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18 Aug 2010

David Gould: Vertical Measures employee interview

In the next edition of our VM interview series, I sat down with Vertical Measures’ own IT administrator David Gould, who tells us about his long day at VM fixing the Internet, his artistic talents and what it’s like to work with two computer screens on his desk.

David GouldMichael Schwartz: Before we officially start this off, I need to begin with a story. One day last month the Internet broke down and rumor has it that after the rest of the staff went home following lunch, you stayed to fix it until after midnight. What in the world were you doing in the office by yourself for that long?

David Gould: The official story is that I was correcting an unexpected server issue; testing, installing, rebooting can take a long time. Off the record, I got the last season of Dexter on DVD and the office TV is much bigger than my home unit.

Michael: One of the reasons you won July Employee of the Month honors aside from your late night bringing back our Internet service has to be our new information database called EDWARD. How do you expect EDWARD to make life easier here at VM?

David: Because of the nature of our business, we work with a lot of information – clients, projects, websites, resources, affiliates, contributors. The goal for EDWARD is to tie together those disparate elements together in one place so there’s less time spent managing projects and data and more opportunities to develop our services.

Michael: There are also some rumors swirling through our office that you are actually the wittiest Vertical Measures staff member. Can you say something witty that would confirm or deny this assertion?

David: Sadly, no. I think humor and wit are like Michigan J. Frog from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. At unexpected moments you get dancing and a rousing rendition of “Hello My Baby,” but ask it to perform on cue and you just get a blankly staring frog. Right now, you’re getting the frog.

Michael: While working on a link worthy project for VM, we found out that you are actually a walking IMDB. Do you really know every movie known to man?

David: I love movies and shows. I don’t know think my knowledge is that encyclopedic, but I have a good memory for names and faces, so sometimes I’ll know the random actress from the random movie. You’d be surprised how much the ladies are dazzled by an off-the-cuff Bonnie Franklin reference.

Michael: When Arnie leaves the office on a trip for a few days, it’s VM tradition to sketch trip-themed drawings on his dry erase boards. What we have since figured out by this exhibition is that you are one of the few VM-ers with true artistic talent. Is art a passion of yours?

David: I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. As I got older that broadened into painting, and graphic and web design, but doodling was always a favorite. I was a cartoonist for ASU’s State Press in college. It’s a nice skill to have. Otherwise, your boss doesn’t usually let you sketch bears and squids in his office.

Michael: Your other fun talent away from VM is as a bass guitarist in the band Pants.  How long have you been playing and what do you love so much about being in a band?

David: I’ve played music since I was a little kid. My dad was a musician and we grew up with music all around. Around 15 I picked up the guitar, since the trumpet groupies tend to taper off after junior high. Like art, it’s a great creative outlet, and means that every few weeks the band my friends are all going out to see is mine.

Michael: I’ve got to ask, every once in a while you boast two screens. How much more work can you get done with a second screen?

David: It helps me a lot with programming and testing. One screen is coding, the other is the resulting web page, so I can have both up as I write and update. Having dual monitors just amplifies the person driving it. A productive person will be doubly productive. A slacker, doubly good at Farmville.

Michael: Along with Abby Gilmore, you are one of the native Bostonians here at Vertical Measures and that means you’re a big fan of all their sports teams. What do you think has been the best moment of the past decade for Boston sports, the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins, the Red Sox World Series victories or the Celtics becoming a powerhouse again and winning a title?

David: The past decade overall has been a real gift to Boston sports fans. Although football is my sport, I’d have to say the Sox World Series win in ’04. The other success have been fantastic, but there was so much history behind that moment that it struck me the hardest, and resonated well outside the local fan base as well. Wicked awesome.

Michael: It’s become almost a joke here at VM that whenever the slightest thing gets broken on our computers we yell, “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaavid!!” Tell us about this part of your job.

David: In addition to being a web developer and managing our network, I am also a kind of computer parent. My two kids are the employees and the computers, and I have to get them to play nice. Often, someone will come to me (read: shout across the office) and complain that their computer spazzed out, or is running slow, or won’t share. I have to try to remedy that situation with some tech band-aids and a juice box.

Michael: You are the manager of your own department (IT) at Vertical Measures, a department with no members other than yourself. Do you ever get lonely sitting on your own branch of the org chart?

David: I’ve opted to hang the org chart sideways, where I’m on top.

Michael: Finally, why do you like working at a link building company like Vertical Measures?

David: It really is a great and rewarding job, working with amazing people in an interesting industry. And my office has paintings of elephants and jaguars. And there’s no height requirement like at NASA.

1 Comment

  • Abby Gilmore Aug 18, 2010

    I agree, the Red Sox win was pretty awesome. But the Celtics title comes in at a close second for me. WOO Boston!