Member of the Band – Manuel Rodriguez, Senior Software Quality Assurance Consultant

Much like a pod of whales or a pack of wolves, did you know that a group of gorillas is called a band? In this blog series, we’re going to introduce you to members of our band—engineers, technical recruiters, PMs, designers, and more who make up the most important asset in Gorilla Logic…our talent! Are you Gorilla material? Join the band today!

Manuel Rodriguez — Senior Software Quality Assurance Consultant

Manuel is a Senior Software Quality Assurance Consultant here at Gorilla Logic. He has been working in Development and Quality Assurance for over 10 years. When Manuel isn’t working he loves to spend time shaping the minds of local youths through his church leadership position, working out, taking long road trips, or spending time with family, and friends. He is surrounded by a very supportive family, whom he looks up to immensely.

Where’s your hometown? – I live in San Pablo, Heredia, in a small oasis, safe from noise but not far away from the city.

What’s your spirit animal? – I’ve never thought of it, but I’m definitely a dog person. So I think I’d be a lab: friendly, protective and caring. A little messy I guess too.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? –I haven’t traveled a lot, but I have great memories from Guadalajara and Rio. On the other hand, I’ve been all around Costa Rica and I can honestly admit I’m in love with San Luis, Tilaran. I hope to retire there one day!

How many years have you worked in your field? –10 years, most of them as QA. I took this path because I realized that I really enjoy human interaction and development couldn’t offer it. I also have always found satisfaction in finding faults in other people’s hardware and software. That’s mean I know.

Best advice you have received personally or professionally? – “Don’t give up. Trust your instincts.” That’s actually a phrase from Starfox 64 game, but I’ve heard it many times and in many forms throughout my life. I think that if you have a hunch about something being wrong, certainly it could be wrong, and for a QA that’s really important. You have to believe in your own skills and capacity to prove that something needs to be fixed. And it’s true the other way around, you shouldn’t waste great moments just because of someone else’s opinions. Go ahead, take risks, and live life loud!

What is an underrated product that you believe deserves more attention? – Tants. A table on your pants.

All credits go to Cartoon Network.

No seriously, I’m all about local development. We are so used to large supermarket chains, and buying things from Amazon, that we are missing out on a  great deal on local products and services.

If you could perform on stage with one famous musician/group, who would it be and why? – That’s a hard one because it’s not just one. I’ll give you three:

Foo Fighters: Their shows are great, they always bring out their best and transmit powerful energy to the audience. Plus, they are always bringing fans on-stage for their performances.

Yes: That was my first prog band ever. They are a legend, and really old! I’d love to play Close to the Edge or Roundabout with them before more members of their legendary line-up pass away.

Beyoncé: I’d dance Single Ladies, just for the lols.

How do you spend your free time? – I’m not quite a party-person. Most of my time I’m studying something new, like my Master’s degree right now. In the past I’ve taken drumming lessons, cooking classes, dancing lessons, and study different languages. I’m also a leader at my local church, I work with teenagers and young adults. My mission is to help them find a place in the world and have a deep sense of belonging. I like to show them how they can help the world, by balancing what they like doing and giving back to society. Besides that, I’m doing one of the following: sleeping, eating, working out, taking long road trips, or spending time with family, and friends.

If you could travel back in time to any period in history, when would it be? – I would like a short trip to the seventies, before the Internet. That was a great decade for music too, you could listen to legendary prog-rock bands, see the birth of great metal bands, trashing punk venues, or just chill-out and dance to disco.

What is your guilty pleasure TV show? – I’m not the biggest TV fan. But I LOVE cartoons. I could spend hours watching old ones like Bobby’s world, Josephina the Whale, Dragon Ball, The Simpsons, or newer ones, like Regular Show, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, The amazing world of Gumball… you name it.

Best childhood memory? – Playing soccer with my dad at La Sabana. I grew up in a big family, and on a budget, but that was never an excuse for not having great weekends. In fact, my parents always figured out ways to take us to great places.

Where do you go to relax and recharge? – There are two special places. The first one is San Luis, Tilaran. I usually go to a friend’s house that’s surrounded by nature and close to Lake Arenal. The second one is Bahia Salinas, La Cruz, Guanacaste. A beach destination, where my parents have a small house. Also, I like going to church, because I believe that you need to nourish your spirit, and it’s a great place to meditate and have a moment of peace.

What’s one of your most embarrassing memories? – So many memories… From the top of my head, once I passed out REALLY bad at the gym. I was leaving then one second I was walking and the next second I was surrounded by people asking if I was fine. A good thing is that gym doesn’t exist anymore! The building was demolished and a small shopping center was built instead.

