Team Layr: Brice in Engineering
By Margaret Manning | 09/25/2020
So, who is Team Layr? We’re a group of out-of-the-box thinkers that work to keep the wheels on our insurtech #startup turning faster every day.
No one keeps Layr’s wheels moving forward quite as literally as our Head of Engineering, Brice. Brice has been using his expertise to ensure that Layr’s AI-powered platform seamlessly helps small businesses interact with the insurance industry since August of ‘19. Since joining the team, Brice has worn more hats than he can count, fielded the team’s tech questions (big and small) with cool composure, and given several of us reason to believe he is part-robot ?.
Read on for more from our Meet the Team interview with Brice including Life at Layr Engineering, the On Background scoop, and a peek into Brice Behind the Scenes.
code Life at Layr Engineering
Q: What convinced you to take your job at Layr?
A: The draw of an opportunity to build something new.
The prospect of joining Team Layr was exciting because I knew the company had potential to scale into something much larger than I could possibly accomplish alone.
Q: What does a day “in the office” look like?
A: A mixed bag of responsibilities.
A typical day for me involves lots of code review, researching and evaluating different approaches and practices, drafting technical requirements, and helping with implementation when possible.
Q: What is the biggest victory or aha! moment you’ve had in your role since joining Layr?
A: The realization that Engineering and Insurance should interact in a loosely coupled manner.
I’ve realized that the goal should not be to turn engineers into amateur insurance experts, but for engineers to build a dynamic platform in such a way that empowers insurance experts to utilize their knowledge without the overhead of needing engineering assistance for every change. The optimal result is a team that is empowered to build #BetterBusinessInsurance nimbly and efficiently.
Q: What’s the greatest challenge you’re still trying to overcome or solve at Layr?
A: Rapidly scaling the team.
It’s a challenge to navigate the intricacies and caveats of rapidly scaling an engineering team with appropriate roles filled at the correct times in order to achieve our common goals.
Q: What’s the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve learned about insurance since joining Team Layr?
A: A tidbit I learned from our CEO…
Phillip, Layr’s co-founder and CEO, once made the comment, “One in four dollars spent in the U.S. passes through the insurance industry.” It’s a factoid that has stuck with me and it continues to highlight the importance of getting the insurance process right.
question_answer Brice on Background
Speaking of victories and challenges, we know Brice didn’t become an engineering pro overnight. That’s why we dug into Brice’s background when it comes to his experiences before he joined Layr. What we unearthed was an impressive (but not surprising) journey through multiple industries and development roles that accounts for Brice’s deep skill and knowledge that we lean on here at Layr.
When we asked him about the career highlights from his life prior to joining Layr, Brice mentioned his experience working in both back-end and front-end development roles for several applications across healthcare, web2print, real estate, event management, social media, college fairs, gamified conferences, and performing arts.
[customer_quote quote=”Both your hard and soft skillsets will be challenged, and learning new skills out of necessity will be the norm.”]
If you’re wondering how an industry chameleon-like Brice finally landed at an insurtech startup, we wondered too. So we asked him. According to Brice, Andrew, one of Layr’s co-founders, found him through technical tutorials he published on Medium. Impressed with Brice’s work, Andrew wanted him on the team. “I first started working as a contractor, which eventually led to my current full-time role, and, well, here we are,” Brice said.
Medium Started by Twitter’s founder, Evan Williams, Medium is an online publishing platform where amateur and professional authors and bloggers can get paid to share their content on the sire. The self-professed “YouTube of writing”, Medium is an online source for a myriad of subjects from business and tech, to art and culture.
Now that he’s immersed in the world of Layr, we wanted to know how Brice hangs on when it comes to the rollercoaster of startup. “Well, you’re going to wear more hats than you knew you were capable of wearing,” Brice admitted. “Both your hard and soft skillsets will be challenged, and learning new skills out of necessity will be the norm.”
As far as his best tip for surviving the whirlwind, Brice simply advises to, “embrace the discomfort of unfamiliar territory and believe in yourself. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish when you truly commit to the tasks at hand.”
psychology Behind the Scenes with Brice
Here at Layr, we know people are more–much more–than their job titles. We understand that the challenge of learning about who we are outside the world of Layr is vital to creating a close-knit team and maintaining our company culture. As a fully-distributed team, we get creative in how we share snippets of ourselves. Whether it’s via our #didacticism Slack channel or over our daily virtual coffee breaks, we love to share our out-of-office learnings, projects, and passions.
To give you a snapshot of the kinds of things we wax poetic and philosophize about when we’re not building #BetterBusinessInsurance, we asked Brice to share a bit more about his latest obsessions, secret superpowers, and mantras that motivate him.
Q: If you were to take a snapshot of your workspace/desk, what would it look like?
A: A notebook filled with chicken scratch, lukewarm coffee, two monitors, and at least 30 tabs open in Chrome.
Q: Latest obsession?
A: Automating all the things.
Also, binging on Netflix, cooking efforts, and hobbies I’ve picked up in quarantine.
Q: What’s your secret superpower?
A: Others have suspected me of being part-robot on multiple, isolated occasions…
Q: Do you have a quote or mantra you live by?
[customer_quote quote=”Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.”]
Our team gets down to business when it comes to moving the needle, but we also know when it’s time to stop taking ourselves too seriously. Whether we’re creating new custom Slack emojis, debating the best slice of pizza, or sharing pics of pups, lighthearted moments are what keeps us sane in the crazy world of startup.
To give you an idea of what we want to know about each new hire at Layr, we asked Brice to share some of “the good stuff”–dream day off, billionaire splurge purchases, and honest opinion on LaCroix included.
Q: You have an unexpected day off from work. What would you do?
Even though it’s what I do at the office, I’d probably find an excuse to code something anyway, but for a personal project instead.
When we bumped up the hypothetical time frame to a whole week of unexpected vacation, Brice still had tech on the brain, albeit in a new locale. “I think I’d possibly take a vacation to Tokyo–I’d love to experience the culture and technology,” he admitted.
Q: What’s your billionaire splurge purchase?
A: Tech for good.
If I had a billion dollars, I’d found an institution with the purpose of utilizing technology for the betterment of humankind.
Q: What emojis best describe you?
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being get that watered-down, carbonated fruit water away from me and 10 being put it in an IV bag and hook me up, please, how great is LaCroix?