Spawn Labs – 2012

In my article about Noesis, I mentioned that they had turned me down, but they forwarded an email to me from another recruiter. Turns out, she had already contacted me!


I recently viewed your profile on linked in and I thought you might find this position interesting.

The position is a QA and Release Manager in NW Austin. The company is developing a complex set of platforms that deliver ultra high speed applications to allow consumers to connect with gaming applications from multiple devices. This includes, Cloud, Web and appliance based environments. The company is established and well funded with a small technology team of about 20 people here in Austin. As the QA Manager you’ll be a hands-on leader setting the stage for the quality of all software and services that support multiple technology platforms. We’re looking for someone who has deep technical skills and the experience to be an individual contributor while building the organization and infrastructure.

If you are interested, please e-mail me or call me. You can also send me an updated resume and your salary requirements if you would like. If you are not interested, if you know anyone who might be qualified, I would appreciate the referral.

This looked great for a non-developer position. It wasn’t just QA; it looked like I would be building a QA/Release team. Cloud stuff. Lots of software. Games. I wrote back, expressing interest.

She called me. I was actually on vacation at my mother-in-law’s in Kentucky, and that day I had driven her car to Louisville from the small town to get it serviced, and had the courtesy driver take me to the mall. I was hanging out working on personal projects when she called.

We talked about what they were offering. They were trying to setup a streaming video game service. You would plug a stick into the HDMI port of your TV, and your game controller talked to it. The service would provide disk space for saved games and the like. The plan was to build a multi-city set of data centers to have thousands of gamers playing at the same time. Or you could connect using an application of Mac or Windows.

This was cool.

So they setup a phone screen. Which, honestly, I don’t remember much about. I talked with my hiring manager. He probed my resume. We talked about Spawn. At the end, he decided I needed to come out when I got back from my vacation.

I talked with four people at my onsite interview besides the hiring manager. I talked to a developer who started in QA, one of the chief architects, a customer service person, and another engineering manager. The first person was really having trouble containing his excitement as he asked me questions, and I would either answer them, or I would present further questions. Our time ran out, and I don’t think he was nearly done.

The other interview I remember was the support person. He asked me how I would design this system. I drew some stuff on the white board. At some point, he asked about why I did something or other, and I answered that it would be too slow. He asked why. I told him because computer network performance was limited by distance. And he asked why.

“Because they are limited by the speed of light.”

He smiled, and said, “Yep.”

He then asked me if I had any questions. I did not.

After a few days, the hiring manager called me with an offer. The only hesitation: Spawn Labs was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Game Stop. And Game Stop at the time did not provide healthcare for anybody, including exempt employees, until they had been at the company three full months (from the 1st day of the month until the last day of the month). So I would still have COBRA for four more months.

I said, Yes.

About an hour later, Texas Windstorm Insurance made their offer. It did not have that 3 month window at the beginning, but was a lower salary with no bonus or employee stock plan. I turned them down.

Now I just had to survive until my next paycheck… several weeks away…

4 thoughts on “Spawn Labs – 2012

  1. Pingback: Zilker Hillside Theater – 2012 – Recruited by Tech

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