Meet our people: Technology
Geoff is our lead user experience designer, helping shape the future design of the Emma product and the resulting experience for clients. He is also a magician. And not the hey-that-quarter-was-hiding-behind-your-ear! magician, but rather the hey-your-card-was-the-nine-of-spades-and-you-can-find-it-buried-inside-the-grave-of-your-great-uncle-Louie magician. That kind. Prior to joining Emma, Geoff worked his UX magic at shops like echomusic and his animation magic at a company called Magnetic Dreams. As for Geoff's current work-related magic, it's a central part of Emma Labs, an elite squad of thinkers, builders and designers who spend every day taking aim at Emma's future product plans and running those ideas and opportunities through discovery, concept and early prototypes. And should all of the Lab's chairs suddenly disappear from sight, all we can say is you might want to check behind your ear — or with poor great uncle Louie.
Alex is a lead developer at Emma and a member of the Emma Labs team. Born and raised in Albany, Georgia (much like a certain Emma CEO, which explains why Albany, Georgia will now be mentioned a second time for no discernable reason), Alex was the last of five kids and attended boarding school (Darlington) en route to college (University of Georgia). Prior to joining Emma, Alex taught high school English and worked as a software developer for the company Fylmz. Also, it's possible Alex is an actual, real-life fan of Hootie & the Blowfish. Says Alex, "You make one concession for Darius Rucker and the next thing you know, a youthful dalliance becomes Google fodder." Albany, Georgia, has no comment on the matter. Neither does a certain CEO.
Grey is our market strategist, helping guide the direction of Emma's product roadmap and the Labs effort to craft early concepts around those future opportunities. Speaking of crafting things, Grey is known for crafting beer in his own home, which means he's also known for crafting beer-related phrases like "raisin-fig nose" and "sweet malty breadiness" and "it's okay to drink in your basement." Is Grey also known for crafting actual crafts? He's asked us not to comment on the matter, which leads us to believe that his home-brewed beer bottles may come adorned with crocheted doilies and little yarn pom-pon thingies. Before joining Emma, Grey helped manage a post-production studio that handled a variety of editing projects for music-industry-clients. He's been an engineer, a producer, a recording artist and a secret maker of crafts. Oops. Sorry, Grey. Secret's out, buddy.
Jay is a member of our software engineering team and spends a fair amount of his time writing code. He also spends a fair amount of time breaking code that seemingly worked just fine, so if you're considering dropping a go-ahead-bet-you-can't-break-THIS-code challenge on someone, maybe that someone should be Jay. This could be a really nice connection here — you with your code that needs breaking, and Jay with a penchant for breaking the stuff. Well look, we've made the intro, and you guys can really take it from here. In his spare time, Jay collects vintage skateboard decks and owns the first three John Lucero, one of which is signed — by John Lucero, not someone else, in case that wasn't clear — and he hopes to someday acquire a Natas Kaupas 101. If the last sentence didn't exactly wow you, you're likely part of the group known as The Rest of Us, Who Know Nothing About Vintage Skateboards But Think It's Cool Anyway. Jay is an active frolfer (is it still okay to call it frolfing?) and snowboarder, and he's currently teaching the latter to his three-year-old daughter, who really enjoys it. Is she a Natas Kaupas of the slopes in the making? You bet your John Lucero.
Jim stymied chili experts everywhere by uniting the meat-laden, cheesy, gut-bombing tradition of a chili cook-off with something as ridiculous as — wait for it — celery. This auspicious moment occurred during Emma's own chili cook-off, where Jim's Buffalo Chicken Chili recipe handily earned him the title of reigning chili champion. Jim's also known around these parts as a sometime product owner and sometime member of the Emma Labs team, ensuring that the products we aim to build are the products our customers really want us to. And if those products should somehow involve celery, well then all the better. Before joining Emma, Jim served as a partner in an insurance and financial services firm, having earned his degree in finance from Belmont University, and he continues to participate in his family's business, Wampler's Farm Sausage, whose delicious new Celery Sausage will no doubt be available soon at a grocery store near you.
Sofia is a part of our QA team, helping test and troubleshoot future Emma features. She alternately delights and disturbs her colleagues by continually using hovercat.gif as her image of choice when creating test Emma campaigns. Originally from Russia, Sofia is one of those kind-hearted people adored around the Emma office as much for her constant smile as her savvy fashion sense. One colleague reports that she carries more shoes in her car than most department stores have in their inventory, which, come to think of it, may explain that constant smile of hers. The knowledge that a wide array of footwear choices is just a parking lot away does a lot to boost one's morale. Prior to Emma, Sofia brought her QA and fashion savvy to LexisNexis and, prior to that, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
Before Jeff joined Emma's User Experience team, he owned an agency that used Emma for its clients. Isn't that a coincidence! Was it enough of a coincidence to use an exclamation point? Probably not, now that we think about it! That customer experience has given Jeff a unique perspective on the needs of Emma agencies and their clients, and he's applying that perspective to how we design for - and serve - those agencies and the rest of the Emma community. Other things that give Jeff a unique perspective: Lost (don't get him started), '80s metal bands, The Letter People, and IndyCar racing. In fact, Jeff grew up thinking he would be a racecar driver. What a silly, stupid dream. Just kidding, Jeff, and other children who dream about becoming things! Jeff now spends more time dreaming about creating user experiences that are "brilliantly simple and beautifully usable," and we're glad he's making that dream come true at Emma. Also, racecars shmacecars.
Josh is a member of our application development team, hailing from California and Cal Poly (or California Polytechnic State University, if you prefer). He's a developer, and a DJ, and a writer. And he has a Radiohead tattoo, which makes us think he likes Radiohead. Or maybe he hates Radiohead and it's his ultra-ironic commentary on how the cult following bands inspire is nothing more than corporate commercialism at its most devious. Or maybe he just likes Radiohead. You're right. Josh's love of music shows up in other ways, too, like his involvement in Buzzgrinder.com and GhettoblasterMagazine.com, sites for which he has written, edited, designed, developed, reviewed albums, and interviewed artists and industry figures. His self-described music geekdom is matched by his computer geekdom, his writing geekdom and his web comic geekdom. The man has seen a ton of live shows and has eaten his fair share of cheese. We mention cheese only to point out the fact that Josh once made a pact with a friend in which they agreed they wouldn't eat cheese for two years, apart from the occasional cheese "emergencies" that would inevitably arise from time to time. There are apparently more cheese emergencies than you might expect, and Josh has learned what the rest of us knew all along - that pacts with friends involving cheese never end well.
Cale is part of Emma's User Experience design effort, bringing simple, stylish front-end design to our product and features. Cale is also a very quiet, mild-mannered colleague, and you know what they say about the quiet ones — watch out! Or, they do really good front-end app design work! We actually forget what they say. When Cale isn't quietly but significantly helping shape the Emma product experience, he's into fast cars and tiny gardens — as an adherent to the Square Foot Gardening method, with its focus on creating small but intensively planted gardens that are more suited to urban environments or people with unusually small hand trowels. Cale has even developed an app, called Seedling, to help track plant growth. The plants can be normal-sized, to be clear, and that really is the goal most of the time in gardening. Cale holds a BFA in graphic design from the University of Tennessee, a normal-sized college.