Software Engineering, Legos and Car Cannons: An Interview with CTO and Co-Founder Dante Cassanego

As Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Juntos Co-Founder Dante Cassanego feels his job is to be able to tell the rest of the team, “Yes, we can do that”–whatever “that” may be. We asked him to tell us more about why he loves being a software engineer. Our interview captured the commitments to creativity, big thinking and iterative design that are central to Juntos.

“To me, software engineering is like spending all day playing with Legos. I have a set of building blocks that I’m pretty familiar with–I know how they all fit together, I know how they work.

Each time I start a new project, in my mind or on a whiteboard, I draw a picture of the thing that I want to build and then I go about the task of building that thing, that picture that I want.

I particularly like software engineering as a discipline because it’s such a flexible engineering discipline. I’ll draw a metaphor that I use to help describe what I mean by that.

For types of engineering that have to do with the physical world, there are very important fundamental rules that you need to follow. For example, let’s say there’s a river you need to cross. If you were a structural engineer, you would probably build a bridge, starting with the pylons and the structure from the bottom. You need to put some fundamental things in place, you’ve got to check these things and make sure they work.

But in software engineering, there are no rules like that. If you just want to cross the river–forget the bridge–you can start by getting a big car cannon and shooting cars across the river. You can just try things. And then you can later learn what is ‘necessary.’

So software engineering is this really fungible medium that allows you to just try things and then iteratively arrive at stronger and deeper solutions.”