We recently added Dan Fried to the Lua engineering team. After meeting Dan as a Techstars Hackstar, and having a ton of fun working with him, we were lucky enough to bring him on full time at the end of the program. Dan is a native Brooklynite with a never-ending supply of fascinating stories acquired on his extensive and bizarre journeys around the globe. Get to know him through our interview below.
Where are you from, what were you up to before Lua?
I'm Dan, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I was a Hackstar at Techstars prior to joining Lua. Before that, I was working on a project mapping Greater New York's ethnic neighborhoods over time. Before that, I was working at Shapeways, a 3D printing company.
What do you do for Lua, and what are your engineering specialties?Initially I'll be working mostly on the API, but I think I'm gonna be touching most of the site eventually. I'm a full stack web developer, and I love learning new things.
What are some of your hobbies?
I like to cook a lot. I've been growing vegetables on my roof all summer. Tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, and now they're all in full bloom. I've been spending a lot of time doing that. I like to build things. I've been playing with my Arduino a lot and I'm really excited for my Raspberry Pi to get here. I want to build robots, computer stuff that actually moves.
I'm also really passionate about Electronic Dance Music, and I DJ a bit, though not as much as I'd like to.
Tell us about your time hitchhiking:
I spent the summer I graduated from College hitchhiking over 10,000 miles around North America, through 20 states. New York is a really different place from the rest of America, and I wanted to see what the rest of the country was like. Of course, since I'm from New York, I didn't have a Driver's License, so it was either Greyhound or hitchhiking, and I had already done Greyhound.
Did you bring a computer with you?
I was traveling light. You really can't bring more than a backpack while hitchhiking, and it's only recently that laptops are light enough to carry in a backpack. I had a Blackberry 8700, the one with the scroll wheel on the side. I was using that to keep in touch with people back home, and to map things, and find people and stuff to do in new cities. I got a lot of mileage out of that. I used a program called Google Latitude to show people where I was in realtime on a map. This was a while before Foursquare. It was really cool having access to people, nice to be connected. It seems really primitive in retrospect, though.
Did that experience inform your interest in Lua?
Definitely. On the road, there were a lot of times where I'd call somebody I knew was at a computer and have them do something for me, or look something up for me. That kind of asynchronous relationship where you have somebody in the field and somebody at a computer coordinating together can be extremely powerful. They have distinctly different roles, and the information they need to give each other is very different; that realm of communication can be so powerful, but it hasn't been fully explored yet. I think Lua is doing that.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I saw Chronicle recently, that was a fantastic movie, definitely my favorite superhero movie of late. It was made super cheap by a young director. It was about these kids who develop superpowers and it drives one of them insane. It was the first movie i've seen that actually captured how big a role technology plays in kids' lives. When you have a 40 year old making a movie about 16 year olds, even if they listen to rap music and wear skinny jeans, it's still a movie about 16 year olds from when the director was 16. In this movie, when things start to go bad, everybody just whips out their phone and starts to film. That was a cool touch.