Creating user-centric websites and digital experiences in the healthcare space takes passion. Brady Moe, a software engineer and developer discusses how his role serves digital development.
You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below. Be sure to subscribe to Core Exchange on iTunes.
Ward: Welcome to the Core Exchange, a healthcare marketing podcast. I'm Ward Alles, president of Core Creative. This week, we welcome our Lead Software Engineer and Developer, Mr. Brady Moe. Hey, Brady.
Brady: Hey, Ward.
Ward: Welcome. We're going to discuss your role and your observations about healthcare and marketing from a digital perspective. We know that we've got healthcare marketing experts out there listening. They may have their own in-house digital teams. So I'm sure this conversation will really help them think through things, how to build a better team inside, or what kind of resources they should be looking for in an agency. So your point of view will be great. Thanks for joining us.
Brady: Yeah, absolutely.
Ward: Cool. So let's start with a bit of background. What's Mister Lead Software Engineer and Developer do every day in his life before he came to Core and what you do now at Core?
Brady: So, Lead Software Engineer, and really what a lot of people might hear is, that's a code monkey. I click and clack on a keyboard, and I make things happen on a computer that sometimes might be indiscernible from magic, and sometimes it might be like, "How the hell did that take so long?" So that's what I do. Where I came from was, I was actually a sales engineer at my first job. I was selling industrial remote controls, and I think that helps with my job now because it gives me a sales perspective on all of the things that we're doing. So I always end up questioning, is this the right thing for the business?
Ward: Cool. You have an interesting background, and you've worked with all sorts of clients: B2B, B2C, now healthcare. What do you like best? Compare and contrast some of the different types of clients and the nature of the work that you get involved with.
Brady: So far, the healthcare industry has been really interesting. It seems like every time we flip over a stone, there's 15 to 20 stones underneath that. Every time I learn something new, there's always something deeper to learn. So healthcare is definitely way more interesting to me than B2B or B2C was.
They all have their own challenges, which are very interesting. B2B, the focus is way different. B2C, because it's so much more public facing, there's a lot more challenges with B2C and healthcare because you have so many consumers looking at whatever I'm building. So I have to really consider how this impacts the user experience and how well can the user continue to use the site or whatever I'm building, because we don't just build websites.
My biggest concern is making sure that those things are performant and user friendly.
Ward: Nice. You're right. We don't just build websites. So you're this lead software engineer, and you've got a team here at Core. What's the nature of the work that you're generally getting involved with for healthcare or even for other clients?
Brady: Even just recently, we got tasked with building out a chat app. We were looking to build a chat app to help with one of our clients that has a bunch of challenges. Their employees are all over the place, so they don't have a central office. That makes it harder for them to be able to communicate broad strokes. If there's something big going on in the company, it's not easy for them to communicate. So we were trying to solve that problem with a chat application that could be installed on mobile phones because everybody's got a phone these days. That's one thing that we were looking into.
Otherwise, I'm building websites and trying to make websites more friendly and easy to use. Some of the things that you might find in a website are really important, like actually thinking through all of the things that even me as a consumer, I'd want on a healthcare website. Those are some of the things that I've been working on in the healthcare space.
Ward: This chat bot application, you've got this curious mind. You're always trying to stay current and up-to-date with all the latest tools of the trade. We do a lot of that marketing that has to do with internal communications or employer branding. You made the point of, the staff at a healthcare system... doctors, nurses, administrators, volunteers... they're all over the place, multiple locations. Even coming up with a chat bot application like that to make internal communication is so smart and so important within a healthcare system.
Ward: That curious mind of yours, you're always looking for something. Where'd you get the curiosity from? You were thinking about that. How do you stay current with everything?
Brady: Staying current with everything is always a challenge. I have lots of different social media things that I'm using that... Reddit, for me, is a big resource, and I subscribe to all these different sub-Reddits that are really specific to the tech industry.
As far as being curious, that was ingrained in me at a really young age. My dad always asked me to think about something differently, from a different perspective. So he'd say... I might say something about somebody, like, "Oh, why is that person doing that?" Then he'd ask me to be like, "Well, put yourself in their shoes. Why would they be doing that?" Then, he'd always question... basically question my own reality in a lot of ways. Dads will do that sometimes. So I think that's where it came from. Then, just through school, my biggest philosophy was... and it still is today... is never stop learning. You can never learn everything, and because of that, you should never stop learning because there's always something to learn. I have an insatiable curiosity for most things.
