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Meet Submittable: Interview with Ryan Stiles, Programmer


In this week’s edition of our Meet Submittable series, we chat with our software engineer Ryan.

Ryan Stiles

Ryan enjoying one of his favorite pastimes.

Tell us a little about yourself, Ryan.

I grew up in Michigan. I started playing hockey shortly after learning how to walk, and somewhere in middle school switched to skiing full-time. Summer was all about water skiing, boats, and riding bikes. In 1990, I headed West for college, and more or less remained out here ever since.

You must be an NHL fan. Have you ever attended any Red Wings games? I hear they throw a big octopus out on the ice for good luck before every playoff game, a tradition known as The Legend of the Octopus.

Oh yes, the octopus thing. Hockey is the only professional sport that interests me to any significant degree. We used to go to Red Wings games at Joe Louis arena in Detroit all the time.

How did you come to work at Submittable?

I heard about Submittable randomly through conversation around town. I checked out the product and found it interesting. It’s somewhat similar to something I had built from the ground up with another company, which added some familiarity.

How long have you lived in Montana? What brought you here?

I’ve lived in Missoula for over eleven years. The beauty, remote location, size of the town and slow pace are the main reasons I came here.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to hang out with the family, play music, survey wine, cook, mess with software, bike and ski.

What’s your favorite wine from the Northwest?

It seems like anything from the Willamette Valley makes me happy. I love the light-bodied, spicy reds. The whites have relatively low acidity and subtle fruit. The most memorable wines I’ve tried recently are from Anne Amievineyards. Their white Pinot Noir is amazing. My go-to red right now is Wallace Brook Pinot Noir.

What’s your favorite home cooked meal?

My favorite dish is this thing that I’ve been trying to perfect for years now with heavy cream, wine, shallot, asparagus, mushrooms, and chicken.

Wow, you’ve been working on this for years.  What sort of perfection are you looking for?

I’ve found a standard formula which produces the desired flavor, but the texture suffers and it’s hard to control the volume.  It will be finished when the sauce is quite a bit thicker, and when my wife, Colleen, finds the flavor to be just right.

What’s your favorite place to visit in Montana?

Discovery Ski Area in Philipsburg.

What’s your secret talent/superpower?

That would have to be either ear wiggling, or the ability to pay extremely close attention to detail.

Any books you’re reading or have recently read that you’d like to recommend?

I rarely read books anymore. After reading computer code and documentation all day, I’m done.

Eye exhaustion. I can understand that. What about cookbooks?

The Joy of Cooking sees the light of day once or twice a year. Other than that, I do read lots of recipes and cooking information on the web.

Do you have any projects coming up, at Submittable or outside of Submittable, that you’re excited to work on?

It will be great to see the implementation of a new design that we’ve been working on for some time to come full circle with the addition of a new UI for submitters.