Today you get to meet a team member who has come in handy with his ability to wear multiple hats in the product and engineering team here at SALIDO. Meet our Product Engineer, Dan Fahy. Half engineer and half product manager; he’s a technical person who can talk to non-technical people, translating between the two worlds.
He spends his time chatting with our customers, getting their feedback and working on implementing what they want and need accomplished with our platform. He’s also great at problem solving and advising customers on alternative solutions that may be a bit less technically demanding or how simplifying can get things done in a more speedy fashion.
What’s your background? I graduated top of my class with a degree in mechanical energy systems engineering from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Initially, I considered pursuing a research PhD in composite materials but, after considering my long-term goals, I knew this wasn’t a fast enough path to to start my own business. There isn’t any way of being an entrepreneur in mechanical engineering without deep pockets or decades of experience.
Trying to figure out what would be next in my life, I attended a Startup Galway talk and heard a talk by Pat Phelan of Trust Ev. One key takeaway was his motto, “Sell yourself! Nobody else knows what they’re doing either.” With that in mind, right after the talk, I introduced myself to Michael Fitzgerald, CEO of OnePageCRM. As we chatted over a pint of Guinness, he told me he was on the lookout for a “Talented Ruby on Rails Developer.” I said “I’ve no idea what that is, but I’m smart as f*** and I bet I can figure it out.” He laughed, and gave me a shot. I joined his team working for free and learned the day-to-day life of a programmer. After a month of everything-and-anything kind of work (think construction worker meets linux admin), I was given a two-year contract to work for him. I learned a great deal there, including Ruby on Rails best practices, dealing with data migrations, building always-available systems and refactoring and consolidating code. I also got a taste of how to deliver value to customers from both the technical and user experience point of views.
At the end of those two years, with that valuable skillset, I knew I wanted more adventure. I decided to move to New York. I had no visa, no job, and was willing to gamble my savings to see if I could succeed. I knew if I didn’t try, I would always regret it.
After numerous interviews with the big tech companies, I was connected with SALIDO through a random chance tweet. That led to a candid phone conversation with Shu, who invited me for an office visit to meet everyone. Once I saw the product I instantly was hooked. As part of the technical interview, I was required to take a coding test. I completed about 90% but was not able to finish in the time allotted. However I did lay out a plan on what I would have done in the remaining time. I truly think because of my honesty and my ability to effectively document my thought process, I was hired. Shu has since mentioned that technical ability, pragmatism and an aptitude for clear communication are qualities that are very rare to find in one engineer.
I went back to Ireland and got my cultural exchange J1 visa which came through later in November 2017. If not for this visa for young foreign professionals, which is looking more and more likely to be discontinued by the current administration, I surely would not have had the opportunity to work at SALIDO and help accelerate it’s growth. Additionally, early-stage startups don’t have the money, or luxury of planning years in advance, so the H1B visa is not an option. #SaveJ1
What about hospitality brought you in? My experience with hospitality has been fairly limited compared to others at SALIDO. However, I used to stock bars during the Galway Races and have an appreciation for the crazy lifestyle the industry has. Quickly after joining the team, I began to interact with customers and grew to love the camaraderie I was seeing among the different resturant staff. I now truly understand all that’s required, behind the scenes, to create a fantastic customer experience for guests. Knowing what we’re building at SALIDO will make them better at their jobs while saving them time by minimising repetitive work, is what really drives me to do my best work, every day.
How to you let your brain relax? All of my family is in Ireland, so when I need a moment to reset, I’ll call my family and chat with them and relax for a bit. If it’s too late to call home… binge watching SpaceX/Tesla videos on Youtube.
Favorite food city outside of NYC? Has to be Galway. There are a lot of fantastic restaurants for such a small city. There is a high percentage of foreign nationals, which I think is a big reason for the diversity of restaurants. Off the top of my head, a cheap bite is Napoli Pizza; the Italian staff are hilarious. It’s the Galway equivalent of “Dollar Pizza.” Sit down lunch I’d go to 37 West; their Chicken Melt and coffee are amazing. For dinner, Rogue; I still think about their early bird special. Sirloin Steak with fluffy chips (french fries) and a side of garlic butter. Before leaving Ireland, I hadn’t appreciated the the high quality of Irish meat. It’s really fantastic; in the west of Ireland just about everything is natural and hasn’t traveled too far from it’s source.
Where are you from? Cong village (County Mayo), about 30 minutes from Galway City right beside Ashford Castle. A small town that is a bit quieter than NYC 😉
What is your eat “any time of the day” food? Pasta with crispy bacon, pine nuts, and pesto. Could eat that anytime, 4 a.m., breakfast, lunch, etc.
Where do you live in the city? I live in the East Village. When I have time, I’ll go to happy hour at Penny Farthing which has a few Irish bar staff. Sometimes I’ll pop into Brazen Fox, which has a few Irish bartenders too. If I go a bit more north, Professor Thom’s is a great spot to watch sports and I’ll be found there before or after a trip to Hane Sushi on the edge of Stuyvesant Town (where I used to live).
Favorite Irish Bar? For that you have to travel up to Woodlawn in the Bronx, where there is still a large Irish community. Behan’s is what I think is the closest you’ll get to a standard Irish pub experience, with Irish style dinner and decent Guinness.
Favorite Drink? Long Island Ice Tea, but it’s dangerous drink so I do it sparingly. As I get a bit older, it’s becoming more and more my “past favorite.” Jameson and soda is now my go to.
Anything else? I really like music. I play the trumpet and piano and attended a very musical secondary school (High School). I love to go listen to it when I can and only wish I had a space/ soundproofing to continue practicing in manhattan. Also my dad’s business is an auto shop; I know how to fix cars! We would buy in classic cars like old Fords and fix them. It’s very satisfying. Though, on days when it’s cold and wet, I only miss the freedom of driving, not fixing; I’d rather code.