Someone asked me the other day what I love most about being CEO at Happier. I had to think a while and that is awesome — there were a LOT of choices for an answer. Working on something I am beyond passionate about that can actually improve people’s lives. Creating something I’ve dreamed of for a long time. Working with an absolutely incredible team which feels more like family most days. Yes, that. Our freaking incredible team 🙂
So I am psyched to introduce the members of team awesome… I mean, team Happier, to you through a series of interviews I did with each person. Kicking it off with Ian Albert, our lead iOS developer and truly the funniest person I know.
Ian, what do you do at Happier?
I’m the lead iOS developer at Happier. I take the designs Sarah (our UX lead) creates and turn them into bugs. I mean screens. I’m also the unofficial office cartographer and ‘peeler of plastic’ off new gadgets.
Who did you want to be growing up?
I actually grew up expecting to be an artist, because I was always drawing. In my teens I thought I’d be more of an architect. Still drawing, but with the nerdy technical stuff I’d always gravitated towards. Then I discovered computers and fell into mostly user interface development, so that visual arts stuff still enters into my work, despite the more technical nature of my profession.
I juggled a lot in college, because that’s what dorks do in college. I used to juggle swords and torches, and I even managed to juggle 7 balls on a few occasions. I also know way more about writing systems and typography than is healthy or appropriate.
One skill you’d love to have…
I sort of wish I were better at business. I have lots of ideas and work on lots of personal projects that I never do anything with. I wish I had the drive to turn that into huge, profitable business. As is, I content myself to align with others who have that skill.
When not at Happier you’re most likely…
Playing pool, reading way too many Wikipedia articles, drinking Guinness, and (when I have time) working on one nerdy personal programming project or another.
Favorite work perk?
Apart from having a dedicated beer fridge, the best is getting a constant stream of feedback from users about some new feature I wrote and hearing that they love it. Few jobs have that kind of direct positive feedback. I love it.
I enjoy Neal Stephenson, especially Cryptonomicon. My favorite book of all time is Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, which I reread from time to time. Most of the books on my shelf tend to be nerdy reference books though. Yes, that hardcover Unicode specification IS mine, and yes I DID buy it with my own money for personal use.
It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re hungry. You reach for…?
I’m probably the only non-foodie at Happier, so I reach for leftover pizza, PB&J, or a beer from the fridge.
One question I’ve not asked you that you’d like to share:
Q. If an airplane sits on a conveyor belt with the conveyor speed matching the forward speed of the aircraft but in the reverse direction, can the aircraft take off?
A. Yes, because the propulsion works against the air, not the ground. The wheels can spin in any direction at any speed without making a difference to the forward motion of the airplane.