Meet the ReadyForZero Team: Ben Wolfson

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At ReadyForZero we strive to always be available and accountable to our users. That’s why we personally respond to every e-mail that’s sent to our support inbox and why we have our pictures on the About page. Now we’re sharing our stories here so you can get to know the fun and diverse people that are working hard everyday to make ReadyForZero better. We hope you enjoy these interviews – and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Time to meet Ben Wolfson, better known around the office as BenWo! He’s an expert developer here at ReadyForZero and works to resolve and improve the ReadyForZero product. With a quick wit and talent for solving the toughest problems, he knows just the questions to ask and actions to take in order to create the best experience for our users.  He’s also quite the chef to boot.

Read on to learn more about Benwo!

What were you doing before ReadyForZero and what brought you here?
Before I was working as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I was looking for something else but wasn’t having success getting another job in the field. One day I was clicking around links and eventually came to a post on our CTO Nacho’s blog where he was giving instructions on how to do something on Heroku. It said “Oh, if you’ve found this interesting, you should apply to my company. We’re hiring.” And so I did. It seemed like an interesting place that was doing something really useful. So I sent in an application and I was contacted very soon thereafter.

What was the one thing that made you want to work for ReadyForZero?
The nature of the product was a large factor. I came up to the Bay Area to interview and it seemed like a very pleasant office environment. It was just Nacho and Benny and we all did some engineering thing very short-term or very small scale as the second half of the interview. I thought it went pretty well and I liked working with them.

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How long have you been here?
A little over a year. 14 months.

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What has been the most gratifying moment in your career so far with ReadyForZero?
When we open sourced a library I wrote in January or February. That was very nice. It seemed to be pretty well received and I was really proud of it. It was one of the first things that we actually released to the public so that was cool.

What’s your favorite place to grab lunch with the team and what do you order?
Normally I bring lunch. I like cooking and it’s also cheaper. When I don’t, I’ll usually go off and get lunch by myself or meet people. I generally go to Kasa if the truck is there.

You make a lot of things that you bring into the office. For instance, what did you eat today?
Today I ate some braised pork with a tomatillo salsa. I also like to make fruit tarts and pies so I’ll bring those in for the office sometimes.

Imagine a future office and you had input into what to add that would make your life great, what would you plan?
I think something like a patio. If our office just opened up to something like that, like a garden, we could go out into it. That would be nice.

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Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Irvine.

So you grew up in California and does that mean that you are a fan of any sports in particular?
I’m not a fan of any sports in particular. I was on a swim team when I was very small and also on a  soccer team and a baseball team. But that all ended when I was in middle school. I moved on to the Latin club in high school.

What did you think you wanted to be when you grow up?
A writer of great works of literature. I’m sure if you can really make it work, it’s a great ambition. But I’m not going to be writing any great American or other national novels anytime soon.

What is your favorite time of the day?
Early evening.

What time do you feel most productive?
Early afternoon. It’s nice out. It’s cool. Generally you’re no longer doing anything in particular or if you are, you’re about to do something pleasant, never unpleasant.

Iced coffee or hot coffee?
Hot coffee. I generally get either a drip or a cappuccino. On Friday’s I’ll sometimes get a cortado.

Bagel or donut?
Probably a donut.

Are you a big traveler?
I don’t travel very often. The last place I went outside of California was Idaho. Which is is extremely beautiful in parts. It is home, not only to Craters of the Moon National Monument which, if you, like me, like desolate, blasted, landscapes, it’s a very wonderful place to go. There’s also a Potato Museum.

What place, if you could go someplace next, where would you want to go?
Iceland or Scotland. The whole icy landscape, wind-swept plains, and rolling hills thing that they have going on is great. Plus the Icelandic sagas are awesome.

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You also like to backpack. How often do you go out?
About once a year. Last time, I went to the South Warner Wilderness in the Northeastern corner of California.

And what’s your favorite thing to bring with you when you’re backpacking?
I always bring a chess set. It’s made of wood and probably a little bigger than a sensible person would bring but I like to play out on the trail.

That’s Benwo! A chess and literature loving philosopher who also happens to be an excellent engineer. We’re so glad he’s part of the ReadyForZero team!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

    Great interview! I hope you get to visit Iceland sometime soon, Benwo.

  • bookishheather

    How does one go from being qualified to be a professor of philosophy to being a web developer? Does everyone who moves to the bay area just learn code by drinking the water?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Great question! I wish it were that easy (I myself would love to learn to code), but the truth is that Benwo is quite extraordinary. And I believe computer programming has been an interest of his for a number of years.