QuarkWorks: Meet the Team Series — Jacob Muchow
This month we are excited to introduce you to one of our Engineering Managers at QuarkWorks!
When did you join QuarkWorks and what led you to take on this position?
I joined QuarkWorks four years ago when I was a student at MU studying Computer Science. I was looking for an internship or part-time job programming and happened to cross paths with Brandon, who I knew a bit from high school, on campus. He knew I was programming as a hobby in high school and asked if I would like to interview at QuarkWorks. I said yes, and the rest is history.
Fast-forward to graduation a couple years later, I had gotten to work on several awesome projects at QuarkWorks and even led some teams and trained new developers. I liked it so much that there were weeks where I was working 40–50 hours even while taking 15 hours of classes. I’ve always been given as much rope as I wanted, and I love the responsibilities I’ve been entrusted with — from leading our engineering teams along with Brandon to taking point on recruiting and training new team members. I couldn’t have envisioned another place for me to work.
What excites and energizes you about the company?
The amount of advancement I’ve witnessed over the last four years is crazy, both as a team and individually. I mean, when I started out, we were a few nerds in a dank room with a 2x1’ window. We had a cardboard box for a coffee table at one point. Now we’ve got 15 or so teammates (with more coming in), an amazing office, and we’re working with some of the most recognizable companies in Silicon Valley helping build their products. I could go on. Given that, I can only imagine where we’ll be a couple years from now.
The other thing that drives me is how much of an impact I personally get to have on our team. Specifically, I really like being in charge of recruiting and training new team members. I’ve always been the type of person that has enjoyed a challenge. I think our team culture embodies that type of mentality and fits in really well with my personality. Being in charge of maintaining that identity while growing our team is a challenge I look forward to every day, and I’m determined for us to succeed.
What has been your favorite project to work on or are currently working on?
Every project I’ve gotten to work on is great in different respects, but my favorite recently was Handshake. Brandon and I got the opportunity to team up for a couple months and build out our ideal Android app architecture from the ground up. We have worked on separate projects for the last couple years, so being able to come to the table and put our heads together led to something I think we are both really proud of. Both of us are perfectionists and get really excited about making great software, so it was really fun to collaborate on that. Handshake is also a great company and I had a ton of fun working with their team. While I’m not working on that project anymore, I’m excited to watch how their product progresses in 2019. Also, it’s a good feeling to know that I helped lay a foundation, stepped back, and that our team is able to push new features on it rapidly.
Advice you would give someone working at a startup?
Stay focused; don’t miss the forest for the trees. I’ve seen a lot of startups lose sight of what their core product is or not understand their users. You need to focus on doing your core things better than anyone else. If you do that and can execute well, success will follow.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I used to play a lot of video games. At one point, I was one of the best players in the world at this super niche web game called TagPro. It is a 2D capture-the-flag game where you play as a ball in 4v4, red vs. blue. It is kind of dumb at first glance, but the learning curve is pretty high and it’s extremely addicting. There is a whole competitive community established around it that I used to participate in. At one point, I was a commissioner of the league and I was also helping work on a website with stats, standings and rosters for the league. It’s silly to explain, but I had so much fun playing it and made a bunch of lifelong friends that I still talk to even though I no longer play.
These days, I am trying to have more productive hobbies and cut down on video games. I like to play tennis, lift weights and ride my bike. I have a personal goal this year to get to 20 pull-ups in a row. (I’m at 6 right now!) I enjoy cooking and learning new recipes, and I’m trying to take up acrylic painting as a hobby this winter. My goal is to make a canvas painting for my living room because all my favorite decorations are art pieces I’ve made myself. I still watch Netflix, of course. You can’t escape that.
If you could pick up on a skill in an instant, what would it be?
I would love to be able to play whatever musical instruments I want. ( Also, get good at creating & recording songs if I can have some bonus skills?) I love music, but have never put in the effort to get good at an instrument. Most of my friends know how much I love to sing, and I used to play guitar, but I wasn’t very good at it because I didn’t practice enough. It would be nice if I could just sit down at a drum set and rock out along with some of my favorite songs or play some of my favorite piano or violin pieces.
As ever, we’re available to help with any software application project — web, mobile, and more! If you are interested in our services you can check out our website. We would love to answer any questions you have! Just reach out to us on our Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.