Welcome to our third post in the Meet the Team series, where we introduce you to the hard-working Embracians behind your favorite mobile analytics tool. This piece will introduce you to Colin Contreary, a Product Marketer in our Embrace family who started in December.
Colin was born and raised in New Orleans and because he was younger, remembers Mardi Gras differently than most.
“Growing up, every year, we’d go to my grandma’s house and she’d make red beans and rice with broccoli during the day and then we would walk over to a nearby parade and just have fun, watch it, and scrounge for beads. It was just a big family event, at least until I came of age,” said Colin.
After New Orleans, he moved off to Nashville to start the next chapter of his life at Vanderbilt. His senior year, after studying Economics and expecting to work as an equities trader, Colin took a film class and shifted course.
“My senior year, I took filmmaking classes and really enjoyed it. I thought, before I do my ‘real career’, while I’m young, I’d like to go to LA and experience Hollywood—see what it’s like to experience the television and film industry,” said Colin.
For six years in Los Angeles, the Economics graduate worked on the Simpsons as a Production Assistant, Showrunner’s Personal Assistant, and Writer’s Assistant.
“In the writers’ room, every day was just laughing and getting to hear them pitch jokes. One of the coolest parts was being able to see an episode from the idea phase through when it went on TV, about six months from first draft to air. I got to see that process several times. It was amazing,” said Colin.
After that, he acted in the lead role of an independent film shot in Florida, found representation to work in commercials, and got cast in a Nickelodeon show called Henry Danger. Then, he worked on another career change: After self-studying programming, web development, and data analysis, Colin scored an interview for a Data Analyst position at Embrace.
“When my history working on The Simpsons and being a performer and a writer came out, our CEO said my skillset fit perfectly with Product Marketing, so I joined as that!” said Colin. “ I just like learning about new things, so being able to write about all the cool features we come up with allows me to do both. I get to do the creative part writing about it while also thinking about the engineering.”
Though Colin was new to the culture of a startup, he knew Embrace’s tenets of ownership appealed to him.
“The idea that I would be able to contribute in a lot of different ways based on my interests and skillset was key to me choosing Embrace,” said Colin. “When you have fewer people, when a task needs to be done, you have to take ownership of it and just figure out how to finish the task.”
The Product Marketer often finds himself reacting to customer stories as they happen, publishing pieces on issues our partners face within a week.
“We’re always coming across interesting bugs that we help our partners fix. Sharing that information will help more than just our partners. We want to help all developers—after all, that’s why Embrace was created—to make it easier for mobile teams to find and fix shortcomings quicker so they can focus on new features,” said Colin.
This process often involves working collaboratively with other teams to ensure the accuracy of all the technical details. For example, Colin’s favorite piece he authored is a piece on memory leaks, which he worked on with our Senior iOS Engineer, Eric Lanz.
“Eric, being the superstar he is, created a dummy app in front of me. I saw him live code an app with an error in it to replicate the issue so we could then go and debug it!” said Colin. “That was my first large article that was 100% co-written with an engineer, and I got to see the power of our engineering talent in terms of seeing how quickly he could create an entire app.”
Another one of Colin’s favorite Embrace moments is more light-hearted: Late January, just before our Admin and Operations Manager Victoria Stepp went on vacation for her marriage, Embrace had a wedding dress contest where groups would design a wedding dress made of toilet paper.
“Someone had to model it, and we then had to defend our designs Project Runway style. I’ve never experienced anything like a toilet paper wedding dress modeling contest before,” said Colin. “Something like that only happens at Embrace.”
Though those impromptu moments don’t happen as often out-of-office, Colin’s kept relaxed with yoga, watching some shows, and more, though he says he doesn’t usually get stressed in the first place. Mainly, he says, he makes small 10-15 second songs about four times a day.
“They really annoy Anna, my girlfriend. Unfortunately, there’s no way for me to replicate them, because I don’t record them and they don’t make any sense!” said Colin.
At the end of the interview, when asked what other questions he should’ve been asked, Colin said he was curious about what the best things people have done in Los Angeles are. For his own favorite event in the city, he recalled a date with Anna downtown at China Town: Summer Nights, a monthly festival in the summer.
“They had huge confetti poppers that everyone went bananas for. Picture a bazooka-sized single-use BOOM. They’re very loud. The entire time we were there, there was some semblance of confetti floating around the air,” said Colin. “Anna and I won not one but two raffle prizes, which were custom-carved fruits. One was a watermelon, and I’m allergic, so that was funny.”
It likely won’t be possible to attend the festival any time soon, so everyone is remembering those moments fondly.
“That was something I didn’t even know existed but was a ton of fun. Especially when you live in a city as large as LA, there’s tons of interesting things you can go do,” said Colin.