The Intro: Davis Shaver

As you might have read, we’re growing the Fusion tech & product team in 2015. Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our colleagues, Davis Shaver, who :ship: :ship: :ship: code all day long.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Davis Shaver, a journalist-turned-developer on the Fusion technology team. Before joining Fusion, I worked on the operations team at Project Thunderdome (as the Thunderdome joke goes, two men entered and both left) and started the Penn State news website, Onward State. I’ve been in the news industry since summers spent in high school stringing for my hometown newspaper, the Lebanon Daily News. It was a Thunderdome colleague, Daniel Bachhuber, who first told me this fall about the opportunity with Fusion.

Most of my commits these days go towards Fusion’s main WordPress site and our internal analytics dashboard, Glance. I also contribute to Shortcake, our open-source effort to make WordPress shortcodes easier. In general, I see my job as using code and design to make it easier for Fusion’s all-star bench of talent to produce and publish content, and to make it more delightful for our various audiences to enjoy that content. Convergence journalism often entails technical complexity, and minimizing that complexity to end-users takes considerable thought, investment, and effort.

What’s your preferred hardware and software setup?

At my coworking space in Philadelphia, I use a MacBook Pro 13” Retina with two secondary displays, a gorgeous Dell 24” UltraSharp screen and a generic 21” monitor. I also have a TV used occasionally to access the Fusion app through my Apple TV. An iPhone 5S, iPad Mini, and Xbox One round out my personal technology stack. I use a MacBook Air occasionally for travel.

For software, on iOS and Mac: TweetBot, Slack, Spotify, Messages, Hype Machine/Plug, Reeder, Clear, Sunrise, Mailbox, Meldium, and Simplenote. I’d be far less organized without Clear and Sunrise – if I have to do something, it gets recorded or it doesn’t get done.

For development, I switch between Sublime and Atom, running Zsh in iTerm. I use in a single-site browser created with Fluid (I’d prefer native, but we use issues and milestones extensively for project management). For local development, I run WordPress VIP’s QuickStart stack. Sketch is my go-to design tool, but nothing’s better than laying out a complex systems diagram with Omnigraffle.

How do you consume media? Any favorite formats or publications?

I still pine for the days of Google Reader – it was my proto-Twitter, my friends and journalists I followed sharing and discussing links with each other.

Today though, most of my media comes through Reeder (with Newsblur and Feedly Pro for different feed sets) and Pocket (via Twitter). I’m also a loyal Amazon customer, and it doesn’t take much for me to 1-click order an ebook I see mentioned.

For music needs, I use Spotify, but on runs, I stick to podcasts and Audible audiobooks. Right now I’m going through Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, and it’s a delightful counterbalance to the instantaneousness of Twitter.

What excites you most about what’s coming next at Fusion?

Our editorial talent is unreal. Margarita Noriega, Dodai Stewart, Felix Salmon, Alexis Madrigal, Kevin Roose, Tim Pool – a lineup of digital journalists diverse, adventurous, and excellent at what they do. Not to mention broadcast stalwarts like Jorge Ramos and Alicia Menendez.

But on the technology side specifically, our CTO, Hong Qu, and interim director of engineering, Daniel Bachhuber, are laying the groundwork for digital media’s next great technology play. What’s the best way to run a distributed media technology team? How should recruitment and hiring take place for this kind of team? And, perhaps most importantly –– what should we be building?

We want our technology and product culture to rival that of BuzzFeed, Vox, or the New York Times, but with its own unique identity, and it’s super exciting to not simply have that huge of a goal, but also the runway, product vision, and team needed to make it possible.