Who’s ready for more unconventional and eccentric interviews with the endearing Hostwinds Team! What’s that? A resounding and unanimous “WE ARE?” In Part 4, we’ll be interviewing a very integral part of the Hostwinds Family – our Cloud Template Developer/Office Jack of All Trades, Benjamin. I know what you’re thinking: “That name sounds familiar! Wasn’t Benjamin in the ‘A Breakdown of Load Balancers & Hostwinds LBaaS (Load Balancer as a Service) Pt. 2?’” In fact, he was mentioned in that blog post, you very observant audience, you! What’s that? You already know I am going to shamelessly plug that blog post by inserting a link to it below? Have you ever considered becoming a mystical psychic, my dearest audience, because you seem to read me like a book every time! Here’s that link:
Just for kicks, I’ll also give you the link to Part 1 of that blog series. Here it is:
Confession That No One Knew Until Now: I have ardently held in calling Benjamin, “Benjamin Button” ever since the moment I was hired by Hostwinds. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story entitled “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” when I was a small tot and very much enjoyed the unusual and meaningful adventures I experienced while immersing myself in the text. Furthermore, as you likely know based on the titles of these blog posts, my blog world family, to say that I absolutely love alliterations like “Benjamin Button” is a massive understatement. Enough about me though! Why don’t we get to know Benjamin Button a little more before the question and answer session?
P.S. Benjamin’s response to this confession: “Also acceptable are Benihana and Paige’s [as in, Paige, Hostwinds’ Office Mom] BenBen.”
Benjamin is sort of like the office big brother to all of us here at Hostwinds. Part of my job is to observe the Hostwinds staff, and I have observed the following about this particular staff member:
He is like a human octopus in that he calmly and effectively does so much at the same time here. He is developing our cloud templates, so it would be completely valid for him to not want to help any of us. That is definitely not the case, though. Benjamin not only helps our Front-Line Team with their chats and answers their questions, but he also does both so patiently (without conveying any irritation whatsoever). On top of that, he kindly answers the entry-level questions I ask him when I need help understanding technical terms.
Alright, time for the interview for which you’ve all been patiently waiting!
Benjamin Button Buttons His Boots Backwards
Here is what happened when I asked Benjamin a bizarre batch of questions:
1. Let’s start with the most important question…will you please tell us all about your cats?
Benjamin: Well, it was a rainy day… [*Laughs*] So, there are three of them. In order of size, from small to large, we’ve got Lorelei. She is an 11-year-old tabby…short haired. She is extremely affectionate…like openly affectionate. She will follow you around the house. She is very kitten-like, and she is very small. All she wants is to hang out with you.
Next, we’ve got Bruce Wayne…[IMPORTANT PAUSE TO CLARIFY: Hey all, it’s Erin again! Just to clarify, when Benjamin says “we’ve” or “we,” he is referring to himself and Kerrie. Kerrie is the wonderful woman whom Benjamin loves. Kerrie is a power woman, and she leaves Benjamin notes on his lunch sometimes to remind him she loves him. Before we push PLAY, you should know this: He refers to her as “The Lady,” and learning that fact legitimately made my heart cry tears of joy. What’s that? No, I’M NOT CRYING RIGHT NOW! I just spilled water on my face on accident! Okay, I’m pushing PLAY now]
Next, we’ve got Bruce Wayne, and Bruce Wayne is a long-haired black cat. He used to be named Bat Man, but unlike Bat Man who runs toward danger, Bruce runs away from danger. So, he had to be renamed because, much like the real Bruce Wayne, he disappears at the first sign of trouble. He is also the most normal of all of our cats. He is a living piece of furniture. When you come in, we say, “There’s Bruce Wayne” and that’s it. He’s like a plant. But, he must be the center of attention. He’s got the loudest purr box and he loves being rubbed on the back.
The last one, the biggest cat, is Mars. He’s a tuxedo who’s sixteen pounds, but he’s not fat. He’s just tall and large. He’s so large, we take him on walks. His personality is wide-eyed awe. Every time you see him, it’s like he’s terrified, but he’s just really interested. His eyes are always dilated. Also, if there is a door, he’s in it. His full name is “Mars, The God of Door.” He loves refrigerators.
So, that’s them: Tiny, normal, huge. That’s the perfect summary.
2. Okay, onto less important questions. What is your position at Hostwinds and how long have you been with Hostwinds?
Benjamin: I have been with Hostwinds for over a year now. I was originally one of our many Front-Line agents. I have unofficially taken on the role of a Senior Front-Line Agent, answering questions for our Front-Line representatives, escalating issues, helping clients with their services, etc. More officially, I am our Cloud Template Developer. I am the guy who builds and troubleshoots our one-click installs for our many Cloud Servers, and make suggestions for additions or improvement. And, of course, I’m also our jack of all trades around the office. That includes helping to set up computers, making sure monitors and stuff are working, building offices, etc.
