Speaker Spotlight: Jon Aizen (Dapper)

By Mel Kirk

Sorry that it’s been a while since we updated our speaker interviews, sign ups have gone nuts, so it’s been slightly frantic…. forgive us?

So, next in the line-up of speakers to give us an insight to their lives is Jon Aizen of Dapper.

Jon Aizen

Let the interrogation begin…

1. What did you want to be when you grew up? (ie. did you ever think you’d end up doing what you’re doing now)

At first I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. I collected “wings” from every flight I took and always made a point of visiting the cockpit.

By the time I was nine though, I had started programming and dreamed of leading a company that would make an impact on the world using technology. So, yeah, I guess I saw the road ahead at an early age, though I never knew it would be this fun.

2. What’s a typical day in the working life of Jon?

There’s a lot of variety in each day. I spend much of the day working with the team, making architectural coding decisions, thinking about Dapper’s future, and planning our next steps. Eran and I spend a lot of time talking, synthesizing the ideas around us, meeting with potential and existing partners, and developing new business related features.

I get up early and catch up with what the rest of the world did while I was asleep, head into the villa, and spend most of the day with the team (and some time on the exercise machine and the bicycles).

3. What’s the best thing about working in the web industry?

That everything is evolving so quickly. I love the fact that the web is so widely used, but is still so young. We are seeing business models evolve every day. Almost nothing stays constant, and being on the cutting edge is a thrill.

4. And the worst?!

It can be hard to sift through the hype and see past this week’s fad. It is sometimes hard to decipher if something is a trend of it will be long-lived. This makes business decisions more difficult.

5. In terms of technologies, what do you think is really exciting right now that could have a big impact on the future of web apps?

I think web-services (XML, RSS, REST, etc.) have dramatic potential to change the way we use and consume the web, from our computers, hand-helds, and other devices. Making content portable and disentangling content from its presentation will enable non-developers to realize their creativity in new ways.

6. Whose work do you admire?
Brewster Kahle’s work with archive.org has had a big impact on me. His never-ending desire to leave something meaningful behind for our children’s children has inspired me to do the same.

7. Clean or messy desk?

Mostly clean. See photo.

Jon Aizen’s Desk

(Jon, hate to say it, but I think that’s actually a guy’s version of tidy!)

8. Beer or wine?

Beer. I love Anchor Steam, Boont, La Chouffe, Leffe, and many others
9. Mac or PC?


10. Do you have a secret talent?

I am bilingual (English and Hebrew), am conversational in French and Spanish, and can get by in many other Asian and European languages

Don’t miss Jon’s presentation. He will be presenting with Eran Shir on “Practical Semantic Web” at 14.05pm on 4th October on the developer stage.


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