Embracing the burrito: How we signal affirmation at BrainGu

2 min read

In the early days of BrainGu, we were working on our first government contract, and in the process of developing and establishing our remote team communications protocols. We discovered a gap in our methods. We didn’t have a non-intrusive way to acknowledge a message. If someone were to reply to a comment with “Got it,” or “Roger,” or any variation a notification would be sent out to everyone associated with that message, which was quite unnecessary.

The solution was of course to add an emoji to a message indicating read and received. This left a clear visible indicator that the message had been read by the intended recipient, without sending out a cascade of notifications.

The obvious ones like :thumbs-up: 👍 were used at first, but those took too long to find, remember this was in the before times, long before your favorite and most frequently used emojis would get automatically stored at the top. So, the :burrito: 🌯 was born. Why? No one really knows, but everyone loves burritos, so it stuck and became the BrainGu universal symbol for “I’ve seen this.” Soon the use of the burrito started to spill out from BrainGu Slack channels into our customer chat services and was being used on those teams as well, by both BrainGu employees and their counterparts that worked for our partners.

In the spirit of BrainGu’s philosophy of driving customer journeys from Automation to Innovation, our own Brent Johnson uttered those famous last words, “Why stop there?” And went onto develop the now-defunct, Botrito. (Side note: developed might be a slight exaggeration, he spent a few minutes creating this automation.) The Botrito’s sole purpose was to automatically add emojis to slack messages.

Like all language, our BrainGu-isms have also evolved. From simply indicating “I’ve seen this,” to being used as a symbol for celebrating good news. Whether that good news is work-related, “Hey, I just got a promotion!” or personal, “Hey, I just got engaged!” We’ve also kicked our emoji game up a notch, including a :party-burrito: :party-Kubernetes: and so many Star Wars themed ones.

More on the Botrito

Why was the Botrito created? Truthfully, it made Brent Johnson laugh.

import time
from slackclient import SlackClient
#Put the OATH token here or do a get_env as in the post mentioned above.
slack_client = SlackClient('SOMETHING')
#Target's user ID in slack.  Code below shows how to get all.
someone_id = ''
# starterbot's user ID in Slack: value is assigned after the bot starts up
starterbot_id = None
# constants
RTM_READ_DELAY = 1 # 1 second delay between reading from RTM
def add_reaction(channel, ts, emoji):
def parse_bot_commands(slack_events):
    for event in slack_events:
        if event["type"] == "message" and not "subtype" in event:
            if event['user'] == someone_id:
               add_reaction(event['channel'], event['ts'], 'burrito')
if __name__ == "__main__":
    if slack_client.rtm_connect(with_team_state=False):
        print("Starter Bot connected and running!")
        # Read bot's user ID by calling Web API method `auth.test`
        starterbot_id = slack_client.api_call("auth.test")["user_id"]
#uncomment these to print a list of all available users and their IDs.
        #users = slack_client.api_call("users.list")
        #for usr in users['members']:
        #    print usr['profile']['display_name'], usr['id']
        while True:
        print("Connection failed. Exception traceback printed above.")			

Who Is BrainGu?

BrainGu develops custom DevSecOps software that enables mission success and boasts exceptional user and developer experience by working directly with end-users to solve their real-life problems and continuously improve capabilities. By automating pinch points, BrainGu innovates new ways to solve mission problems.

Our vision is to solve complex national security challenges for the United States and its allies by incubating and scaling technology solutions that emphasize fielded, meaningful military capability in the hands of operators and mission owners.

BrainGu is setting the standard for rapid deployment and scalability of mission applications. As part of our Mission App as a Service solution offering, BrainGu offers subscription and packaged app timeline products that are aligned to BrainGu’s overall mission to provide the best, cutting-edge technology to the warfighter at the tactical edge.

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