Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

I Am the Token Startup Guy

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Tom Barta, slayer of dragons, commenter with much to say, and all-around devilishly handsome chap had the following to say about me:

Popfly team picture

This one looks the most realistic. Notice the token Startup Guy and Girl Programmer hidden among a flock of token Fortune 500 Boring Guys, like a game of Where’s Waldo.
Yes, that’s right! I am the Token Startup Guy! :)

In our defense, though, regarding the human pyramid picture: this was one of those things that our managers (who are not in the pyramid, but are instead sitting in front of it) decided was a Really Bad Idea potentially fraught with maiming and back pain. They tried to talk us out of it, but the hotter heads prevailed.

Popfly human pyramid

Also, regarding the makeup of our team: the term Program Manager is a bit deceptive. I’ve taken the liberty of annotating our team members’ roles so that this all makes a bit more sense:

Person Job Title Actual Job Role
John Montgomery Group Program Manager Keeper of the schedule, big strategic guy, and my boss.
Andy Sterland Program Manager Writes specs, works with other teams from across Microsoft, writes code and fixes bugs when dev needs it, helps find bugs when test needs it.
Alpesh Gaglani Developer Alpesh is one of our front-end devs and maintainer of the web page builder.
Tim Rice Developer Tim works with Adam on the mashup designer and owns a number of other features.
Suzanne Hansen Program Manager Writes specs, works with other teams from across Microsoft, writes code and fixes bugs when dev needs it, helps our customers figure out what’s going on, was a good enough person to write our help docs and do our screencasts (she has my eternal gratitude for this), helps find bugs when test needs it.
Steven Wilssens Program Manager Writes specs, works with other teams from across Microsoft, writes code and fixes bugs when dev needs it, manages our servers, helps find bugs when test needs it.
Vinay Deo Engineering Manager Big strategic guy, boss for dev and test, still writes code.
Michael Leonard Test Developer Michael keeps us honest and manages our test infrastructure.
Jianchun Xu Developer Jianchun works on Popfly Explorer, maintains a number of our social networking features and is expecting his second child in just a few days :)
Dan Fernandez Product Manager Everyone needs a marketer, right? Dan’s awesome, by the way.
Adam Nathan Developer Adam built the mashup designer.
Wes Hutchins Program Manager Writes specs, works with other teams from across Microsoft, writes code and fixes bugs when dev needs it, helps find bugs when test needs it.
Aaron Brethorst Program Manager Writes specs, works with other teams from across Microsoft, writes code and fixes bugs when dev needs it, helps find bugs when test needs it. Is also the entire design team.
Paramesh Vaidyanathan Product Unit Manager Big strategic guy, and also frequently distracts Program Managers (jump ahead to about minute 33…I think my contacts were bothering me, in case you wondered)
Murali Potluri Developer Murali is primarily focused on back-end development, maintains our databases and does a bunch of other stuff. He also just got back from a month-long vacation in India.

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