The Robot Co-op

Entries from June 2009

Seeking: Front-End Focused Software Developer

June 25, 2009 · 5 Comments

The Robot Co-op is looking for a front-end focused Software Development Engineer who can drive the future of our web apps.

The Robot Co-op is a small software company located in Seattle, WA. In 2004, we created the Webby Award winning website Today, over 2 Million people have made a list of their goals on our site and shared it with the world.

How work gets done at the Robot Co-op.  - photo by Jason Sutter

How work gets done at the Robot Co-op. - photo by Jason Sutter

The Robot Co-op has a history of technical innovation: five years ago we were one of the first commercial sites to use Ruby/Rails, we use external APIs like Amazon’s EC2, SimpleDB, S3, and Mechanical Turk to run our sites, and we’ve incorporated Facebook Connect and iPhone Apps into our web applications. We need you to push us further.

We offer great compensation and benefits and a very flexible work environment that prioritizes personal development and happiness over the drudge work of many desk jobs.

Required Skills:

  • Minimum of 5 years professional software development experience in XHTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, and expertise in Javascript libraries like prototype.js
  • Ruby on Rails expertise, 3 years professional experience desired
  • Experience with developing browser-independent web apps used by the public
  • Ability to collaborate with team members to produce page designs in CSS
  • Familiar with Unix-based server environments
  • Comfortable working in a loose, non-dogmatic, agile development environment

Desired Skills:

  • Focus on writing maintainable code and automated tests
  • Familiar with SQL, query optimization, and database tuning (especially in MySQL)
  • Comfortable with OO design and data modeling
  • Experience developing and consuming web-based APIs
  • Excited about iPhone Apps, FacebookConnect, Amazon Web Services, and other emerging technologies


  • Knowledge of Flash/ActionScript

While all the acronyms matter, a personality fit is also important. We work closely together, brainstorm projects and solutions as a team, and we do a lot of talking about ideas and technologies. We will consider remote candidates but require a trial contract to make sure things work well for both parties. Relocating candidates are also welcome and we can help with relocation expenses. Sorry, we have no H1-B Visas.

To start the conversation, send us a well crafted cover letter/email along with a relevant resume.


Categories: Job

Personal Growth and Personnel Changes

June 23, 2009 · 10 Comments

Daniel Spils on keyboards with Maktub

If you’ve been following the Robots for any amount of time, then surely you’ve met Daniel somewhere along the way. He was present at the creation, when the idea for 43 Things first emerged and he’s been our “Smooth Operating Officer” for nearly 5 years now.

If you are a real Daniel devotee you might also know that he’s a professional musician who over almost 10 years has released 5 albums with his band Maktub and toured the country a couple times over.

Meet Maktub

Meet Maktub

Well today is an auspicious day in that band’s history as they announce the release of their fifth album FIVE. They’ve made FIVE available as a free download, a CD you can buy from their own store, from Amazon or download mp3s from Amazon. iTunes will have it up shortly.

You should definitely check out the free downloads (really pay what you like downloads) and hear what Daniel’s been up to. Here at the Robot Co-op, we couldn’t be more proud of Daniel’s progress on his musical goals. But we are even happier about the personal news Daniel shared with us this week.

Daniel Spils is getting married!

Daniel & Brangien

Daniel & Brangien

And who is his bride? None other than Brangien Davis, the blogger behind the Robot Co-op’s now defunct Petri Project. The Co-op brought them together and we couldn’t be more proud. We think Daniel couldn’t have found a more witty, urbane, and beautiful woman to spend his life with. And Brangien couldn’t have found a more caring, loyal, and fun loving character with whom to spend each day. The both are two lucky souls and we hope you’ll join us in wishing them the best.

Teary eyed yet? Get ready to turn on the water works: Daniel Spils is taking all this change and taking leave of the Robot Co-op. He’s taking his five year anniversary with 43 Things as an opportunity to spend more time with Brangien, more time with music, more time camping, and more time to recharge for whatever comes next. We can’t say good bye to Daniel, because we count on him being around and cheering on the Co-op, but we have to let him go.

So what can we say Dan? We love you. It has been a blast. You made it up and you made it happen. You got us started and you’ll always be a Robot. Best wishes and we’ll see you at the wedding!

Categories: Uncategorized

Site slow down

June 18, 2009 · 5 Comments

We are working out some kinks on the site that have been causing the site to slow down lately. In order to keep the site fast, we are looking at some unnecessarily complicated features that might be gunking up the works.

Over the next few weeks, you might see a few features get turned off while we work things out. One prime suspect is “external feeds”, the ability to add external feeds to folks you subscribe to, so those feeds will get stale while we figure out if we can keep them working at all. If you are looking for a similar service, try

We are also bringing on a whole new fleet of machines to serve the sites. We hope we will see a nice bump there as well. Unfortunately, the slow downs and service changes are going to impact heavy users the most. You folks have simply used the site more intensely than the system was built to accommodate. Sorry for the bumps in the road, but we are adding the faster hardware and rewriting the features to keep the site fast and a pleasure for you to use.


Categories: Uncategorized