About Me

My Current Situation

Thanks for taking the time to read about me.

I’m currently in Berlin until April 2018 helping to transition maintenance of the Spark Network properties to a new team. If you have any projects that we could collaborate on, please reach out.

I’m the Software Development Manager for Spark Networks (NYSE: LOV). I started working at Spark Networks about five years ago. In July 2016, I moved to Los Angeles to head up the team to replace the nearly 15-year-old tech stack.

I was directly responsible for maintaining, developing and replacing all technology related to jDate.com and ChristianMingle.com (plus related properties). This was very challenging but also very rewarding. We replaced two tightly coupled systems (C#/Ember.js/MSSQL and PHP/Ember.js/MySQL) with a lean, fast and scalable system (Go/ReactJS/PostgreSQL).

We had a major round of layoffs at the beginning of the project. I was responsible for maintaining morale, re-hiring, training and growing the teams. This meant I had to learn the new languages/frameworks and hire with the skills or hire and train. Once the teams became self-supporting (with some management), I increasedmy coding and contributed like any other Senior Engineer.

We successfully launched the last brand onto the new tech stack in November 2017.

My Values

If our values align, we should talk. People often collaborate and hire based on skills and abilities instead of values; I believe values are more important. I have the ability to learn and apply things quickly paired with a very strong work ethic. 

Integrity – If you’re embarrassed to be seen doing something, you shouldn’t do it. And more importantly, you need to be someone who people can depend on. All the time. You’ll rarely find someone more committed once I’ve agreed to deliver… bottom line: If I said I’m taking care of it, count on it.

Radical Honesty – You’ll always know where you stand with me. When I say this, people sometimes assume I’m rude or have no filter. This isn’t the case. I’m mindful of how to approach subjects. What I won’t do is keep concerns to myself, withhold information or beat around the bush to avoid “confrontation.” I believe that through calm, empathetic discussion, all issues can be resolved, and when people are honest with each other, with mutual respect, the truth is discovered with greater efficiency.

Open Minded – I generally assume I’m the least informed in a group. I do this purposefully to force a state of openmindedness that allows me to ask questions, set my ego aside, and learn as much as possible. Where I see I can contribute, I do. Otherwise, I’m listening and I will form an opinion after I have more information.

Process – Through careful examination, one can often derive a pattern. This requires purposeful attention, note taking, and reflection. And where there is a pattern, you can create a system/process/algorithm to help you make decisions. The process is never perfect and takes time but through mindful iteration, gains can be achieved faster.

Self-Aware – You have to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. No one is good at everything and it’s important to know where you lack ability or skill so that you can find people to help you. Together, you will achieve more.

Relationships Matter – No amount of money can replace a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. You need people you can depend on, people that help you grow, and people who make up for where you lack. I try my very best to be this for others and in return, people do it for me. Again: Together, you will achieve more.

My Skills

If you have a skill that I need, I will acquire it. I’ve done this many times and I’m confident in my ability to learn and apply quickly.

Programming: Go, PHP, ES6, Vanilla JS, MySQL, PostgreSQL

Frameworks: ReactJS, Angular, Zend, Laravel, (if you’re using a framework in Go, you’re probably overdoing it 🙂 )

DevOps: Linux Programming, Docker, AWS, Azure. I’ve done a lot of things in the cloud, let’s chat if you’re interested.


Gilbert Mena