Sticky: Will Work For Love: Clarence Locke, Real Digital Media, Seminole, Florida

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Clarence Locke is vice-president, systems architecture, at Real Digital Media’s office in Seminole, Florida, with responsibiity for the design and development of the NEOCAST Media Player and Server platforms.

  1. Describe your personal work space.

    I have a private office with a desk and a work table. On the work table is a collection of different models of NEOCAST Media Players. Above the work table is a French cleat hanger which is used for easily swapping out the multitude of flat panel displays that are used during development and integration testing. On my desk are two 24” Apple Cinema Displays driven by a quad-processor Mac Pro with 6GB of RAM and a 640GB drive. My Aeron chair seems to have been lost in shipping for some months now…..

  2. How do you get to work?

    As fast as possible! (which has nothing to do with the excitement of the job). I’ve got a 2006 BMW 530i with a 250BHP 3.0L inline 6 that redlines a 7,000RPM, a 6-speed manual transmission (automatics are for wussies!) and active suspension. That – coupled with the knowledge of all the local speed traps – means that I can blissfully make it to work in under 10 minutes.

    In all seriousness, our company has a few small ‘satellite’ offices throughout western and central Florida, which allows all of our employees to have relatively short drives. I think that I can safely speak for all of the employees and say that it is a nice ‘perk’.

  3. What is an average day like?

    Each day is usually different from the rest — but an ‘average’ for me would be something like:

    • Check my email for any messages of impending doom (rare to find any of those);
    • Fire up my instant messaging client (Adium) and Basecamp client (Propane). Because we are geographically diverse, we use these communication tools quite a bit – even for tracking project status with our customers;
    • Get back to designing/developing/testing. I have a wealth of tools at my disposal for this, with the most often used ones (in no particular order) being: OpenOffice, Pages, OmniGraffle, Xcode, TextMate, Transmit, Wireshark, Safari, Firefox and JProfiler;
    • Occasional interruptions (either by me or for me) on design thoughts, help tracking down an issue or general discussions.
  4. What is essential to you being able to work happily?

    Keeping the level of bureaucracy down to a bare minimum (i.e., asymptotically approaching zero); minimizing the number of recurring meetings that must take place in a week; providing me with the latitude for trying new ideas, and the power to execute them.

  5. How flexible are your working conditions?

    Very – and this matters a great deal to me. I can interleave my personal and professional obligations knowing that as long as I deliver quality work on time, then my employer is accepting of my approach.

  6. What do you think your employer looks for in its staff?

    Someone who has a pulse and a brain. Preferably a working one.

  7. What suggestions do you have for your company?

    To stay ‘small’ as we continue to grow big. Personally, I do not thrive in the stereotypical large corporate culture. There are too many blanket decisions and ridiculous policies put forth that do nothing but stifle both creativity and productivity.

  8. Do you have any frustrations you would like to share with us?

    There are not enough hours in the day to do the things I want to do professionally. I guess I could use some minions…..

  9. What do you like best about your job?

    What I touched upon earlier: I am given enough latitude do what I do best (which is design and develop software-based solutions to problems) without the mire of too much red tape.

  10. How open is your company to new ideas and suggestions?

    From a development standpoint, we openly ask for new ideas and approaches from everyone in the company, as well as from our customers. These percolate for a while and the better ones are extracted and abstracted into new features and product directions.

  11. How much responsibility have you been given?

    Quite a bit. The work I do is ultimately distributed to many thousands of remote devices. A single mistake could be very costly (and embarrassing) for us and our customers.

  12. How green are you and your company?

    Our entire development staff is currently lusting after the Tesla Roadster and up-coming Model S sedan. Does that count?

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