Team

Kounta People Spotlight: Jamie Hill

There’s something like a billion people on Facebook and all of us, at one time or another, has received a …

By Dave Eagle

There’s something like a billion people on Facebook and all of us, at one time or another, has received a Farmville (or Frontierville, or Petville, or Mafia Wars) request from one of our friends. We all gripe about it—those notifications that leave you feeling like you just got a pair of socks for Christmas. But what you might see as a minor annoyance is also nothing short of a technological coup d’etat. I’ve got a background in technology myself, and I can tell you that it’s a rare thing indeed to hear people complain about software when it’s working exactly the way it was designed to. Behind everyone of those plots of virtual farmland is a fault-tolerant hardware infrastructure that spans thousands of servers, in multiple data centers across a continent or two. And all that is the result of the work of a team of coders and engineers effecting some serious high-tech wizardry in the name of amusement. And—despite what the Dilbert Principle would have you believe—when it comes to tech, these teams can’t succeed under shoddy leadership. So, for any of you out there who wanted to wring the neck of a friend who kept pestering you with any of the various _____ville gift requests you’ve gotten over the years, I can give you the name of at least one of those managers who made it all happen: Jamie Hill.

But, before you look him up on LinkedIn and send angry letters, bear something in mind. Jamie is the former CTO of the Frontierville game studio at Zynga, where he also had a hand in developing the architecture, operations, and systems that were behind many of the company’s social apps. Nowadays, Jamie has moved beyond helping customers build thriving virtual frontier towns and taken his skills to Kounta, where he helps customers build thriving actual businesses with much more sophisticated software. Technically, Jamie Hill is the guy who’s ultimately responsible for making Kounta go. I don’t use the word “technically” here as a way to semantically belittle what he does: it’s in his job title. Jamie left his post at Zynga to become our CTO and, armed with a massive skillset, is the proverbial “here”—that place where the buck stops—when it comes to Kounta’s technology strategy.  What exactly does that mean, you ask? If you’ve ever read up on the benefits of cloud computing, you’re probably familiar with the part where everyone tells you that you get to offload all the computing headaches—purchasing hardware and software, maintaining and upgrading it, backing it all up—to whoever is hosting your apps and infrastructure. In the case of Kounta, it’s Jamie and his team that you’ve delegated those tasks to. Thanks, Jamie and team!

Lightning Round: Hometown: Sydney Favorite Pizza Topping: bacon - everything tastes better with bacon. Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars Aristotle or Socrates? Aristotle Pick a number between 1 and 5,000: 1337 Describe yourself in one word: Chilled
Lightning Round
Hometown: Sydney
Favorite Pizza Topping: Bacon – everything tastes better with bacon.
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars
Aristotle or Socrates? Aristotle
Pick a number between 1 and 5,000: 1337
Describe yourself in one word: Chilled

Of course, Kounta being a small company means that Jamie isn’t some C-level executive gazing down from his ivory tower. Multitasking is par for the course here, and he’s got the processing power to make that happen without any latency (a little tech wordplay for you all). This means that Jamie’s getting involved in almost all areas of the business related to the software itself. There’s the training of new employees, to make sure they’re up to speed on all that Kounta can do and what’s running behind the scenes to make it all work. He works closely with the product team to create a feature roadmap for upcoming releases, and then manages the progress of those features. He spends time with the support team as a way of staying connected to customers and understanding what issues they’ve been dealing with; this serves to inform the feature roadmap as well as to know what existing ones could be improved. And on the rare occasion that Kounta’s crack support team can’t solve a problem, the tickets get escalated to the man himself to work through it. Finally, Jamie also works closely with other developers who are creating add-ons to integrate with Kounta, acting as a kind of API ambassador and providing guidance to them when necessary.

In preparing for writing this post, I asked Jamie an earnest question in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way: What nightmare scenario would befall Kounta if you were to quit your job there today? Speaking with the humility of a Buddhist monk, he declined to acknowledge that things would go bad just because he left. But we know that Jamie’s overseeing various aspects of our infrastructure—from the servers to the software itself—and it’s all running like a well-oiled machine.

 

@kountapos #poweredbykounta

Instagram post 18015598987264152 We were stoked to support our friends at 
@berkelo.au who put on a charity event over the weekend to fund the incredible efforts of the NSW Rural Fire Service @nswrfs.  We matched all donations dollar for dollar, to raise a grand total of $7,572  A big shout out to Tom and the crew at Berkelo, as well as everyone who attended, for making the day such a memorable and successful one!  #poweredbykounta
Instagram post 17854584520766733 This Saturday the 25th of Jan, our good mates at @berkelo.au are hosting a big fundraiser for the @nswrfs at Berkelo Brookvale from 8am - 1pm.  There’ll be a classic Aussie barbie, a kombucha stand, raffles, prizes, music, a plant sale and good vibes galore.  We’ll be matching all proceeds raised, dollar for dollar... so get on down and get behind this great cause!
Instagram post 17852912437277041 The OzHarvest Café reached over $10,000 raised over the weekend! Thank you to everyone who has come in for lunch or a coffee so far and to our partner kountapos who are using data from their point of sale system to help reduce food waste.
#poweredbykounta
Instagram post 18097220071127875 On Sunday our friends at @thesourcemosman put on a charity event to fund the efforts of @blazeaid - a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters.  We were very proud to be involved, matching all donations dollar for dollar, to raise a grand total of $7,000.  It’s been incredible to see how our industry has responded to support people and communities affected by the recent bushfires... shout out to all the amazing hospo brands who are doing their bit!
Instagram post 17850459445528669 Ruby Cafe now powered by Kounta. We are focused on efficiency and improving our customers experience 😀
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#poweredbykounta #kounta #cafeculture #kyneton #macedonrangesnaturallycool
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