The String and Key Crew: Brent Brinkley
As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Brent Brinkley.
Company Role: Software Engineer
Most likely to: Succeed at all costs
Secret talent: If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret
We love talking about the fact that we’re an innovative, digital R&D studio that functions like a well-oiled machine. One of the integral parts of this machine is our engineering crew. Enter one software engineer in that crew, Brent Brinkley. Originally from Plainfield, NJ, he settled in North Carolina, where he’s been ever since. As a kid he wanted to be a basketball player but his life took a different direction towards the tech world. A self-taught tech-head, he completed Apple’s Inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders. He hopped right into the start-up game and joined String and Key in June 2021.
Let’s get to know a little more about Brent.
What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
I am an iOS engineer so I work specifically on our iPhone client. After I grab a cup of coffee in the morning, I meditate before our morning meetings. Once I check to see if anything needs to be reviewed on GitHub, I either continue on whatever task I’m currently working on or see what’s next on the board.
What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
This is honestly one of the best work environments I’ve ever been in. I genuinely enjoy working with everyone at this company. If you have good people, the work becomes easier and this company definitely has good people.
What excites you about your job?
I’m in a constant state of learning. As soon as I think I have our codebase figured out, something perplexing will pop up. This usually results in me cursing my existence for a few hours before eventually figuring it out.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
There’s a lot to be cognizant of when we’re working on new features. You almost have to play four dimensional chess in your mind about how what you’re working on will affect other parts of the codebase.
What are the values that drive you?
I want to be renowned for my abilities in the tech space. This isn’t just something that I do to make ends meet, it’s something that I genuinely love because of the reach it has and the ways you can help people.
How do you stay on top of your game?
I would say by rarely cutting the game off. I literally get off work and open my own laptop and continue coding at night on my own projects.
What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
The amount of untapped potential. It’s literally limitless. I see a lot of talk about saturation, but this field is never ending because ideas are endless. I’m sitting on at least three apps right now that I know would improve people’s lives. That’s powerful.
If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
Alex Matjanec or David Hyman. Alex because he’s in the position I ultimately see myself in. David because of the mountain of engineering knowledge he’s accumulated over the years.
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — that you’ve learned in the last month?
That growth is largely undetectable until it isn’t, if that makes sense. This has been coming across to me in a lot of areas of life. For example, at the gym you’ll lift day in and day out and can’t see any changes during those days. Then, a year later, you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror. The same thing goes for engineering because certain concepts won’t make sense for a certain period of time then, out of the blue one day, it clicks like “Oh! That’s what this is saying!”. The takeaway has been that growth is just a willingness to expose yourself to a condition over and over again and allowing results to arise serendipitously.
What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
Fitness and nutrition or anything nostalgia-related about the 80’s and 90’s.
I work out five days a week and I’m a huge collector of vintage items (both toys and sneakers). I’d love to branch off into vintage cars at some point as well.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Whew… A lot, between other business commitments, personal goals, and the people around me. I have a ton of spinning plates I have to maintain.
Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#LowkeyFunny #BigBrain #MainCharacterEnergy #StrongestAvenger #OG
Have a country home or a city condo?
Leaning country home more and more.
90’s hip-hop or 2000’s pop?
90’s hip-hop all day.
Eat takeout or dine in a restaurant?
Stripes or polka dots?
30 Rock or Parks & Rec?