Harrison Harnisch
Blog Speaking Wiki About
15 August 2014
Categories Respondly

Punk Rock Not Corporate Rock

This whole thing got started about a year ago while getting spun up on Meteor. I was hacking together a project to stream the latest tweets – creatively named Meteor Twitter Stream. By a stroke of luck, I made a mistake that exposed my API key. Within a couple hours of the project getting retweeted by Meteor, Tim Haines graciously pointed out the error. A year later, I ended up joining Tim and Phil Cockfield at Respondly.

Since joining Respondly the most common question I’ve gotten is: why are you leaving a company like Apple for Respondly? I’d like to preface everything I’m about to say with a few words about Apple: Apple is a great place to work that’s filled with intensely smart people who genuinely care about their products. In making this change, I’m not so much leaving Apple as I’m joining Respondly.

At Respondly, I will get the opportunity to tackle some truly unique challenges. Additionally, I am excited about the prospect of working closely on an amazing product and helping to grow a community and company. Tim and Phil are not only design-focused, but also very talented full-stack engineers. Even as this early stage, this holistic, unified approach has produced a positive effect on organizational processes. You get people thinking about the design from the user’s perspective while simultaneously thinking about the implementation. Development becomes much easier when you get the process right earlier rather than being forced to redefine everything later.

The technology stack at Respondly is built on top of Meteor. Meteor is web framework with full-stack reactivity, a powerful packaging system, and one of the most supportive communities I’ve ever seen. It allows you to rapid prototype and iterate very quickly. Coming from a Django background, tasks that took weeks with Django often take only days or hours with Meteor. Much of the time saved can be attributed to live page updates as well as the smart packaging system.

I come from a tools background and enjoy helping people be more productive. Since reading this blog post by Tom Preston-Werner (formerly GitHub), I’ve felt the need to make my work as Open Source as possible. Respondly has already shown that this is important to them as well (take a look at their GitHub profile). Working in an organization that shares these values really matters to me. Few things make me happier than to see a project with an MIT license!

While at Respondly I’ll strive to create an open, supportive and innovative culture. I think these are things that come naturally as I’d use these words to describe my own personality. I’m excited to be part of Respondly and am looking forward to what the future has to hold!

Have some thoughts on this? Reach out to me on Twitter: @hjharnis

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