written by his girlfriend
Jeff Keen is a "software developer," which means computers, and also websites. He is known for being a "people's programmer," which means that he knows his shit (can I say shit?) but he will also be a delight at your company holiday party. He wants everything he makes to work perfectly but also to look and feel tasty.
If Jeff was good at bragging about himself, he would say that he has SINGLE-HANDEDLY built Dubbletrack, a thing that radio stations absolutely salivate over. He would also say that he has worked with New York Public Radio, IBM... and I asked him for a third one but he's on a contract and just trailed off in the middle of a sentence so he could get back to work. Jesus Christ, if that's not a testament to you hiring him, what is?
ADVICE FOR PEOPLE HIRING JEFF: Jeff is at his best when he is thrown into learning a LOT of new things all at the same time. You should try to stress him out A LITTLE BIT with how much you are challenging him, just enough to keep him on his toes. The only downside of you hiring Jeff for freelance work is that he will be so talented and charming that you will try to hire him for a full-time position and he will slip out of the offer like a little weasel. He claims that he is interested in entertaining full time offers this year, but honestly, good freaking luck, it was hard enough to get him to move in together and you would not even BELIEVE how hot and fun I am.
Jeff's recurring interview with Adam Barker, January 2022
Well let’s get right into it. Where have you been the last few years?
You know where I live.
I mean, on the internet. You sort of disappeared. You used to post pretty photos on instagram, you blogged semi-regularly, and would even post new songs you’d written. But the last few years it’s been mostly tumbleweeds.
Yeah, that’s accurate. In 2017 I got waaayyyy fired up about online privacy and decided I didn’t want to support any of it with my eyeballs. Also I’d notice that when sharing something meaningful on social media that I’d be so tied to reaction (good or bad) that it would temporarily take over my day and sometimes even affect how I felt about the thing itself, which was such a raw deal. So removing myself from a couple of those fake brittle popularity loops felt like the right move, so I could just focus on making stuff.
Who can say? I extracted myself from the instagram and facebook rabbit holes and just ended up deeper into Reddit. Is that better? Not necessarily.
But without the distractions of sharing stuff with the world, you must have been really productive creatively, yeah?
I mainly sunk my time into my side project Dubbletrack that helps community radio stations provide their listeners with a better experience. Most of it is for station DJs only, but if you listen to 91.7FM KOOP in Austin or online at koop.org, the player, the now playing data, and the past playlist archives are all provided by Dubbletrack.
Focusing solely on one thing and forgetting the rest comes more naturally to me that I’d prefer as it is, but when that thing is my own project at the intersection of a few of my core interests, with no hard deadline, and an ever changing finish line of what done looks like? It’s been like quicksand, with my time.
Some people would kill for that sort of focus.
Maybe it’s a grass in greener thing, but I would kill for natural balance over that kind of focus. The people who can equitably split up their day between different interests, or effortlessly add something into a daily routine that sticks—I have such admiration of that. I’ve basically accepted that balance between activities for me requires extreme vigilance, because my natural inclination on how I spend my time is more like seasons. “This is me now” until it isn’t.
This pandemic season seems to be a really long one, then.
Yeah, and it certainly didn’t improve my natural balance. Pre-pandemic I’d bounce around coffee shops or go explore some other city and collect fun stories, but being relinquished to my house for a year made for a pretty dull time. My girlfriend moved in with me right before the pandemic hit and that was impeccable timing, but dealing with being a cooped up social creature, my dad’s rapid health decline/death, having to put down the family dog, and the accompanying depression that went along with all of that—2020 was a big year, but not for creativity.
Woof. But those celebs singing Imagine must have pepped up your spirits as a big Beatles fan, yeah?
Sorry. Sounds like that was a rough time. Things are looking up now?
Things are improving, yeah! I’m picking up new hobbies and paying attention to old ones, and really making an effort in trying to avoid the trap my parents fell into of all work and no fun. Things feel like they’re falling back into place again.
So what’s on the horizon?
I might be ready for a change on the work front, and I haven’t decided if that’s something more manager-y, or just rejoining a team of people who care about what they do. Working solo has its benefits and has been great for the past 8 years, but solo felt best when remote work was novel, and the world was my oyster and I could bounce around everywhere.
Now that remote is the norm and travel-with-abandon is now considerably trickier, having some compadres that are all focused on the same problem sounds like a fun time.
What about new creative stuff? Anything there?
I’ve got a revamp of latlmes.com in the works that will make rick rolling even more compelling, I can’t wait to open up Dubbletrack for the world to see, I’ve got a handful of new songs I’m pretty proud of, and I’m about five years overdue in sharing the behind the scenes on my Not So Secret room.
Oh yeah, the secret room you can’t help but show everyone who comes over to your house.
That’s why it’s called the not so secret room. It lives up to the hype, though, honestly. I feel like the internet will eat up the details on how I made a payphone open a bookshelf door, and I just haven’t gotten around it writing it up.
Well good luck with that. What’s in the room?
A bunch of junk. A vacuum cleaner, some old rugs.
Well that’s kinda lame.
It’s about the journey, Adam, not the destination.