What made you want to work at Gorilla Logic? – I always heard good things about Gorilla Logic: the compensations, projects, culture, equipment, offices… Four years ago I was looking for the next challenge in my career, as I was falling into a comfort zone. I uploaded my resume to Gorilla’s site and then Susan contacted me. Unfortunately, there were no open positions that’d fit my profile (first time in my life!) I felt a little disappointed. But three years later, to my surprise, Susan contacted me directly through LinkedIn and asked if I was still interested in a position at Gorilla. I said yes, of course! It felt like the opportunity I was looking forward to for so long!

What is your personal motto? – No matter what, it’s up to you. No matter how difficult things are, how bad are your circumstances, you always have the power to change your story.

What is your most used tool in your office? –  I’m a huge fan of the cloud. I’d say that I use a lot of the Google Family: Drive, Docs, Keep, Authenticator, Calendar… everything is synchronized so I don’t have to worry about missing out on an event or losing a note. Also, having shared documents helps a lot when working on distributed teams, and many of my testing activities involve spreadsheets and word processors. Also, all of my important documents are synchronized on the cloud, so formatting devices is easier, as I just forget about doing backups.

Something that your LinkedIn profile couldn’t tell us? – I LOVE helping people! I think my LinkedIn shows only the technical part that my work requires, and is missing that human part that cares for others, wants to see organizations grow, and share knowledge and experiences with his teammates. If there’s an opportunity to help others improve their quality of life by lending a hand on any work or personal life-related activity, I always jump in and offer my help.

Who are the biggest cheerleaders in your life? – My parents. My mom is my inspiration. Being married with 6 kids, she managed to keep studying and got her Bachelors’s degree in Nursery. Then she moved to a better position at National Children’s Hospital and studied to get her Master’s in Palliative Health. She spoke at many conferences in many countries, traveled all around the continent, and wrote many articles for some medical magazines. She was not really into technology, so my siblings and I helped her transcribe her thoughts and notes into the computer. I learned a lot about medicine! Then, she got her Doctorate degree, after all of her efforts and contributions. She’s the first nurse in Costa Rica to have obtained that degree! And she never lost her humble spirit, I can say without a doubt that she’s the sweetest and nicest mother and grandma I know. My father, although he never finished his studies, has always been supportive. He always encouraged my mother and helped her a lot when we were kids and she was studying long hours in the night. And he’s always supporting me in my studies and career choices. They are extremely proud of me, and I’m happy of having such great parents.

What was one of the most rewarding leadership positions you have had? – Work-related, the first time I lead a QA team. It was an 8-people team. It taught me a LOT about leadership, and I discovered that I could do that. Outside work, working with teenagers. The moment you realize they look up to you as an example, you feel terrified! But then you realize that you’re as lost in this world as those youngsters and that all the good and bad that happened to you is only going to help them to strive in this world.

Best advice when heading into an interview? –  Be cool. You got this. If you don’t know something, just say it, but in a convincing way that you’ll find it out later. And trust yourself. You are always better and more capable than you think you are. And a piece of practical advice for video calls. Always turn the “Auto Enable Video” setting off. I mean, of course, you want to enable your camera whenever possible, but just don’t let it happen as soon as you connect to the call unless you are 100% percent sure and there’s nothing odd behind you.

Best advice when meeting with a client? –  Assertiveness. Read “How to win friends and influence people” and you’ll find out that being positive and assertive is better than being mad and negative.

Now that you have greater insight into the world (maybe;)), what would you go back and tell your 18-year-old self? –  Calm the heck down! I used to be quite insecure and doubtful. Now I realize that everything went fine.

Favorite tech blog/website/publication? – I like sites that give advice. I haven’t read any tech blog in a while, but I really like the ones that provide reviews on software and hardware, like PC Mag style. Also, I like reading DZone for development and QA advice. I guess I’m a little lost in the tech blog radar.

What motivated you to pursue working in your current field? – I always liked suggesting improvements. I found it more rewarding debugging my classmate’s code than writing it myself. Also, I like the fact that QA allowed me to work more with people and understand business needs and requirements, from a quality standpoint. Also, there’s the process improvement part, that helps not only inside QA but also on a more organizational spectrum. I was a little lost on my first job, it was a Data Analyst role and was using really old mainframe technology. So I enrolled in an education platform and started learning about process management and improvement, and ended up learning the basics for QA. After that I got an opportunity in an outsourcing company, to work as a QA for a web and mobile gambling project. They took me to Atlanta (the only time I’ve visited the US) to a tiresome five-day long training. Then I kept learning and improving, always having in mind that you might be outdated quickly in this industry. The story goes on, and now I’m glad to be part of the Band.

What qualities make someone successful in the tech world? – An insatiable curiosity, there’s something new to learn always, the will to improve and find better ways to do things, being adaptive and resilient to circumstances and changes, and agility. As well as, humility, there’s always someone better than you, and proactively sharing knowledge and thoughts.

 

Keaton Stockton

Keaton is a Marketing Administrator at Gorilla Logic. She has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Colorado State University.

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