A Chat with Nick Kline, Our Director of Technology
November 14, 2019
This week, we sat down with HighRock's Director of Technology, Nick Kline, to ask him about how he got his start, his work at HighRock, and leading a team.
Q: How'd you get into this field?
I've always been a nerd at heart, about anything I care about. A childhood friend was a whizz at computers and I picked it up pretty quick. I was pretty much hooked from there. In college I had a job working in the mortgage industry and, along with law firms, mortgage brokers were one of the first industries to jump into search engine optimization. So, I worked my way from SEO back to web development and then to programming.
Q: Oh, so did you study computer science at school?
No, I studied music actually. That's been a passion all my life and I figured college was the time to indulge it. I’ve found that there's actually an overlap between music and programming though; they're both collaborative and creative and, as a drummer, also technical and involve math. Programming a challenge in code feels like learning a challenging rhythm or piece of music -- you take a large complicated thing, slowly deconstruct it into practicable or programmable chunks, and then chip away at it. Each time you get through one is like a mini-victory, and then you get to start putting those pieces together and then you start hearing it (or seeing parts of the solution working as intended)...it's extremely an rewarding feeling!
Q: How did you and HighRock first cross paths?
I bounced around after college and started doing some web and SEO consulting on the side. But I soon found that there wasn't enough time in the day for the side gig and my day job, so I ditched the latter and jumped into the former with equal parts ambition and optimism... and probably a little bit of naiveté. Right out of the gate it gave me a deep respect and appreciation for small business owners and the number of hats required to run a successful company. It was an incredible experience; I read a lot of SBO self-help books and slept very little. My wife Trish actually came across HighRock because they'd won a bunch of marketing awards and when she saw they were looking for a web developer/SEO strategist, she gently nudged and then all but pushed me to come in 'just to talk'. I came in and I still remember almost all of my conversation with Rich Daughtridge, but, I guess to sum it up, I was pretty much in after that meeting. Being able to add my services to the impressive work that HighRock was putting out there, was (and still is) really exciting to me.
Q: What's your favorite part of the job you do now at HighRock?
There's never a dull moment. I work alongside some incredibly talented and hard-working people and I can't say enough good things about my team. Everyone brings a different piece to the table. They're the best. Early on, the most rewarding part of my job was taking on the next challenge or learning a new concept and applying it to an existing project, but over the past few years, that's shifted and I find myself enjoying the work that my team enjoys the most. Constantly being challenged by them is, honestly, extremely fulfilling -- it's absolutely critical, in my opinion, to remaining relevant in a constantly changing tech space. There's always a better, faster, more efficient way to do almost anything. But seeing the team challenge themselves and engage in a project, that's probably my favorite part of the day-to-day at HighRock right now. It's funny -- I have three boys at home (ages nine, six and five) and I'd say that's probably my favorite part of being a Dad...so maybe it's just a reflection on where I am in life. I don't know, can you interrupt me with another question before I ramble on too much more?
Q: Last one actually -- what's the biggest challenge you're currently or anticipate facing?
(laughs) I should have kept on talking about my kids. That's tough to nail down to one thing, but probably at the heart of it, it’s keeping an eye out for the next big disrupter, especially in the creative agency space.
Nick lives and works in Hagerstown with his wife Trish and 3 boys (Ciriaco, Cam and Charlie) and still enjoys playing music regularly.