Last month, Jared Banyard joined team Lua. He's an experienced Android developer who was previously working at GroupMe. We asked Jared a few questions so you can get to know him.
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Seattle, Washington. I moved from there when I was about 6 with my family. Then we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska when I was 12. After Lincoln, I went to upstate New York for college at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I got my degree in applied computer engineering.
What were you doing before Lua?
Before Lua, I was at GroupMe, working on their Android application. I came on post-buyout, helping them keep up with Android.
What are you working on at Lua?
I'm helping get the newest iterations of the Android app out and into clients' hands. A ton of performance improvements, and I'm keeping it up to speed with the latest design guidelines and best practice implementations. It's always hard to keep a very complex app like this up to date, and in a state where you can build features without having to worry about maintaining code.
Do you have any hobbies?
Well, I'm a bit of a nerd, so there are computer games. I'm a craft beer nerd as well - I've taken beer to the nerd level. I know all the styles, have built my own bar, and have a cellar of my collected craft beer.
I've also built over 100 custom computers, in fact I just built a new one for my workstation at Lua.
What's something we don't know about you?
I recently went with my wife to Eastern Europe. We took a trip to find my wife's grandfather's birth place, in modern day Slovenia. It was hard to find, took us a while to figure out, because the town had changed names three times. It turned out it's modern day Koblarji. The whole town is fifty houses, two hours into the green mountains of Slovenia. Nobody spoke English, but we found it, and just drove around town.
What attracted you to Lua and the problem we're solving here?
Well, as part of GroupMe, we were in a field that's very competitive right now. I saw a dozen other companies come up and try to complete. But everybody is fighting for a space that doesn't have any money in it really, and no real business plan. I could see that Lua was very business minded, and actually had some foresight into the future, realizing that it's not just about getting as many teenagers messaging on your platform as possible. It's about actually trying to improve the life of people in workforce and trying to improve efficiency in the workplace in general. Building a maintainable, monitored, and managed system to deal with a workforce, I think that's just a smart move.
What keeps you excited about mobile and the Android platform?
I've always been a big fan of Google, and followed them for a very long time. I've never been a big fan of Apple, I didn't really agree with the whole closed off ecosystem. I was working at a defense contractor after college, which was burning me out, and I got wind of the Android platform coming out, so I followed that very closely. When Android came out, I started hacking right away, even when the SDK was still in beta, and I bought the G1 the day it came out. I've been following the ecosystem, developer crowd, the community ever since then. I've been able to go to a lot of Google conferences, and I know a bunch of the Google team. I loved all of it, and they are all really good people.
After moving into my first full-time Android role from my defense job, I suddenly found myself doing something that I was truly passionate about.