Death Bear Starts a New Life

Sue Lockwood recently left Bocoup to start a new job at Splice. There’s a lot we’re going to miss about working with her, but I think it all boils down to passion. Sue pours her energy into everything she does, and everyone at Bocoup benefited from that.

It’s fair to say that we all know a lot more about Japanese wrestling and Godzilla thanks to Sue, but that’s a little like saying, “five sixths is a lot more than three eighths.” It’s technically true in some relative sense but not really compelling.

More substantially, Sue shared her a passion for movies. She did that by initiating the Tastemaker Film Society, which despite its name, established itself as a highly unpretentious and approachable film club. (We watched Spice World, for Pete’s sake.) That event became one of Bocoup’s most consistent social gatherings, making it a dependable relief from the workaday stresses of the open web.

We knew that Sue loves to draw even before she joined our team. We didn’tknow that she would be so generous with her talent. You’ll find her illustrations spread across our blog. She was a regular participant at Bocoup’s “art nights,” and a contributor to our one-time-only art show. She even applied her talent in reflections on her consulting work, using visual metaphors like broken faucets and bunny rabbits to help us all understand hard-won lessons in project management. (Those bunnies turned out to make great stickers, by the way.)

Sue’s passion flared up in her consulting work, too. We watched her develop leadership in user interface development, both in terms of experience design and technical execution. It was even more exciting to see her take on the mantel of “empathetic web developer.” Although a WAI-ARIA specialist has to know a ton in the way of programming patterns, Sue wasn’t satisfied by “just” accumulating all that technical know-how. She recognized the full meaning of the job title by installing a bunch of assistive technologies and teaching herself to use them effectively. And because she sensed a lack of awareness in our industry, she took time to share her experience and evangelize these practices by writing some of the most endearing blog posts you’ll find on the topic.

She even mixed business and pleasure through her exploration of robotics. Anyone studying under Rick Waldron is sure to find success, but combine that with an internal drive like Sue’s, and you’re entering “force of nature” territory. There were sumo wrestler bots, and there were robotic arms… but you would expect as much from any fledgling hardware engineer. My favorite project by far was a true expression of the hacker ethic: a from-scratch fix for her failing electronic drawing tablet. Stories of clever, practical problem solving are like catnip around these parts.

Suffice it to say, we’re sad to see Sue go. We’re contenting ourselves with everything Sue gave us over the past three years and crossing our fingers that we’ll get to work (and play) together again soon.


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