Team Focus: Ray Sampson

This post is the third in an ongoing series focused on individual members of our amazing development, quality assurance, and operations teams. Each post will introduce a member of our technical departments through an interview conducted by another member of our team and as many embarrassing photos as we can find. You can think of it as our equivalent to elementary school “Person of the Week” programs. However, instead of each person getting some time to display a shrine in their own honor, we will be dedicating a blog post that will live in perpetuity.


On vacation in Philly

On vacation in Philly


The subject of our story this session is none other than the infamous Ray Sampson, a member of the Genius.com Quality Assurance team.

Please summarize yourself in a single sentence.
I am a tattooed lover of life, cats, and all things nerdy.

What is your favorite thing about working at Genius.com?
Well aside from the fact that for some reason they actually LET me work here,  I have to admit that the simple fact that I’m surrounded by so many really smart and dedicated coworkers.  Ryan has built a great team here and I consider myself lucky to be a part of it.

Having worked at Genius.com for over 3 years, you have been here longer than anyone else in the Engineering department. What has changed about Genius.com since you’ve started?
Well, the snack situation has improved by leaps and bounds.  I don’t know how I was ever able to work without calcium-enriched gummy bears and fresh baked goods before.

In addition to being the longest-tenured Genius.com employee in the engineering department, you are also a veteran of the tech industry. What has your path through the Silicon Valley been like?
My journey started in the aftermarket hardware industry, first as a shipping manager for a company that refurbished and sold hard drive and tape backup systems, followed by a brief tenure as a sales rep.  Next, I spent the better part of 5 years at Yahoo! as a Senior Support rep, then as a Customer Advocacy Specialist (read: Terms of Service enforcer). This was followed by a year contracting at Apple managing bug reports before stumbling into a position at Genius.com.

I know from experience that you are an avid gamer, in the truest sense of the word. What is your favorite game of each genre (video, tabletop, card) and why?
Ahh! This is actually a hard one to answer, as I rarely meet a game I don’t like.  My favorite board game is probably ‘The Settlers of Catan‘,  a classic really…though if I get more chances to play it ‘Last night on Earth‘ might trump it.  As far as collectible card games go, The Hong Kong action movie game ‘Shadowfist‘, hands down.  Zombies, ninjas, robots, monkeys and pirates all in one game… how could it NOT be awesome! My favorite tabletop roleplaying game has to be ‘Deadlands‘. It’s a Steampunk Wild West game … with zombies! While I don’t play it anymore, probably my favorite computer game of all time is World of Warcraft. Yeah, I know it’s just MMO crack, but it is lots of fun to play with buddies you don’t get to spend enough time with in meatspace.

**Shameless plug** If you are looking to get into some great gaming in the Bay Area, check out Kublacon! It’s hands down the best gaming convention on the west coast.

How did you get into gaming originally?
Well, my dad got me an Atari 2600 when I was a wee lad and my love affair with games began.  As I grew older, I learned to love the social aspect of gaming. Now games are almost an excuse to get the gang around a table to eat crappy food, tell jokes, and watch someone feed Cheetos to a wild racoon (I wish I was making that last one up).

What else occupies your time?
I love going to live shows and seeing bands perform, particularly Rockabilly and Psychobilly bands, and have discovered a passion for photography that I never expected.  Reading like it’s going to make me rich, eating Pho, and learning that there are foods I always thought I hated that it turns out are delicious. Like salmon… OMG NUMMERS!

Insect @ The Blank Club

One of my favorite shots!

Psychobilly for your face!

Psychobilly for your face!

This is a question about tattoos! Please talk about them.

My first tattoo was done in memory of my father.  As is so often the case with tattooes, I was addicted before the first one was done.  I’ve been going to the same shop for about 5 years now (Guru Tattoo in San Jose, CA) and have inked both upper arms, started full sleeves on both arms, and have a large piece on my left leg.  I don’t really have any intention of slowing down the ink work, and again am lucky that I have found a company that has been so good as to be not only accepting, but supportive!

Koi and lily on my leg

Koi and lily on my leg

Most recent work on my right arm.

Most recent work on my right arm.

Left arm, work in progress

Left arm, work in progress

Bonus content!
We at Genius have heard Ray talking about his dream fallback gig of being a television commercial announcer. This seems like a perfect opportunity to spread his talents to a wider audience, so here is Ray’s version of his favorite commercial: telemundo

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • DZone
  • HackerNews
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • http://www.genius.com Conrad Corpus

    I remember, a LONG time ago, when me, Scott, Felicity, and Yina interviewed Ray at the old Waters Park building. Within 10 minutes of interviewing Ray (at that time for Customer Service), I knew immediately that he was the right fit for Genius: a genius in his own right, articulate, patient (yes, this is true), and kind (no really – shut up). After the first few weeks, his incredibly foul and non-PC side began to reveal itself. From that point on, every day at Genius was a day of love, joy, stories of cats, ink, ladyfriends, and “other” stories that I won’t reveal here.

  • rsampson

    You tell ONE story involving a skateboard stunt, a broken femur and a bedpan and folks never let you live it down!

  • http://www.genius.com Conrad Corpus

    Don’t forget the heated moment of unrestrained merrymaking at TD’s.

  • http://www.genius.com Ryan Ausanka-Crues

    Attention ladies: If Ray tells you that you “Smell nice” take it as a compliment and don’t give him an evil death stare. He means no harm.

  • rsampson

    To be fair, I told her that her HAIR smelled nice… but yes it WAS supposed to be a compliment, not an invitation to taste the wintery freshness of mace.

  • wenzdai

    i heart the TOAD!!!!

  • Tom F

    Telemundo! awesome! I learned something new about Ray today. :-)

  • http://www.box.net/help Amber

    Ray,

    Tienes un buena voz!

    -Amber