Developers are people, too

When you’re sitting behind your computer screen looking at a beautiful website you might marvel at technology and how amazing it is. 

Well, it may surprise you that behind that technology is a bunch of good humans who work hard to keep it looking dazzling.

Here at Rocketspark, we have a team of web developers, aka devs, who keep our clients' websites functional and beautiful. They are a work hard/play hard team who love to code, as well as stop for a quick office Counter Strike break twice a week. 

We thought it was about time you got to know the magical keyboard wizards, read on to learn some of what they get up to, both in and outside of work.

Lee Reichardt, co-founder and developer, likes to play a bit of playstation outside of work. He also enjoys sports and outdoor things which keep him active. 

“I’ll generally be playing rugby on a winter Saturday or finding jumping spots on the side of the river to jump off in summer,” he said.

One of Lee’s favourite work stories involves our Head of Partnerships, Jason Tiller.

“We had an intern over the summer of 2019. Half way through his 10 week placement, he turned to Jason and asked, ‘Jason, what do you actually do here?’. From then on, it’s been a running joke when Jason is talking, to stop him and ask, ‘what do you actually do here?’,” Lee laughed.

Co-founder and developer, Richard King, better known as Kingy around the office, is always up for a mountain bike and any team building exercise that includes Counter Strike.

He said his favourite work story would have to be the time Harvey Kane, developer, pulled an all nighter and slept on the office floor. 

“He was woken up in the morning by an intern on their first day of the job. It was an impressive display of commitment during a big feature launch,” Kingy said.

Developer Lara Villavicencio said she loves the everyday office banter at Rocketspark.

“Some of the chat just makes me laugh, especially between Debby de Gouviea-Rennie [marketing guru] and Lee. 

“There was one time when we all made a guest appearance on Jasons’ Design Partner’s Facebook Friday, it involved office chair rowing and Debby doing her hair flip,” she laughed.

Outside of work Lara is into an array of things including badminton, playing guitar, hanging out with friends, watching movies or sitcoms, hiking, photography, sketching or painting and, like most developers, playing computer games.

Lara has two favourite work stories.

“One time the internet was down and we couldn't do any work, so Nat and I did a planking competition. I lost, but it was fun!”

And her second one was moving to the new Rocketspark office.

“We all had to carry the tables across the road. There were only ten of us back then in the small office, now there's a lot of us! It's amazing to look back how far we've come!” Lara said.

Harvey Kane, developer, said he was constantly surprised by how customers ended up using Rocketspark software.

“As a senior developer who has created much of the Rocketspark functionality, I’ll often go to the partner Facebook page and find myself unable to answer some of the questions being asked about how to achieve a particular look or functionality. Then another partner pipes in with some workaround they’ve used, and I’m impressed with their creativity.”

Harvey is based in Auckland and works remotely from his home. He enjoys a wide range of hobbies outside of work. 

“I love to fill my weekends with DIY adventures around the house, a trip to Mitre 10 is a very dangerous thing indeed. I like furniture making and restoration, electrical work, automated irrigation, oil painting, making picture frames, wood turning, 3D printing, electronics, brewing craft beer and kombucha, artisan bread, growing hops, making costumes for parties, and keeping the garden looking nice. If I can get the kids to help out with any of these, even better. Calling in a tradesman to help with anything is a sign of failure (except when it’s a legal requirement).

“I also have a thing for keeping the neighbourhood free from litter. Instead of going to the gym I go for 5km walks and collect trash from the side of the road as I go. Doing this four times a week makes a massive difference to how nice the local area looks, plus stopping all that plastic ending up at sea is a great bonus,” Harvey said.

Andy Richdale, also a developer, said he really enjoyed Rocketspark's late-afternoon gaming sessions.

“We take team bonding pretty seriously in the dev team. Ensuring our machines are set up for gaming is mandatory, it’s even part of our developer onboarding process,” he said.

Outside of work, Andy likes to keep his brain busy with board games and he enjoys playing the drums.

Lewis Villavicencio, you guessed it, another developer, is “quite fond” of video gaming. 

“Coming from university and having no experience in a real work environment, work was always prefaced to me as a serious environment - a place with no leisure time. So working at Rocketspark, and hearing them ask whether or not we wanted to game during the allocated gaming time, came as quite a surprise to me especially when they mentioned what game we were playing, Counter Strike. Seeing everyone get competitive and have fun at the same time was really cool,” Lewis said.

Outside of work and when he is free from university, Lewis enjoys spending time with his friends. 

“I enjoy going out with them, travelling to different places, going on hikes/walks, going ‘thrifting’, and gaming with them. I’m also part of a men's basketball social league - basketball is one of my biggest passions, so a fair amount of my spare time goes into it,” he said.

Nicole Bowkett started as an intern developer here. Outside of work, she enjoys dancing, hanging out at the beach with family and friends and walking her dog.

“I've really enjoyed working at Rocketspark, it's a fantastic friendly environment with awesome people and I love the funny banter. I feel very privileged to be learning new skills from the best and realising I actually do like coffee! I am also currently studying in my final year at the University of Waikato towards a computer science major in a Bachelor of Science degree,” she said.

Developer Bill Li, had an eventful first day at Rocketspark. 

“On my first day of work, we released a project called ‘full-width stacks’ in the evening. This release applied changes to just about every single site we host, and there were a few hiccups during the release so the development team stayed behind to fix issues on thousands of sites.
“We ended up working through the night to 6am the following day, I remember everyone reassuring me and promising me that this didn’t ever happen. 

“Of course, I didn’t believe this at all, but since then it has proved true, we no longer do evening releases/deployments if we can help it. Something like that hasn’t ever happened again,” Bill said.

Keep an eye out for our ‘meet the customer success team’ blog coming soon. In the meantime you can catch up on our other content over at our blog here.