The Pitch Questionnaire: Jeff Durbin, Blooom’s software-engineering director, is “a little obsessed” with trying to automate his home

Occupation: Director of engineering at Blooom

Twitter handle: @Blooominc (my best work is there)

Hometown: Olathe

Current neighborhood: Weatherby Lake

What I do (in 140 characters or less): I lead Blooom’s software and technology team. We build software that will (hopefully) help millions of people retire sooner.

What’s your addiction? I’m a little obsessed with trying to automate my house. My wife says I’ve gone a little overboard, but it’s fun. We recently moved, so I’m looking forward to starting from scratch and playing with some of the new stuff that has come out.

What’s your game? Life. Intertwining work and play. I absolutely love what I do, so I’ve always got work on the brain. But I make it a point to travel with family and friends and maybe enjoy a beverage along the way.

What’s your drink? I’m not too picky on my beverage as long the company and/or scenery is good. Bourbon is high on my list lately. Got to visit some distilleries in Louisville, Kentucky, and there is such great history, tradition and creativity in the process. Beer: Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond Pale Ale. (Sorry, Boulevard.) Wine: Not terribly picky, but probably a red, and preferably at a winery.

Where’s dinner? The Majestic Restaurant. Hard to beat steaks and live jazz in Kansas City.

What’s on your KC postcard? I love Mission. It’s where I bought my first house, and it was the perfect location. Great neighbors in a safe environment and close to everything in KC. More often than not, we’d just hop to the shops, restaurants and bars on Johnson Drive. Great small-town feel in a bigger city.

Finish these sentences. “Kansas City got it right when …” They pulled in Google Fiber, creating national recognition for the local startup scene and spawning great communities for entrepreneurship, like Kansas City Startup Village and the Kansas City Startup Foundation.

“Kansas City needs …” A better public-transportation option. We love to eat and drink downtown, and it would be great if it was easier to get downtown and the streetcar continued on to other districts.

“As a kid, I wanted to be …” An Olympic gymnast. Bart Conner was my idol.

“In five years, I’ll be …” Hopefully a dad.

“I always laugh at …” The Office and Scrubs.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …” HBO. I’m a definitely a sucker for Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones.

“I can’t stop listening to …” Radio: Dana & Parks on 98.1 KMBZ. Podcast: TED Radio Hour.

“My dream concert lineup is …” I’m thinking Bush, Live, OAR and Dave Matthews. That’d be pretty fun.

“I just read …” Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. I really enjoyed it.

What’s your hidden talent? Backflips. Love to bust them out.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Bourbon. I love to try new ones, especially if there is a story behind it.

The best advice I ever got: Get shit done. Measure it.

Worst advice? Clean your plate.

My sidekick? My wife, Johnna.  

What is your spirit animal? A monkey. I’ve always loved to climb on things. That’s why Mom put me in gymnastics.

Who (or what) is your nemesis? Chinese food or the gym

What’s your greatest struggle right now? 

Growing Blooom. I love the potential impact Blooom can make in the financial world, but we still have lots of work to do to get there.

My favorite toy as a child: 

Nerf toys: Loved to build forts and duke it out with my friends. Computers: My friends and I would pack up our computers and monitors and set up in each other’s basements for days playing multiplayer computer games like Counterstrike and WarCraft.

My dating triumph/tragedy: The first time my wife brought me to her hometown, I sat through her parents’ glass coffee table and ended up in the emergency room.

My brush with fame: I was a Kansas City Star Scholar-Athlete of the Year. I was on the front page of paper and threw out the first pitch at a Royals game. In 2012, I got to meet and have dinner with future American League MVP Mike Trout. That was awesome. 

My soapbox: Sometimes you have to get out of the way and let people do awesome things.

What was the last thing you had to apologize for? Switching my wife to Android phones

Who’s sorry now? Still me

My recent triumph: Making the leap to Blooom. I had been at Netchemia/PeopleAdmin for 11 years. It was a big jump, but loving what we are doing here.

Categories: Questionnaire