SpamExperts Team Member Spotlight – Tony Meyer

Tony Meyer Lead Developer
Tony Meyer and his son.

Tony Meyer is our Lead Developer, and among our first employees. He has been with SpamExperts for over 10 years, and has had an essential contribution to bringing SpamExperts email security service to the level it is today. Great talent always deserves appreciation, and we are proud to have Tony in our team.

Q: Your recipe for success?

A: Maximize the amount of time you spend doing things you really care about, whatever those are. Find a job & home you love and get rid of wasted time like commuting & routine tasks that you don’t enjoy.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: Elon Musk. Joss Whedon. My dad. My son.

Q: What inspires you?

A: People who are passionate about what they do. Great books & music. Nature.

Tony Meyer and Dreas van Donselaar
Tony Meyer and Dreas van Donselaar.

Q: Significant achievement at SpamExperts?

A: Reaching 10 years of employment? Building the first version of the server-side filtering product? Meeting Sam & Dreas in person after 9 years of working with them?

In 2005, Tony started working for SpamExperts, and quickly became a valuable asset to the, back then, small start-up. Many moons have passed with Tony going deep into the company’s technical needs, developing the incoming & outgoing firewall and archiving service from scratch – with other team members hugely contributing since then; all whilst helping Dreas with sysadmin work, which he finds quite a bore.

Q: Greatest work challenge and what did you do to make things work?

A: Around 2009, I wasn’t enjoying the work as much, I felt that development wasn’t heading in the right direction, and that the company was probably not the right fit for me anymore. I wrote an email explaining how I felt, and outlined a solution that I felt would be best for both myself and for the company, and then had a long discussion about it with my boss. Everything wasn’t fixed immediately, but we had a good plan, and things steadily improved after that.

Auckland, New Zealand
Murrays Bay, Auckland, New Zealand

Q: Greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

A: I’ve had a very fortunate life. Starting from the privileged position of being a straight white male from a middle-class background in a 1st-world country doesn’t exactly say significant challenges. There are some challenges that I failed to overcome, like the failure of my marriage (after 10 years), and some challenges that I still work on every day, like being the best dad I can be.

Tony grew up in Kaitaia, near the very top of New Zealand. He moved to Whangarei for a few years, and then to Auckland where he started his Bachelor of Business Studies, Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Hons), and most of a PHD (Development of Synthetic Actors through Rehearsal) at Massey University.

Three favorite books by Tony Meyer

Q: Three favorite books.

A:

  1. “Beak of the Moon”, by Philip Temple
  2. “Magician”, by Raymond E. Feist
  3. “Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus”, by Orson Scott Card

Q: Three favorite songs.

A:

  1. “22″, by Taylor Swift
  2. “Slice of Heaven”, by Dave Dobbyn & Herbs
  3. “Short Change Hero”, by The Heavy

Tony has had quite a busy life. His love for programming started when he was just 5 years old, quickly devouring one language after another to quench his insatiable thirst for all-things coding. Using whatever books and magazines he could find, Tony created, among others, a simple compiler and an email client. Back then, there was no Codeacademy, or Khan Academy to spark your interest in programming – like others at the time, he manually re-typed code from magazines and then saved them on cassette tapes. Not to mention the scarcity of tools and resources to work with.

Tony Meyer's favorite Text Editor is Sublime.
Sublime Text Editor

Q: Preferred IDE / Text Editor?

A: Sublime Text.

Q: A great open-source project?

A: Requests (requests.readthedocs.io).

Q: Preferred open-source license?

A: MIT.

As the 90s ended and internet became unlimited and affordable, leaving behind expensive and highly limited Internet access, Tony started learning Python because an anti-spam plugin for Outlook, SpamBayes, had limitations that bothered him. It took one glance at the Python source code to have a lasting effect. He continued to contribute to the SpamBayes open-source project, and was, in time, one of the most active developers, as well as the release manager.

Through his love for Python and coding in open-source, Tony met Dreas, SpamExperts’ CTO, and Sam, SpamExperts’ CEO.

Tony's favorite Apple hardware

Q: Work Hardware & OS

A: 2012 21” iMac (OS X Yosemite), iPhone 6s, 12” iPad Pro, 2nd gen iPad Mini.

Q: Three great tech website, blogs or books.

A: xkcd’s What If, Stratechery, Julia Evans.

Tony also did a lot of university-level teaching. By day enthusiastic teacher, shaping the minds of young’uns, and by night developer extraordinaire fighting the good fight against spammers from across the world. Or at least, that’s how we saw him.

Q: What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

A: “It’s cold, maybe Samuel (my son) could skip school today…”

Winter has really just hit in NZ, and I’m not a morning person. And yes, I did get up and sent him to school ;).

Q: Favorite meal/dessert.

A: Pizza.

Q: Favorite hobby, or what do you do in your spare time.

A: Reading.

Q: Hopes and dreams for 2016.

A: Significant outdoor work around my house (build finished last year). Leading a strong & cohesive board (I’m chair of the local school board). Significant progress in stalled work projects. A healthy and fun summer with family. That the Gilmore Girls revival series on Netflix is as good as the original.

Tony can be found on Twitter, where he tweets about development, education, parenting, and New Zealand.

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