Welcoming Full Stack Engineer Craig Labenz to Zapier

Craig Labenz
Craig Labenz / April 3, 2015

A note from Wade Foster, Zapier CEO: The first I heard about Craig Labenz was a raving introduction from the founder of a fellow Y Combinator company. Founders tend not give false pretense, so I was pretty excited to chat with him. And one by one, everyone on the Zapier team that chatted with Craig became excited to get to work with him. Without further ado, help me give Craig a warm welcome to Zapier.

Hello, world!

My name is Craig Labenz and I'm almost six weeks into my new Zapier life. The first two I spent training and logistically positioning myself for a more nomadic life, and the last four I've spent, well, being more nomadic. I'm taking full advantage of Zapier's remote work environment.

1s and 0s

Programmatically, I'm a late bloomer. My 20th birthday was looming large before I wrote my first if statement, and I didn't begin tinkering with the web until my final year of college. But if making some horrid GUI application in Java was pretty fun, building websites was quickly crack.

My first love was PHP, but like many first loves, I look back on it with mixed feelings. Young and naive, we're all prone to fall for the first shiny thing, and I'm far from the only one with an embarrassing ex. At some point around 2010, I started to ask myself one simple question, and it went something like this:

But… why?

Enter Python. I started converting every company that hired me to a Python shop, simply by finally getting someone to sit down and see how things could be.

The second such company was a startup run by my brother, which was a truly special experience. Few get the opportunity to work with a sibling (and even fewer come out the other end still on perfect terms). One of my best friends (and one of the greatest programmers I've ever worked with) also sat directly across from me for two straight years.

Every job on my resume elevated my skills an entire tier. My last one, the startup, may actually be credited for two tiers. That said, in just six weeks it's clear that Zapier's team and general technology will help me tackle that next tier!

IRL

Craig Labenz dancing

In my spare time I love to read and write. I also enjoy some occasional sportsing, though sadly my grandfatherly joints often request that I tone it down and simply aim to stay in shape.

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Mich., and went to college in Grand Rapids, Mich. I've lived all over that state, briefly in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and have traveled to every civilized continent except Australia.

Quick Hitters

  • I've never met anyone who eats spicier food than me.
  • Relatedly, I've been told I'm "high risk" for ulcers, whatever that means.
  • My favorite hobby in the world is… what I do. When I stop programming, I normally start programming.
  • I'm proud of my family and friends that have helped instill a global-perspective in my pea-brain. I truly love all people of all cultures and walks of life.
  • Except haters. Don't really like haters.
  • The only TV/movies I intend to watch in 2015 is the new Game of Thrones season. Go get 'em, Khaleesi!

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