Community Spotlight: James Rosen


Earlier this year, Zendesk was voted “Sexiest Enterprise Startup” in TechCruch’s 2013 Crunchies Awards. As an amazing customer and Benchmark family member, we were incredibly happy to hear the news, and in an effort to spread the company’s sexiness even more, we also invited Zendesk CTO Mikkel Svane to participate in New Relic’s latest We are ALL Data Nerds campaign.

We’ve come to build a number of strong relationships with members of the Zendesk team, including senior user happiness engineer James Rosen, whom we’re excited to feature in New Relic’s Community Spotlight this week.

The New Relic Community Spotlight blog series is designed to showcase people of interest in the tech community, learn about the projects they’re working on, and find out more about the things that excite them in the community today.

A San Francisco-based software engineer with a background in web development and information assurance, James has been working at Zendesk for close to four years. When he’s not busy fixing bugs and keeping customers happy, you can find him writing for the Zendesk Derveloper blog and his own site Pennyworth Only. Follow James at @jamesarosen and see what he’s working on via GitHub.

So let’s get to know James Rosen…

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Sr. User Happiness Engineer at Zendesk. I work on Team Harrier, which is a “front-end operations” team. We work on performance, scalability, resiliency, and framework issues from nginx to the browser.

What kind of work do you do?

I tend to work on levels of the stack that are very close to the customer — much more JavaScript in the browser, much less database optimization.

How do you stay motivated when you’re stuck on a problem?

Lack of motivation isn’t really something I ever struggle with. Frustration, however, definitely is. Sometimes, I’ll find myself angrily berating the code. When that happens, I turn the problem over to my subconscious. My favorite methods are taking a walk and cooking, but practicing clarinet or piano works pretty well, too.

Who are the developers you admire, and why?

Jim Weirich’s recent passing is a big blow to our community. His work on Rake and his writing and speaking were integral to my getting started in Ruby, which was a major turning point in my career. Corey Haines shares Jim’s incredible friendliness. I always feel a little better about the world when I run into him at a conference or get to chat with him online.

I also admire the many people in our industry who are leveraging technology for social justice. Technologists in general, and Silicon Valley especially, have a tendency towards the amoral, and people like Sarah Mei, Rachel Myers, Jack Danger, and Ashe Dryden are doing a great job helping us make a more positive impact on the world.

Thanks for your time, James!

Jana is one of the happiest people you will ever meet. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that she loves what she does. She started at New Relic as their Offline Community Manager and now she manages all of New Relic’s internally organized conferences. View posts by .

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