Tech Leader Spotlight: Dan Hannigan
Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Denver tech leader Dan Hannigan! Dan is the founder of Denver Devs, an organizer for Develop Denver, and a general role model for the community.
Read our full interview and learn about the "accidental" founding of DenverDevs, Dan's thoughts on the open office plan, Jake's is closed, why he came to Denver, and more!
What are you currently doing in Denver?
I've been working at Deloitte Digital since January, which is a big creative agency run by Deloitte, the management consulting firm. Deloitte Digital is their own little spin-off that does web design, development, and digital strategy type stuff.
And you like it?
I'm used to working in smaller agencies, and Deloitte is over 100 people. So, it's a little different. At smaller agencies you get to know everyone really well, and you feel like part of the family. Bigger agencies have a lot going on, which is really exciting, but I can be there all day and not talk to anyone. Which, to go from knowing everyone and everything about them to that...it's just different!
What's your office space like?
It's an open floor plan.
With over 100 people? How's that?!
Yeah, it's crazy! It can be hard when you're trying to focus. I'm not the biggest fan of the open office plan because I like to throw my headphones on and just work. It's fun in that you can see what other people are doing, but when it comes to actually doing work it's not my first choice.
What is your ideal workspace then?
I don't know, just a smaller space! I don't mind a couple of people around me, but I prefer a smaller room or something like that. Not necessarily a big, open floor in a building.
What's your involvement in the Denver Tech Community?
Well, I accidentally started the Denver Devs slack. Prior to that, I was involved with Develop Denver, which is actually how I met everyone. I used to live in Grand Junction and I started coming out to Develop Denver just to get out of there—because there's nothing for tech in Grand Junction. But, I met everyone at Develop and became good friends with the organizer, Drew, and just kept hanging out with him and eventually started helping out with the conference.
How did you "accidentally" start Denver Devs?
I guess the accident was just that it actually turned into something. It started with a big group of us reaching out to each other on Twitter to get drinks, and we'd have a big pack of us show up. It was also around the same time Slack was becoming big, so I asked everyone how they'd feel about having a Slack for the group. And here we are with 2,000+ people later.
Why did you move to Denver?
At Develop Denver, I met people who worked at The1stMovement, the digital agency. They knew I wanted to get out of Grand Junction, so when they had an opening they called me and told me to get up to Denver.
What's your favorite thing about the Denver Tech Community?
That it's actually a community. I know so many members of the community, I know what's going on in their life, I know what they're actually like, I know them on a personal level. I think a lot of us can say that for each other—it's not just knowing names, we know people. The community is big, but still tightly knit and collaborative, and I really like that.
What's one thing you would improve about the Denver Tech Community?
Diversity, always. That's a big deal. I mean, I know a lot of people in the community, but the majority of them are white males, and that's a bummer. So, I try to push diversity in tech initiatives anyway I can. That's probably the biggest thing. We have this nice, friendly, collaborative community, but yet, somehow exclusive. So, how can we get around that exclusivity and make it more comfortable for everyone?
Favorite Denver tech meetup or event you've been to?
Well, I have a bias towards Develop Denver, it's still my favorite. Outside of that, there's a Creative Tech meetup that goes on which is pretty fun. It's not necessarily coding, but it can be. It's really just cool people making cool stuff. For example, one time a guy brought in a robotic bartender, or artists will talk about their current projects and how they're using tech. I like it a lot, it's not as stuffy as fun meetups can be, it's fun.
What are some trends in tech you're especially excited about?
I think Vue.js is neat, it's open and flexible. So I guess as much as other people might be like, "oh, another new framework..." I do like that there's a ton of new frameworks and different options showing up, even if I don't use them, because it's like there's something for everyone now. So, maybe the trend that the market is getting saturated to the point of multiple programs for multiple ways of thinking, rather than bashing new ways of thinking, now we have options for everyone.
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