Member Q&A with James Cobb and Jason Brock


First, can you guys introduce yourselves? Your name, what type of work you do, and tell us something you enjoy doing in your free time.

James Cobb (JC): I’m James Cobb. I’m a graphic designer at Red Hat (the open source software company). I do brand design for upstream community projects, meaning I design logos, website look and feel, promotional stuff, etc. My job is to help craft identities for projects to help with adoption of new software and to encourage community code contribution. Outside of work, I’m an avid mountain biker, paintballer, father of two adult kids and have two cats.

Jason Brock (JB): My name is Jason Brock and I'm a UX and visual designer for Red Hat. I like playing with my dogs, restoring old boats, and exploring state parks and museums (Musea?).

Can you tell us a little bit about your company, Red Hat? I’m looking at the website now and it appears to be a pretty large organization, but no ties to Austin — other than you. Does that mean you were hired as remote workers?

JB: We are remote. In fact, with a little over 13,000 employees, about 25% of our company are remote workers.

JC: I came to Red Hat through an acquisition of a middleware company called JBoss a little over 13 years ago. We had an office here in Austin that did QA and other functions. After a couple years of attrition and a corporate move of the QA functions to Brno, Czech Republic, office attendance got very small. The company did an audit and determined that everyone in Austin worked on different distributed teams so it was decided to shut us down and make our group remote employees. Jason came on as remote status after the move. We use Createscape as our common office so we can collaborate easier.

So James was a Createscape member when we were at our first location on EM Franklin at Manor. Other than Keller, there are only three of us that have been here as long and are part of the elite, EM Franklin coworking club. What would you guys say is cool or unique about Createscape?

JC: Both the old and new spaces of Createscape have a nice relaxed vibe. Not too corporate but not a forced hip aura. It feels good to come to an Austin-feeling place to work and be around other interesting folks.

JB:  I never saw the old Createscape, but I really enjoy the new one! I like the proximity to Austin for lunch, plenty of parking, and the tall ceilings and big windows.

You obviously like Createscape because even though you paused your membership in 2014, you came back in 2016. This time bringing Jason along with you. Not only that, you also went from having a general, hot-desk membership to both of you working at a designated desk in the loft. What do you think about the fact that you guys are about to celebrate your three-year Createscape anniversary?

JC: Three years!?!?! Time sure flies when you’re having fun right? Since we’re both designers, we use multiple monitors, so it made sense to get a designated desk for our stuff. Also, being remote employees, we often feel disconnected from our larger company. Createscape is our personal office where we feel at home.

Do you recall what appealed to you guys about our Tillery St. office? Was it the tour I gave you?

JC: Location was a big factor. Jason lives in Manor and I live in Southwest Austin. The Tillery location gave us the perfect middle-ground location. We also liked that it wasn’t in downtown so we didn’t have to deal with traffic or parking issues. The East Austin atmosphere is a massive plus, too.

JB:  I think I just wandered around.

That was a trick question because I was just an ordinary member both times James joined so I wasn’t giving tours.

JC: I’m not falling for your sly tricks!

JB: You trickster.

I think one of you occasionally brings in baked goods? Which one is the baked-goods hero? And do you do the baking or is that the work of someone else?

JB: That's me....or rather my wife, Amber. She's equal parts Bill Nye and Mary Berry.

Can you bring in some baked goods next week? Something made with chocolate?

JB: Done.

Until we opened our newest office — the Groove Room — you guys sat in the Study Hall in the loft. Since very few people ever worked up there, can you tell us what it’s like? Are the loft crew like a little family? Do you guys have a Createscape Loft softball team you’re not telling the rest of us about?

JC: LOL… the Loft is a great quiet place to work. [Editor’s note: The Study Hall is our designated “quiet office.”]

JB: In a word: sunlight.

What was it that lured you down from the loft to claim a couple of designated desks in the brand new, sun-filled Groove Room?

JB: You nailed it with “sun-filled.” We jumped on the opportunity for the natural light! Plus the chance for conversations with a new group of people was a great plus, too.

Do you guys have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or bar in the neighborhood that you want to tell the rest of us about?

JB: What, so there can be a line when I go there? Sigh. I'm a fan of Papa Joe's on Springdale,

JC: I’m a big fan of [our nextdoor neighbor] Native Grocery breakfast tacos. Our favorite lunch spot is actually a Vietnamese/Asian place on East Oltorf called “Hai Ky.”

Member Q&A with James Cobb and Jason Brock

Compiled by Riki Markowitz