Meet the man, the myth, the Android legend, Brandon McAnsh, PLANOLY’s senior engineer for Android. He’s mastered the #WFH life since day one at PLANOLY, cultivating and maintaining strong team relationships all while working completely remote. And once you meet him, you’ll immediately understand why. His quiet ease and contemplative laugh makes you feel like a friend, and you can’t help but feel like he’s one of those genuinely nice guys like Mark Ruffalo.
He attributes his self-taught, professional engineering knowledge to the simple mantra of “trial through failure,” and applies that same principle when raising his three little ones with wife Ashley in Michigan. He’s a builder at the core – curious, innovative and determined to figure things out like how to create unique product features for our PLANOLY community.
We chatted with Brandon in his basement/workspace/gym/secret lair via Zoom, and learned a few gems on life, work, and everything outside of the regular code.
Embrace new directions in life. Where you are currently isn’t always where you’ll end up.
Do we ever really know what we want to be when we grow up? Brandon says he’s still figuring that part out. The self-taught engineer wasn’t always on a path to software engineering: “I’m still figuring out what I want to do. When I was in 6th grade, I had to pick a profession, and I picked an architect for some reason.”
He gave a go at a few things before landing on mobile:
“Shortly after architecture, I started thinking about accounting. However, I actually went to school for pharmacy and was a pharmacy tech for a couple of years. I thought I was dead set on pharmacy and knew that’s where my career was going to go, but then I found mobile, and that snowballed into where I am now.”
The switch to mobile was no passing phase, and Brandon has continued to follow this spark of curiosity for the past ten plus years. “I really just discovered Android back when it first became popular, but before that I had Blackberries and was really into the hacking space. That’s where I realized there was more to this than just the device.”
You have to fail hard to truly know how something is going to work.
We’re all afraid of failure, except for Brandon. His life mantra of “trial through failure” is coded into each pixel of his life.
“I am very big on building things which I guess led me to the engineering space. Since I’m a hundred percent self-taught, I learned more or less by breaking things. Failure is where you figure it out.”
Such a profound bit of wisdom applies to other areas of his life too like he and Ashley’s string of home improvement projects. “I worked on the molding in our family room, and it has like a thousand nail holes in it from me trying to get it right the first time. But each time I do another room, it turns out better and more polished. Trial through failures, man.”
Exploring passions and setting boundaries leads to wonder and innovation.
Creativity and curiosity led Brandon to his unforeseen career in engineering, and it’s easy to see how that same drive might be inside each of his three kids. We asked if he could already get a sense for what they might pursue in life, and how he supports their interests.
“My oldest is really into making her own stickers. She uses tape and attaches her art and design to it. She definitely might take the creative route, maybe even running an Etsy shop one day. And for my son, I’ve seen him pick up math really quickly through homeschooling and he loves building with Legos. I can see him being more analytical and perhaps working in engineering too. And the little one, well, she’s into everything.”
After meeting with Brandon, he shared one final sentiment anyone can keep in mind when trying to find the perfect work-life balance.
"Equal work-life balance is ironically a fantasy – something will always gain more of your attention. Awareness allows you to adapt to the changing tides of life and pour yourself into your priorities.”
Get to know more of the people behind PLANOLY in the coming months, and be sure to check out our current features, here.