The first employee that I hired at my current job left for Silicon Valley on Friday. Matt Erkkila was hired as a web programmer, and quickly progressed to senior programmer and then Web Systems Manager with a couple of programmers under him. He single-handedly coded our entire CDA (Content Display Application) and was responsible for keeping all of the systems used by the Internet department running smoothly – while he and his team continued to develop new online products.
Matt often liked to stretch his legs after long bouts of programming or working on system problems, and this was often construed as ‘Matt was fooling around’. We’re a mid-sized family owned company and the only other one with a Computer Science degree who had done the type of programming he was doing was me. I understand the need to walk away from the computer once in awhile to socialize with your peers and give your brain a chance for that ‘aha!’ moment that you need to finish what you’re working on.
I think this finally started to become apparent to others during the past two weeks when we were debriefing Matt of all the projects and systems he was responsible for. Our online world worked relatively smoothly for the past three years due to the unseen magic that Matt worked on all the systems he touched. I am very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in the past month to meet the overwhelming traffic increase we have seen since we moved to the hosting company. The CDA has proven to be extensible and solid after some tweaking. Most people would have basically given up after they knew they were leaving the job (and the state), but Matt worked tirelessly trying to get the systems in a state he would be proud of.
So a big shout out to Matt – thanks for the hard work, keep in touch, and see you in San Francisco (you owe me dinner when I come out).
If you’re in SF, Matt accepted a job at Digg – give him a ‘sup’ if you see him.