An AMA with Daniel McClure, Supervisor of Technology Services at Warby Parker.
What do you ACTUALLY do?
My team empowers the end user’s productivity by engineering solutions through human centered design.
What types of devices do you support?
Everything. Our current fleet looks like 1,200 iOS, 700 ChromeOS, 600 macOS and about 100 Windows devices. We also manage and support a mix of Linux and Windows servers in AWS and oversee A/V for all offices, retail stores and lab.
What’s your favorite piece of tech?
I’m very interested in digital assistants right now and am personally baked heavily into the Google Eco-Sphere. I have 3 Google Homes in my apartment, using those combined by my Pixel 2 XL is kind of a dream come true for turning off devices or having ubiquitous podcasts/music in all rooms. I’m really excited to unbox my Lenovo Smart Display as this is something I’ve been wanting a long time for – I even tried to turn my old, unused moto360 into a tabletop assistant. I think this is a great introduction into how we can further automate our user’s experience. Right now Google has access to all the information in the world, but is there one single door we can use for all of Warby Parker’s information? How do we deliver that to our users?
What tools or apps are most important to your job?
I live and breathe by my calendar and spend most of my day in Google Docs and Sheets. Our internal chat platform is Hipchat (not for long) and our video conferencing solution is Google Hangouts Meet, both of these tools are crucial for real time communication/collaboration so combining everything I mentioned, they’re all crucial for the best possible experience I can think of.
Do you prefer hands-on, or troubleshooting from afar?
I prefer no troubleshooting. My hope is that we’ve equipped or empowered our users with the strongest toolkit to self solve. If I HAD to choose one, I’d say from afar – as technology progresses and the experience for remote worker/technical nomad becomes more and more front of mind, tracking toward the mindset of building tools to assist with troubleshooting from afar becomes more helpful for the Support Engineer and User.
Favorite thing about your IT environment?
My team. 100% my team. There’s no way we would be where we are with supporting close to 1600 users and 2600 devices without the ingenuity, creativity and tenacity of my team.
Thing you’d most like to change about it?
We run hard and fast, turning and burning on projects which usually equates to a lack of documentation. I’d like to get to a point where documentation is just a natural part of the projects, not an afterthought.
What’s on your desk?
(Don’t mind the construction/temporary wall) I have a standing desk on a standing desk because I’m 6’3 and I rarely sit. 15” Macbook Pro, Pixelbook, Lenovo T460s, Lenovo Smart Display, 30” BenQ display, Sideshow Robert Plant (see what I did there?), Funko Pop Conor McGregor, Rocko and spunky, Hot Ones Last Dab for the daring and yes, that is exactly where I keep my Turmeric.
How did you start your career in IT?
A series of seemingly random events starting in Middle School when I realized the Library with their computers was way more fun than the basketball court. I took my first break/fix job in the early 2000’s managing the Apple Support department of a small mom and pop shop in Colorado, spent 3 years behind the Genius Bar, dabbled in Photography for a bit before realizing that IT could be so much bigger and better.
What are the biggest misconceptions of your role, internally or externally?
In general my team is less of a support team and more strategic business partners. While my team does manage all endpoint support, our scope is much more solutions based. We’re moving away from an era of reactive support and into a time of proactivity.
What was your proudest professional moment?
2 years ago my team doubled in size when I went from managing just Corporate/Office support to managing the support of Corporate Offices, our Lab and Retail Stores.
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
Running as efficiently as possible. There are hundreds of moving parts in Warby Parker, I explain it as though under Warby Parker we’re running 15 different businesses from Design and Supply chain to Retail and Customer Experience. The environment is incredibly diverse in business needs and sometimes communication can breakdown which does lead to a lot of lost productivity time.
Most cringeworthy request?
Any request where we have good process and documentation in place that isn’t followed. The cringe comes from not being able to make this documentation or process readily available or easily searchable.
Do you stay hydrated at work?
Probably more than I should. We have a soda water fountain in the kitchen which has made longer meetings a bit more difficult – I’m also usually a few minutes late when back to back meetings happen.
CLI or GUI?
GUI until CLI is needed. I like to experience the same environments as our users so I know what to expect and can see what they see to understand how they interact with our services, this also allows me to build good training modules and speak at everyone’s level. CLI is great when I need to pull records using GAM or doing some network troubleshooting.
DIY or turnkey?
Both have their value – if we need a quick internal solution and there isn’t something out of the box that can do it, let’s build it! If there’s a vendor who has addressed the problem we’re trying to solve, let’s talk to them! Also, can we achieve this with a system that’s already in place? Sometimes neither is required!
Who would you love to see interviewed here?
Ryan Seit – Director of IT from Casper – great guy, great company and they’re starting to dip their toes into the retail space.
Where can people follow you online?
My online presence is very limited, but always feel free to get at me on Linkedin!