Q&A Spotlight with Kevin Frank

by Danielle Borges - Marketing & Sales Director

Kevin Frank has been using FileMaker Pro since the late ’80s. He hosts the popular FileMaker Hacks blog and resides “behind the redwood curtain” in Humboldt County, California. Learn more about our newest Senior Application Developer below.

– If you weren’t a FileMaker developer, what would your profession be?

That’s a tough one. I’ve been working with FileMaker Pro for so long it’s hard to imagine doing something else. Ideally, some profession where I could solve interesting problems. (When I was a kid, my parents used to say I was destined to become a lawyer because I enjoyed arguing so much.)

– Before the FileMaker Hacks blog started, you submitted a book proposal with the same title to O’Reilly. Would you write a book about something else?

There are so many millions of books out there. The question is: would I be able to come up with something worth writing about that hasn’t already been done better by someone else?

Incidentally, O’Reilly never acknowledged my proposal, which was a good thing in retrospect, as my blog probably wouldn’t exist if they’d been interested.

– What is the hardest thing about producing content for FileMaker Hacks?

Finding the time.

– I heard in the Context Podcast that you use a pen and paper to solve problems. How do you stay organized?

On the “analog” side, I make diagrams and take lots of notes with pen and paper, which end up in notebooks or in manila folders. Often times I’ll take pictures of those pages so I can access them in the digital realm. I also have a couple huge white boards in my office. My creative process is very different with a pen in my hand, and recently I’ve been trying to get comfortable writing on my iPad with the Apple Pencil.

On the “digital” side, I use MindManager for brainstorming and visualization, and Evernote as a surrogate brain to store ideas, pictures, screenshots, PDFs and anything I find online that I might want to retrieve later. Dropbox is a big part of my workflow also… and of course with both Evernote and Dropbox your content is backed up in the cloud, and accessible on all your devices. I also make copious use of reminders and alarms.

– How much time do you spend coding that is not working but trying new things?

It varies from week to week, but I try to spend a few hours each week just “playing” in FileMaker. I build a ton of demo files to help me understand things. Some of those demo files end up becoming the basis for blog articles. I also keep a shortcut to a “test” file on my computer desktop to have instant access to a “sandbox” to try things out. 

– How do you push yourself to learn new things?

To be honest, I don’t feel like it’s a question of “pushing” as much as being curious, and wanting to find out how things work. 

– You share a lot of knowledge with the FileMaker community. Why?

Because the FileMaker community has shared a lot of knowledge with me, and it just feels like the right thing to do. Also I learn so much in the process of building the demos and writing the articles, and especially from the feedback I get. We have this amazing, vibrant community of people freely sharing information and the result is we all get smarter.

– Are you part of all the FileMaker community groups and Slack channels? How do you keep up with all the content shared?

One could easily devote all one’s time to following online FileMaker discussions. I skim a lot, and participate very selectively. One-on-one or small-group conversations with colleagues are my preferred way to keep up actually.

– After the pandemic is entirely under control, what are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to in-person interactions with clients, colleagues and extended family.

– You love to bicycle. What is your go-to song when you are riding up a mountain?

The 3rd movement of J.S. Bach’s Italian Concerto.

– How about when you’re figuring out a FileMaker hack?

I was going to say something soothing like Baroque lute, Chopin nocturnes, or Haydn or Mozart string quartets, but most likely it would be silence.

We know Kevin is famous in the community, but we hope you got to learn new things about him.  Check out our Q&A session to learn more about recent Codies joining them team!

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