Meet the Team: Nick Johnson, Front End Engineer

February 12, 2020

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Maddison Mccarthy
Written By
Maddison Mccarthy

As we continue our Meet the Team series, we wanted to highlight someone who brings a unique perspective to the Hatch team - one of our remote teammates!

Meet Nick Johnson, one of our amazing Front End Engineers at Hatch. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself

My name is Nick. I’ve been creating software since 1999, and I have been in the SaaS world since 2008. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the smartest, coolest people on the planet during that time!

Why did you choose a Career in engineering?

It was definitely more of a “engineering chose me” type of scenario. During high school I wanted to be a veterinarian.

I was accepted into a Pre-Veterinary Medicine program in college. During my first semester I realized that career path wasn’t for me. I transferred schools and changed my major a few different times trying to figure out what I wanted to do.

The last major I tried was Computer Science. The concepts and ideas really interested me, but classes were moving way to slowly to hold my attention… academic Comp-Sci was too abstract and theoretical — I just wanted to build things! 

So I dropped out of school and started teaching myself how to write code, got an entry-level job and never looked back!

So, what exactly is a Front-end engineer? What does an average work day for you look like?

While back-end engineers are focused on things like security and data, front-end engineers are more focused on building the tangible things with which humans interact.

For example, we build buttons and make them green or blue, and put them in the bottom right or top left… we make text size larger or smaller… we create little tricks like showing a “spinner” on the screen to let people know that the app is doing something and they just need to wait a second to let it finish.

In short, we help connect technology and human interactivity.

what is it that drew you to Hatch?

I started working with startups in 2010 and fell in love. After working for a couple of very large, slow-moving corporations where very little changed, the startup environment of “Ready, Fire, Aim” really struck a chord!

It is exhilarating and incredibly rewarding to create software and have people using it within days… sometimes within minutes! While “Ready, Fire, Aim” is not the best approach as small companies find their market-fit and start to hit their growth goals, being part of the transition is fascinating and extremely rewarding.

Hatch embodies the mentality of moving fast, communicating with customers and iterating quickly. I love that everyone here at Hatch embraces the “all hands on deck” culture of being ready to help anyone in any capacity and any time.

Can you recall a funny moment from one of the all hands meetings to share?

One of the coolest things about having a distributed team is the diversity it can offer.

Of course there are the important components of diversity like race, gender and different life experiences… but there is also a diversity of favorite sports teams!

During football season, it is not uncommon for Chris Bache (co-founder of Hatch and a Jets fan) to poke fun of the Patriots and their fans.

I am personally not a Pats fan, but there are other people on the team who are. I’ll keep the exact quote in-house here, but suffice to say one of our meetings ended with a simple two-word dig on the Pats right as the call ended.

It was epic and hysterical and I laughed for a few minutes as the snarky (in good, clean fun) comments continued in Slack as well.

Where do you get inspiration? What inspires you? What makes you tick? 

I love creating user experiences that people understand.

If someone can perform a task and not really have to think about how to perform it, I have done my job. As a human using a computer, the most frustrating thing is clicking a button and nothing happens.

I love successfully bridging the gap between temperamental technology and easily-confused, non-technical humans.

What effect has working off site had on your work experience at Hatch?

Being part of a distributed engineering team has honestly been one of the most positive experiences in my life. I have long been a proponent of distributed teams, particularly when it comes to software engineering.

It significantly opens up opportunity to acquire top-tier talent and doesn’t limit a company’s growth to the off-chance that high quality people just happen live near your office building. 

With the advent of reliable video conferencing services and better communication tools like Slack, there is honestly no reason why most companies can’t employ a distributed team.

As for my perspective as a software engineer living in the Boston area, it saves a minimum of 3 hours of commute time out of my day. If I need to go to a doctor appointment or get my car serviced, or my kid needs to come home early from school... I don’t have to take a day off… I can just take care of what needs to get done and still have plenty of time to work.

Even smaller things are possible like meeting my wife for lunch (it’s the little things in life 😜). All things that I could never do when I had to travel to a physical location for the day.

There are some people that prefer to work in an office with the hustle and bustle (and distractions?) of other people around them. I am not one of those people.

Do you think working on site  would change your experiences while working with Hatch?

Working on-site would definitely change my experiences, no question. As a remote employee, when you don’t have direct business-interactions with other people in the company, there is a good chance you will never speak with them or get to know them.

So there is a social component that is missing for remote employees that can only be filled by working on-site. And as I mentioned already, there are people who need and thrive off of those social interactions day-to-day.

Since I am more of an introvert who draws his energy and productivity from working quietly, being in an office environment would end up diminishing my experience at Hatch.

At the same time, though, it would be great to have a better working relationship with more people in the Hatch office because they are such awesome people!

Where do you see yourself in the future?

This is always a difficult question to answer as very little in my life has gone according to plan. I think I have settled on enjoying the journey, wherever that may lead, and not focusing on the destination so much.

At this point in my life, all I can say is that I hope to still be with Hatch as we barrel into the future, helping our customers meet and exceed their sales goals.

Does working at home mean you get to wear pJs to work everyday?

Absolutely! Unless I am doing an interview or would otherwise be visible in a video conference with customers or clients… PJs it is!


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