The Other Bob

Bob Holt was an easy hire. He had plenty of experience as a front-end developer. He was engaged in the Boston web development community, meaning he was no stranger to the Bocoup Loft. And beyond just wielding open source software, Bob maintained an offering of his own: Keel.js. He was doing us proud from the very first day we started working together.

In time, Jory Burson, then our Directory of Education, began to transition into a business leadership role. Bocoup needed someone to set the vision for our education offerings, and Bob stepped right up. This made perfect sense; besides being comfortable using the word “pedagogy” in a sentence, Bob’s what you might call a “life-long learner.” When he isn’t reading a comic book or worn out science fiction paperback, you can bet he’s got his nose in some industry or academic white paper. He proved himself most notably in overseeing Roost (Bocoup’s 2-day training/conference event). He wrangled a group of four headstrong software developers to produce a holistic narrative on building a web application for an eccentric venture capitalist. (In a personal highlight, he also contributed his own experiences via an exploration of the website for the 1996 film Space Jam.)

As Bocoup shifted its focus towards Reliability, Standards, and Testing, Bob once again stepped up for his team. His new task was no small order: promote interoperability by surfacing the performance of the Edge and Safari web browsers in the Web Platform Tests project (a.k.a. “WPT”). In the process, he shouldered the burden of maintaining test infrastructure for that project. That’s how he came to be known as a one-man “firefighting” squad, and the experience of contributing to WPT is all the better for his efforts.

As anyone who’s worked on the open web can tell you, it can be a tumultuous environment. Things change rapidly, and you have to follow suit if you want to get the most out of it. As we navigated this change over the past five years, Bob’s quiet and frank demeanor enabled him to transition from a front-end developer to a leader in education to an open web firefighter. Really, though, those same traits helped keep Bocoup itself on an even keel. When he decided to move on to join the ranks of Splice, our excitement for him was dampened only by a bit of sadness for ourselves. But there’s a silver lining to this story. It’s been a few months, and it’s now clear that those qualities we valued in Bob have rubbed off–a little bit, anyway. That’s a real testament to our friend the educator.

Thank you, Bob, and good luck!


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