Employee Spotlight: Blaine Jones


What is your role at Media Solutions Corporation?

Lead Web Developer

What would people never guess you do in your role at Media Solutions Corporation?

If you’ve seen Office Space, you would think that programmers don’t engage directly with clients, and that there are liaisons to bridge the gap between client and programmers. While this may be true at larger companies, at MSC, I am that bridge. I listen directly to the clients and ask the questions to arrive at the solutions that are needed. I work the booths at trade shows engaging directly with clients that come to the MSC booth. I also play a very crucial role in water cooler conversation. I can engage in wide range of topics (sports, movies, TV, music, sci-fi, technology, trivia, parenthood, etc.), so no one feels left out. It’s not a role I take lightly, mainly because I like to hear myself talk.

Before working at Media Solutions Corporation, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

My work history has been pretty predictable – I worked retail in high school and college, then I worked in web development – with one exception. I was a high school teacher for a year – overseeing the yearbook, student newspaper, and student-produced closed-circuit morning news broadcast in the school.

If you could pick one theme for Media Solutions Corporation to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?

The low-hanging fruit is just as good as the rest of the tree. Almost all products and services that MSC has developed have been built first as a turnkey low-cost solution that is easy and attainable for the vast majority of stores.

How has Media Solutions Corporation helped you in your career development?

Before MSC, my programming assignments were one-off with a specific project scope that didn’t really have to interact with other systems. At MSC, we have a lot of separate products, but they all need to be able to work together within our customer portals. I have learned a lot about planning out projects to function both as a stand-alone product, but also built in a modular way so that it can be used alongside other products on a unified platform.

What has been your favorite project at Media Solutions Corporation?

Developing the digital signage program. This required learning a new scripting language and breaking away from traditional web development to much more Linux command line. It was a challenge to figure out how to render slides into movies on the fly, rather than the original time-intensive method of using After Effects. Taking production from a 1- to 2-day turn around to roughly 10 minutes was a real game changer.

What’s different about working at Media Solutions Corporation opposed to other companies you’ve worked at before?

I would say it’s getting to work with Jim Lukens – the man, the myth, the legend – but I worked with him previously at another company. At MSC, however, I have the opportunity to pursue new ideas in new technology areas. It’s not just about web development here. I get to develop all sorts of digital marketing tools. We are encouraged to step out of our core skillset and learn something new, if it’ll take us into a new realm of solutions we can offer clients. This has been the case with smartphone apps, digital signage, and SMS marketing.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

How to make a baby – twice

Least favorite food?

Olives, hands down. As a kid I liked them, but I realize now that that was only because you could put them on your fingers and eat them. Once my fingers outgrew the olives, the novelty wore off, and the realization that they are gross set in. When cooked into a supreme pizza, I can stomach them. Every couple of years or so, I’ll try a plain one just to see if my tastes have changed. Nope.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

If my daughter is any indicator, then I too have probably consumed copious amounts of Play-Doh and crayons in my life. Beyond that, I stick with the normal foods you’d expect an American to eat. Whenever I travel to Canada, I eat poutine (French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy), but let’s face it, those items together are not that weird. It just sounds weird.

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?

Jonestown: Drink the Mountain Dew

What music is on your iPhone/Android phone?

My Pandora and Spotify stations all are based on early 90’s alternative. It is my opinion that music peaked in ’93 and ’94. I listen to The Smashing Pumpkins the most, and I actually named my first daughter, Daphne, after one of their songs.

Blaine, your personal photo looks very “Sound of Music.” Can you give us the scoop on where you are in the photo and how/why you ended up there?

This was taken on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park near the Canadian border in Montana. This is my favorite place to visit. Glacier Park is located only a half hour from Kalispell, MT, which currently is my dream place to retire to. Before I had kids, I would try making a trip up there at least every other summer, camping by beautiful Lake McDonald, but I haven’t attempted the long road trip nor camping since I’ve had kids.