SALIDO Spotlight

Today we highlight our first female member on our engineering team, who brings so much charisma, intelligence, and talent to the table. Meet our Platform Engineer, Alex Shook. For all you non-engineering crowd this means, I work on a part of the SALIDO system that allows computers to talk to computers. I mainly work on our API for the point of sale aspect of the platform ensuring that all of our internal pieces of software can talk to each other as well as any third-party software. I make sure that we can accept and send data back and forth.

What’s your career background? I’ve been coding for a long time. I just decided one day to try coding. At 11 I wrote my first line of code on a Gateway 2000. Until age 20, coding was a hobby and I made random webpages in JavaScript that essentially added nonsense to the Internet. One of the biggest creations of mine was building a static blog generator with PHP and JavaScript. A modern equivalent would be Jekyll, but mine was nowhere near as high-tech. I wish I still had that code as I would love to look back and marvel on how I managed to create it at 15 or 16 years old with little training.

I attended Lehigh University and majored in international relations and only in my spare time would I edit the CSS/JavaScript for my Tumblr blog, which was just starting out. After college I worked in the fashion industry mostly in the PR/Marketing departments of various fashion companies and one of my roles was to edit/update the websites as I was the only one who knew how. So while coding wasn’t always at the forefront of my career, I stayed connected to it.

When I ended my time in fashion I put coding back on my radar and did the General Assembly WDI (Web Development Immersive) program. I then starting working in software, first at DialedIN with a small team where I did a lot of software development, quality assurance and management. Then I worked for a start-up called PS Dept., which was an app that sourced hard to find fashion/luxury items, working on their API. The company folded last spring and I spent the summer at the beach when I was connected to SALIDO via Vettery, a matchmaking job service that pairs startups with developers.

At my last job I found myself always talking with my coworkers on food, where we last ate, where we were going to eat, what someone else made the night before and realized, I should probably do something with the food industry next.

What about SALIDO brought you in? Five of my favorite restaurants have closed within past year because of high rent, labor problems, or other issues (including Les Halles which is still too soon and painful to talk about as well as Back Forty a place I would frequent a few times a month when I lived in the East Village). When I learned about SALIDO’s missions and vision for their product and the industry I was instantly hooked. To think that what we’re doing here on the whole and what our product will do in the future by making restaurants more efficient, help better track costs, operate more effectively with adequate data, I have a good feeling that my next favorite five restaurants won’t close.

How do you let your brain relax? After I think for 4 hours straight, I’ll focus on something else, like reading a bunch of articles I’ve saved in Pocket from machine learning and neural networks to general tech and restaurant news. Sometimes, I’ll get up and walk a circle or two around the office or just stare up at the ceiling and zone out.

What’s your favorite cuisine? Anything noodles, mostly of the Asian variety! Very much into Thai noodles at the moment.

Where are you from? Bethlehem, Penn. My parents live in Delaware now, but I still crave the bruschetta from Wegmans or the chocolate chip muffins from Perkins.

What is your eat “any time of the day” food? Either fried chicken or bacon. For fried chicken I love Amy Ruth’s up in Harlem or the Korean-style from BonChon.

Where do you live in the city? I Live in Ridgewood, Queens, which is right above Bushwick, Brooklyn. I love Super Pollo’s empanadas and roast chicken, pizza at Roberta’s and Norma’s Café for weekend coffee and pastries. My neighborhood bar is The Bad Old Days, super low key, hipster vibe. When I first went, they were projecting She-Ra on the wall and had old library cards all around the bar, I instantly knew I would return.

Where do you like to eat near work? I think Lafayette has the best almond croissants, Kiin for Thai food and by CHLOE’s quinoa taco or kale Caesar salads.

What’s your favorite Drink? During the summer orange crush (fresh OJ and vodka) or bourbon on the rocks (Basil Hayden’s). Winter I like scotch. Macallan is an obvious favorite but I like to try all different ones.

Anything else? I love yoga to relax either ashtanga or hot yoga (the hot room makes me almost able to touch my toes!). I’m in the process of picking up a different programming language in my spare time. Then, when I can I’ll contribute to Open Source software projects. I love that they’re publicly available and anyone can use from non-profits to bigger companies. It’s for the common good of developers!