Chartteam Spotlight: Shaun Springer, Frontend Engineer
Whoa! I know what you’re thinking. You want more of those crazy-interesting Chartteam spotlights and this second round is long overdue. Don’t fret, don’t fret — we’re about to get up, close, and personal with Shaun, a Frontend Engineer extraordinaire, who joined us early this year. As far as I can tell, he’s happy here – though he does frequently complain to me about how the insane amount of cake and desserts is affecting the fit of his pants, but that’s one of the better problems to have in my opinion.
You may have noticed that Shaun’s been all over our blog recently, sharing some of the work he’s been up to. I sat down with him a few days ago to chat about his experience at Chartbeat so far and what keeps him excited about what we’re building here.
What he brings to the table:
Shaun didn’t necessarily go to college with his mind set on frontend engineering – he actually went to school for Electrical Engineering. Before coming to Chartbeat, Shaun owned a paintball company, travelling the world playing in awesome leagues like PSP and AXBL. Yes, I said paintball company. Most recently, though, he spent some time at Crestron Electronics as the head of UI for their software group and as a Lead Frontend Developer for Lot 18.
So what cool things are you working on now?
My main focus this cycle includes tying up loose ends on the Video Dashboard as well as building the Ooyala Flash and HTML5 video plugins. However, I’m most passionate about the work I’m doing around measuring content quality – or at least trying to. I’m working on my Shaun Appreciation Score ( it’s not a narcissistic naming choice by any means), which is my attempt to measure how much time users are spending inside actual content – the stories themselves – and not just on the page. If you’re curious, check out my most recent post.
What challenges are you facing as we continue to grow?
In the short term, I’m looking at creating a pinger that is optimized for size since serving billions of requests off of our CDN can get real pricey. What’s even more interesting is that the pinger needs to work with lots of different use cases like Brightcove, Flash, etc.
If we’re talking about long-term challenges, that’s harder to say because we’re working on so many cool things right now and only time will tell, really. I suppose I’m most focused on creating fast, responsive UI’s that are user intuitive and fun to use.
What have you learned working here?
One of the greatest things about working at Chartbeat is how much you’re encouraged to continue learning. At Chartbeat, I work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with, so I’ve been pushing myself to new limits lately. Specifically, I’ve learnt a lot more about Python over the last few months and also doing frontend work that’s optimized for scale (because we’re growing!).
What’s the weirdest Chartbeat moment you’ve had so far?
Our CEO Tony and his wife Maya get to know new hires by cooking dinner for them. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at their place was their massive book collection and more importantly, this enormous number of romance novels on the shelves. Two minutes later, everything clicked and I realized that Maya is a romance novelist by trade and I no longer felt the need to judge Tony’s less-than-manly reading preferences. ;)
What do you think one of the best Chartbeat perks are?
A culture that supports dogs in the office isn’t an uncommon perk for most startups out there, but Chartbeat is awesome about pups at work. I may be a little biased around this perk because I think my dog, Ranger, is the best, but the Chartpups really make our office fun, relaxed and happy.
I love it so much that every Wednesday I try to wear my “Champ” tee since Champ is in the office most weeks on that day. It’s amazing how something so simple makes long days at work far more enjoyable for everyone.
Clearly, we have some amazingly challenging problems that come up every day that only the brightest – and quirkiest – minds out there can solve.