Dave Burke's natural state is to try and fix things. He used to make robots as a child in Dublin. He once created an entire app on a 12-hour flight.
As Google's VP for engineering on Android, managing a team of 2,700, his fingerprints are all over 3 billion phones and tablets being used every day.
So it may not be a surprise that he recently turned his attention to an urgent problem: Covid-19. He thought he might help stop its spread.
The trigger for this, though, was a family medical situation.
"At the beginning of last year, my son was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia," he says.
Burke's response was to bury himself in research about it to try and help maximise treatment options.
"I basically disappeared for months in the basement, reading over 300 medical papers and books on genomics and genetics," he says.
"I looked across the whole of the US to find the best doctors. I found them in Seattle. And that's where my son got treated."
His son, he says, is now doing well.
But Burke, now Ireland's top engineer in Silicon Valley, says that the experience helped to spark him into action on doing something around Covid-19.
"When you're thrust into this world of paediatric oncology, you see a lot of kids and parents struggling," he says. "You build a lot of empathy. My response to that was that when my son started doing a lot better, I wanted to help more. I'd seen all that suffering. That's really how I got so interested in this in the first place."
Fast forward a year and Burke is talking to me on the launch day of Ireland's new Covid Tracker app, which is built partly due to the efforts of his team's collaborative design efforts with Apple.
As we talk, the app is soaring in Ireland, exceeding 750,000 installations on local phones within its first 24 hours. It's the fastest-downloaded app in Irish history. By lunchtime the next day, it will have reached 1m downloads.
It was also an unprecedented collaboration between conventional rivals Google and Apple on a technical application.
Was that collaboration hard?
"I'd say it was more intense than hard," Burke says. "It's pretty unusual for us to work with Apple as, obviously, it's not our natural state. We're very competitive and I think that's a good thing for consumers. But I think on this narrow project we're good partners."
Is it likely to be a one-off?
"Yeah, I think this is a one-off," he says. "We're very aligned on the mission here. This is a global pandemic. "We're all in it together. Folks just want to help make something happen and the key thing is for this type of system to work. So it's got to work across Android and iPhone."
And work it does. The API provided by Google and Apple, together with the engineering muscle that both giants have injected, has come to the rescue for many countries who couldn't get locked iPhones to reliably work or save batteries from being zapped.
On top of that, the strict privacy protocols baked into the Google-Apple tech solution mean that the app passed data privacy tests far quicker than most governments' own initial app designs.
But those same governments have noticed just how quick and efficient the Google-Apple intervention has been. This week, both Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and HSE boss Paul Reid spoke of future potential for the Google- Apple technology, with Mr Donnelly even going so far as to compare the two tech companies to the ESB, utilities that can't be avoided.
This has already led to some counter-arguments about accountability and control over vital future health projects.
Is this something that Burke thinks is a fair concern?
"If you look at what's being built, the majority of experience and the interaction and the risk model is not up to Google and Apple," he says.
"I mean we were literally just providing the capability at a low level in the APIs. It's actually quite a small part of the overall solution. Deciding when and who you notify, what happens when they're notified and all of those flows are not Google and Apple's decision. And it shouldn't be either. That's not our expertise.
"What we're good at is making this thing run efficiently from a battery point of view or helping lay a groundwork for privacy-preserving approach that protects users. That's the stuff we're good at," says Burke.
"It was because of the urgency of the situation here that we got very involved, working closely with all of the public health agencies and governments around the world, as well as with universities. We just wanted to turbocharge the effort and to get it moving. But really, the majority of this [decision making] is as it should be - in the application itself. I would say we're really a small piece of it."
This means, Burke says, that there's no grand plan within these companies for some type of larger, long-term engagement with national health authorities as critical platform providers that can't be left out for new services to work.
"When you start thinking more generally about the [health authority] things that people might be interested in doing, they are not really going to be within our wheelhouse," he says.
"At the end of the day, we're operating as platform providers and operating system providers. It's already pretty targeted."
Burke says that one "confusing" user issue around the app - the requirement to have the location setting switched on for Bluetooth to work, even though the app itself can't track you - may be remedied in the medium term.
"I understand that this is confusing from a user perspective," he says. "But it's a legacy thing that was built in five or six years ago so that Bluetooth scanning would work. The irony is that, at the time, this was put in to preserve or even to increase privacy. But the actual exposure notification system does not use device location at all. It just uses Bluetooth scanning. There's no way to track another person or a location."
Despite his interest in the app and its broad topicality right now, the Covid Tracker API is a very small part of Burke's work remit. Android 11 is one of the year's big events for him and his huge engineering team. It's currently in 'beta' with a new iteration released this week. It's an unimaginable potential impact. The changes made here will affect the daily behaviour, literally, of billions.
Burke can't go into too much detail about what's coming in future, but he says he's pretty excited about folding phones.
"I've seen a lot of the upcoming hardware and it's among the most exciting stuff coming out right now, yes," he says. "There's a pretty interesting opportunity here if you can get the form factor right. The first generation of the devices were quite big. But if you can hit the sweet point, if you have a six inch device that, when folded out is a tablet, suddenly you know that you have a pretty interesting proposition."
Burke has been in the US for around 13 years, having joined Google in 2007 after a spell as CTO in an Irish voice technology startup, Voxpilot. While the Irish accent is now falling below the 50pc threshold, he wouldn't be an Irish-made Googler if he didn't pay homage to the company's lynchpin Dublin office.
"It's a pretty major part of the business," he says. "It's been there for nearly 17 years and we have 8,000 employees. That was a reason why we made sure to help the government on their contact tracing effort. It was a high priority for us."