People at Olive Tree
There must be something in the air around here, because it’s confession time. On the heels of Elizabeth’s announcement that she is a wee bit afraid of technology, I must admit that I also have a secret problem.
This may not sound like a big issue, competition is a way of life in the USA, but I’m not just kind of competitive. For example, if you and I were walking into a building at the same time, I would have to force myself to refrain from taking off running and proclaiming, “Last one to the door is a rotten egg!” Sometimes I play out the race in my head anyway and smugly open the door, knowing that I won and you are a rotten egg.
Usually I can filter my competitiveness so that it stays in my head. When I pull out my phone at church to open my Olive Tree app to the Bible verse, I secretly peek over to the person next to me who is doing the same, but (more…)
I am something of a technophobe.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I work at a Bible software company.
In the bubble of college two years ago, I was vaguely aware that technology existed, that some of my classmates were getting smartphones and that people actually used computers for something other than writing papers. But my mind was tied up with others things, i.e. what I was going to do after college with a Theology major and English minor.
A year and a half after graduating and 11 months after starting at Olive Tree, I purchased my first device: a brand-new Kindle Fire HD. The package arrived after work on a Monday afternoon. I saw the package on my dining room table and immediately regarded it with suspicion. What was I actually supposed to do with this thing? I sat on the couch and it sat next to me. I stared at it and it stared back.
I took the Fire to work the next day and called over my developer coworker, Ian. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t opened it yet and helped me set it up with a few quick swipes and taps. On my own, I downloaded Olive Tree’s app, found the icon in my carousel, and confidently tapped on it. I saw the green splash screen, and immediately got this message:
BibleReader has stopped working.
Over the last year Olive Tree has experienced tremendous growth and welcomed some great new people to our team. With these new additions, we’ve also recognized our experienced team members who have taken on leadership roles. Daniel Scott has been working for Olive Tree in numerous capacities over the last two years, including managing the customer satisfaction and marketing teams. He also represents Olive Tree at Christian conferences and events around the globe. We are excited to announce that Daniel (known as Danny around here) will be taking on the role of Director of Publisher and Ministry Relations.
Danny is fun-loving and appreciates a good pun, often posting groan-inducing cartoons on our kitchen bulletin board. Here are a few more things you should know about our new DPMR:
Tell us a little about your family.
Danny: My wife and I met through ACTION International Ministries where I served as the ministry assistant to the International Director. We have been married almost 3 years now and are excited to welcome our first child into our home this fall.
A group of Olive Tree employees met this morning to pray for Olive Tree, our users, our industry partners, and the personal concerns of our employees. We started our time together by reading from Day 3 of Olive Tree’s 30-Day Devotional, which included a Scripture passage from John 15:7 and an excerpt from R.A. Torrey’s book How to Pray. Torrey writes:
“Now for us to abide in Christ is for us to bear the same relation to Him that the first sort of branches bear to the vine. To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own…and constantly to look to Him for the inflow of His life into us, and the outworking of His life through us. When we do this, and in so far as we do this, our prayers will obtain that which we seek from God.”
The renouncing of an independent life is true for Olive Tree as a business, but it’s also true for each individual who has devoted his or her life to Christ.
What might it look like for you to renounce your independence in favor of a Christ-governed life?
Is it okay to say “end of summer” already? It’s always hard to tell.
Our next-door neighbors, a mission organization called Partners International, always host a barbeque at the end of August for the three companies in our building. This year Olive Tree was assigned to bring sides and salads and you might say that we “dressed” to impress. We brought pasta salad, potato salad, coleslaw, Caesar salad, green salad, fruit salad, and deviled eggs. What more could you ask for at a barbeque?
Here are some pictures from today’s festivities:
Olive Tree’s CEO, Stephen Johnson, looks on while a Partners employee flips burgers and hot dogs.
Olive Tree and Partners employees stand in a big circle getting ready to pray before the meal.
I told you there was LOTS of food, right? The table didn’t look quite so neat after we all came through.
Tell us about your favorite summer BBQs in the comments section. What’s a barbeque food you can’t live without?
Last week we announced that Stephen Johnson, formerly the CTO of Olive Tree, had been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer. We are very excited about this transition and the ways in which Stephen’s enthusiasm and experience will impact Olive Tree for the better. Around here we know Stephen to be a driven and skilled developer and committed family man. We thought you should get to know him, too.
