Meet the Bears Interview: Jason Cohen
Develop | Posted December 08, 2008

Jason Cohen, aka Chief Bear, started it all as the founder of Smart Bear.  His contributions to Smart Bear include almost everything, having made Code Collaborator and writing the book on Peer Code Reviews (Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review), which we'll send you free.  You can check out his blog at

What is your Job Title?

Founder of Smart Bear, Inc.

Describe a day in the life as the founder of Smart Bear.

I used to write code.  Now it takes me until lunchtime to make it down the hall.  My time is divided between sticking my nose in internal engineering and marketing projects and counseling customers on how they can most effectively use our tool and review code generally.

Where were you and what did you do before Smart Bear?

I was unpaid-employee-number-one at ITWatchdogs where we made server room climate and power monitors.  We were the most inexpensive internet-enabled devices back before everything had an IP address so the company did well.  Still is!

What is your favorite thing about Smart Bear?

Our culture.  I like coming to work every day with people who also like coming to work every day.  We don't have "managers" -- everyone is self-directed but is introspective and open-minded enough to take input from others and make the right choices.  If we're not sure what to do, we agree on "try and measure," and there's no penalties if something doesn't work out.  It means everyone is free to do what they think is right, yet we can still be honest with each other.

What are some of your favorite websites?

What are your favorite activities?  Hobbies?

Improv comedy
Ultimate frisbee

Favorite music bands?


Favorite spots in Austin?

Opal Devine's
Z' Tejas
La Fonda San Migel

(gee they're all tex-mex)


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