Interview with Zach Holman(@holman)...

We have yet another outstanding interview with Zach Holman, today on...

Zach  works at GitHub. When he's not doing that, he's blogging, hacking on open source, and giving talks about building products, growing startups, and using Ruby. He lives in San Francisco.

If you want to learn more about GitHub and what they do, visit their about page here.

Q. What is it like working at GitHub?

A. I like to joke that GitHub has ruined me. I can't work for anyone else because no other company would let me work the way I do. We get to work on what interests us, working the hours we want and the locations we want. For example, right now I'm answering an interview in a rented Berlin apartment with a half-dozen other GitHubbers at 2PM after waking up a half-hour ago. This isn't something silly, though; GitHub works this way because we think it leads to better product. Happier employees produce better code, produce better work. Enforcing hours or the need to be physically present in an office may have made sense decades ago, but not today. We try to build a work environment that fits each person, and the only way to do that is to get out of their way.

Q. What computer do you use and why?

A. I'm on a week-old 15" Retina MacBook Pro. Previously I was on a 3-4 year old model 13" MBP and when the Retinas came out I had to order one because my old machine was falling apart. Ideally I want something like an 11" or 13" Retina MacBook Air, but I've been loving the resolution on this 15" too. I can never go back to a non-Retina display, either. I choose OS X because I think it's the best platform today. It has most of the development toolchain that I want along with the best-in-class apps for mail, photo management, chat and IM, and so on. I dig it.

Q. Why do you use Ruby?

A. Ruby makes a lot of sense to me. Not just the syntax, but I mostly agree with its high-level aims, too: an accessible language that's actually pretty powerful. It's not C — and I'm ever thankful for C hackers — but for me, Ruby is typically fast enough to deal with. I'm far more concerned with ease-of-use than speed. That's not a tradeoff everyone will make, though, and that's cool. Kind of over worrying about language fights at this point.

Q. What is your favorite genre of music? Favorite band?

A. I listen to all kinds of stuff: electronic, dubstep, jazz, rap, rock, folk, indie. I'm pretty good at hearing within a bar or two whether I'll like something, though… I'm pretty picky of what I like. I like lots of artists, though it depends on the genre. In terms of electronic stuff I really dig Justice (great live set, too). Jazz I'm all over, although my favorite still-living band is The Bad Plus. Overall I'll always go back to Jeff Buckley, though. 

Q. What can we expect from you in the future?

A. Man, I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow much less anything further out than that. Just trying to keep on doing what I'm interested in. Lots more GitHub talks and code, of course, along with more posts and hopefully squeeze in some screencasts here and there.

Here is the desktop wallpaper I created for Zach, the ultimate GitHubber. Buy it here.

Thanks Zach,


InterviewsDavid Silverman