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5 for 5 with Tom McCaffery

It’s crazy to think that our resident Webmaster Tom McCaffery has been at Adjacent for five years now. Fittingly, we put together five questions to help him reflect on his time at 130 Walton.

Tom at his computer

Five years! Congrats! It’s been great to share about 4.75 of them with you. So let’s get the shop talk out of the way. Dev-wise, what’s maybe the thing that’s traveled the most distance in your time here?

I think our approach to deploying websites. We’ve made the move from FTP-ing things to automated deployments—that’s a pretty big deal, especially when you’re dealing with mission critical sites that you want to be have control over and be able to roll back.

Maybe the WordPress structure, too. You know, like the way we format our code. The flip that we did towards design systems has really appeared over the time I’ve been here.

Yeah, would you say even some of the BEM conventions and some of that being the thing that demarcates the before and after of doing a certain thing?

Yes, we started definitely compartmentalizing our code better. During the time I’ve been here it was a team effort but I helped execute that.

Oh, you can take the credit on that. That’s definitely made a big difference for me at least.

Yep, that’s a USB-powered mug warmer.

So, not specific to dev: Of the many, what’s been your favorite moment here over five years?


Yep, roll through the archives.

I mean we did have a lot of fun playing laser tag. That was before I hit my face on the wall.

Yep, pre-face smash.

(laughing) I think some of our some of our retreats like that and the ropes course I guess we did.

Yeah, that’s a good one. Learned a lot about each other that day. So the field trips, the retreat, kind of stuff?

I think my favorite part is feeling the energy of new product, new projects. I think it’s probably collectively, like, when we get to that point that I always say is my favorite—where we’ve talked about everything and we’ve sketched everything and then you start to see the first designs pump out. You realize that we’re actually making a really cool, actual thing. We’re not faking it—we’re actually making it, you know? That’s the part I think I get the most satisfaction out of working here. Nice seeing things move along.

You realize that we’re actually making a really cool, actual thing. We’re not faking it—we’re actually making it, you know? That’s the part I think I get the most satisfaction out of working here.

Tom McCaffery

Yeah, that’s good. Okay, question number three: what are some things that you do around here that you didn’t anticipate you’d end up doing around here?

Before I started working here?

Yeah, like it could be specific to your job or the culture of how the four of us work together and kind of co-habitate the space.

I think, you know, the vacuuming. (laughter) Where we are our own cleaning staff.

Nate: “Water Boy!”

I think Nate’s right, replacing the water, which I still think is engineered to fall to me. I don’t know how Nate does it.

We have a secret Breeze (our PM tool) task where we orchestrate this.

I do think there’s a conspiracy that I’m the person that has to replace the water, no matter what. I didn’t expect to be doing so much new business. I didn’t expect to be as account-side as I’m becoming. Even though I’m probably the least so out of the four of us but I’m still contributing.

All right, so here’s a fun one. A hypothetical: money’s no object, and it’s all up to you to transform our space in one significant way—like a slip and slide down the stairs or something like that. What is it you do, and why?

This is a good one.

You know what, I can expand on my audio goals. I would have retractable cubicle walls.

Wow, okay…

To get the big studio space back. Yeah, but also we can have our own offices, at the touch of a button kind of like you know, drapes appear.

Kind of like on like sports stadiums they have domes that can like retract like based on if it’s raining?

You can press a few buttons and make a meeting room like “How many people? Three. Okay. Transforming room now.” I also think the nap pods are always a good idea.

Nap pods. That might be your better idea of the two. So, how would a nap pod work? Does it just kind of transform your desk or do you like go into like a certain space here that’s engineered to be nap worthy, like fireplaces in old books?

That’s actually a really good. A hidden nap cave. Yeah.

If you’re feeling more like Ron Swanson and less like an Adjacent employee, you can escape into another century. It’s a hard question.

It is. These are hard thought-provoking questions.

Okay, maybe maybe catered lunch like an in-house cook.

Now that’s that’s pretty lofty. But I like that, it seems to tackle some of our lunchtime quandaries of “where do we go?”. If we just had a chef, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Okay, so I’m super pumped that you mentioned Ron Swanson for our last question. You can recruit one TV show character or celebrity to add for us to add as our fifth member. Who is it and why?

I mean, Barack Obama would certainly get sales. At some do the heavy lifting with the sales calls.

Maybe that’s the direction we would go—someone with a lot of charisma. Yeah, because we’re sometimes too humble, too. So I think Tom Haverford, of course.

Yep, he would also maybe make us have more of a need for an HR department.

Okay, this is good. Again, he would properly hook up DJ Neato (think: better version of a Roomba).

Okay. Interview done (laughing).