Today we meet Daniel Loreto, an engineering manager here who is an entrepreneur at heart. Daniel tells us about his love for high risk/high reward projects and his new life moving from NYC to SF for his role at Airbnb.
How did you get started in Computer Science?
When I was a kid my dad bought our first personal computer for the house, an IBM PC. It was state-of-the-art at the time: a monochrome monitor, no hard drive, a 5 1/2 inch floppy drive, and whopping 64 kb of RAM. I would use it to play games like paratrooper and snake. One day I was poking around the floppy disk that had the game of snake and I found a file with what looked like gibberish english. I asked my dad about it and he explained it was actually the source code for the game written in BASIC.
My kid-mind was blown. I knew people could write novels and that they could compose music … but games? computer programs? You could actually write something interactive and have it do things? I was hooked ever since.
What was your path to Airbnb?
I lived in six different countries growing up and speak three different languages. I’ve love to travel and getting to know other cultures. Most of my professional career was in New York, but I was looking to move to California and join a company where I could have a big impact and could connect with the mission. I talked to a few friends at Airbnb and I knew I had found a match. As a first project I also had the opportunity to work on a team directly with Joe Gebbia, one of the founders. It was a very unique opportunity to work with a founder on challenging new directions for the company.
What’s the most interesting technical challenge you’ve worked on since joining?
In my current project we’re working on new features that changes some of the fundamental assumptions of the original design of Airbnb’s architecture. As a result my team and I have had to very quickly familiarize ourselves with the overall architecture, and then dig deep into some pretty core and complex systems like payments and search to make our project possible.
What do you want to work on next?
I’m always looking for potentially risky but high-impact projects. I love working on new product directions that expand what’s possible for Airbnb today and I’m always pushing my team to work on big ideas that can really move the needle if they’re successful. We have a few ideas that we want to work on next that fit that description …. but I would be giving it all away if I revealed them now. Stay tuned!
What is your favorite core value, and how do you live it?
My favorite core value is, without a doubt, Cereal Entrepreneur. To me it embodies the idea of being creative, scrappy, bold and resourceful in order to accomplish your goals. Don’t be afraid of big audacious goals even with a small team. Is there something blocking you from accomplishing that goal? Don’t be afraid to tackle it, even if it’s outside of your area of expertise. Make things happen. Drive towards a big vision. Shoot for the moon. Don’t stop.