Startup Life: Cody Norman, long-distance developer
The team building DailyUV has 21 members, and nine of them work in galaxies far, far away from White River Junction. Which is too bad, because they miss out on free-lunch Wednesdays!
Our 10 software developers are especially far-flung, living in strange places such as Idaho, Toronto and Denver. But next week everyone is gathering in WRJ for two days of team meetings and frivolity.
It seemed like a good time to check in with Cody Norman, one of our long-distance colleagues.
When you joined DailyUV you lived in Philadelphia. Now you live in Denver. You have a Southern accent. Please connect these dots.
I was born and raised in the foothills of North Carolina in a small town called Mt. Airy. It’s actually the town that inspired Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. I graduated from college with a degree in Economics and Business about 6 months into the Great Recession and was looking for anything remotely resembling a finance job. Eventually I received a great offer at a mortgage lender right outside of Philadelphia. After around 6½ years in Philly, I headed to the Rockies about 3 months ago.
Why move from Philly to Denver? This is the view from Cody's balcony.
Mortgage lender to programmer! Why?
My biggest issue with working in mortgages was there’s rarely a creative, outside-the-box way to solve a problem. Many of the regulations that have been put in place over the past few years (with good reason obviously) are very black and white. On the other side of that, programming is very much “Prove it” or “Show me.” In other words, there’s much less focus on your educational background or experience if you’re able to produce results. I also really enjoy the fact that programming is a skill that can be honed over time. It’s difficult to go home and work through “Mortgage Lending Exercises.”
True or false, and is it the best thing ever: As a general rule, programmers get to wear more facial hair than mortgage brokers.
True, and it’s pretty great.
How would you describe your role at DailyUV to a relative who does not speak programmer?
I work mostly on the back end so most of my work is behind the scenes. This means handling things like making it possible to search different channels, allowing people to reverse publish to listservs from our marketplace, or getting out one of our lovely DailyUV digests to our users.
You work remotely from home with colleagues who live hundreds of miles away. How is this magic possible?
The first ingredient is great teammates. All the technology in the world won’t help if you don’t have a team that’s willing to use it. Aside from that, easy remote conference calls and the ability to share to your screen are indispensable.
Sometimes your cats jump on your keyboard during meetings. Which one has better coding skills?
Sam, the big orange guy, has been doing it for longer, but Chewbecca (Chewy) probably has more hours spent with me while programming so right now, it’s a tossup.
Sam is pleased to meet you, too.
Meet Chewy. The Force is strong with this one!
Next week you and your other long-distance colleagues are coming to White River Junction for two days of on-site meetings. No offense, but why bother?
It’s a great way to get together and have in-depth planning sessions. As great as technology is, it can be difficult to keep a remote group engaged for more than a couple hours. Plus, it’s a great chance to see some of the colleagues you talk to every day.
Is there a restaurant here you visited once and can’t wait to visit again?
I didn’t have a chance to try many of the local spots last time I was up, but did enjoy getting coffee from Tuckerbox. Also, seems like someone mentioned something about a BBQ place (Big Fatty’s?) so that looks like it will be on the list for me.