Meet John D’Alessio
Name: John D’Alessio
Title: Co-Founder and Rails Team Lead
Location: San Francisco
Interviewed by: Sarah Vanier, Senior Director of Marketing & Operations
Sarah: How did you learn how to program?
Daless: I started programming when I was 12 years old – my dad (who worked at IBM) gave me a book about games written in BASIC. I then went on to get a BS in Comp Sci at Westchester University in Pennsylvania. I started off in Physics and had to take a CS class. My CS professor, who happened to be the head of the department, said if I ever wanted to put food on the table, I needed to switch to CS. And it’s been coding ever since.
Sarah: Why did you come to Biba?
Daless: I worked with (co-founder) Aaron Gowatch and (CEO) Carlin Wiegner for quite a few years at Symantec and Success Factors. Joining them to start Biba was a no-brainer.
Sarah: How do you get to work?
Daless: I ride my bike from NOPA almost every day. I have bad luck on Muni. I save that story for beer.
Sarah: What do you wear to work?
Daless: Jeans and a t-shirt, usually about beer or sky-diving.
Sarah: When is your coding primetime?
Daless: I prefer to write code after 8pm at night, largely because as Biba has grown, I have more day-to-day tasks of keeping engineering in line. I’ve also tried to institute a “no meetings” rule on Wednesday which turn into very productive coding days.
Sarah: What’s your favorite programming language?
Daless: I always loved writing in C – I know that sounds weird, but I find it fun to writing something elegant and pretty in a low level language. But I’ve also recently grown very fond of Ruby and Rails.
Sarah: What would you say you’re good at? (Cue Daless smirk) I know, hard question – pretend you’re in an interview and you have to fess up.
Daless: I’d say I’m good at taking complex systems and breaking them down into pieces so they can be understood better and easily managed and maintained.
Daless: Skydiving. That’s pretty much it.
Sarah: Do you have any pets?
Daless: Yes, I have a dog named Willow. She was a rescue.
Sarah: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Daless: I’d have to say it’s probably stubbornness and close-mindedness – when people dig in their heels and never re-assess their stance on something.
Sarah: What’s your favorite type of food?
Daless: Basically anything grilled.
Sarah: What’s your favorite movie?
Daless: Tombstone. It’s a classic.
Sarah: What’s your favorite sports team?
Daless: The Eagles.
Sarah: Hmm. No comment.
Sarah: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Daless: Cool Ranch Doritos. It drives my wife nuts as I usually have an entire bag only after I’ve had a few.
Sarah: If you weren’t a programmer, what would you be?
Daless: Hmm, I’m always looking at businesses and how I think they could be run better, so I’d say I’d probably be a small business owner – maybe own a restaurant.