With 20 years of experience, Landy designs software that keeps customers’ needs at the forefront
Dan Landy is the Principal Software Architect at SiteCapture, a project management tool for the solar industry that allows users to organize and share photos and data at job sites, optimizing time spent in the field. In this role, Landy brings his 20 years of experience to bear on the design and implementation of the company’s software model.
Making software run smoothly
“I’m responsible for designing the architecture, or you could say the model, behind SiteCapture. That means understanding what features we are trying to build – which is determined by what our customers are asking us for,” he says.
Once he has the model and user interface worked out, the next step is writing the code. One specific example is building the API, or Application Programming Interface.
“We have a customer-facing API and a mobile API. The former allows our customers to move data into and out of SiteCapture and integrate it with their systems of record. The latter is used by the SiteCapture mobile apps (for Android and IOS) to interact with the back end.”
In addition to designing and implementing the software, Landy also devotes time to researching bug reports. He investigates when a customer says something isn’t working as expected—and dives in to troubleshoot.
As part of the SiteCapture team, Landy participates in weekly product meetings, where customers’ requests are always top-of-mind. At each meeting, the team discusses how to make fixes and add features that customers want.
“One of the challenges faced by any software company is prioritizing and triaging those requests, figuring out what order we are going to do them in,” Landy says.
Solving customer’s real-world problems
Landy has an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley.
“Operations research is an applied math/engineering discipline. It’s about finding optimal solutions to real-world problems like airline scheduling or factory workflows,” Landy clarifies.
After working for a few years as a consultant in that field, Landy switched gears. A solution-seeker, he zeroed in on the place he felt he could make the most impact.
“[Up until the point of building the software] you had consultants who were talking about problems at a pretty high level. But it seemed to me that the real problem-solving happened once it came time to actually write code, and so that’s what I wanted to learn.”
In 2000, Landy landed his first programming job at a company that was making software for non-profits that facilitated online advocacy and fundraising. After six years there, he met Kamal Shah, who was a software development consultant working on a contract basis.
Landy and Shah started working together on a variety of projects. Then Shah founded Invu Technology, where the pair gravitated toward working with startups. They specifically focused on business applications rather than consumer-facing applications.
“We did an application for managing various networked devices,” Landy states. “We did an application for maintaining complex catalogs of parts. We did one for managing charged-off credit card accounts. Working on such a wide variety of projects kept things interesting.”
In 2009, Shah started SiteCapture, and Landy hopped on board a year later.
As Principal Software Architect, Landy plays an important role in the company’s success, and he has helped develop many of its key features.
When asked about his favorite SiteCapture feature, Landy pauses. “That’s an interesting question. I think that our whole templating system is very powerful. It is quite flexible and can therefore serve a wide variety of customer requirements.”
One of Landy’s goals is to meet customers’ needs completely while creating a product that is still simple to use. He aims to give people a product that has all the options they want without overwhelming them with an unnecessarily complex system.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of trying to make it as flexible as possible without making it too complicated. Finding that balance between flexibility and ease of use is a challenge I’ve always enjoyed”.
Finding time to recharge and explore
As invested as he is in SiteCapture’s software and success, Landy still finds time to relax. He can often be found baking in the kitchen: mostly bread, but also pizza, pies, scones, and cookies.
“I have two basic types of bread I make: yeasted bread, which is pretty forgiving, and sourdough bread which is more finicky and takes longer, but tastes a lot better.”
Beyond baking, when looking for a more social, athletic outlet, Landy heads outside to the pickleball court. He started playing pickleball—a paddle sport melding elements of tennis and ping pong —just in the past year.
“I started playing during Covid. It’s a good way to socialize with people outside, and it’s highly addictive – in a good way. I used to do other things like biking, swimming, running, weights, etc., but now it’s mostly Pickleball.”
He also enjoys traveling, an activity that has been on hold during Covid, but one he hopes to resume in 2022.
“I’m looking forward to doing a bike tour since it’s been a while since my last one, which was in Italy – one of my favorite places.”
His next stop?
“I’m thinking about Denmark maybe. I’ve always wanted to go there, and it’s renowned for its bike-friendliness.”
After time abroad, Landy will be back, well-rested and rejuvenated. And he’ll be ready to return to what he does best—designing SiteCapture software that satisfies customers.