Staff Profiles: Shon
This is part of series of posts to help people get to know the Chess.com team better. Today, we meet Shon, a technical wiz who is an "enabler" in the very nicest sense of the word!
What is your name?
Shon M. Just "M".
Where do you live?
The Great White North! Who could resist a slice of calm, quiet, friendly suburban Canada? Well, the answer should be everybody. We need sun to survive as humans. In November I spent a week in Mexico. Do you know how long it takes to acclimatize back to Canadian winter? It was even a warm one this year, at -20°C!
How long have you worked for Chess.com?
3.5 years now. I was challenged to write a chess move checking script and the next thing I knew, I was joining the company chat. It has been a wild ride since! Just for the record, yes I have looked at that script since then.
What do you do at Chess.com?
I was originally hired I think as someone who would be able to help the team move the project to a new framework that I had experience using.
Now, I mostly provide tools for the other team members. I've worked on tools to send out new code, to measure the performance of the site, to help our wonderful QA staff test out new changes, and to help developers focus on getting features out, among others. I'm far removed from the members of Chess.com in fact, which leads in perfectly to my next question...
What do you like about working at Chess.com?
My absolute favourite thing is working alone. That may sound strange to some, but the way I think of it is like a beautiful cabin at the top of a snowy mountain with a crackling fire in the background. It's especially strange because of what I like to do, which is to provide tools for other team members. How do those two fit together, you ask? I don't know. If I figure it out I'll let you know.
What are your other interests and hobbies?
I've been trying to pick up guitar again, after not playing consistently for a few years. It's an especially interesting challenge because my brain has not forgotten the movements, yet my body can't keep up! Lately I'm playing lots of Black Sabbath and Metallica.
I also program for fun! I'm working on a little dungeon-crawling and farming crossover. Something like Dark Cloud.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I think it would have to be teleportation. I've already seen how my life was positively affected by not having to drive to and from an office. If I didn't have to walk to the bathroom? Drive to the grocery store? I really hate airplanes so that would be a huge bonus too. Plus the ability to pop in on team members if they wanted would be great for collaboration. Not only that, but imagine being able to check out that awesome vacation destination without the overhead of travel!
I have thought about not having to eat or sleep (but still being able to for enjoyment). As it turns out, Soylent and caffeine pills come as close as I need. That's a joke. Your teeth will get soft if you don't chew stuff. That's not a joke.
0-0 or 0-0-0?
Oh, man. Is this a chess question? I suppose this is a good opportunity to explain that I've never actually finished a game of chess (though I've started many, and I've played some for the purposes of testing). It's become a bit of a running joke now. Erik even sent me a game set and said he didn't expect me to play it. I do like how it looks and feels though. I could use it to play checkers, right?