What is your current professional role and how did you get here?

I am the COO of MartianCraft. I started at MartianCraft a few years ago as a project manager for them. How I got to here is a little complicated, but it was a combination of my website about technology, also having run my own company for the eight years prior, and lastly a recommendation to check them out from an acquaintance.

How did you become a part of the Apple community online?

Through my blog, The Brooks Review, which I started back in 2010. I quickly started becoming friends with others who were writing at the time.

What is your favorite Apple product of all time and why?

The iPad, because it is the future and so perfectly executed. Everything about the iPad seems impossible to me, and yet it’s what SciFi promised me my entire childhood. I thought early PDA devices would be the device I was looking for, but it wasn’t until the iPad where it all clicked. If you think about the common complaint about the iPad being software related, and not hardware, it’s exciting to think what could be unlocked any day by a developer.

What are your favorite and/or most used apps?

By far: Ulysses and Safari. I do a ton of writing every day, and Ulysses is my app of choice for that. Safari, at least on iOS, is stupidly good. It’s rare these days that a website doesn’t load well, work, and work quickly on iOS. I’ve come a long way from promoting Firefox to all my friends at university.

At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?

Outside of tech I try to get outdoors a lot, the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to get out and enjoy nature. I would be remiss to not also state that I spend an abnormal amount of time looking at, and testing different bags — that’s always been something I think way too much about.

 

I’m lucky enough to work from home, so when I need to take a short break during work, I typically go see what the kids or my wife is up to. It’s nice to get away and chat with them from time to time. I do the same thing when I take vacations too, going places with my family and spending time with them away form my iPads.

Why do you support the goals of App Camp?

App Camp is doing amazing things within the community — both with teaching young women, and also in supporting those currently working in the industry. What’s not to like about App Camp? Nothing I can think of. The best ideas we can have as people, come from all people working together, not a subset of our community, but the entire community together. I love that App Camp is working to effect real change, and to do it in such a meaningful way.

What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?

I asked a friend how I could personally tackle this very issue myself and the advice was simple and worth sharing: talking won’t change anything, push hard to change everything that you want to change and do that actively and daily.

How can technology be a force for good?

We’ve already seen a lot of ways in which technology is proving itself as a force for good: better/faster advances in healthcare which leads to higher standards of living and longer lives. Less manual labor and grueling work being done by hand. Better global connectedness. Massive gains in reductions of carbon emissions. I like to think about everything we can already point to as something good technology has brought us (like the examples I mentioned), and then try to wrap my head around the idea that we are just scratching the surface.

 

Even looking at self-driving cars, the ramifications that it could potentially have to the entire society is amazing — to think about the idea that if we go all in on self driving cars, it would be front page news if someone died from a car crash. Not front page locally, but nationwide. That simple thought is astounding to me, and makes me want self-driving cars to come about even faster.

You can find Ben on Twitter, Micro.blog, and at The Brooks Review.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

Becky Hansmeyer, Independent App Developer
Katharine Nester, Ruby Receptionists