Last month Brad Condo joined Hoop as a Founding Engineer. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the team. Here’s all about Brad and how he made his way to Hoop:
How fixing a printer changed my life
There are several questions that no engineer ever wants to hear:
“Why is production down?”
“Can you help me with my Wordpress blog?”
“Which is better, tabs or spaces?”
As it turns out, one of these very questions, “Can you fix the printer?” probably changed my life.
My interest in technology started when I was very young. So young in fact, that I was already known as someone who could potentially fix things with computers by the time I was in fifth grade. That’s when a frustrated teacher came to me to ask the question. “Can you fix the printer?” And so I did.
At that moment I realized how good it felt to solve tech problems. And while problems with printers aren’t the most exciting, I knew then what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It didn’t stop there, in high school I was offered my own desk and computer in the server room so that I could rebuild the district website. So while other kids were in study hall, I was teaching our school's IT staff how to write HTML, Perl and an emerging technology that some web browsers were starting to support called CSS (looking at you, Netscape). The rest, as they say, is history.
Embracing the joy of change
After college at “The” Ohio State University where I was fortunate to receive a full-time engineering position that helped me pursue my degree, I ventured into the agency space at a couple early-stage companies. Working at an agency early-on taught me so much, and I think it’s the way that most engineers should probably start their careers (especially vs. early stage startups).
Working at an agency early-on taught me so much . . . The frequency of changing clients and projects introduces you to new challenges every single day.
The frequency of changing clients and projects introduces you to new challenges every single day. The way fixed-bid projects teach you to be efficient with your time and find every way possible to re-use any work you’ve done in the past. And most of all, the impact that design and user experience has on the end user.
I was fortunate to be paired with tremendously talented designers at these agencies, and it changed the way I look at delivering applications to end-users to this day. I was also put into leadership positions that showed me the value of being a great mentor and leader without getting too far away from hands-on engineering.
Building from the ground up
After my experience with agencies I set out on a path where I could use my skills to build and grow a product with more focus. One of the most interesting parts of engineering to me is in the early stages when we’re staring at a blank canvas and thinking about the highest levels of product requirements.
This is where experience and creativity comes alive and where you can experiment the most with concepts that may or may not work. In particular, that first refactor of something you’ve built always feels particularly good as you are cleaning things up with a more clear understanding of the requirements.
I also truly enjoy solving engineering problems, and when you start from nothing there is never a shortage of those to solve, whether it be in code or in building a great team around you.
I think this is also one of the best chances for teams to be collaborative and creative together, which is a great way to build trust and learn how to be open to feedback. I also truly enjoy solving engineering problems, and when you start from nothing there is never a shortage of those to solve, whether it be in code or in building a great team around you.
It’s been an amazing journey that has taught me so much about the exhilarating yet messy world of startups, valuing the customers at all costs, and finding the right work/life balance, especially when it comes to remote work.
From the first conversations I had with Stella, Brian, Justin and Travis it became clear that Hoop thinks about the problem of remote work differently than anyone else I’ve talked with. The idea of remote work only really works when you’re able to do it asynchronously, and Hoop is very clear and intentional about not only how to solve that problem for customers, but also in our own work.
My family is my compass
I live near Cincinnati, OH with my wife and four children, and I cannot say enough how supportive and amazing they’ve been throughout my journey to Hoop. My wife and I combined our families when we married in 2018, her with two amazing girls (age 9 and 13), and my son (age 14) and daughter (age 10).
Having a family with children that have lost a parent, dealt with divorce (even the most amicable) and a daughter with special needs, life can be quite emotional and difficult. But this is what gives us strength and the lessons we need to navigate life while finding happiness and positivity through it all. My wife has a sign hanging up in our house that says “Some call it chaos, we call it family”, and I think embracing that message has been an important step for me in feeling fulfilled as a husband and father.
Finding time for hobbies
When I’m not shuttling a child to and from various practices and have some time to myself, I have taken on several hobbies and tend to have quite diverse interests. Most recently I have enjoyed learning the finer points of woodworking, and am in the process of building cabinets while remodeling several areas of our home.
Prior to that I have owned and worked on several classic muscle cars, a dream of mine since childhood. I’m also quite active, and have most recently taken up disc golf as a way to get outside with family and friends without the 5+ hour commitments of traditional golf, although I do enjoy that as well. I’m also on a bit of a health/biohacking journey at the moment, particularly focusing on lowering RHR and increasing HRV.
I am so excited to join the team at Hoop- the mission, the people, and the kind of company that I get to help build with them.
Is your dream to be a Founding Engineer at a startup? We are currently hiring for a Front End Engineer. (Update: This position has been filled and we don’t currently have any open positions. However, if you’re interested in what we’re building and want to be considered for a future role, email us at email@example.com)