Jeffrey Strauss: Helping people and things work better

A deep dive with Jeffrey, Senior Manager of IT Ops at Tinder.

What do you ACTUALLY do?

My team and I try to help people and things work better.

What types of devices do you support?

We support it all: phones; computers of all shapes, sizes, and operating systems; tools and platforms we write and tools and platforms others write; cloud infrastructure; *shudder*printers*shudder*.

What’s your favorite piece of tech?

Fedora on my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. I prefer my laptop to a Mac (cue the pitchforks) because, despite its industrial aesthetic, it’s more powerful than a MBP, has a touchscreen, and turns into a tablet when I want to take notes or read.

What tools or apps are most important to your job?

Most important is Python. Slack and Google are up there. And, of course, my phone.

Do you prefer hands-on, or troubleshooting from afar?

I prefer hands-on because I love talking with people face-to-face, but I use remote troubleshooting as a way to work on my communication and patience skills.

Favorite thing about your IT environment?

My team.

Thing you’d most like to change about it?

The anxiety-inducing, fast-approaching and unmistakable footsteps of that one colleague who only submits P0s, marching toward your desk to remind you of a ticket one minute after submitting it. Printing your dog calendar is not a blocker, Claudia.

What’s on your desk?

  1. A Varidesk sit/stand desk
  2. My collection of supplements
  3. Hand sanitizer
  4. My HP Elitedesk running Fedora, a Das Keyboard, a Logitech gaming mouse, Sennheiser headphones, a Logitech 1080p webcam, and a 4K ViewSonic display
  5. My laptop
  6. A gratitude journal, a notebook, and an assortment of pens and pencils
  7. A Sabrent rapid USB charger
  8. My novelty speed bag
  9. Under my desk: a weight vest, a kettle bell, and a gym bag with a jiu jitsu gi, shin guards, and gloves

What was your proudest professional moment?

Being invited to speak on stage at MacWorld with Cisco back in the day when MacWorld was a thing. Remember?

Most cringeworthy request?

Most? I can’t honestly say I remember, but one recently was a colleague who wanted access to the network stack in the IDF because he thought that randomly plugging an AP into different ports would improve what he thought were slow speeds. We added a combination lock to the badge access on that door after that.

Do you stay hydrated at work?

In order of importance: LaCroix, Hint water, Smart Water, tea, average water.


Depends on the situation; I’m not prescriptive. Some cases call for a mastery of CLI, others call for familiarity with the GUI. Being comfortable in the CLI and confidently navigating even the most horrific GUIs are both desirable skills.

DIY or turnkey?

Also depends, and usually a mix of both. Where a turnkey solution makes sense, I’m all for it. Where turnkey solutions usually fall short is integration with other turnkey solutions, which is where the DIY comes in. Being able to build integrations and tools when necessary is important, so we try to make sure that turnkey solutions without built-in integrations have APIs we can use to build our own.

Who would you love to see interviewed here?

Jonathan J. Stevens, SVP of Operations and CIO of CDW. Managing a massive supply chain and the IT at CDW is a monumental challenge, and I’d love to learn the most important takeaways of his years in management and dealing with tech and supply challenges at that scale.

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