’t made a resume or interviewed in a decade). When I experienced the office culture, the intelligent and humble employees, and the straightforward and honest attitudes in the interview I was hooked. I had to work for Automox.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In the pre-quarantine times I enjoyed going to live music and raves, living it up with friends, and getting outdoors. Indoors, I like to paint miniatures for tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer 40k because I’m a nerd. I draw pictures in Sharpee for my daughter’s lunches; I’ve done that almost every school day for the last five years. I like to craft and make stuff for kids in my life (e.g. detailed Harry Potter wands, cosplay props). And when I’m too tired to think about doing all that I default to PC games.

Which PC games are you playing right now?
I tend to fall into games like heavily modded installs of Kenshi or Rimworld. My daughter and I play Minecraft or Goat Simulator together a fair bit. And despite all the hate, I have been loving the world of Night City in Cyberpunk 2077. My CPU was an old enough make (i7-950 from ye olde 2009) that I couldn’t play Cyberpunk or AC: Valhalla, so I’m playing 2077 via Geforce Now. Yes, I’m streaming my video game from Nvidia’s servers… and it’s actually working really well. If I was on gigabit internet I would play at 60fps/ultra/RTX-enabled, but for now I’m streaming it on 30fps locked for a better experience. It’s actually working super well for me.

Favorite food?
“Favorite” is hard. The food I am always in the mood for and consistently enjoy is pizza - thin or thick crust, Chicago/NY/Italian styles, all wonderful. The food I enjoy eating the most is maybe sushi? Or good Kansas City barbeque? Or maybe an Oreo shake from Sweet Cow? Or a french dip from Hafbrau in Morrow Bay? Man, I’m hungry…

Favorite color?
I’d say forest green is the best, but I do dig a nice aegean blue.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
It’s literally my job to tell people what’s wrong with the product, their code, or the user experience. I’m paid to tell people something is broken and that they should fix it - how could it be better? But really, I love finding an issue or make a recommendation and have the crew understand (no ego trips), work together, and form a solution with a timeline. It’s wonderful to be thanked for bringing up concerns or ideas.

What superpower would you want to have and why?
This has been the same since I was a little kid - it’s the ability to freeze time at will and move during that period. Now, this can come in a lot of flavors but I would take most of them (e.g. move so fast everything looks frozen, actually stopping all of time/space across the entire universe, etc.). This power gets tricky though, and it’s one you gotta be careful wishing from a genie or monkey’s paw. You see, if all particles are also frozen what does that mean for breathing? Is there a field around your body so that your body functions normally? Can I allow others to be there with me? What does interacting with frozen objects do (would the force of my pushing something increase once time resumes)? Does my body age if I left it frozen for a long period (like if you trained in the DBZ hyperbolic time chamber)?

Favorite quote, saying, or motto?
Y’all have such happy and inspiring quotes. If I’m honest, most of the quotes that spin through my mind are to help keep my serotonin-deficient brain chugging along. “A man chooses, a slave obeys” from the first Bioshock game is one that I think about a lot in terms of not falling into the trap of letting anxiety or depression dictate how I act. Gotta break the chains and be intentional. And for something cheery - I try to include the phrase “insofar as” into most of my long form writing, and I unironically use “rad” on a daily basis.

Thanks for joining us! If y’all have any comments or questions for Shaun, feel free to leave them in the comments down below.