Our company, like our technology, is about building healthy, authentic relationships. Despite being a remote team, human contact is a HUGE part of our culture. We just do it a little differently! Let’s get to know some of the Scoot team.
To help you get to know us better, we’re showcasing Scoot’s greatest asset – the employees. Our employee profiles highlight the things that they do on a daily basis for Scoot and for fun. Keep reading to find out what they’re all about! Today we’re talking to Chris Skalenda, Scoot’s VP of Engineering.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am originally from Odessa, Texas and am currently living in Delta, Colorado with my wife, Jessi and our dog, Molly. I graduated from University of Texas at Dallas in 2006 with a degree in Computer Science.
At Scoot, you work remotely. Tell us about this experience!
Where do you work from?
I’ve spent a lot of time making my office comfortable, with a sit-stand desk, large widescreen monitor, comfortable office chair, and ergonomic mechanical keyboard.
Additionally, I often travel with my wife for extended periods, staying at a new place for a month at a time and working from there. This has let us try living in different areas of the country, and has even inspired us to move to a new part of Colorado after spending over a decade in Denver.
How does this experience compare to previous work environments?
No comparison is possible. At previous jobs I’ve had private offices, worked in secure labs, and in open floor plans. None of them were as quiet, comfortable, or productive.
How has the ability to work remotely impacted your life?
I get to live somewhere I choose, instead of somewhere I had to live to be near a job. My wife and I have relocated to a farm in western Colorado, so we can enjoy being outdoors much more easily than we could living in Denver.
How do you make up for the isolation that comes with distributed teams?
When I first started working remotely I found the lack of continual feedback with my team challenging. It took a few weeks, but I learned to be proactive in communicating with my peers. I also found it helpful to participate often in off-topic channels in slack around my interests (pets, outdoor activities, mechanical keyboards).
Would you ever go back to a 9-5 in-office job? Why or why not?
I don’t think so. I like to meet with my coworkers in person for strategic planning and off-site dinners, but once that’s complete I can’t imagine working in someone else’s space permanently. My home office is exactly what I want it to be.
What does a day in the life of the VP of Engineering at Scoot look like?
I start around 7:30 am, after I wake up (no alarm allowed!) and make coffee. I like to get in a bit of coding before our team stand-up meeting at 9am. After stand-up, most days I have a few meetings. I try to keep those before noon. I keep my time after noon meeting-free for primary work. This varies a lot day to day, and could be reviewing upcoming feature specifications, keeping up with tickets and release coordination, or writing code. The end of my day varies a lot. I try to wrap up around 4:30 pm, but if I’m working on an interesting problem, the day can go much longer.
What do you like most about working at Scoot?
We’re really intentional about building a strong collaborative culture while building a product that can help other people do the same. It is really rewarding to see the successes of our engineering team translate into a platform people can use to connect with others and improve their own collaboration.
Outside the office
What do you look forward to when you’re not at work?
I like to work on projects around the house. Projects scratch the same itch as software development.
What are some of your hobbies?
Jeeping. I have an older Jeep Wrangler and a newer Toyota 4Runner. It’s nice to take them out on a 4×4 trail and explore the backcountry for a day, or go camping. Working remotely affords me the ability to live much closer to places where I can do that.
Are you a major fan of any sports teams?
The Colorado Rockies. I love visiting Coors Field to see a game, it’s a great spot to watch baseball.
What show, book, or podcast can you not get enough of right now?
Better Call Saul. It’s the best show out right now, I think.
Are you more of a movie or tv watcher? Or neither.
TV, though I don’t watch much of it. A movie is a commitment, but TV can fill in a half hour or can be binged to fit into some free time.
What music do you like to listen to?
It varies widely day to day, but 90s Alternative, Punk Rock, and Metal are usually in rotation.