goTenna Employee of the Month Spotlight: Matt Finnegan

Aug 17, 2020

About goTenna

goTenna is advancing universal access to connectivity by building the world's most intelligent and scalable mobile mesh networks. goTenna is the world's leading mobile mesh networking company, providing off-grid connectivity solutions for smartphones and other devices, as well as augmenting traditional communications networks. This technology enables mobile, long-range connectivity even without cell, wifi or satellite connectivity. goTenna's drive to create resilient connectivity began during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when approximately a third of cell towers and power stations in affected areas failed. Based in Brooklyn, goTenna is backed by investors including Founders Fund, Union Square Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Bloomberg Beta.

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goTenna Employee of the Month Spotlight: July 2020

Name: Matt Finnegan

July’s shoutout of the month goes to Matt Finnegan, Full Stack Engineer. The award recognizes Matt’s commitment to goTenna’s software application development and new application releases. He talked to us about how goTenna has contributed to his professional growth as well as his impact on goTenna.


What is your position and what does that entail?

I’m a Full Stack Developer. My main focus is the continuing development of Portal--both the customer-facing site and the API that the mobile goTenna Pro app interfaces with. I also work on the goTenna Pro Deployment Kit as well as a good chunk of the consumer-side web products: imeshyou.com, Mesh Community forums, and users.gotennamesh.com.


    Tell me about your career before joining goTenna and how you ended up here.

    I’ve been working in NY as a web developer for about 15 years now… right out of college. Over the years, I’ve worked all over the technology spectrum. My first position was at a site called ClubMom. It was a medium-sized company, and at some point they decided to make a MySpace clone, so they picked me along with 3-4 other employees to build an entirely new site called CafeMom. It was such an enriching experience to be a part of the decision making on a product level. To be able to plan something out and then actually build it, and to be a part of such a small team, really left a taste in my mouth for startup culture (this was sort of a startup within a larger company). Eventually, what I helped build took over the parent company, and CafeMom supplanted ClubMom entirely. From that point on, I have only wanted to work in startups, which led me to goTenna.

     

    What is an exciting project you have been working on recently? What is your proudest professional accomplishment at goTenna?

    This one’s easy: I’m most proud of the Engineering team we’ve managed to build. Our team was already great, but once we got DevOps going and Full Stack expanded, it became clear that we have an absolutely killer team, and I feel fortunate to have been able to help build it.

    From a purely technological standpoint, I really enjoyed working on an offline version of the Portal. It was an off-the-cuff project which we did, basically, to see if we could. It was sloppy and gross, but I got to dip my toes in native Windows C++ development, hardware licensing dongles, Windows installer scripting, writing my own PHP extensions, encryption, and wrapping PHP code in an executable shell. At this point, the Offline Portal is outdated and is likely sitting on a figurative shelf somewhere, but I was so grateful that goTenna allowed me to work on something so pie-in-the-sky, and let me mess around with native app development--something I haven’t done in many years.

     

    What is your favorite part of working at goTenna?

    I really like the team. It’s a cliched answer, I know, but what I learned so early at CafeMom is that I love working with people who like each other, and who care about what they do. Even though I work in Engineering, there is no part of the office that I don’t feel connected to.

     

    What is something you would want others to know about goTenna?

    Well, I think it’d be easy to look at what we do on the Pro side and assume goTenna is just an up-and-coming military contractor. But in reality, goTenna is shockingly diverse in every way, and we have a progressive, compassionate, data-obsessed nerd as a CEO. It’s a real winning combination.

     

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

    Video games are my main source of joy outside of work, but I’m also really into film, and like to travel as much as I can. Any time I can combine these interests, so much the better. For instance, I like to attend a yearly film festival in Sitges, Spain as often as I can.