Jonathan Tsai (jontsai)
Software Ninja Geektrepreneur, Empowering Engineers
Jonathan has now been using Rollbar for 127 consecutive months!
1. What company do you work for (describe the product/service) and what projects are you working on there?
Currently, my day job is at EasyPost (www.easypost.com), and I've been there for 4+ working on a variety of projects, mainly building and scaling integrations with hundreds of carriers around the world. Sadly, at EasyPost, they were integrated with Sentry since before I joined, and did not seem to want to switch. Having used all of Sentry, New Relic, and Rollbar professionally at various engineering shops, I highly prefer Rollbar over the others.
Also, in a former life, I was co-founder/CTO of Talentral.com which spun off a separate app/product called ZippyApp.com that is still up and running to this day. It's managed to carve out a niche for itself and is self-sustaining, and managed by a small, but mighty team. And I still consult for them as a part-time CTO.
I'm also a mentor and entrepreneur, so I usually have no fewer than 3-5 side projects that I'm running concurrently. One of my longer-running side projects is Hacktoolkit (https://www.hacktoolkit.com/), which is an open-source tech community and a collection of various kinds of open-source code. My largest and most successful open-source project is django-htk (https://github.com/hacktoolkit/django-htk), and it has Rollbar baked-in, coupled very tightly, for application error tracking and reporting. It's so opinionated that it's impossible to inject any other error-reporting framework; and since I use django-htk as the base layer of all my applications, naturally, Rollbar gets to come along for the ride as well!
2. What are you most passionate about in your current and/or past roles?
I'm most passionate about helping other people. It's taken many years to formulate this expression, but my most recent personal mission statement can be stated as:
I want to make a large and lasting impact on the world through business and education — specifically, by creating sustainable (read: for profit — not to make myself rich, but so that I can create jobs and pay people good salaries) software technology-powered businesses, and giving as many people in the world as possible the opportunity to learn and become a world-class software engineeer.
The backstory is that my parents were immigrants; a generation prior, my father's family was extravagantly wealthy, but had lost everything due to the communist uprising in China, so when he came to America, it was as if that wealth had never existed at all.
The serendipitous opportunity I had to learn programming at a young age, which allowed me to cultivate passions early that later blossomed into a career in software engineering, has transformed my life, despite initially being on a trajectory destined for poverty.
So now, I am driven chiefly by the desire to create a better world for my children, which necessitates creating a better world for everyone in it.
3. Is there anything in particular about Rollbar that has kept you a loyal user all this time?
Yes! The first time I quit my corporate job to pursue entrepreneurship was in 2011. At the time, my cofounders were former product managers at LOLapps, the company which Brian Rue co-founded. So, they invited Brian to be a technical advisor to the company, and a mentor to me. Brian recommended that I check out Rollbar, and the rest was history.
I still use and love Rollbar because of its incredibly powerful features, its freemium pricing model (which makes it really easy to start new projects with error tracking baked in from day 1, setting a good foundation from beginning rather than having to be distracted and set it up later on).
Currently, only Talentral/ZippyApp is using Rollbar as a paid account. The other ones are still in various stages of incubation, and I intend to convert those to paid accounts as well once they are revenue-generating/self-sustaining.