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Meet the Modevator: Jake Kelly

Meet the Modevator is a monthly blog series profiling one of Modev's talented team members.

Tell us about what you do here at Modev.

As a developer evangelist, my primary responsibilities jake_kelly.jpgrevolve around teaching developers how to use emerging technology and tools. Then, encouraging and supporting them in their efforts to make amazing things. Since these conferences take place around the country, I spend a fair amount of time traveling. When I’m not traveling or teaching, I work with Amazon to update and maintain their Alexa skill tutorials hosted on Github. And if I find any other spare time I like to play around with and use the latest new development toys that Alexa has to offer in my own skills.


What has been your favorite Modev event to date?

Machinery in Seattle. After being lucky enough to be in the room for every planning meeting building up to this event, it was extremely rewarding to experience the event and community coming together in real-time. Getting the chance to connect with my community, promote an event that I was passionate about, and then see it all come together was something I hadn’t experienced before. But what I was most proud of was that we agreed from very early on that diversity and inclusion was our biggest priority, and we made it happen. It’s something that I care deeply about and want to see improved in this industry, and being a part of progress is absolutely amazing.

This Spring we’ll be launching the Premium workshops. Tell us about your role in this tour.

My role is focused on the Alexa workshops, where we’ll be taking attendees on a deep dive into how to be an Alexa Skill Developer. This will 3 days worth of workshops, lectures, and hands-on guided skill building. So, I’m currently preparing the content to make sure that the workshop has the perfect balance of new information and ways to implement that new information. It’s going to be great!

We also have VoiceSummit in July -- Why do you think there’s so much interest and excitement around NLP and voice technology?

It’s what I’ve been saying at every opportunity since I first learned how to build skills: this is the next step in User Interface. If you look back at the history of the way that we have used and interacted with computers, you’ll see an innovation every decade or so. With the benefit of hindsight we can see how some changes shifted paradigms in respect to what computers could do for us. I’m talking about the keyboard, then the mouse, and of course touch screens. I think that the excitement around voice is due to the feeling that humans use language to interact, and giving that power to our software seems like the next logical step. That, and it’s one of those things we saw in sci-fi from the 80s and 90s, and who doesn’t get excited about being one step closer to flying cars?

Sounds like you’re pretty busy on GitHub? Where should we find you?

You can find me lurking on twitter @the_jakekelly, and my Github ID is just as creative: JakeMKelly.

Though a remote team, we’re a tight knit group. Why do you think that is and how does it help you?

Two words: Meredith. Davison. Our Director of Culture and Client Success is in ~753 Slack channels, and finds ways to keep us connected to each other, whether it’s the super-inspiring Modevators channel, or movie recommendations, there are a ton of ways to stay up on what my coworkers are doing that isn’t just work, work, work, all the time. And her being here is a prime example of what makes Modev the greatest: empowering and inspiring those who wish to transform the digital world. Since I was hired, I haven’t spent a day feeling like the world was anything but my oyster. And I think that feeling is shared by all of us here.