Ghost Sighting: Introducing Joel Schopp

We’re back again with an opportunity to get to know a member of the Ghost team! This week’s Ghost Sighting is in Austin, Texas where we find Joel Schopp.

Let’s dive right in! Joel, tell us a bit about yourself - where you’re from and what you’re up to at Ghost.

I’m in Austin, Texas where barbeque is beef instead of pork, tacos are served every meal of the day, the summers are hot, the music is live, and everyone is glad to see you. It’s been a great city for my wife Sarah and I to raise our two children (ages 20, 17) and our dog. As our second child is soon to leave the home it’s great not to be tied to an office and be able to work while traveling or just bring my laptop to a park or climbing gym here in Austin for a change of scenery.

I’m a work hard play hard kind of person. Rock climbing, acro yoga, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, biking. My vacations, evenings, and weekends tend to leave me physically exhausted.

This will be my fourth week with the company. The first week was at one of our company on-sites where everyone from the company met in a fun location for some collaborative work and fun activities like mountain biking down an actual mountain. (me in a gondola on the way up said mountain):

Now that I’ve had some normal weeks too, I can say that everyone is super encouraging and positive. There’s a real sense of the whole of what we are building being the best of each of us. As I’m seeing the progress others are making with what they are working on it’s clear we’ve built a team whose skills and experience complement each other.

What is something about yourself most people don’t know?

I’m a certified American Mountain Guide Association Single Pitch Instructor and volunteer with a non-profit guiding at risk youth rock climbing. Over the years I’ve had several commercial guide services offer to pay me to guide clients, so if I chose to I could have a second career where I don’t write code and get plenty of sunshine giving people bucket list experiences.

There are countless cybersecurity organizations out there - what made you choose Ghost?

I had been actively looking for quite awhile because the security software industry is a mess. Most security software makes the lives of its users worse instead of better, producing toil and misery. As soon as I met the founders of Ghost it was a breath of fresh air, I could tell right away our philosophy of what a good security product is and how to build one were the same. It also helped that I liked the whole team as people too.

How’d you end up in this industry?

I’m drawn to hard problems and security seems to have an abundance of them. Also, back in high school I was that kid with the subscription to 2600 magazine who loved the movie Hackers. There was something countercultural about it that appealed to teenage me. Over time the counterculture all got supercomputers in their pockets and organized crime and rogue states became the hackers.

Tell us about your role at Ghost. What are you currently working on that excites you?

I’m the guy that gets down in the weeds very fast. I was giving an internal demo of a component I was building to the team today and the word I probably said most was nanoseconds. Early last week I was very excited about data formats and serialization/deserialization. That’s the beauty of a team - everyone gets excited about different things. A whole company full of clones of me wouldn’t be very good.

What’s something on your bucket list right now?

I’d love to buy a sprinter van in the next couple years and convert it #vanlife and split my time between my home in Austin where most of my friends and hobbies are and being a digital nomad wandering around the country with my wife.