Me and random Avatar girl at Movement in Detroit, 2009.

Payam Azadi

Computer science @ UMD
IT Director @ DealerOn
All around crazy bastard


azadi at umd
434 Projects


I'm here to learn more about effective UI design, testing strategies, and applying a 'scientific method' to developing usable, engaging, effective user interfaces. I feel this is a critical skill for any computer scientist these days, at least, anybody who wishes to do something useful and interesting with the rest of their skills. I believe besides doing what you love for a career, you should spend it with a company who truly values you as a human being, where your coworkers are your family, not just your coworkers, and where you grow with the company. I can't help but feel many of the companies that recruit out of UMD lack each of these things. Many big companies treat each of their employees as replaceable, a dime-a-dozen, and as a commodity. A company's culture should be one of your core considerations.

For example, the people at my company really are my family. Just a couple of weeks ago, one of them invited the whole team out to his house for a pool party. We spent the afternoon drinking, eating, trying to kill each other in the pool(dunking, drowning, etc), having competitions off the diving board.. and just having a blast. This labor day weekend we rented a house in Deep Creek and everybody brought their families, we went out on the boat, ate and drank like pigs, etc. Our office is fairly bland, our computers mostly suck, but we work our asses off and we love it. We each bend over backwards to please our clients, car dealers, who by and large know nothing about the internet or technology (we do their websites and online marketing). And nothing gives us a greater satisfaction than when our clients go out of their way to write reviews about us and plug us everywhere they can, in this very cut-throat industry.

At the same time, we have a BLAST in the office. Some days we cut work short starting around 3 oclock when we send someone out to go get beers/liqueur, and we start drinking in the conference room usually around 4PM, give or take.. For our interview process, once we identify someone we like, we bring the whole team in to interview them at once, and have everybody drink (especially the interviewee). Those days there's always a bottle of tequila, and clear cups involved. We're one hell of a dysfunctional family. Take our sales manager, for instance. The company is owned by four Iranians, and it is not uncommon for him, a self-proclaimed "redneck super conservative God fearing Republican" who served in the Navy, to walk into an owners' office and say "SCREW YOU, DIRTY AFGHANI IM GOING TO SHOOT YOUR ASS!". Completely jokingly, of course, and so I will throw his door open randomly, bend down, flick him off with both hands, and tell him to go f himself. I'll walk up behind him and say 'hey, why is your neck so red?', or, 'why don't you go sell something you redneck bastard?' etc. Just one example of countless. My manager is a little fluffy, and it is not uncommon for me to poke him in his belly relentlessly. Once in a blue moon, he'll go "hoo hoo!" circa Pillsbury Doughboy. We throw candy at each other, bust each others balls, tell each other to jump off a cliff, rot in hell, etc. We sing, we dance.. it really is amazing. This is because we are real people, and we don't stop being real people once we walk into the office.

That's the kind of company you want to work for. Where you work hard, you play hard, and everything you do counts for something greater. And it's not just about size, either, we just happen to be small. You can find this kind of amazing culture at large companies, such as Zappos. Check out their culture page

434 Projects