Opening the Jar
We’re trying a little something new. We want to let you have a little more access to Pixel Jar and let you get to know our principals; Brandon and Jeff. Part of what makes working for and with Pixel Jar unique is the collaborative environment. So we put together a few questions for the guys and asked for their feedback.
What was your first computer system?
Jeff – My father is an engineer and was always bringing home all manner of computers. The first one I remember playing with was the The Kaypro II, which was a kind of self-contained “mobile” computer. It was about 30 pounds or so, but it all clamped up into one unit that could be carried if you were up for carting around an unwieldy 30 pounds. I remember playing a text-based horse racing game – HOURS of entertainment.
Brandon – My first computer system was an Apple IIe. The only thing I really remember doing on it was playing a handful of games including everyone’s favorite, Zork II, and building little programs using BASIC.
What inspired you to get into development?
Brandon – When I was in college, I took a computer programming class in Director (shout out to all my Lingo homies!) and from then on I was hooked. The teacher was super geeky and I loved it. For some reason Lingo came pretty naturally to me so I was given the opportunity to build an application for the Instructional Technology graduate program at San Francisco State University under the leadership of Seanchan Owen. This was really the first time that remember building something substantial with code. Because Macromedia also created Flash and ActionScript, I was able to jump in and build some cool things with Flash when that became everyone’s favorite thing.
Jeff – When I was earning my degree the Internet as we know it now was still very new and the idea of making a career from it was still uncharted and experimental. But I’ve always enjoyed solving logic problems. And building websites is nothing if not a giant logic puzzle. So figuring out how to build better and better websites has appealed to me since I built my first Geocities website.
What’s your favorite part of a project?
Jeff – The best part of any project are first few days after receiving the completed designs. I love deconstructing the design down to it’s most base elements and having to figure out how to most efficiently build it all back up again in a new medium, deciding what technologies to use, what libraries to implement, and so on. It’s like when I was little and getting a new Lego set – I’d open it up and separate all the pieces into logical piles while looking at the box and trying to figure out how all those pieces were going to come together.
Brandon – I’m going to cheat a little bit and give you two favorites, they’re the bookends of a project. On the front end of a project, I like the collaborative problem solving that happens while we’re learning about our client’s business goals and how to achieve them. Our clients often come to us with ideas about how to solve them based on websites they’ve used. Together, Jeff and I bring over 20 years of combined experience building websites and solving problems. So we listen to our clients in order to fundamentally understand what they need so that we can collaborate on the best solution for their business.
When we release a project, we get to come back together with our client and celebrate the work we’ve done together. No project could be successful without the combined efforts of both of our teams. It’s so fulfilling to watch a company succeed after investing yourself in their business.
When you’re not working at Pixel Jar, what’s your favorite thing to do?
Brandon – When is that? Haha, just kidding. When I’m not working, I love hanging out with my family. They’re my favorite people in the world. Whether we’re in the car on the way to dance practice or we’re experiencing a new place together, we have a lot of fun together. When my wife and I found out we were going to be having our first child, I quit my job so I could work from home and be available for her – that will be 12 years ago next year.
I’m so blessed to be able to share all of these precious minutes with my kids and I couldn’t do it without the love and support of my wife, Naomi. I grew up playing video games, and my son is at the age where I fell in love with gaming. On the weekends, we play together, talk about techy stuff, and even work on a gaming blog and YouTube channel with a few of my friends, so that’s pretty special.
Jeff – When I’m not working, I’m usually out and about in the world. Computers are great and helpful, but are never a substitute for living life. I’ll often go surfing or hiking. I travel a great deal adding to my list of states, countries, and continents visited. The world is a very cool place, be sure to get out and see it. And I’ll never pass up a meal. Are you going to finish that?
What type of business would you love to work with?
Jeff – After building websites for a few decades, I’ve worked with a lot of companies in all kinds of different business. And it’s often surprising which businesses turn out to be the most interesting. I don’t have a specific field where I’d like to work, just that it’s something new I’ve never been exposed to before.
Brandon – I would love to work on site for the Professional Golf Association (PGA). I’ve been playing golf since I was five, so it’s always been part of my life (thanks Dad!). I think it would be really fun to work on a site for a tournament and then go to the tournament to watch. PGA and tournament planners, if you’re reading this give us a call!
If you had only one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Brandon – Venturesome.
Jeff – Amiable.