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Having fun at Zao is one of our values. We’ve put limited animated flourishes throughout our site to communicate our love of levity. We also recognize that onscreen movement is not fun or possible for everyone. We've turned off all our animations for you per your browser's request to limit motion. That said, we don't want you to miss out on the party.

Here's a funny joke to enjoy!

Do you know why you never see elephants hiding up in trees?

Because they’re really good at it.

Getting to Know Zao: Our Managing Partner & Back-End Developer, Justin Sternberg

One of the cornerstones of how Zao works is the way we prioritize collaboration. We build long-term partnerships with our clients, rather than acting as one-off vendors. We’re invested in their success, and build technology that lays a foundation for them to meet their business goals.

Since we work so closely with our clients, we thought it important that you know who we are. Here’s the second part of a series introducing our team, this time featuring our managing partner and back-end developer, Justin Sternberg.

Who are you?

The other Justin. Husband and dad of three kiddos, “officially crafty,” love listening to and playing music. Lead developer for CMB2. Ministry leader at Generations Church.

Where do you live?

Little coastal Carolina town, Southport, North Carolina.

JT is my favorite fellow opinionated soul to verbally spar with. His intellect and commitment to excellence is unparalleled, and it permeates every aspect of his work. On top of that, his commitment to his values–to kindness, to honesty (even when it’s not convenient), and to hearing other people even when they disagree with him is an integral aspect of how and why our team works.

-Lizz Ehrenpreis, Zao Project Manager

What do you do at Zao?

Primarily software development, which includes WordPress plugins/themes, Javascript apps, etc. I also help with business development and client management, and championing our open source efforts.

What do you like best about your job?

The flexibility. As a family of five, there’s always something not going according to plan, and working from home for an incredible company like Zao affords me the flexibility I need as a busy dad, and ministry leader at my church.

How do you take your coffee?

Black, like my heart. Preferably Americano-style.

JT is a powerhouse. His knowledge, skillset, and abilities are unparalleled. There is little that JT can’t do. He is incredibly efficient and can get to the core of an issue rapidly and intuitively. Not only does he work insanely hard on projects, but outside of work he builds incredible things with wood (treehouses, bunk beds, furniture), enjoys photography, playing guitar, and helping out his community. The amount of things he is involved in and does excellently is stunning and inspiring.

-Liz Karaffa, Zao Front-End Developer

What are your hobbies?

Performing music in our church/ministry band, playing guitar, building things, neflix-and-chilling, buying/flying/destroying cheap drones.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Make coffee. duh.

JT is awesome. I don’t think I’ve seen him say “I can’t do this or that.” He always gets things done–and done perfect. He has amazing skills and knowledge and it is always a pleasure to watch him talk code or review his code just to learn new stuff.

There’s a legend: Once I asked him a one line code change and his response was so detailed that it led me to rewrite the entire initial code to be just perfect.

-Mihai Joldis, Zao QA Engineer

What are your StrengthsFinder themes?

  1. Connectedness
    People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
  2. Strategic
    People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  3. Ideation
    People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  4. Adaptability
    People who are especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.
  5. Restorative
    People who are especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

What is something “insignificant” or silly that you feel passionately about?

Shutting the exterior doors as fast as possible in the heat of summer, and cool of winter. Don’t believe me? Just ask my kids.

Sometimes in life, you meet someone who you know is a casket-friend. They’re the type of friend that you know – from the moment you meet them – would be one of the six people carrying your casket. Morbid? Sure! But from the moment I really spent some time with Justin, I knew he’d be one of those people in my life. He’s among the most talented developers I know, and one of the most humble. He’s a clear and direct communicator with an abiding passion for excellence. He’s loyal and he’s generous and one of my favorite people in the world. Grateful beyond expression for his place on Team Zao.

-Justin Sainton, Zao Founder

What is one great article or book that you’ve read recently?

This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit

What is your favorite podcast or TV show and why?

Breaking Bad is the best tv show of all time.

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