We were delighted to welcome Daniel to the team as a Strategist. He sat down with Tim to answer a few of our questions.
Welcome, tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! I’m Daniel, I’m a few years out of Uni and excited to start strategizing at Loomery. I’m interested in strategy as it’s at the interface between playing around with concepts and affecting and hopefully improving the real world. I have a background in physics but I’ve realised I can make more of an impact on people’s lives by applying a scientific methodology to improving the products and services we all use. It’s a short commute to the office from where I live in North London, and I love spending time around Holborn. My last job was all remote, working as a commodities analyst for a company in Germany, so it’s great being able to see all the friendly members of the Loomery team in person!
What are you looking forward to about being part of the Loomery team?
Because of my background, I’m keenly aware of the benefits of making iterative improvements based on feedback. Scientists don’t know if a theory is right until it’s made contact with the real world. The philosophy behind Loomery is one of rapid development, user-feedback and improvement. Repeat this loop a few times and you end up with a much better product than one conceived of from start to finish and then implemented once. I’m really excited to be a part of this process! The opportunity to do this with big companies, and experts in product development and strategy is a huge bonus.
What was the first tech project you worked on?
Although I’m excited to engage in the strategic side of digital development, I’ve also been directly involved in software creation. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be offered a summer research fellowship at NASA, where I wrote code that took pictures from a cutting-edge microscope that could image in 3D, and tracked the paths of any microorganisms swimming around in its sample chamber. The overall goal of our research group was to create an instrument which could be flown to Europa – one of the moons of Jupiter – and analyse the water there to look for traces of life. It was the first major tech project I worked on and showed me what a small team of highly-motivated, cooperative people can achieve in a short amount of time.
Have you been learning anything cool outside of your discipline?
Learning physics at Uni was a great privilege, but it made the subject seem like a chore, so in the years since I’ve been exploring areas that I wasn’t taught or didn’t properly understand. Recently I’ve been working through a great introductory textbook on General Relativity – Einstein’s theory of gravity – so having things click that I never got before is a great feeling. I’m also brushing up on my piano playing. I was brought up reading sheet music, but now I’m learning how to play by ear which has been super fun. Racket sports are huge for me as well, and I’m constantly trying to improve my tennis, squash and badminton!
What’s your favourite tool or app most people haven’t heard of?
I caved in to the endless ads for Ground News I was seeing on YouTube and got the app with a subscription. I was previously relying on multiple bookmarked news sites for information, but this app collates them all in one place and ranks sources in terms of their factuality and political leanings. I think it’s a great way to stay informed without wasting your time listening to news anchors repeat the same talking points every hour. They also make an effort to highlight stories that are getting play from some sections of the media, but not others, so you can be aware of what people consuming different media diets to yours are talking about.
Recommend one podcast or book
I was a huge sci-fi fan growing up, but now that I’m older, some of the stuff seems childish, and it’s not as mind-expanding as you’d expect. A great antidote is Ted Chiang’s short stories. He comes up with these detailed, logically-consistent worlds and explores them from interesting perspectives. It’s not just exposition either; he’s not afraid to slowly reveal how these alternate realities work piece-by-piece through the daily experiences of his characters. He currently has two of these collections published as books, Stories of Your Life and Others (the film Arrival is based on a piece from this), and Exhalation. I’d highly recommend them both.