This week, we’re continuing our series introducing an East Coast addition to Jargon’s engineering team, Matt. As we continue to grow and invest resources into building tools for voice technology, we look forward to sharing with the community a spotlight on J’s contributing to the ecosystem.
***Matt, where is home for you?***
Bethesda, Maryland - a suburb of Washington D.C.
***If someone were to go visit, where would you recommend they go?***
Probably head to D.C., there’s not much in Bethesda. First, go to all of the museums - they’re all free so there’s no excuse for not going. Secondly, walking around the Tidal Basin, especially in the early springtime with cherry blossoms. Then for food, Rasika is a pretty famous Indian restaurant and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
***How has it been settling into Seattle?***
After graduating from the University of Illinois, I ended up moving to Seattle through Amazon working for them the past couple of years. It’s been awesome, I really like the city and the personality of it fits me. It’s really laid back. As for the rain, I’m just happy it doesn’t snow 10 feet every year.
***West coast, best coast?***
I don’t think I can answer that… West coast definitely has its charms, east coast has my heart!
***What is the killer podcasts everyone needs to know right now?***
I definitely recommend “Rough Translation” from NPR. The premise is talking about stuff that happens around the world that hits close to home. This is one of my favorite episodes here.
***Do you play any instruments?***
I play guitar on the worship team at church, a little bit of bass, and played drums a while back but am probably pretty terrible at it now.
***Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?***
I’m still waiting for it…
***What does a weekday in your shoes look like?***
I get set up in the morning with my tea - black/peach tea that I’m just drinking for the caffeine at this point - and get going with team stand. Then I basically look at my to-do list, start the preliminary work, and am head down coding for the rest of the day.
***What skill/technology have you learned most recently?***
Most recently I learned to program in Golang which is super interesting and different. My previous job used Java and it’s always exciting to learn a new language. Go is a lot less verbose compared to Java - when you don’t have to write code in Go, it’s disconcerting but a good disconcerting at the same time!
***What are your productivity hacks?***
I usually keep a to-do list. At the end of the day, I’ll look at what I’m doing and the next steps to tackle for the next day. Breaking down everything into smaller, more manageable tasks helps make it feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.
***What do you do to get “unstuck” on a really difficult problem/design/bug?***
I’ll start by taking notes on it and trying to whiteboard it myself. If this doesn’t help, I’ll summarize the problem and post it on the dev slack channel. If those two steps don’t work, then I’ll make my way to our CTO, Jonathan, and tell him what’s going on, what I’ve tried, and he’ll help me see the problem in a different light. I’ll typically walk away with a few different solutions that I’m able to address with a new perspective and explore them.
***What about the weekend?***
My wife and I tend to be pretty low key. We occasionally help out with church stuff and during the summer, do hiking as well.
***What excites you the most about voice?***
The fact that voice is so ubiquitous these days - there’s a lot of untapped potential in the space. The first group to figure out the revolutionary way of using voice is going to be a massive hit. There are so many people are using it for simple things, so the market is there - we just have to figure out how to exploit it.
***Who is your go-to voice assistant?***
***The year is 2030, how has voice transformed the way we live?***
Have you seen Star Trek? Having voice assistants that can understand the context of a conversation and have a conversational voice. It would be incredibly useful.
***Got any favorite quotes?***
Tea, Earl Grey. Hot. - Capt. Jean-Luc Picard