Art of the Interface: Improving Human Connection

Josh is a real people-person. He didn’t intend to become a full stack developer. He was a music major at UC Santa Cruz and got terribly side-tracked by a project in his electronic music class. He wanted to go beyond compositions and create an immersive experience so he decided to integrate complicated visuals synced perfectly with his music. With no experience to speak of, he then wrote predictive software that integrated with his lighting and video systems so that the visuals would anticipate and then change in accordance with the rhythm and chord phrasing. He was hooked.

So, while the world may have been robbed of DJ Josh, we now have CEO Josh, Co-Founder and Sr. Full Stack Engineer of Animal Labs. He still likes to work at the intersection of hardware, software and humanity. Some call that UX but for him it’s more than that – it’s about UX that captures a feeling and helps humans connect better with one another. It’s this Human-Centered Design approach that led him to start his own company. He wanted to create a space where top-class engineers are personally invested in their work and proud of what they deliver: user-friendly solutions that are designed for maximum impact and scalability.

In his role as Lead Engineer at Animal Labs, Josh does this by leading cross-departmental communication. He helps his clients identify their root technology issues and understand the technology and the team that would be required to provide the right solution. He works with stakeholders across all levels of the organization, translating technical requirements into functional solutions and program deliverables, ensuring that the ultimate product is shipped on-time, at-cost and is built to scale. He is fluent in many programming languages but his favorites are currently Javascript and Typescript in React and Node.js.

Hard at work behind the scenes

Before founding Animal Labs, Josh designed and built interactive tech installations for red carpet events in Hollywood like the Grammy and Oscars. His clients included tech savvy, heavy hitters like Instagram, Twitter and Salesforce. This grueling environment is where Josh honed his ability to find creative solutions while under pressure – his clients had invested millions into those few precious hours, everything had to be impressive and go off without a hitch.

Josh’s favorite project from that time was what he programmed for the Billboard Music Awards. He had to code software in Python that could handle real time pushes from a social media stream, coupled with integrated video feed activated through touchscreen technology, and format it for a nearby broadcast truck. Fans essentially would be able to video chat with their favorite celebrities as they walked down the carpet and people at home could watch over livestream. This required high-volume data flows with 100% uptime which meant that Josh was simultaneously managing A/V feeds, debugging livestream issues, patching API interfaces and adapting to hardware malfunctions in real time. What resulted was a very unique, personal experience for the fans, audience and celebrities and that’s what Josh is all about: bringing people together through code.