In this blog series, we interview a member of the clypd team every month. Find out what drives us, what makes us tick, and what we do outside of the clypd office. In this month’s clypd Profile, we talk to Herbert Chang, Software Engineer.
Can you describe your job and an average day working at clypd?
I’m a software engineer on the platform team, which at clypd means that my focus is on improving and maintaining the “magic behind the curtains,” so to speak. Our software stack is fairly straightforward, using Go as our language of choice, PostgreSQL as database, Resque for job scheduling, and Docker for containerization.
Day-to-day there’s not a lot of variation, just the usual struggles of juggling responsibilities in meetings versus “quiet time,” wherein I’m able to focus and code.
What do you find most rewarding part about your job?
clypd has a wonderful commitment to fun and it’s evident in all aspects of working as an employee at clypd. The actual physical benefits aside (i.e. outrageously delicious beers, coffees and teas on tap, Sonos, foosball, snacks… the list goes on), all of my coworkers have made sure that the working environment is comfortable and welcoming for everyone. That isn’t to say that my coworkers don’t speak snark and sarcasm – trust me, they do plenty, but that’s all part of clypd’s wonderful commitment to fun.
What makes working at clypd different than other companies you’ve worked at?
Working at any startup is challenging, but what I find myself consistently talking to others about clypd is the culture and responsibility. Cliche, I know, but it’s true. I’ll start with the latter point, on responsibility.
I want to highlight the responsibilities at clypd because I think it illustrates why clypd makes for such a rewarding workplace. As an engineer at clypd, you have the ability to say “this is how much time I think I need to build this,” or even “here are things we need to think about, can we make sure they are included in the next product roadmap conversation.” Our product team defines at a high-level what priorities are, but it’s up to us engineers to push back and provide estimates, and ultimately, be responsible for the timeline that results from our estimates/decisions. Or put another way, as an engineer at clypd, you won’t be told “here’s what you need to do, and here’s how long you have to do it.” Rather, you’ll be asked “here’s what the company needs. How can we make that happen?”
As for company culture, everyone at the company has been a pleasure to work with. We recognize that there’s a lot of work to be done and there are times when we are collectively stoic and ask not to be bothered, but there’s also times when we didn’t make any plans and end up spending a few hours in the evening with each other just chatting, hanging out.
If you weren’t working as a software engineer, what would your dream job be?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as “dream job,” but I’ve spent a non-trivial amount of time considering what it means to own and operate my own coffee shop. There’s just such a romantic appeal, it’s hard to explain.
Favorite TV commercial of all time?
That’s quite a tall order. For the longest while, my family didn’t own a TV set, so I have a huge chunk of missing knowledge around TV commercials. However, I did watch a lot of TV when I was living in Taiwan, pre-1997, and so I present you this piece of nostalgia for an over-the-counter cold medicine whose products are still on the shelves today in Taiwan.
You’re a pretty serious coffee connoisseur – what is the best single cup of coffee you’ve ever had?
Just “enthusiast” is fine, really.
As for your question, that’s really tough. I’ll respond with a particularly memorable coffee experience, if that’s alright. This was a few years ago now, when I first started to learn about the subtleties of all different sorts of coffees. I was at barismo’s first location in Arlington, MA, and they had just received a coffee shipment of green coffee beans from Central America. I remember this being shortly after Thanksgiving and this is only relevant because after I smelled the spent coffee grounds from the syphon, I said that I caught some spicy notes, and Jaime, of barismo, joked with me saying I probably was just projecting. That coffee was from Guatamalan, a lot named Buena Esperanza, by the producer Gustavo Alfaro. It was Gustavo’s first specialty lot, and it was really, really good – so good that it went on to win 4th place at the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence competition held later on in the year. The coffee itself was full-bodied and juicy, yet light and crisp. I thought Jaime captured it very well when describing the flavor profile as akin to that of a honeycrisp apple.
What’s your favorite city that you’ve visited?
Oslo! It is just so beautiful in the summer. I stayed in downtown Oslo, yet lakes and mountains were only 15 minutes away by public transportation. By foot, one could walk from one end of the city to the other in about half an hour. There’s just such a rustic appeal to Oslo while still being a large city (second largest in Scandinavia), with the appropriate urban amenities of culture and nightlife. Plus, if you’re like me, a coffee enthusiast, Oslo is home to three world-class coffee roasteries that each have their own take on roasting and serving coffee. Needless to say, I was pretty much caffeine-drunk that entire weekend while I was in Oslo.
What’s on your work playlist?
I don’t keep a consistent playlist while working. Most of the time I end up listening to new album releases by artists that I follow or have heard recommendations about. Every once in a while though I’ll get one track stuck in my head and that track ends up getting played on loop until… well, kind of forever. I’m pretty sure I’ve had entire weeks when I was listening to just one track. Anyway, my peculiarities aside, Spotify recently has informed me that I’ve been listening to a lot of The Roots, REKS, Dilated Peoples, and Statik Selektah – basically, a bunch of rap and hip-hop music.
What’s something that not many people know about you?
I attended kindergarten in Singapore.
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