Welcoming Front End Engineer Steve Molitor to Zapier

Steve Molitor
Steve Molitor / April 17, 2015

A note from Wade Foster, Zapier CEO: We really like working with genuine and smart people. One of the best ways to find those people is to have worked with them in the past. Steve Molitor had worked with Zapier team member Justin Deal years ago and came with a glowing recommendation. After my first chat with him, it was clear he'd be a great fit on the team. On top of that, he's also a stellar blues harmonica player which warms my musician's heart. Super glad to officially welcome Steve to the team.

Hi everyone! My name is Steve Molitor and I'm really excited to be working at Zapier as a front end engineer. At Zapier I'll be writing lots of cutting edge Javascript for our front end user interface!

Life Before Zapier

I grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and I'm a lifelong Cardinals fan. I studied music in school in Chicago, majoring in classical oboe and wearing Cardinals gear to Cubs games. I survived. Next I taught English in Japan for 3 years, learning Japanese along the way. Living as an alien in exotic foreign cultures was really mind blowing. But eventually I came to understand the mind of a Cubs fan. ;) But seriously, living in a foreign country and learning another language is something I would recommend for anyone. It really opens your mind and makes you more flexible.

I don't play the oboe much anymore, but over the years I've spent a lot of time playing blues and country harmonica in various bands. Four months ago my wife and I had a baby! Since then the late night gigs have stopped, but I still play gospel music on my harmonica in church on Sunday with the choir.

Learning music and living in Japan were both life-changing experiences, but getting married and having a baby changed my life in an even bigger way. I can't even imagine life without my wife and son now!

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My route into programming was pretty circuitous. I didn't write my first line of code until I was almost 30. I had a pretty dreary job recording announcers at an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) company. I had to digitally edit recordings of things like an announcer speaking all the numbers from 1 to 100: "Ahem… let's try that again… 42 take 11… fooorty twoo. forty-twoo. No that's no good let's try it again…" Aaaahhhh! This company did have programmers though, and I was curious about that. I thought the guy next to me was a computer genius because he knew DOS commands. So I asked him to show me some of the programs that the programmers wrote. He showed me an .exe file. I brought it up in notepad and saw a bunch of wingdings and funny characters. I was amazed. Do programmers really understand this stuff? It was like Japanese characters! So I asked my computer genius buddy and he said, "Yes that's how they write programs. Those programmers are geniuses."

Well, I was awestruck so I signed up for an "Introduction to Programming" course at the local university. The course was in Pascal, and the instructor promptly explained to us about higher level languages that look like English (sort of), and compilers. Programmers don't actually edit .exe files! Well, I was much disillusioned. But a few months later he taught us recursion. At first, I couldn't understand it and really struggled with it. But then I got it! It was like a flash of light. I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever, like a Bach fugue recursing in on itself! I was hooked.

From that point on I have been obsessed with programming. I gravitate towards code and languages that look beautiful to me. But it's not just beautiful—you can make things that people actually use and love! That's awesome. Programming is a lot like music in that regard. But unlike music, programming also pays the bills!

At Zapier

I'm really excited to work on the Zapier front end. We're doing things like working on new graphical tools that will make it even easier for users to create more sophisticated Zaps. It's really an exciting time to be doing front end work, and I can't imagine a better company to be doing it at!

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