Tuesday, February 19, 2008

interview with daniel leuck

Daniel Leuck is the President of Ikayzo, Inc. (http://www.ikayzo.com), he is by far the most knowledgeable developer that i know. dan is one of those developers that really really really really loves to hack. the thing that i admire about dan is that he shares that love for software development with others; it's infectious.

i was lucky to catch a few moments with dan. this is a short interview, we promise to dive deeper into details in follow up interview.

here is how this interview works. the questions that i ask are highlighted in bold. dan's responses are in italics.

The idea is to help students learn more about the companies and people in Hawaii's high tech industry.

I'm in! We have the same interests. I want to keep Hawaii's best and brightest in Hawaii so I can hire them :-)

You seem to always be on the cutting edge of technology. When we first met years ago, it was Beanshell. Now, you seem to really be into Adobe Flex and other RIA applications. What is it that attracts you to these cool and new technologies? More importantly, how do you integrate it into what you do into your business model?

As software architecture consultants for companies like Bank of America (https://www.bankofamerica.com) and ValueCommerce (http://www.valuecommerce.com), its our job to be on top of new technology developments, especially in the areas of rich client development, social networks, and content management. Our customers expect this. If they hear about a relevant new technology before I tell them about it, I'm not doing my job.

The RIA space is evolving at breakneck speed. I love working with technologies like Adobe's Flex and Microsoft's WPF. These frameworks make it easy to develop rich clients that look great.

That sounds like a pretty fun business model; especially for your developers.

It is :-) Its important to enjoy your work.

I want to shift the interview slightly. We both agreed that connecting with students is a high priority. Why do you think its vital for you to focus your precious time on growing Hawaii's tech industry?

Everyone knows Hawaii needs a more diversified economy. The burgeoning technology sector seems like our best bet. For technology companies to success we need skilled workers. Right now we loose many of our best and brightest to the mainland as soon as they graduate. I frequently hear students say they are planning to move to California or New York as soon as they graduate because there are no good tech jobs in Hawaii. This is a myth. It may have been true ten years ago, but it certainly isn't true today. Ikayzo and our neighbors at the Manoa Innovation Center frequently have to go to the mainland to recruit because we can't find the people we need locally.

My reasons are as selfish as they are altruistic. I love this state, and I don't want to leave. For my business to grow its important that we have local talent and a vibrant technology community.

Also for those that are not aware, can you highlight some of the opportunities that you are involved with?

Sure. Interesting current projects include:
  • A .NET desktop client framework for a major US bank
  • A behavioral analysis and ad targeting system for a large Japanese affiliate marketing company
  • Creative work for a set of Facebook apps with over five million users

    We also have some community projects like TechHui (http://www.techhui.com) and OOI. OOI is an open source portal for Flex applications we will be releasing later this year.

    Lastly, what can others do to help the efforts?

    There are many ways to help the vision of a silicon island become a
    reality. Here are a few ideas:
  • Volunteer to teach technology classes at local schools
  • Participate in community projects like HOSEF (http://www.hosef.org)
  • Support laws and candidates that favor Hawaii's high tech businesses
  • Invest in local high tech companies

    BTW - I enjoyed reading you blog. "Hacking will get you dates." ROTFL :-)

    [end interview]
    i think we are just scratching the surface in this interview. i'm constantly amazed by dan's commitment to the local high tech community. for example, dan has sponsored the honolulu coders meetings for years. i've been out of touch with dan for a while, i think that was a mistake. there is a lot i can continue to learn from him... more to come.
  • 1 comment:

    austen.ito said...

    There definitely are jobs in Hawaii. Students need to prepare and go out and find them.

    Great interview. I want to work with the hottest new technologies too!