What does your perfect working day look like?
A day where I can spend that day helping the people around me is a good day. Pairing with juniors and helping them learn new things is even better.
What’s your favourite method of communication?
Text-based communication, where I can be most eloquent and I can backspace any mistakes I make. It's also searchable, which is a nice perk.
What are your quirks?
I have a dark / sarcastic sense of humour. I probably tell too many dad jokes. I walk fast. I obsess about my books. I obsess.
I have a Spotify Starred playlist that some have described as “eclectic”.
What qualities do you particularly value in the people you work with?
Open & honest communication. I’d prefer it if more conversations were had on Slack, since those are searchable ;)
I value constructive feedback too.
What things do people sometimes misunderstand about you?
I am usually interruptible, even if I have my headphones on. Best to send me a Slack message first.
What stresses you out / frustrates you at work?
Juggling the expectations of others and ensuring that they're happy. To combat this, I try to keep extensive notes in Bear about people I interact with regularly and leave reminders for myself in Things to action things.
What weaknesses do you know you have that you’d like your team members to recognise and help you out with?
I'm horrible at communicating what I'm thinking, often jumping from point A to F, rather than A, B,C... Tell me to slow down and walk you through my thinking if you see this happening.
How do you take your meetings?
If the meeting is scheduled at 10:30 I expect everyone to be there already. Calendar alerts for 10 mins before a meeting help me ensure I am on-time to meetings.
Meetings must have an agenda, or a targetted outcome. This helps the meeting stay on track, and everyone feel like their time in the meeting was valuable.
Meetings with fewer attendees are better than larger meetings.
My attention span for listening to other people talk tops out at about 40 minutes. After that, then it’s diminishing returns. So for this reason I like to keep meetings to 40-50 minutes tops. An hour seems too long, and half an hour is sometimes too short. When I'm running JEP sessions, I will usually break them into 50 minute blocks for my attention span, and for yours.
What makes you grumpy?
Nothing makes my blood boil more than people who smoke in public spaces -- it’s a selfish indulgence that pollutes the environment and they’re slowly killing themselves. I’m particularly sensitive to the issue as I had a mother-in-law that died from a smoking related disease (COPD) and my own mum has had some smoking-related health concerns too. Smoking makes no sense to me, and it has taken people I love away earlier than is reasonable. Please do not smoke near me.
Drivers who do not take care when bikes are around them rank a very-far-down-the-list second place. The bell tolls for thee. You can almost guarantee I'll be swearing at an inattentive driver on my way into work by bike.
Oh, you mean at work? Well:
When someone asks me to fix a bug, but provides very few steps on how to cause the bug. You can help me by writing extensive steps to reproduce the bug. Walk me right up to the bug with the steps and very likely I can fix it myself.
Another thing: engineers who "do not have the time" to help out their fellow engineers. That's crap. Helping others where you can should be your first priority.
I will not get grumpy at junior engineers.
How will I know if you’re grumpy? How can other people help?
I’ll be short and snappy. Maybe a bit morose / depressive. That’ll happen, I’ll catch myself doing it and then I’ll (usually) go for a 20-30min walk to chill out. If you catch me before I catch myself, ask me if I want to go for a walk / grab a drink.
What makes you happy?
When I can teach someone and they go "AHA". That is the best feeling that I get in this place and it brings me such good joy. A very close second is when that person goes on to teach someone else.
Riding my bike makes me happy. Exercise in the morning makes me happy. Spending time with my daughter makes me happy.
Feedback and Recognition
How do you like to receive feedback?
Direct message is best. You can even pull me aside and speak to me privately.
How do you like to be recognised for awesomeness?
Just let me know that you liked a thing I did. That’s enough :) High fives and public "mad props" are also excellent.
What name should we use for you? What name should we never, ever use?
I’ve got a few. Ryan is the obvious one. Ry-Ry, Radar, Mr. Bigg, Biggsie. I’ve been called “Graham” and “Ronan” too.
Where do you find enjoyment the most outside of work?
I enjoy hanging out with my family, my friends, watching movies, going for bike rides and hiking.
I play a lot of video games. I bought myself a Switch last year so I could play that on the train. I have a PC and sometimes play Overwatch there. I love FPSes + strategy games.
I love playing card and board games too. In particular, Werewolf (card) and Scythe (board). I love the simpleness and dynamicness of Werewolf.
I also enjoy reading sci-fi / fantasy books, some of which you can see on my Goodreads profile.
I also enjoy writing books about programming, which I do in my spare-time.
What’s your favourite snack or treat?
I’m really partial towards anything from Haighs. Peppermint flavoured anything is a sure winner. Chocolate anything.
Mandarins. Bananas. Apples.
I love wasabi peas too.
How do you take your coffee / tea / other hot beverage?
Coffee: with milk and maybe a sugar too.
Tea: ¾ water, ¼ milk. No sugar.
What about… cold beverages?
Ciders. Everything except Strongbow. It is the Fosters of ciders. I love trying different varieties of ciders. James Squire's Orchard Crush is almost the perfect cider.
Not a fan of beer.
Extremely partial to red wine, especially Sangiovese / tempranillo. Italian red wine trumps all other wine. White wine only when there is no good red options.
Scotch, especially the smokier ones. Ardbeg is probably a favourite here. Oban is nice too. I take it neat.
Port. Oh my goodness how is it this far down the list. Absolutely a favourite thing to have at the end of the day.
Any dietary needs or things we should consider if we’re planning a team lunch or event?
No cucumber because it repeats on me and because I can taste even a sliver of it in any food. It's the "loud American talking on the cellphone in a busy café" of food. Fun fact: there's such a thing as "Burpless Cucumbers" -- these don't repeat on me.
Not a big fan of seafood -- but will eat lots of sushi -- but I can eat it if that’s all there is to eat. I'll eat most fish, but steer clear of the oysters and prawns.
I'll eat essentially everything else. Favourite food cultures: Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Turkish, Mexican and Italian.