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Software release specialist: 'Computer years'


Chris Kast, software release specialist
Chris Kast lets off steam by riding "my little minibike" around the office at Dantz Development Corp. in Orinda, California.  

I'm what they call a release coordinator for Dantz Development Corp., a backup software company in Orinda, California.

Dantz has been in business since 1984, which is quite long in computer years. We protect the data of everyone from home users to large corporations.

In my job, I pull together all the necessary pieces -- everything from the software to the documentation -- and burn the final CD. I also create the final installers and the autorun ( you know, that neat little window that shows up every time you pop in a CD).

I also do about a million other jobs but the above is what's actually in my job description.

Years in position

I've been in the job for 14 months.


graphic Chris Kast talks about being a hero when his operation gets the product out on time, a "devil" when not. Does it work that way for you?

Same. I live or die by what's done at 5p.
I'm lucky: My associates are on a more even keel.
I should be so lucky. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.
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I'm 24, and a Cancer.


I have a BS from St. Mary's College of California (not the all-girls one).

How did you get your current job?

I found it on

How many hours do you work per week?

I usually work 40 to 50 hours per week; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

Sit down at one of my three computers and read for a half-hour (honestly, no joke). I don't drink coffee (I hate it with a passion) so I just try to wake up naturally.

What time do you have lunch? What do you usually eat?

Noon. We have an on-site deli that serves some of the best barbecue around.

What time do things get tense around the office? What makes it that way?

Right around 3 p.m. it seems as though everyone needs something to go out by 5 -- that's when FedEx does their last stop -- so I'm usually scrambling around for the last two hours.

If you're having a good day at work, what is it that makes it good?

When we actually get the work out by 5 o'clock. It's funny -- I become a hero to our sales and marketing team when we get it done, and the devil when we don't.

If you're having a good day at work, what is it that makes it good?

Dantz Development -- where Chris Kast releases all that software -- claims the No. 77 spot on the 2000 SoftLetter 100 list of largest personal computer software companies. Its flagship product is Retrospect and its clients include Amgen, Apple, BMW, British Telecom, Genentech, Liberty Mutual, Lockheed Martin, Merck, NASA, Nortel, Pixar and Walt Disney. We met Kast when he used our handy submission form to let us know about his day on the job. If you'd like to do the same, click here,   just as Kast did.

When we actually get the work out by 5 o'clock. It's funny -- I become a hero to our sales and marketing team when we get it done, and the devil when we don't.

How much work, if any, do you take home?

I try to leave all my work at my desk. I may spend half-an-hour reading e-mails, and that's it.

What does your work contribute to society?

We do backup software so many people and companies entrust us with their data. It's nice to hear "restore stories" from customers. It makes me realize why I spent the last three months doing what I do.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?

Who knows? I'm only 24 so I've got a long time to figure that out.

If you could have two more careers, what would they be?

A professional surfer and a crash-test dummy.

What's an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

Passing the buck. I hate when people can't take responsibility for their own actions. If you screw up, fine. Just admit the mistake and try to correct it. None of us is perfect.

What do you do to relieve stress?

Ride my little minibike around the office. Who says they don't have fun at software companies anymore?

What have you been reading lately?

I just finished reading my new Maxim magazine from cover to cover. Amazing stuff, I tell you.

When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work?

My rent. I couldn't' pay it if I quit. Have you seen the prices of Bay Area housing?



• Dantz Development Corporation
• St. Mary's College of California (not the all-girls one)

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