I had two main reasons for interviewing Tim - to find out (1) what a Front End Engineer really is and (2) what did he do to his arm?
So Tim, what exactly does it mean to be a Front End Engineer for imATHLETE?
I’m in charge of the design and front-end user interface - things like menus, buttons, forms - anything that our clients interact with. Right now, I’m revamping a lot of big features like custom questions as well as architecting our new application, Fitter.
Here's Tim in our interview - with a bonus peek into the lair of the tech team!
What is the new app, Fitter?
I describe it as the next generation of training plans – like an MMO (massive multiplayer online) – but for social training. Fitter facilitates engagement and interaction between participants and race organizers, allowing participants to find a training plan specific to their goals and join the right online communities to support those goals – whether that is to be a 7 minute miler or a 5 minute miler.* That can be extended to virtual races with audio hooks for things like people cheering!
* I didn’t have the heart to tell Tim that the 5 minute mile group could be a pretty small one.
Also – Fitter: coming to a screen near you Summer of 2018!!
What is your background? How did you end up on this career path?
I started computer science in high school, at Harvard Westlake in Studio City, where they offered AP CS classes. During that time, I built out a website for a plant nursery, among other projects. Then I went to the USC Marshall School of Business and pursuied a minor in CS. It turns out you can take more CS classes that way, rather than double majoring, and I took about 10 classes. That led to me being able to start a few companies. I began by working at a hedge fund and did web crawling and data aggregation on a large scale, working on building hedge fund and asset managers and tracking their performance across global macrovariables. Then I worked with the Dean of the CS Department at Harvard to build machine learning models around behavior reinforcement and sentiment analysis on short clips of media content. Trying to gameify a video player takes a lot of front-end work.
How did you come to join the imATHLETE team?
A really good friend suggested the position. He knew my athletic background and my desire to work on startup projects. So with Fitter, a new app around training and athletics, it seemed like a perfect fit!
hmmm, thinking deep thoughts about front end development
OK, now onto that arm. What the heck happened?
I was snowboarding, and popped out of a tree section over a moguls section. I tried to keep myself upright and was a little off balance and went to push myself off a hill and heard it pop. I couldn’t move my fingers and my arm looked like a zigzag so I knew I had screwed it up.
Two attempts to set it were unsuccessful so it was off to surgery for pins for Tim!
This is his 8th broken bone, but that doesn’t really tell the story since he’s broken many of those many times. It’s his 4th time breaking his right arm, he’s broken the left arm 3 times, and his leg twice. He had a pretty severe nose injury, a brain torque from basketball, and a torn bicep.
I got the idea!
“I bounce back from things quickly. This isn’t my first rodeo.” ~ Tim Kinzer
So what does this mean for your 2022 Olympic Snowboarding dreams?
(Laughing) I think I’ll try for the 2020 Olympics for surfing. Since this injury I think I need to focus on being a pro surfer instead because I’ve never hurt myself surfing!
Later in our conversation I asked him if he could learn anything new, what would it be? He said he’d like to learn Mandarin or German. I suggested maybe he should learn how to fall.
What is your athletic background?
It’s things with boards - surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding. I also played football and basketball through senior year. I participated in crew (board-like with sides), going undefeated in 4-Man Quad, winning the state championship in California.
I hear you are signed up for Bike New York! What drew you to that event?
I heard that they close down all the bridges allowing you to bike from one borough to the next, allowing you to explore the city in a really unique way.
(Tim and his girlfriend are borrowing bikes for it. My advice to him: make sure it’s properly adjusted to fit you!)
Tell us something cool about you that we probably didn't know.
I was the Social Chair for my fraternity, Kappa Sigma, and we threw a party called Pirates and Booty that was voted one of the top 10 parties of the year by College ACB. We built a giant pirate ship with a gangplank that went off into a cage on an island in the middle of a pool. I’m pretty good at putting things together. About 2000 people squeezed into our backyard.
Do you have any pets?
We can fix that.