Massdrop Profile: Meet Alex Peterkin!
Our Massdrop Profile series introduces you to the people behind the communities you love. They’re responsible for sourcing products, communicating with members, and making our site an awesome place to hang out. You might recognize them from Discussions you follow—they’re the smiling avatars next to those tiny Massdrop logos—and now you can get to know the personalities behind the handles.
This time, we’re talking to Massdrop Renaissance man, Alex Peterkin. First, we’ll let you read a little about his background and passions. Then, we’ll turn the mic over for a community Q&A. Submit your questions in the comment section, and he'll answer them as soon as he can.
What do you do at Massdrop?
I’ve done a little of everything since I got here, but currently I’m part of a small group focusing on growing and developing the new Talk platform. Aside from that, I silently watch over a lot of the discussions like Big Brother in case they get out of hand. Oh, and I also make sure to test any product I can get my hands on. And other things, but they’re not as fun.
What excites you most about the new Talk platform?
One of my favorite things about Massdrop (and life in general) is watching really passionate and knowledgeable people having a great conversation (or debate) about something. Up till now, this has been limited mostly to things you can buy, so I’m excited to participate in some discussions that don’t have to be as constrained.
Which posts have you really enjoyed reading and would like to see more of?
Hmm, I’ve read a lot of good posts, but my favorites usually revolve around how to improve something. I especially enjoy watching people work together to either come up with a new idea or make an existing one better. I see it a lot in the IC threads for new keycaps or community members coming up with new keyboard ideas. Probably has something to do with the fact that both my parents were engineers, so building/fixing/breaking things is my favorite.
You used to help the mech keys buying team. What got you interested in mechanical keyboards—a forum, a product, a friend, a family member, a magazine?
I actually made a post about this, but the TL;DR is that I grew up with them. As a toddler we had an IBM Selectric II typewriter and IBM Model M buckling-spring keyboard that I loved banging around on. In high school, my keyboard broke down during a LAN and I found the Model M in the closet. It was a PS2 model, so I gave it a shot and rediscovered my love for the click clack. I used that for a few years until I got roommates who were probably on the brink of smothering me in my sleep, so I got a DAS Pro with Browns, which held me over until I started working at Massdrop.
Tell us about some of your favorite boards and what you love about them.
I’m usually terrible at favorites for a number of reasons, but my Leopold FC660C is my life partner through better and worse. Though I’m basically a large child, so I love trying new and different things. I’ve been lucky enough to play with a ton of 60%, 40%, TKL, full-size, ergonomic, and everything in between, so I’ll keep the list short and pick a few that stand out for different reasons:
Ergodox, Yoda, Planck, and HHKB. I also love seeing people’s yet-unnamed customs.
Outside of mech keys, which communities are you most interested in and why?
Probably whichever one showed me something cool most recently. I go through phases of obsession, and so far I’ve joined drops in Mech Keys, Tech, Audiophile, EDC, Hobby Shop, Men’s Style, and Auto. Mostly because I thought there was something really cool or unique. Sometimes the people around me are so passionate about it that I can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.
What did you do before working at Massdrop?
I’ve been just a smidge indecisive in my life, so I was finishing up school and working IT for the Shiley Eye Institute at UCSD. I got my B.S. in Biochemistry/Chemistry and moved back home without much of a plan.
What’s your favorite thing about working here?
One hundred percent, the people, whether it’s the ones in the office or the ones abroad. I’m not the kind of guy who strikes up conversations while standing in line at the deli, but for whatever reason I love interacting online.
If it were up to you, which community would you bring to Massdrop next?
Hmm, for my own interest, probably DIY electronic stuff or something similar. I love wasting my time building out completely unnecessary electronics projects around the house. Maybe someday I’ll make a useful one like I see people online making.
Let’s say humanity discovers a real Fountain of Youth. Where do you see yourself 1,000 years from now?
I can barely guess what I’ll be doing this weekend so 1,000 years is tough. Assuming I haven’t gone full Yoda, I hope I would have mastered a lot of skills and languages. If interstellar travel is a thing I’d be all about it. Maybe a professional Holophonor player.
Want to know more? Leave your questions for Alex in the comment section—or just drop a quick “Hello!”