Here are ten things you should know about the new CEO of Olive Tree Bible Software:
1. He likes to build things.
Stephen: When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Two things changed my mind: the first was realizing that I hated the sight of blood, and the second was knowing I wanted to build and create new things. In college, I saw my future in building and crafting amazing products. I love the problem solving and design side of software engineering, but what really excites me is creating a product that has an impact on our world and that people love.
2. He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.
Stephen: I studied two and a half years at Arizona State University and then transferred to a small Catholic school, the University of Portland. I got a BS in computer science from UP. The small classes and professors like Dr. Vegdahl really helped accelerate and deepen my understanding of software engineering. After I graduated from UP, I worked at Tektronix for a year. I had a great job, but I was itching to go back to school and continue learning, so I went to Portland State University and got a master’s degree in computer science. My master’s thesis was on debugging functional logic languages. I had a blast diving into functional logic research languages.
3. He loves his family.
Stephen: I have been married for just over four years. We have two kids, a two-and-a-half-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.
4. He is outdoorsy.
Stephen: I love being in the outdoors. I mostly go hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking. We have a ton of fun taking our family out on short hikes. It is awesome seeing my son enjoying running through the woods. My daughter has a great time watching it all from my back.
5. He bikes to work.
Stephen: I usually ride my bike to work. The amount I ride my bike varies by season, but I managed to ride my bike to work at least once each month over the last 12 months. I think the coldest morning was around 15˚ F.
6. He is a member at a local church.
Stephen: I attend Grace Christian Fellowship. There is a lot I love about GCF. I love that it is radically gospel centered and focuses on how the gospel applies to my life, my marriage, my family, etc. I deserve eternal hell and judgment and yet God in his infinite and amazing mercy chose to save me! Amazing!
7. He loves to read.
Stephen: There are a number of books that I’ve really enjoyed reading. I love reading fiction. The Chiveis Trilogy from Crossway is a great trilogy (I haven’t had a chance to read the last of the trilogy that just came out a few weeks ago, but I’m planning on it). Probably my favorite fiction series is the Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers published by Tyndale. For non-fiction, I like reading business books like Good to Great by Jim Collins. I am currently reading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni (this book is amazing!).
My favorite book of the Bible is Romans. It is such a clear presentation of the gospel and how it applies to my life. My favorite Scripture passages are 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Philippians 2:12-13. We are responsible to “behold the Lord” and “work out [our] own salvation” yet it is only God who “transforms” and “works in us.” This is such an awesome tension. I am not called to just sit back and wait for God to change me, I have a responsibility. And yet there is no way I have any hope of changing myself. It is only God who can change my life. He deserves all of the glory!
8. He drinks coffee and tea.
Stephen: I mostly drink tea, but I love both. I got hooked on coffee in college when I would stay up late studying. I then started frequently getting headaches and I found that they went away when I didn’t drink coffee. So I started drinking tea instead. I love a good cup of black coffee (I am actually drinking one as I write this), but I have to be careful not to drink too much. I also love black tea, and I drink a lot of that. There are two things I need to get me in the mental frame of mind to build software, get work done, and let the creative energies flow: the first is a good cup of coffee or tea and the second is classical music. I am currently listening to Sibelius. Classical music and tea have an amazing way of keeping me at a high level of creativity for a long period of time.
9. He is ready to be the CEO of Olive Tree.
Stephen: I did an internship at Olive Tree 11 years ago and have been working at Olive Tree full time for just about 8 years. When I started at Olive Tree, we were a very small company and right from the start I jumped into the business. My preparation for being CEO is hands-on knowledge and experience. I have spent time learning the theoretical side of business from books, podcasts and trainings, but I think what prepares me most for this job is my day-to-day involvement in Olive Tree over the last decade.
10. He believes it is a privilege to work at Olive Tree.
Stephen: I love working on something that has an eternal impact. What we do at Olive Tree matters. It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to create tools that God uses in people’s lives. Just this morning a dad contacted me on Twitter to let me know how he was using our software with his son for their journaling time. It is an amazing privilege and so humbling to play even a small part in that father leading his family spiritually.