One of our core values here at StructionSite is #ExpressGratitude and I saw something pop up on my calendar this week that I believe warrants a public show of appreciation.
Very often it’s my co-founder Philip Lorenzo and myself that end up being the face of the StructionSite cofounding team. A lot of our brand and identity as a business emphasizes our roots in construction, and for good reason because being both from the industry and for the industry is what makes us truly different.
Be that as it may, it can be easy to forget that we are a technology business - we build software. So while the idea for StructionSite was Philip’s, and I was the first nutcase willing to sign up, neither one of us could bring the vision for StructionSite to life when we started the company in the fall of 2016.
It was our cofounders Dan Zito and Manuel Zamora that rolled up their sleeves in the following Spring and took us from idea to reality. This week we’re celebrating 5 years with our co-founder and CTO Dan Zito and I want to take this opportunity to highlight at least a few of the reasons I am thankful for him.
Humble, hungry, and high empathy. One book that has had a profound impact on the way I think about people I want to work with is The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni. While the book is told in a story format, the entire book comes down to the fact that in order to be considered an ideal team player, one must embody all three of these characteristics - humble, hungry, and ‘people smart’ (which I have adapted to high empathy).
Humble. Dan is extremely talented on many dimensions and has had some incredible personal and professional experiences, but you’re going to have to pull all that out of him in a discussion. Shoot, he might even be too humble at times! He’ll never brag that Elon Musk interviewed him for a job at Tesla back when it was a small, niche startup that made electric cars. He was offered the job and built the first consumer-facing website (used to sell the model S) for what may ultimately become the worlds most dominant car maker.
Hungry. I can still vividly recall the day I took the bus from Pacific Heights to One Market in downtown San Francisco to go and visit Dan at Google. I can remember thinking to myself as we strolled through the beautiful lunch room where we’d sit down to eat a delicious and completely free lunch, “Dear lord, how in the heck am I ever going to convince Dan to leave this place? This is paradise!”
Yet despite our flimsy prototype and no obvious path to financial safety, the opportunity to learn and stretch himself, to roll up his sleeves and build, was a big part of what drove Dan to join us.
Without Dan’s hunger to learn and desire to build –including literally building the first several versions of our web application – StructionSite as we know it today ceases to exist.
As we look to the future and the exciting technical challenges ahead, the confidence I have in our Engineering team’s ability to execute is due largely to Dan’s hunger to learn and ability to attract people to his team with that same desire.
High empathy. Anyone that has worked with Dan knows he cares deeply about the people he works with and is sensitive to the needs of others, both inside and outside his team. Work is a lot more fun when you work with people who expect excellence, but can also read the room and meet you where you are. I appreciate Dan for the high bar he keeps, but also the level of empathy he brings to our team.
As we celebrate the 5-year anniversary for our friend and cofounder Dan Zito, please join me in sending him a huge Thank You. We would not be here without you buddy!
Cheers to the challenges, learning, and fun that lie ahead!