I’m a west coast dude who was very lucky to grow up in Southern California in the late seventies and eighties (such a great time). Technology was developing throughout my life and my family was very into it, we even had a business selling metal joysticks in 1982. Imagine the computers that used those.
As a professional, I was also lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a variety of roles focusing on technology and the people who use it. Early in my career I was a web developer and completely focused on that craft, I spent every moment trying to be the best I could be. Then I transitioned to technical project manager at a digital media company, I learned so much about cryptography and how to deliver secure media over the Internet (movies from movie studios). And over a decade ago, I joined Solid Digital where I took my experience as a web developer and project manager to learn how to run larger teams and ultimately a company.
My days now are spent working with each of our departments, focusing on the quality of our services and delivering high quality customer care. It’s very rewarding.
Q&A w/ Travis McHattie
Q: What is your favorite quote, and why?
“My philosophy is that you don’t motivate players with speeches; you have motivated players that you draft. That’s where they come in, and those are the guys that are competitive. You can not teach competitiveness.”
– Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson has a ton of great quotes but this one special. When we are hiring, we want to find motivated people that are motivated to be great.
Q: What inspired you to become a Developer and how that led to your current role?
I was inspired by technology from a young age, but in college, I was introduced to HTML. The moment I learned how to create web pages, my mind was blown. Then at some point, someone took a site I coded by hand that was probably about 200 individual pages and created a dynamic web page using PHP and MySQL. My mind was blown again, I drove to Barnes and Noble and bought about $500 in books. Everyday I read, programmed, learned, and never stopped. Seeing someone else take the work I did and turn it into a simple, scalable, solution completely changed my life.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about being the COO and a Mentor for many at Solid Digital?
The thing I enjoy most about my role at Solid Digital is that I get to share the wisdom from very smart people I’ve met. Providing insights from leaders I’ve learned from, and blending in my own experiences.
It’s very rewarding to work with someone and see ah-ha moments in real time. To make it better, every now and then, there are random times when a coworker states how the advice you gave them was impactful to their life. That feels great.
Q: As a Developer, COO, and Mentor, What expertise do you bring to your clients?
I believe the best way I help our clients is through experience. We’ve been a part of thousands of projects and we learn from every one of them. I love it when a client looks for guidance and we are able to deliver it to them. This applies when we succeed and when we don’t. We work hard to build trust all the time so that clients know we have their interests in mind
Q: What is your approach to providing great customer service?
Listening is key, putting yourself into the client’s shoes and empathizing with them. At the end of the day trying to help and be helpful. Not only make positive contributions, but have our efforts be perceived as helpful. I want our clients to know that everything we are doing is trying to meet their goals. We try and have a great balance of making data driven decisions but at the end of the day realize that we are working with people and we need to connect with them.
Q: What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on during your time at Solid Digital?
I’ve been at Solid Digital forever so there are many projects that I’m proud of. If I had to choose, I would go with the first streaming solution we built for the Samsung SmartTV. This was the first project that I worked with a hardware company directly to build software for their device. It was incredible to see the application I built used by so many people.
Q: What volunteering or passion projects do you do outside of work?
Right now my life outside of work is focused on family. I’m not sure what will inspire me in the future.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy taking road trips with my family, we go to so many places and experience many different things along the way. My fridge is covered with magnets from places we’ve been. I also enjoy playing guitar and riding motorcycles.
Q: What is your favorite museum?
At the moment, with my kids it’s OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) it’s fun to watch their brains learn and put things together. I also like art and history.
Q: Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books?
- Joe Rogan Experience: I learn so much from this podcast. There are so many interesting people on and it fills my bucket seeing what other really smart and motivated people are doing in the world.
- “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”: This book is so great, it’s a perfect look into what many teams deal with, no matter the company size, type of business or location.
- “Switch: How to Change when Change is Hard”: This book is great for managers and leaders trying to understand how to communicate to a variety of people. Understanding the logic and emotion involved and which one we should focus on. It’s been incredibly helpful to me when trying to understand other people’s perspectives.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about Solid Digital’s Culture?
My favorite thing about our culture is how hungry our team is. We are never satisfied with the status quo. We don’t take it easy or get lazy, I think we do our best to hire people that are aligned with our values. Creative Craftsmanship, Honest Guidance, Dependable Services and Thoughtful Collaboration.
Q: What is your favorite Solid Tradition?
Probably in-prompt to foosball games. Those are so organic and fun, it’s a perfect mental break to get the juices flowing.
Q: What do you like on your pizza?
The basic classic, a really great pepperoni pizza is all I need.
Q: What’s your most-used mobile application and why?
Anything to add intentionality to my life. Right now it’s “Everydollar”, a budgeting app. As a numbers person, I love keeping track of our families financial goals and how we are achieving them. It’s been years since we’ve used a credit card and that takes a lot of planning. Love the app.
Q: What are three things still left on your bucket list?
- Taking an international trip outside of North America. Right now we are looking at Iceland.
- Save a life
- Experience a sensory deprivation tank
Q: What is the 1 piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to have a career in your field?
For me, it’s to stay hungry, visible and take risks. In an agency environment, there shouldn’t be the desire to hide, we should always bring our best work and expect it. That takes a different personality from someone trying to hide in a cubicle. Taking risks is also important because sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose. It’s important to us to fail or succeed with integrity. There is no better way to connect with someone than to have to be humbled by a risk that didn’t pan out.
Q: What would you like to be known for?
I was an Eagle Scout, so it’s important for me to be perceived as helpful, dependable and willing to do what it takes to achieve the result we set out to do. Oh yeah, and leaving things a bit better than I found it. I also want to be known for letting people spread their wings and enable them to succeed within our company.