I’m Josh Houghtelin, Lead Developer at Gueststream, Inc. and This is How I Work.

Location: Greeley, CO
Current Gig: Lead Developer at Gueststream, Inc.
One word that best describes how you work: Intensely
Current mobile device: Droid Turbo 2
Current computer: Macbook Pro 15

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Why?

PHPStorm, Vim, Slack, iTerm, VirtualBox, Vagrant, Jenkins, Ant, Evernote & a range of web browsers.

I’m sure there are more but that’s right off the top of my head.

What’s your workspace setup like?

Home Office in Greeley

I do what I can to keep my workspace setup simple, uncluttered, and ultimately distraction free.  I don’t generally have the chess board on my desk as it’s a huge distraction.  It’s usually just my laptop, cell phone, notepad, router ( I prefer wired network access ) and a devops computer (in the upper right of the desk) to automate things I don’t want to repeat.  Not pictured in this photo is another slightly larger desk to the right where I keep all my prototyping mess (3D printer, laser printer, soldering equipment, wires, Pis, Arduinos, etc…) and RC geek stuff. That desk is where all the distractions go. ^_^

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

The best time-saving shortcut I know for work isn’t exactly a short cut or life hack but the time it saves and the productivity it increases is huge.  It is learning and using continuous integration and continuous deployment tools. The takeaway is having automated standards across the board from simple things like code style to important things like code coverage. Automate Standards compliance. Automate Tests. Automate Deployments.  I have an extra laptop on my desk for the sole purpose automating things. With this always-growing setup I can significantly change our code a lot and sleep well at night.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

The spiral bound notebook on my desk is my go-to to-do list but I use Evernote if I need to be super quick or share the list.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

I love the heck out of gadgets but I don’t depend on anything beyond my phone and laptop for work. If I’m at my home office I do thoroughly enjoy the 40″ 4K monitor mounted in front of me. I also use my Blue Snowball microphone quite often as I prefer to record an explanation, demonstration or tutorial once (with clean vocals) and have it as a reference if the knowledge might be usefully consumed again at a later date.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?

I doubt I’m better at anything than everyone or even anyone for that matter but I do try to stay super positive and have fun with what I’m doing, even if it is highly stressful. It seems to be a bit of a magic bullet for getting things done under a ridiculous pile of work. Being happy is key to being motivated and productive.

What do you listen to while you work?

I prefer silence while working but if I need to let a thought process go or transition in to something that my brain just doesn’t want to dive head first in to I’ll occasionally play the Amazon Prime station: Liquid Mind which is essentially a soft blend of nature and instrumentals.  I also like a bit of electronic music (read:Dub-step) so long as it lacks vocals.

What are you currently reading?

I’m studying How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnagie with a team member of mine so we can both better negotiate on behalf of our team with management. I’m also re-reading Code Complete 2 by Steve McConnell because it’s impossible to actually absorb it all, even the second or third time through.

How do you recharge?

I feel the most recharged for work after going camping and/or hiking one of Colorado’s lovely mountains.  About once a month Z and I will fall off the grid to really recharge and repair so we can deal with all the angry pixies coming at us via the always-connected digital lifestyle we live.

I also like to prototype random things and play with RC geek toys.  Quad-copters, planes and cars are all awesome radio controlled toys I regularly play with both line of sight and FPV. It’s been extra cool now that Z has joined in the fun playing with RC geek stuff. 

I should note that hanging out with my wife is in itself the core of all my recharging.  <3  Without Z, I doubt I would ever fully recharge and I surely wouldn’t recharge often.

What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?

I am neither a night owl or early riser.  I go to sleep early and wake up after about 9 hours. ^_^   I go to sleep between 9 and 10 and get up around 6 every day.  I would sleep in longer but I really prefer to go to the gym in the morning so I can get the blood flowing with enough time to eat a solid breakfast.  After chasing breakfast with some coffee, I’m fully engaged.  Depending on how awesome my work day is, I may work as late as 8:pm.  I leave my windows open 100% of the time and generally get up and wind down with the sun.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

Zech Walden, my friend and senior developer at All Digital Rewards.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I can’t think of an exact quote but it surely has something to do with enjoying what you do and doing what you enjoy.  Having passion for life is super important and many people along the way have shared this extremely important advice with me.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?

A couple days a week Z and I swim 1/4 mile before breakfast. ^_^

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