by Kristin Luck
A few months ago we buried our second OTX (now Ipsos-OTX) engineer in less than 12 months. In general, I steer clear of posting any truly personal moments of my life (or those I love) online or via social media- there are some things that are too precious to share. But this funeral really brought home the loss of these incredible men- fathers, husbands, friends, and least importantly, brilliant engineers. It has left me and I think everyone at OTX, completely gutted.
Survey Magazine recently published their Technology Trendsetter issue and I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces. But it also illuminated the fact that there are too many unsung contributors who breathe life into the products we, as researchers or entrepreneurs, envision. These are the people that turn them from mere ideas to working solutions that in some cases revolutionize an industry. In truth, good engineers are hard to find and even harder to keep. Often founders don’t name engineers because they’re worried they’ll be spirited away by another startup with a more interesting offer. Sadly, in my case that is no longer a possibility. Founders stand in the spotlight but we are standing on the shoulders of engineers, programmers, project managers and a myriad of other contributors that make a business a success.
And so I am calling out our contributors and naming them because they deserve to be named. Amit Kashman and Jeff Wickersham were the most brilliant engineers with which I’ve had the honor of working. Elbow to elbow, 18+ hour days, on instant messenger at 4am brainstorming and testing a fix for the 8,000th bug of the week, long weekends of wire framing surrounded by boxes of cheap takeout food on raw dusty concrete floors and desks made out of plywood Home Depot doors, late night wind down sessions at Jones and Formosa (before Amit was even old enough to legally buy a drink), chain smoking cigarettes on the sly in the parking garage after a successful code fix (oh to smoke again!), Jeff making his “Home Alone” face when we’d ask him to create the next crazy product under impossible timelines. They never faltered. They never said no (well, maybe a few times but they always came up with a better solution than for what I’d originally asked). Through major failures we created a major triumph – the first online multi-media research technology platform. Our collective success was nothing short of magical and that magic many times hinged on Amit and Jeff and their team….Andy, Eyal, William, Shane (who live on!).
So guys….I know I’ve thanked you a million times before but now I do it publicly. Late but with no less gratitude. Not only for your immense contribution to the success of OTX but for the opportunity to learn from you. I am better for knowing you. You are loved and very very much missed.