What do we use at work? This series of posts interviews the Ushahidi staff about their methods of working and the tools they use. A profile of a different employee will be posted twice a week until we make our way through most or all of the staff!
“Our community really gives us strength and has made the platform what it is today.” – Brian Herbert
Brian Herbert is the Director of Crowdmap at Ushahidi. He largely runs the Crowdmap.com site, trouble shooting bugs and defining roadmap for Ushahidi’s SAAS offering, he also contributes heavily to core Ushahidi platform code.
What’s your day to day at Ushahidi like?
There is no such thing as a typical day with Ushahidi. There are constantly new challenges taking us from one task to another. Essentially, no person is a 100% software developer or 100% customer support representative. We are really dynamic in that sense; where everyone has their hands in all parts of the business. My time is still spent mostly doing software development on Crowdmap and the Ushahidi Platform, incorporating feedback from deployers into our platform and solidifying our offerings.
How did you get involved in the software/tech space?
In high school (2000) I started a website called bestsiteontheplanet.com, which is no longer in existence. My friends and I like to say it was Facebook before Facebook, with profiles of my friends, message boards and blog posts. The thrill of running a relatively popular website was enough to get me interested in jumping into software development. Between bestsiteontheplanet.com, going to college, working at CNET and teaching technology in the Peace Corps in Kenya, I’ve ended up where I am today, working with one of the best teams imaginable.
What are some of your favorite apps for work and how do you use them?
Aside from webapps, my set of tools are MAMP, GitX, Coda, Skype and Terminal. That’s really all you need to get anything done these days. A few things that I use that make life easier are TinyGrab, Alfred, Sparrow, Dropbox, Adium, Evernote… The list goes on but that’s what happens when every application does one task and does it well.
What are some cool projects you’re working on at Ushahidi or; What excites you about your work right now?
I think our CI (checkins) functionality is going to revolutionize the way people use and submit reports to Ushahidi deployments. Coupling this with Crowdmap and improving our service offerings are going to make it really easy for people to get a robust, dynamic citizen generated data gathering machine up in running in the amount of time it takes to get a Big Mac from the drive thru at McDonald’s. It’s a really exciting time for Ushahidi, but then again it has been exciting from day one, over three years ago.
What helps you make it through each day?
My bottomless cup of coffee from Quills Coffee in Louisville, KY. Rent is cheap!
The one thing you can’t live without?
I couldn’t live without the amazing team of developers, testers and deployers on SwiftRiver and the Ushahidi Platform. Our community really gives us strength and has made the platform what it is today. Oh, and my coffee ;)