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!
Our next interview is with Gene Lopez, VP of Business Development. Gene is a 7th generation Californian, Italian speaker, and German beer lover. Read on to find out how Gene has become known as our favorite lively and witty manager of all things business!
So Gene, what were you doing before you started working at ReadyForZero?
Before ReadyForZero I spent 5 years at Yodlee, which is one of the largest data aggregation providers. I was on the business development and channel side and basically responsible for creating a channel of resellers for the Yodlee PFM (personal finance management) solution.
And how did you find out about ReadyForZero?
I was contacted by a recruiter. There were two things that swayed me to want to come over here. One was that ReadyForZero is a service that provides real social value – that was very important to me. The second thing was that there’s a tremendous financial problem for consumers and a tremendous problem for banks and if we’re the ones helping in the middle of that we can have a lot of success here.
So was it hard to transition from a larger company to a small, crazy group of people?
No, no. It would have been harder if I was sitting out in the mosh pit [Gene’s description of the one room we all work in together which is always fun but a little hectic at times.] I was expecting to do that honestly when I took the job, I assumed I’d be out there and I remember when Rod said “here’s your office”… I didn’t say no. So that was cool!
How long have you been with ReadyForZero?
Fifteen months exactly on the day this is published.
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Is there anything you’re particularly excited about for the future of our company?
I’m excited to see this company grow. The fun part of a start up is that you have to do everything yourself, the challenging part of a startup can be that you have to do everything yourself even though you don’t always know how at first. But it will be exciting when we start adding additional resources to help us in all facets of our growth. It’s somewhat like watching a child grow up.
So what has been your most gratifying moment here so far?
When we’re validated by our customers. When we get feedback about how our tool is helping real people to pay off debt. That’s really great.
On to some more fun questions. Are you a die-hard fan of anything?
I’m a 7th generation Californian and a Niners and Giants fan, of course.
7th Generation Californian? That’s great! How did your family arrive here?
My great, great, great, etc. grandfather apparently came over as part of the Gasper de Portola Expedition. They actually landed about 10 miles south of San Francisco and came over the hill to discover what is now known as the San Francisco bay.
If there were any sort of game in the office, or something fun to have here during breaks – what would you want?
We’d have a microbrewery downstairs. I do some home brewing. The only stuff I’ve brewed so far has been my favorite kind of beer, a German style doublebock wheat beer.
Speaking of German beer, you’ve been to Germany a few times, right?
More than a dozen times, I’ve kind of lost track. My wife and I started traveling overseas back in 1993. We didn’t go to Germany first, we went to France and Italy I think it was, but through our travels we did go there. And then a couple years back I did some international business development that I caused me to go Munich quite often, which was when I fell in love with the beer.
So now you’re pretty much at home in Munich?
Yeah, I know it pretty well. Get around pretty well. In Italy too, I can get around pretty well because I speak Italian.
You speak Italian?
Si, poco ma sufficiente, per esempio, a parlare con i miei cugini sul telefono.
Any other hidden talents or languages?
I’m learning guitar. Marshall‘s my assistant tutor.
So lastly, we’re moving onto the quickfire round. Just say your first response, without thinking too hard.
We’ll keep it fair! What’s your favorite time of the day?
Coffee or tea?
Iced or hot coffee?
Bagel or donut?
Dogs or cats?
Oooh. That’s a tough one… I really like them both, for what they have to offer.
Very diplomatic. How about hamsters or elephants?
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Honey badger. A happy honey badger. I got that nickname at my last company because I badgered people to death to get deals done. I’ve since softened up and mellowed out.
If you were a superhero, what superhero would you be?
Does James Bond count? He’s sort of an adult superhero wouldn’t you say? He knows everything from diffusing nuclear bombs to flying a 747 to speaking every language fluently… and everything in between. Sounds kind of super to me.
If you were an ice cream, what flavor would you be?
Stracciatella! It’s Italian. It’s kind of like chocolate chip.
Mm, good choice. Now last one. If you were a breakfast food, what breakfast food would you be? I mean really there’s two schools of thought here: the sweet and the savory.
I think I’d be an omelet. With some ingredients.
Cheese, avocado, spinach mushrooms. Maybe a little bit of bacon.
Avocado, a true Californian!
So there you have it. A German beer loving, Italian speaking and 7th generation Californian. Lucky to have him on our team 🙂