3. What kinds of video games have you been playing recently?
Benjamin: Recently, I have been playing more RPG games. My games of choice at the time are Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Monster Hunter World, though usually, I am more of a slow-strategy game player. My preferred game that I’ve been playing recently is Crusader Kings 2. I enjoy nice, long, slow, relaxing games. Essentially, the longer it takes to play, and the more complex it is, the more I enjoy it. Having to do bits of math to be successful is fun for me. But, I’m also known to play faster-paced games when the mood strikes me.
4. What do you like most about your job?
Benjamin: What I like most about this job is the opportunity for growth, not just for the employees, but for the company itself. Since we don’t have any stockholders or shareholders to worry about, we can focus more on making products for the client. We can give them more, and we can give them better, and we can give them shinier. We always have projects in the works, and anyone can jump in on them if they have the desire. Not only that, but if any employee has an idea for a new service, they can claim ownership, pitch it to management, and make it a reality.
5. What is the coolest thing you can do in Minecraft?
Benjamin: The coolest thing you can do in Minecraft is…you can make aaaaaanyyyythiiiiing. I have seen someone make a working smartphone in game that can call out from the computer using Skype. I have personally been a part of a collaborative effort in building a life-size in-game replica of the Star Trek Enterprise.
But, my favorite thing I’ve ever seen was a to-scale replica of Middle Earth from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This recreation was so big, to actually walk through the Mines of Moria would take three actual days and you could easily get lost. All the cities were life-size to scale according to the books. It was absolutely beautiful [When this sentence was uttered, Benjamin’s eyes were opened wide with awe just like Mars the cat]. 100% accuracy. They used as many resources as possible and it took them hundreds of thousands of man-hours.
6. What would you say is the number one reason that Hostwinds stands out/excels in the web hosting industry?
Benjamin: We answer to no one in regards to us having no shareholders or stocks and us not being publicly owned, so, unlike most of our competitors who are always thinking of profits and the bottom dollar every quarter, we are trying to drive innovation and quality of life for our clients to make sure they get the best experience at the best price. Another reason I think Hostwinds is so great: We’re always thinking of what we can do next. Instead of looking back and saying, “Hey, awesome, this is working,” we’re saying “Hey, awesome, this is working. What can we do next?”
7. What is something very few people know about you? Any hidden talents or funny/random things about you?
Benjamin: So, I’m a real open book. People ask me questions and I’ll always answer honestly. It’s very hard for me to hide things. I do, however, have a few random quirks. For instance, I’ve spent so many years of my youth either staying up super late or getting up super early helping people online, I mostly interacted with people from Britain or Australia, so I type a lot of words in the British way. So, like the “-our” in honour or endeavour. I do the “-re” for theatre and litre. And I have a lot of British terms and phrases I use, like “kerfuffle” or “have a gander.” But, I also have a lot of extensive studying in creative and technical writing. So, combined with British phrases and my extensive vocabulary thanks to those classes, a lot of things I type seem very robotic. I actively try to be very personal when I’m doing chats or answering emails.
One thing a lot of people don’t really know about me personally is, because I was raised in the South, which is a very communal culture, I actually enjoy doing customer service and helping people. It is very rewarding to me to teach someone something or help them understand things.
Also, I’m able to write in both Quenya and Sindarin Tengwar.
8. What is the most common question you’ve received from Hostwinds clients?
Benjamin: The most common question I’ve received from clients is usually involving something wrong with someone’s domain. Something like the website’s not showing or the email’s not working, and nine times out of ten, it’s because of the same thing. It is usually what’s called DNS propagation. I get asked questions like this so often, I actually took it upon myself to create a Knowledge Base guide called “What is DNS Propagation?” and created images for it just to both help my colleagues and to help our clients in understanding it. [IMPORTANT PAUSE TO SHAMELESSLY PLUG THE GUIDE BENJAMIN WROTE: Oh, hi there again, folks! The “What is DNS Propagation?” guide can be found at https://www.hostwinds.com/guide/what-is-dns-propagation/. Aaaand PLAY]
9. What is something you want Hostwinds clients to know that they may not already know?
Benjamin: We have a bunch of VPS templates, so we have them for website hosting, software development, dev. environments, and we even have some game servers. We are always looking to expand it. Not only that, but our VPSs also come with administrator, or root, access, so if there is something we don’t have, you are welcome to install and configure it yourself and to develop on it.
10. What’s your pro wrestling intro song?
Benjamin: As my amateur wrestling title is “The Enforcer,” my wrestling theme is “A Warrior’s Call” by Volbeat.
The Biography of Benjamin Button Bravely Buttoning His Boots Backwards….Biodiversity
Why did we expand our heading alliterations until they were intensely long, you ask? Great question, and the answer is: Just because/just for fun! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, here at Hostwinds, we are serious about what we do, but we like to be silly sometimes too. We hope you enjoyed getting to know Benjamin, and we will continue to demonstrate that our team is competent, yet real, via these interview session. Stay tuned for the next edition of our Hostwinds staff interviews, folks.