Guru Khalsa
Guru Khalsa is passionate about solving problems using technology. He loves learning, refactoring, and making customers happy. And surfing. He is a founder and engineer at Zoomforth

Who am I?

I live in San Francisco, and grew up here, too. I love this city.

I graduated from UCLA in 2010 and have been working as a software engineer since then. I care a lot about my work. Software engineering isn't just a job to me. It's a way of being. It's a life made by approaching the complexity of the modern world with a sense of curiousity and drive and then weaving a vision into it, just so, in such a way that even computers can understand. Every day I get to create something from nothing. It's meaningful work for me.

In my free time I love surfing, rock climbing, reading books, and spending time in nature. I like to play the guitar, and I like to play board games with friends.

What do you work on?

I love working with software. There is a thrill to learning more and improving at one's craft. With software, that thrill can be accessed on almost any project. I enjoy solving technical problems, although I have come to appreciate that many of the most important problems in software are not technical.

The team is the most important part of making software succeed. The culture of a team determines so much, from how well they empathize with customers, to the importance placed on quality work. The culture of a team can make the difference between joy and misery for everyone involved. A strong team will outcompete a team of strong individuals, every time, so I do my best to aim for success at the team level. Success is best when it is shared.

What technologies do you use?

I am particularly fond of technologies whose basic usage is not complex, but which can enable the developer to explicitly address very complex problems. Many tools strive for an easy interface but in so doing they can obscure the complexities of the problem. Some specific tools I use that I feel allow me to handle escalating levels of complexity are React, Python, Vagrant and Packer, Elastic Search, and MySQL.

I also appreciate simple tools, that do one important job well. For example, I love Redis, webpack, Jekyll, the video.js library, git, Sentry, and CircleCI. And I am extremely grateful for communication and productivity services like Slack, Mumble, Textmate 2, Google Apps, Github, and Asana.

Why do I have an Indian name?

If you don't yet know me, you may be curious about my name.

My full name is Guru Bakshish Singh Khalsa. I'm not Indian, so what happened? Luckily, it wasn't an accidental name tag switch at the hospital as a baby. My parents converted to Sikhism, and I was raised as a Sikh -- and was given a Sikh name. Although I no longer follow all of the disciplines of the religion, such as wearing a turban and eating vegetarian, I am deeply thankful for the values and culture that guided my upbringing.

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