We sat down with Jonah Fried, software engineering intern, to catch up on his experience thus far and how he likes to spend his time outside of coding.

So – what brought you to Zus?

I’m psyched about being here at Zus—it’s a huge shift from the work I’m used to. I come from a data science and machine learning background, primarily natural language processing. That space is really fun, especially right now, but I realized last year that I didn’t have any experience with traditional software engineering! It just felt like a glaring hole in my education, and, perhaps more importantly, I had no idea if I liked it even more than machine learning.


What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on giving our clients more options for how they get their data from Zus. API engineering was specifically one of the places I felt like I lacked experience before starting here, and now—a month in—I’m working on my second API. I’ve always been the kind of guy that likes to have a sense of the whole picture—coming from the data science side of things, it’s comforting to finally immerse myself in how the data gets into the analyst’s hands.


If you could have dinner with 3 people (dead or alive) who would you invite? And why?

I feel like I have a lot of good answers to this question. Based on my current mood I’m going with a fun lineup of my favorite cooking personalities. First up is J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. He has created a relatively unique niche for himself in the world of celebrity chefs, taking a very scientific approach to classic dishes. Frankly, his attention to detail often borders on gratuitous, but that’s what I love about him. If you want a taste of what I mean, you should see what he has to say about hard boiled eggs. Recently he’s been making cooking videos where he straps a GoPro to his head and takes off cooking, while he rants about all sorts of things and gushes about his kids. He seems like a great guy and I respect him. I think he’d make a great dinner guest. 

Next up is Brad Leone. Brad starred in a Bon Appetit magazineYouTube show called “It’s Alive!” where he documented his adventures in fermentation. “Chaotic” is both an apt and encompassing description of Brad. He never fails to entertain! I recommend watching any of his videos (especially the ones three to five years ago). Brad seems like the kind of guy that could get along with anybody, so I trust him to carry the conversation if the dinner ever reaches a lull. 

Last but not least we have Sohla El-Waylly. I truly believe Sohla to be a genius. Any content that she produces is impressive. Sohla has some of the best fried chicken tips and recipes on the internet. If I need a recipe to come out right, I often see if Sohla has anything to say about the dish before I get to work. On camera she is consistently kind, funny, and very humble about her astounding wealth of knowledge. 

Having written these descriptions up, I’m sad that this dinner isn’t happening this weekend. Maybe I’ll have to go back and watch some of their videos.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Alright, I probably went way overboard on the dinner question. I can talk about myself now too. As has probably become apparent, I love to cook. I cook a lot with my girlfriend and my family, but I certainly don’t mind putting on some music and working alone. The last dish I made was “Ottolenghi’s Orzo with Prawns”, or at least that’s how you can search for it. It’s a good weeknight meal, and so easy to eat too much of. I also collect antique cast iron pans. My absolute favorite pan at the moment was part of an economy line called “Victor” made between 1905 and 1909.


And finally, how are you liking the internship?

So far I’ve been having a great time. I can’t remember the last time I was learning new things at such a high rate. That’s both because I’m being thrown into some really tough projects and because my team has consistently been there to support me through it. Honestly that’s a perfect segway into why I chose to come to Zus. I’d been told that the company was a small team of people that work well together. In my (limited) experience, that’s the absolute best kind of place to learn anything. Based on the amount I’ve already learned this summer, my experience did not steer me wrong!