At Media Temple, we know our extraordinary 230 employees are our biggest asset, and we encourage each and every one of them to “enjoy the journey” (one of our core company values) by finding fun and personal fulfillment both at work and in their personal lives. Kerby Ferris has certainly found personal fulfillment in her career in software development. Joining Media Temple as a software engineer at the end of 2014, Kerby is on the team that brought you (and continues to improve) our managed WordPress solutions. Her career has taken her from Portland to Paris, France, both by code and musical note. We asked Kerby about her experiences thus far.
1: What do you like the most about what you do at Media Temple?
The people here are super open, helpful, and quirky. Everyone has been welcoming and funny. I have loved every moment of my eight months here.
About work itself, I love the challenge and clarity found in solving problems in a logical way. Other walks of life don’t necessarily encourage or reward logical engagement, so code is invigorating. My experience working in systems and programming at Media Temple is the first time that I haven’t watched the clock on the job.
2: Of which project are you the proudest?
When I first started, my team was deep into launching our recently-launched four managed WordPress plans. I was too fresh to jump in and contribute a ton of code, but the Shared Hosting people who were instrumental in getting that job done are awesome to work with. I’m truly proud of the whole team.
3: How different is Media Temple compared to any previous companies you worked at?
Before Media Temple, my work in the tech industry had been almost exclusively freelancing. Freelancing has some serious pajamas advantages, but there are so many cool things about working in an actual room with actual people, slogging through the same systems and challenges. I learn things in four minutes at a lunch table here that would otherwise take me an entire excruciating weekend, deep in twenty browser tabs of Stack Overflow drama, to figure out. Media Temple’s academic culture is very collaborative and friendly. I can’t talk enough about what an awesome place it has been to learn and grow.
4: Before working here, what was the weirdest job you had?
There were so many! But there is a clear odd job winner: When I lived in São Paulo, I found a job in the paper doing translation work for an evangelical clown show called “Zig Zag”. It turned out to be for a Brazilian mega-church that had its own TV network with their sights set on syndication in India, so they contracted a studio to undertake the massive everything-into-English project. It was a fantastic job and a great way to learn Brazilian Portuguese. I really clicked with the studio and they always made us lunch and cafezinhos… I think they even gave me a paid vacation once. It was a very weird (yet very positive) experience.
5: Outside of Media Temple, what do you do in your free time? What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Music has definitely always been my thing and I spend most of my free time obsessing over music in all ways. I have a few projects currently in Los Angeles, a new age dance music collaboration called ‘Lavender Mirror’, another ambient and improvisational project called ‘Brave Accepter’, plus a new Mixcloud profile called ‘Goldline’. Los Angeles is filled with great opportunities to make and experience weird music. I’m very into this city.
It wasn’t until I really started programming that I also began to click as a musician. Electronic music strikes me as a profoundly balanced left/right brain practice and that’s just how I’m wired. GNU/Linux spawned my interest in computers and programming, and it wasn’t until I started programming that I discovered my instrument. So, I guess Linux gave me music. Also, the incredibly adventurous arts and music community in São Paulo gave me a lot of chances and inspiration to really explore ideas and get weird. The creativity in that city is astonishing. I lucked out.
Probably my biggest sense of accomplishment came from performing at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France, in 2012. I had been obsessed with that museum even as a kid – those fabulous and technicolor pipes on the outside of the building enchanted me. It feels like one of life’s little mysteries, to have a relationship to a place you’ve never seen. Then, years later, to not only take the stage there but also learn how absolutely funky the basement smells in the building.
6: How has Media Temple helped you pursue your passion?
Media Temple has reinvigorated my sense of creative possibility. The experience of jumping into systems and figuring it out as you go has been fantastic. Additionally, I’m really excited about the Overtone library for Clojure and all the implications of music (and data) as code that can be interpreted musically. That’s thrilling, and something I don’t know how I would have bumped up against were it not for Friday lunches at work.
Also, I can’t help it: I really like our building here in Culver City.
BONUS: Which one of the five company values resonates the most with you? Why?
Work Fearlessly, because every year I’m alive I get reminded how important it is to let yourself fail (and be awkward) when the final goal is growing, changing, and evolving. Allowing yourself to be humble, ask questions, and learn is a deep and spiritual engagement. I love how this value reminds me to keep going, even when it means brave incompetence or abject mediocrity, pushing past stagnation. (OMG being a person is SO INTENSE!)