Hi, I’m Mitch Ousdahl.

I’m the software development manager at SeisWare.  To be perfectly honest, I have only been doing this for a few months.  I was pretty nervous about it when I came here from being one of the senior developers.  I really love coding, and I’d be moving into a position where I have to put aside what I feel I’m best at and start doing a bunch of work that was completely new to me.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

That is where one of the advantages of working at SeisWare came in to play.  Krista Saunders (our COO) is one of the biggest champions of other people that I’ve ever met.  I remember her off-hand confidence when I told her I was interested in the role; at no point did she make me feel that I would be less than brilliant at it.  Murray (the CEO) has been all about everyone’s growth from day one, and as far as he was concerned this was going to be a great opportunity for me to grow.  He was genuinely excited about it.  For anyone that might know Murray, he wears excitement like a jacket that’s perhaps a size too small.  He is clearly pumped he got there, but he will be thrilled to take it off in a moment.

One thing that I hadn’t taken into account was how much of it I was already doing.  I had already transitioned from “writing code well” to being concerned about “is the team doing well” and “is everyone growing and learning”.  I’d also focused on a number of initiatives to get user feedback during the development process.  I was already thinking of software development more holistically.

For a little bit of my history, I studied Computer Information Systems at the DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary under a full scholarship.  I worked through school via a co-op program, working as a QA tester at a company called Telebackup.  Shortly after graduation, I started full-time with them just in time for it to be purchased by Veritas Software who soon shut the Calgary office down.  Fortunately for me, they offered to relocate me to San Luis Obispo, California.  There a I met a lot of people who mentored me as I started my journey into professional software development.

Some of them taught me that there is wisdom in asking good questions.  That there is humility in admitting when you don’t understand something.  And that the work you do together is better than the work you do alone.

I like my job with SeisWare because it involves a lot of service.  I serve the developers by taking on work that makes their jobs easier or more efficient.  I serve the other managers by finding ways to integrate better with the development team.  I serve our clients by focusing our development on rapid iteration based on user feedback.  I serve everyone by being honest and transparent; for good or ill.

I’m really looking forward to helping the development team make our world-class geology product even better.  Something that’ll help our users every day due to its performance, stability, and thoughtful design.

When I’m not being overbearingly intense about software development, I like to play Dungeons and Dragons.  I’ve been playing since 1996 and running a campaign for two decades now.  I like telling a good story and finding ways for my players to be annoyed by elves.  If anyone is interested in learning public speaking and improvisation, I can’t recommend it enough.  It doesn’t hurt that I’ve earned some lifelong friends from it.

Hope to see you around!

Mitch Ousdahl
Senior Development Manager

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