Employee Spotlight: Santiago Santana

March 24, 2016 Amelia Carpenter

Our Employee Spotlight series is an opportunity to get to know some of the Narrative Science employees and as you get to know our team, you’ll learn more about Narrative Science and the reason that our customers cite 'our people' as one of the top reasons they choose to work with us.

This month, we spoke with Santiago Santana, one of our Software Engineers.

How did you end up at Narrative Science?

How I came to Narrative Science is very interesting… it was like fate. After being contacted by a recruiter twice, I came in for an interview. Visiting the office immediately sold me on working here for two reasons. 1) Top Gun is my favorite movie - it’s the first DVD I owned, and 2) I love La Croix - it’s my favorite drink ever since I stopped drinking soda before I graduated college.

If you haven’t visited Narrative Science headquarters, you should know the conference rooms are all named after Top Gun call signs (e.g. Maverick, Goose, Merlin, etc.), and the refrigerator is always full of La Croix. I remember calling my fiance after I left to tell her, “This is the place. I have to work here.” Everything just felt right.

What’s the best part about working here?

Overall, I’m doing more interesting work than I’ve ever done. Additionally, the industry is interesting to me and I’m fascinated by our technology. The work is challenging, we’re growing at a rapid rate and I’m learning new things all the time. I learn a lot from my fellow engineers, junior and senior alike, and there’s never been an issue with asking questions.

From a social standpoint, the people here are great -- everyone is friendly and enjoys hobbies outside of the office. It’s fun getting to know people and to see the different activities they do, like rock climbing and biking. Relatedly, one of my buddies at the Aikido dojo, one of my favorite hobbies, actually ended up being a Narrative Science employee which I didn’t realize until after I started. See? It was meant to be.

How do you continually stay inspired in your work?

Getting to try new things keeps me inspired. When I joined, everything was new to me, so it was easy. I found myself staying here so much later because time would fly. Fortunately, our client projects have aligned very well with getting a mixture of things to work on.

For example, I started working on analytics apps and once I got those under my belt, l wrote an application, shifted gears to logic export, client clusters, architecture things, and odds and ends on various client projects. Now, I’m working on the next generation of our advanced natural language generation platform, Quill, and every day brings new challenges.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago?

I have a few favorite things:
1) I love seasons. It’s a silly reason for loving Chicago, but it’s nice to be outdoors in all seasons, and it also gives me variation in things I can wear.

2) It also means there’s a reason to vacation in different places (e.g. in the winter, we can go somewhere warm, and when it’s warm in Chicago, we can go somewhere cold).

3) I’ve been to a lot of major cities in the U.S. and all around, Chicago may not be the best in any one category, but it’s the most versatile.

Fun Fact?

I have two:
1) At a Season Ticket Holder event for the Chicago Bulls, I got to take a shot on the court at the United Center. 

2) I have a “cartoon closet.” In other words, I have a very limited wardrobe - there’s enough variability for the week so I won't repeat outfits. I have a strict “one in, one out” rule, so if I get a new shirt, I throw out a shirt. T-shirts are the exception (which I’m working on), I have a bunch of graphic tees from awhile back so I don’t get rid of anything with sentimental value unless it’s tattered and has to go.

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