Name: Robby Thompson
Designation: Agent 00119
Double Agent Role: Senior Software Engineer
Special Skills: Being a mentor and willing to help out with just about anything
Aliases: github/robsdudeson, linkedin/robby.thompson
Location: Circleville, OH
I can’t pinpoint a single moment or project that would qualify here. However, what excites me is working with others on hard problems while helping them learn and strive for those “ah ha!” moments. I get more out of those experiences—when I’m with someone who I’ve helped come around to a new understanding of something they’re working on. I especially enjoy helping more junior developers work through problems and seeing their thought process grow and evolve. I end up learning so much more about people and our industry from those sessions than I feel like I do when I work solo on a project or listen to a podcast.
I’m hoping to be able to meet more of my fellow agents in person. With all of the lockdowns, and ongoing concerns, meeting folks since I started last October has been mostly virtual.
It’s hard to nail down one thing as my favorite. I’ve got two things that drew me and are keeping me at Test Double. One of those is our ability to come into a client’s environment and start adding value on day one. It’s really great to be able to come in and make an impact early on and watch it build as the engagement goes on. The other thing is our ability to branch out and grow based on our interests. From being able to spend time learning about some technology or skill with our personal development time, to knowing that client engagements will come to an end, there is no shortage of opportunity for learning and growth.
I think there are two main things that make Test Double unique:
- Working with folks who all seem aligned on the same mission overall.
- Being employee owned.
These are unique because in many environments I’ve been in, folks are beholden mainly to products, business stakeholders, or shareholders. These folks are often different people, and therefore have conflicting goals. As a result, there tends to be more difficulty in attaining a decent solution that makes everyone happy without having to compromise big things along the way. With our mission being to help the world make better software, the fact that everyone here is constantly trying to level up their skills in the field, and we all have a real stake in the company, it really brings out a drive that is genuine and contagious.
As someone new to consulting, I’ve been thinking a lot about being someone with primarily a product background who can transition and share experiences to make client teams better. This has come with a lot of reading about other consultants’ experience but also trying to forge relationships with peers at the client.
There has been more than one time in my career when I put too much of myself into the work and lost sight of the important things. From spending 60-80 hours/week working to working so much in a short stint that I was taken to ER for stress related issues, I’ve learned the importance of making sure there is some level of harmony with my obligations and things I enjoy doing. We’re here only for a brief time in the grand scale of it all; it’s not worth missing out on things that make life worth living to make a few more dollars or trying to climb some abstract hierarchy.
I’m still coming down from a trip my family and I took to California in June. We spent three weeks on the road with our pull-behind camper and drove to Phoenix then up to Lake Tahoe before coming home. Between all of that we stopped at five national parks, a few campgrounds, and some very memorable boondocking spots. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to more camping (both with the camper and tent camping). Being on the road for those three weeks really reminded me how much I love being outside and sharing that experience with my family.
I recently finished up “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. With everything going on in the world and just how life gets more complicated from year to year, I’ve been reaching for a deeper, practical understanding of what it means “to be.” This has most recently pulled me into learning more about Stoicism through contemporary authors as well as the classics such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, and Seneca.
To slow down and take stock periodically. In the early days of the pandemic, not being sure how bad things were going to get made me appreciate the fact that things shut down and I was able to spend more time with family since we couldn’t go anywhere. This just reminded me of the importance of not letting external factors get in the way of the connection I have with them.
A few years back, I helped build our current house. It was a situation where I was somewhat close to the builder and as a result, was able to pour the footers for the house, chip in on framing, some rough carpentry, and help on various levels on finishing the house. Outside of all of that, I wired my entire house and installed every fixture (with some consulting help from an electrician). This was honestly one of the coolest experiences in my life. From the physical labor to knowing that my family would be about to enjoy it for years to come is something I’m very proud of and really enjoyed doing.
This interview is based on shared documentation with Robby Thompson and Cathy Colliver. It may or may not self-destruct.