Meet the Orbiters – Ton

The problems we face in healthcare today cannot be changed with technology alone. It is the people behind the scenes, who are dedicated to advancing and pushing for change, that will make a real positive impact. This week we speak with a key member of the Orbit family, Ton.

Q: Why did you decide to join Orbit?

I decided to join Orbit because of one simple word: impact. The work we are doing here at Orbit will have a direct positive impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s. We are building tools to help patients regain control of their lives and being able to do work that is in the service of others is simply fulfilling.

Q: What is the most unique part of Orbit’s culture?

At Orbit we have a strong focus on our values — it isn’t just enough to find people with the perfect skills but they need to share the values that we try to embody. I think this emphasis on values is, in itself, a unique part of our culture. We value openness, honesty, and giving back to our community just to name a few.

Q: What are the key challenges when developing and maintaining a live product and why?

I think one of the biggest challenges when developing a product is getting the architecture right. To design something that can easily scale when needed, but at the same time be cost-efficient requires experience and knowledge of a broad spectrum of technologies. I don’t think it’s uncommon for startups early on to over-engineer their platforms and then have to either migrate or optimize their infrastructure. A well-designed infrastructure should also include and/or easily enable the introduction of telemetry and observability for live applications. Having these in place are key to answering the hows and whys of faults and incidents, and so ensuring the telemetry and observability of your apps are very important.

Q: What can a burgeoning startup do to optimize their product capacity and scalability?

I think that starting with a Microservice architecture is one good way to optimize or scale for capacity. This is easier said than done, especially in a startup environment where there are likely fewer developers — and so “batteries-included” frameworks become very attractive. However, with the prevalence of containerization and modes for deploying them such as Kubernetes, or serverless options like Lambda functions or Fargate, the barrier for a microservice approach is now much lower. Because of this lowered hurdle, startups can potentially avoid or minimize migrations in the future.

Q: Technical documentation is often considered a pain, could you explain what it is and why is it important to do? How can a startup streamline and/or optimize this process?

Technical documentation is quite broad and could refer to many different aspects of a system (e.g. API docs, system architecture, etc). The instances when it proves important are also equally broad, from corporate to regulatory requirements, to onboard new developers and so on. I have never worked on a project where technical documentation was not required at some point, so it’s useful to start a project with documentation in mind. Depending on the actual requirements for technical documentation, it may not always be possible to streamline or optimize, but there are technologies that make things slightly more convenient. These include generating documentation pages based on function docstrings, or OpenAPI spec-first frameworks. I would leverage these wherever possible. Otherwise, my suggestion is to just make it a habit to document regularly and to “amortize the cost” to save yourself the trouble of doing it all at the end. If you wait till the end, you could be under more time pressure and run the risk of possibly having forgotten some of the code you’ve already written.

Now for the really tough questions

Q: What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Football, ⚽️! I grew up playing and watching football, so it’s a big part of my lifestyle — it’s a hobby I do in my free time; a way to keep fit; a way to socialize.

Q: What is one food that you cannot resist?

Fried Chicken, 🐥

Q: What’s your favorite TV show/Book at the moment and why?

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a high fantasy novel with some excellent world and lore building, and well-written characters. It’s a very long novel but one that captured my full attention all the way.

 

Meet the Orbiters is a series dedicated to highlighting Orbit team members. To learn why they joined Orbit, what they think is unique about the culture, and some fun facts along the way.

Find new amazing opportunities on our LinkedIn Page and to learn more about Orbit and our digital solutions, check out our website today. Don’t forget to follow us on Medium and LinkedIn for future updates and articles.

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