The Humans Behind Kolide series features interview-style blog posts with the humans who build our product and make it work. Get a behind-the-scenes look at who we are and the culture at Kolide.
Name: Chris Born
Role: Lead Engineer
Hometown: Buena Park, CA
Current city: Puyallup, WA
What were you doing before you started working at Kolide?
Before Kolide, I spent about a year working on a very narrowly scoped content management system with a small engineering team. Prior to that, I managed a university development team building an enjoyable variety of tools and resources supporting the business and education goals. Much of that experience working with vendor integrations, authentication systems, and federated identity management has translated well to Kolide.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
With three boys, four dogs, two cats, four chickens, and endless home projects, my time outside of work is “interesting.”
As a family, we have a small camping trailer, just big enough for the humans and the dogs. We enjoy time disconnecting and finding places to camp, explore, and relax.
I really love making things. My wife, Rachel, likes to call Spring my “nesting season.” This is when I tackle the most significant home projects. This year’s undertaking is rebuilding a large deck in our backyard and, hopefully, a bonus project of replacing the pergola over my outdoor cooking space. Last year it was a large overly engineered chicken coop, a garden area, and a summer shade cabana for the dogs.
This drive toward making things probably extends to my “collecting of hobbies.” Activities where I can incorporate my love of technology and development with physical objects usually have my attention. I got you if you need something cut on a CNC or laser engraved. Anything radio-controlled that flies or drives fast is also prime for swapping its parts for something I can write code for.
My most important time spent outside of work is cooking. We love hosting at our home; making food for my family, friends, and anyone willing to brave the chaos here is my favorite thing to do.
Why do you like working at Kolide? What have some of the highlights been in the last year?
This is easy, the people and the product. When I decided to reach out to an industry recruiter to help me find a more fitting position, the first company on the shortlist he sent me was Kolide. I had never heard of Kolide, but next to the name was a brief one-line description and a link to honest.security. After reading that manifesto, I knew where I wanted to be.
The product speaks for itself, but so do the people (Just check out the rest of these articles about the super captivating individuals I get to work with.). Everyone here believes in what we are building, and we have a lot of fun doing it together.
Over the last year, the biggest highlight for me has been the opportunity to lead the development of our integrations with Okta and the role this plays in device trust. This last year has been some of the most challenging and rewarding development work of my career.
We know you have chickens. Tell us about them. How many? What are their names? How do you tell them apart?
There are some fun themes in the naming of pets in our home. Take the two cats, Cheetos and Doritos, for example. When we brought home the four chicks, the boys and Rachel each called dibs on naming one of them; as a result, we have Marty “McFly,” “Dolly” Parton, “Billie” Eilish, and Chicken “Nuggie.”
Three of the four chickens are big fluffy Orpingtons, with McFly being the outlier. Each one is unique in its color and personality. They follow me around the yard and often run over to be picked up when I first head outside.
My mom recently gave me the book “How to Speak Chicken”; I can make sounds now that definitely get their attention.
What does your day to day look like?
My day-to-day is routine, but this is something I enjoy and helps me stay productive. Even though I start pretty early, quite a few of our team have already been forging away for several hours when the sun comes up on the west coast.
I start my day catching up on the morning Slack conversations and any support issues I may have been tagged on. For the next hour, I will respond where necessary, jump in on code review, poke around open issues, and generally get warmed up for the day.
After a quick school drop-off, I hit my favorite time of day and why Kolide’s remote-first environment is so great. We don’t overdo meetings; there is great respect for everyone’s work styles, and engineer support time is well balanced. I’m often able to get several hours of heads-down focus time. This may be feature engineering, bug fixing, R&D, or just trying to recreate a pain point a customer has shared so we can build a better experience.
Afternoons for me are a great time to huddle up with teammates and work through anything that may be blocking or just have those brief, invaluable rubber duck conversations.
I like wrapping up my day when Slack has quieted down and I’ve had a chance to review and commit any last bits of code I’ve been working on. I often make notes for the following day while sitting on the front porch waiting for my family to roll up.
Favorite Slack Channel?
#random-engineering This tends to be where articles I may have otherwise missed land and they are almost always something I’m glad I took the time to read.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 6 months, personally, professionally or both?
All my boys level up over the next couple of months as we roll through Summer, so this is always something to look forward to, as is the hot sauce festival.
I’m excited about what’s coming in Kolide as well. We are working on some exciting user experience things, and I can’t wait to start work on the <redacted>.