Brian McManus

I'm a web developer currently living in San Francisco, CA. Ok, well not really San Francisco, more like Daly City cause who can afford that shit? I mostly use Ruby and Javascript with sprinkles of Elixir thrown in for good measure. I'm also a wannabe drummer. :notes:

You can find me on >_

Professional Life

By day I’m a professional grey-beard… a full-stack developer that hates the term full-stack developers. I’ve been making dreams come true on the interwebs for over 15 years but I’m no Al Gore.

I love small companies — what many refer to as startups although I’m starting to get tired of that term. I’m sorry but if you’re traded on NASDAQ and have a multi-billion dollar market cap you don’t get to play startup anymore. I’ve started a few actual startups and had one (semi) successful exit.

While I still do a lot of coding and love the technical side of things, my career has taken a decisive turn towards engineering leadership.

Most Recently

I moved out to California back in 2013 to start Checkmate with some other fine folks. Together we set out to change the ways hotels communicate with their guests.

I was the technical co-founder of the company and eventually went on to become its CTO heading up a small team of up to 10 engineers in a company that at its peak hit 40+ employees.

Over the course of three years I…

Last Day of Checkmate

We were acquired by TrustYou in mid-2016. Nope, I didn’t win the startup lottery on this one but it was a fine outcome and one hell of a ride.

How I Work

I like to be able to work in environments where I can have a meaningful impact in very short order. I also love learning. I started my career in online learning and am deeply satisfied by tackling problems in unfamiliar territory.

Hey, that’s probably why I like startups so much!

I think the best way to be effective as an engineering leader is to help your team learn and grow, be there for them when they need you, and always have their backs. I read @rands a lot.

Process-wise I like to think I practice informal lowercase-A agile. The formal Agile tends to have too much pomp and ceremony for me. I normally look to Pivotal Tracker for my story tracking needs although I’ve never been one to settle and am always trying others out looking for a better fit. Except JIRA…

Once it’s time to make the sausage I follow a variant of GitHub Flow. I’ll just let them explain that.

Tools of the Trade

I’ve been working on a Mac for as long as I can remember but fuck Apple, I’m thinking about going back to Windows.

Dude, you're getting a Dell!

I tend to reach for the sharpest knife for any given job which at this point for me tends to be Ruby for backend work and Javascript.

That said, I also really like Elixir and the Phoenix web framework a lot and we put them to great use at Checkmate.

Personal Life

By night I’m a masked superhero known only as…



I’m a husband to my wonderful wife Jossie (yep, with two Ss get over it). Together we have an amazing little dude named William. He is named after William Riker no matter what anyone says.

Riker Leaning

I spend most of my free time in my personal life reading about things that are important in my professional life which I guess is a good sign that I love what I do. I’m a bit of a nerd. A bit of an introvert. A bit of a sci-fi fan (seriously, how many more superhero TV shows can they make?). And a bit of a novice drummer.