Lifting the lid on our wily wordsmith

The tables are turned this Tuesday, as we interrogate our illustrious technical writer, Barney Desmond!

Tell us about what you do at Anchor?

I started in my current role as the technical documentation writer, a newly created position; I would write and edit procedures and other internal documentation for our sysadmins to work with.

From that it kind of expanded to a lot more public-facing stuff. Things like case studies, support docs in our public wiki, and in fact most of the stuff in the blog. The public aspect means we get to keep our customers up to date about what we’re working on, or what new technologies we’re playing with. My job’s a really fun mix of different things.

How did you get involved with Anchor?

I became part of the Anchor team straight out of uni, about six years ago. I actually started out as a sysadmin, and about mid-late last year it was announced that we needed a writer. I had done a bit of writing in my time here and really enjoyed it, so I shifted from being a sysadmin to our tech writer.

Six years is a long time to work for one company.

Well, the office culture here is great, it keeps me around. Everyone here is really bright, and really switched on. We’re always working on interesting problems, and we’re never stuck doing the same thing over and over again.

What do get up to in your spare time?

One of my hobbies is photography, I do like to get out and shoot a bit. I’m also just a little bit obsessed with Japan, I find myself flying up with mates on an almost yearly basis now, and just immersing myself in it all.

Why Japan; do you ski?

[laughs] No, actually. I first went for a trip all around the country several years ago and just kept going back. Their mix of the traditional and modern never ceases to be exciting.

I’m really into their… I guess you could call it arty and geeky subculture, there’s a lot of overlap. Cosplay is one facet of that that I really love – dressing up as your favourite fictional characters from video games, sci-fi, fantasy, you name it. It’s seen as a bit nerdy in the west, but it’s really big in Japan.

I cosplayed as Noel from Blazblue at Supanova (a local pop-culture convention) a few weeks ago, that was great fun. SMASH, an anime and manga convention, is coming up next weekend and I’ll be going as Kurisu from Steins;Gate, I’m getting really pumped for that!

Any secrets you want to share, that your colleagues might not know about?

Wow, I don’t think I really have any secrets like that. Everyone at Anchor tends to know each other pretty well, and we’re really encouraged to just be ourselves.

When you walk around the office you can see people’s individual flair; so you really get a feel for what people are into. A fair few of us hang out outside work too, which is nice.


[picking up one of the myriad turquoise coffee cups on his desk]
Oh god yes, SO MUCH COFFEE!