It's not even just software development that I get into. It is a lot of software stuff in general, but I'm really into audio stuff. I make music on the side too. Then, I'm really into art. I have an art company on the side that I work into, and we make light art. I'm in everything, and I always want to keep pulling everything in.
Ward: You geek out on it all.
Brady: Yeah, I try to.
Ward: All the technology, the Syfy Channel, everything. These busy healthcare marketing executives, they have to build out in-house competencies, capabilities. If they don't have it in-house, they have to look for agency resources. What kind of advice do you have for that market? What should they be looking for in somebody that they'd want to hire to build out their own team? Let's start there, and then we'll also apply that to, if they can't do it inside, how would you look for an agency that way?
Brady: If they were looking to build it inside, I'd want to make sure that they had the resources and capabilities of hosting their own server type thing because, especially in healthcare, security should be number one. Whenever you're dealing with anything where there's patients or consumers, you don't want them feeling like their info is insecure. Especially recently, we've seen all these data breaches. Facebook had a huge data breach recently. Before that, a few years ago now, Target had a huge data breach. There's all these different data breaches, so however you can make your server the most secure... that would be my advice, is if you're going to take it in-house, you need to make it secure.
If you're looking for an agency, make sure that agency knows how to do that. To vet the agency, I would look at past work. Once you start talking to the agency, start asking those types of questions, like, "What do you do in terms of security? What's your encryption? What are you doing to make sure that the info that I'm putting on there or that our consumers are putting on there is safe?"
Ward: You're just illustrating the need for true digital expertise. It's not just, like you said before, code monkey who's cranking out semicolons and hashtags. It's an expert who has a business mind, a curious mind, somebody who's always looking at pushing and making things better. What are you looking for in staff that you hire? How do you construct a good interview to find good front-ends and back-end developers, that kind of stuff? What does that look like?
Brady: So, in the software industry, there's a huge push right now to do a lot of code tests, like testing on your ability to code things. I'm not really big on that. I think a little of that goes a long way because... Basically what I'd want to do is just set up a small thing for whatever developer I'm trying to hire for, set up a small environment and have them walk through it or fix the problem, and then walk me through how they solved the problem-
Ward: How they think.
Brady: Exactly, because to me, it's way more important how that person thinks versus what they're actually able to do. Software changes every day. If I'm quizzing you on this one piece of software, that might be irrelevant in three months. That's just how fast software moves. So I don't care if you can tell me the exact syntax of something that needs to be done. What I care about is how you think it through because, three months from now, you're going to have to think it through a totally different way. That's usually what I look for.
I also want to make sure that whomever we're hiring works well with us. So I might throw in a joke or two, and see if they laugh.
Ward: I love it. That's great. I'm just thinking about, again, all the things that are on the plates of our listeners. They have to manage the expectations of doctors. They have to manage the brand. They have to build out a team inside or with agency resources. They need to promote service lines, and they need to keep everybody in line around the brand promise with employer branding. There's such a world there for them to manage. Of course the digital ecosystem that you are in knee-deep every day is such a key world that they need to manage. They'd need resources like a Brady Moe, like a lead software engineer, who's thinking with them and for them. What do you love best about your job? What gets you excited to get up every day and work with these healthcare marketers?
Brady: Healthcare marketers seem to have really complex problems. Going back to security, that's its own really complex problem. The problems that they're trying to solve are so interesting and different. That's what makes me get up every day to do my job. I really like doing the complex things. Whenever I get to mess with data in some really big way and start moving it around so that it makes sense for the marketer... whether that be through analytics or how the site's being used for user experience or even managing form data... that's what's really interesting to me, is using that data to help everybody's experience, not just the healthcare marketer's, but also the consumer's. That's really what's in it for me, is that part of it.
Ward: Good. Thanks for waving the magic wand. I'm sure our listeners agree.
Brady: I hope so, yeah.
Ward: I appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.
Brady: Yeah, no problem. Thank you.