Welcome to Josh Dague, Hoop’s newest engineer! Josh joins us from San Francisco, where he has spent a career building software, starting from earlier than you’d expect.
I’m so thrilled to have joined the small but mighty team at Hoop. I’m only a month in, but I already know we’re going to tackle and solve big problems together — and we’re going to do it in a way that allows us to have fulfilling lives in and outside of work.
I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of amazing people and teams over the years. Sadly, there have also been some duds. That’s ok though, because I’ve learned that the most important ingredient in what makes or breaks a job is the team. A great team helps you do your best work, and gives you so many things you can learn from the people around you.
An Opportunity Of Galactic Proportions
I’m also thrilled to be building the future of work with Hoop. Like many others, in 2020 I found myself unexpectedly thrust into the world of remote work after years of mostly in-person work. Also like many others, I experienced and felt the growing pains of figuring out how teams can work remotely effectively.
I’ve become a big believer in the power of remote and asynchronous work. As someone who has always been a night owl, the ability to work when my mind and body are at their best unlocks productivity that I never had when required to have my butt in a chair at 8am.
Most of all, the thing that really excites me about what we’re building at Hoop is the incredible opportunity to help redefine what the future of work will be, and do so in a way that empowers people and solves the pain of notifications, messages, and little red dots everywhere.
This won’t be an easy problem to solve, but building the solutions to solve everyday problems has been a lifelong journey for me. Whether I’m creating a tool to solve my own little annoyance or building a system to solve real problems for teams, there’s just nothing like building something that makes life a little better for people.
Luke, It Is Your Destiny
At the age of two, my mom found me taking a nap, having wrapped myself in a strand of illuminated Christmas lights. She was naturally horrified by the danger toddler me had put myself in, but this was just the beginning of a lifelong fascination with pretty much anything powered with electricity.
By age eight, I’d developed a healthier appreciation for mains voltage, and limited my tinkering to things battery-powered. But it’s really that Christmas that set my life off in a certain direction. It’s when we got our first family computer.
I was of course out-of-my-mind excited, and set to work before the wrapping paper hit the ground. In a day where getting a machine running was a little more involved than just plugging it in, I had it booting before my parents could even open the instruction manual.
It wasn’t long before my curiosity drove me to figure out how it is this magic box works, and I started fiddling with scripts, trying to make the machine do what I wanted it to do — even with very limited documentation available. One fateful day in 1995, I opened Netscape Navigator and clicked “View Page Source”, and so began my journey of teaching myself how to code.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say building software is something I was from the very beginning destined to do.
The Force Is Strong With This One
I lucked into my first job while in college, working for the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Admissions in parallel with school. (When joining Hoop almost two decades later, I’d discover that my future coworker was doing nearly the same thing 100 miles up the road in Columbus. This is either a freakish coincidence, or we are in fact living in the Matrix and the simulation has run out of ideas.)
Admissions hosted lots of events: multiple campus tours every day, a calendar of special events, and our biggest, the Open House. Thousands of prospective students and their parents came to visit campus, and—with regret—we delivered an awful first impression. We had tables set up to check people in, but we’d printed out a list of names and were checking them off by hand. This takes time, so the line was out the door and around the building.
Making people stand in line in the midwestern cold at 8am is not how you want to introduce yourself, so the next day I got to work fixing that experience. I built a system that emailed everyone barcodes ahead of time, and programmed scanners to zap them at our events (relatively novel at the time). Our next open house never had a line more than two people deep.
This was the first time I solved a big problem that affected lots of people—both on my team and our ‘customers’—and it had me hooked.
Not Just A Work Droid
When not building things for profit, I still love finding time to tinker and build things with my wife that make life around the house a little better. She’s as much a nerd as I am, and it’s great to work on projects together.
Actually getting things done is amazing, and I can’t wait to help everyone do their best work.