What They Use – Patrick Meier
What do we use at work? This series of posts interviews the Ushahidi staff about their methods of working and the tools they use. The profile of a different employee will be posted twice a week until we make our way through most or all of the staff!
“One day I’ll be in Kyrgyzstan to explore the application of our technology for a conflict early warning system; another day I’ll be designing a new feature with the technology team…” – Patrick Meier
What’s your day to day at Ushahidi like?
Very different! Which is what makes working at Ushahidi so exciting. One day I’ll be in Kyrgyzstan to explore the application of our technology for a conflict early warning system; another day I’ll be designing a new feature with the technology team, like our new Check-In’s service; another day I’ll be presenting and networking at PopTech or the Skoll World Forum; and on yet another day I’ll be supporting live crisis mapping operations in places like Haiti, Libya and Japan.
How did you get involved in the software/tech space?
I became obsessed with computer programming whilst in high school and from there went on to do an MA in Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of York (fourteen years ago!). But I dropped out of the program because I couldn’t see how building logic circuits had any relevance for Africa. I was born in Abidjan and raised in Kenya, and wanted to return to give back to a way of live that had given me so much. Of course, the irony now is that I work for an African non-profit software company : )
What are some of your favorite apps for work and how do you use them?
Skype and Twitter, couldn’t live without them especially for live crisis mapping projects. I use Skype to communicate in real-time with hundreds of crisis mappers around the world and Twitter to monitor developments around the clock.
What are some cool projects you’re working on right now at Ushahidi or; What excites you about your work right now?
I’m really excited about the Standby Volunteer Task Force that some friends and I recently launched. You can read more about (and join!) this inspiring initiative here. The Task Force includes more than 500 volunteers from more than 50 countries around the world who are trained in live crisis mapping operations. The Task Force recently provided the UN with a live map of Libya so the latter could gain better situational awareness of the situation to coordinate their humanitarian relief operations. I’m also really excited about our new Check-In’s service, here’s why and why.
What helps you make it through each day?
The Coolest Chat Ever on Skype : )
The one thing you can’t live without?