Our Technical Partner Moseys On

Back in 2012, on a day that is now ensconced in company lore, the IRC user tkellen joined the channel for the Bocoup-maintained F/OSS project, Grunt. The stranger immediately began to vent on all the shortcomings he saw in the task runner. This was our introduction to Tyler Kellen. We’re reflecting on that event today because Tyler has recently left Bocoup to pursue new adventures in independent living.

The story is ironic because Tyler became known for unwavering optimism. It does demonstrate his work ethic, though: sincere, proactive, and committed to quality of work. These were the themes of Tyler’s time here at Bocoup.

With Grunt, these traits drove Tyler to generalize his work so the lessons he learned could be shared by others. That was his motivation for creating the Liftoff library.

As Bocoup grew in size and diversity, Tyler recognized an emerging need for technical infrastructure. He spearheaded the development of “Nest,” an ecosystem of web applications built around a central database. This system continues to power critical parts of Bocoup’s business, from project scheduling, to time off coordination, to contract management. He would also use this system as a platform to promote the professional development of his coworkers. Under Tyler’s guidance, many of us cut our teeth on new technologies by building new microservices within Nest. Tyler’s dedication to algorithmic transparency was particularly important for this work since so many of these systems informed Bocoup’s business procedures. For these reasons, none of us were surprised when his title changed from “Open Web Engineer” to “Director of Technical Operations.”

Although this focus drew him away from issues of task running, Tyler’s commitment to open software and open systems never wavered. He once again generalized his work, creating Endpoints, a library for defining “RESTful” web services. He applied his experience at the protocol level by contributing to the JSON API specification, shepherding it to maturity to version 1.0.

While Tyler clearly thrived in this problem space, he was never satisfied by technical challenges alone. His years of experience as a freelance consultant prompted him to think critically about the ways that Bocoup could deliver value to our clients. It’s because of this initiative that we today offer consultation through technical partnership and continued access.

Now that Tyler is off on his next big adventures, we can see there’s a hole in Bocoup where the tkellen used to go. We could never replace our friend, but we’ll try to pick up the slack by being more sincere and more proactive. Thanks for the inspiration, Tyler!

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