PyDev of the Week: Jan Giacomelli

This week we welcome Jan Giacomelli (@jangiacomelli) as our PyDev of the Week. Jan is an entrepreneur and blogs about Python. You can see what projects Jan contributes to over on Github.

Let’s spend a few minutes and get to know Jan better!

 Jan Giacomelli

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I’ve been programming for a while. I started when I was a high school senior – I made scraper for online betting webpages. After that, I studied electrical engineering and finished my MsC degree. Since my student years I’ve been working as a software engineer.

I’ve been training alpine skiing for almost a decade. After that, I also got a ski instructor license. Therefore in the winter ski centers are the place to go. I also love windsurfing and squash. Besides sports I also like to play guitar and cook.

Jan surfing

Why did you start using Python?

At my first programming job there was a guy who really loved Python. He introduced me to it when we were working together on the project. I immediately loved it. Then I used it during my university studies for ML and math tasks. A also used for my master thesis where I was building a model of guitar amplifier
with neural networks. It was more natural to me than, for example, Matlab. I continue using it ever since.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

I also worked in javascript, Java, PHP, C and C#. I enjoy the most when working with Python. While most of the time I work on ML projects I also use it the most. All in all I try to use the right tool for the job. I won’t use Python for real-time applications such as audio recording.

What projects are you working on now?

I am Chief software architect/engineer at typless. We are building AI services for data extraction from documents such as invoices, receipts, declarations, reports,… I write a blog with development stories and tutorials. I also tweet about software development.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

From 3rd party libraries I definitely love Django and Django REST framework. I also enjoy using scikit, keras, numpy.

How did you become an entrepreneur?

Jan on guitar

In May 2017 I attended DragonHack hackathon. In 24 hours we developed a mobile app. User was able to take a photo of the document (book page for example) and the app converted it into editable a Word document with the same layout (headers, paragraphs, positions, …). After that, we started thinking about starting our own company. Firstly, we got a project for some industrial optimization. We use money from this project to start developing an data extraction AI service. This service, called typless, can be now trained to extract data from any document.

Do you have any advice for other people who would like to start a business?

Firstly, you must strongly believe that you will succeed. Develop MVP as fast as you can and then start selling it. Sell as fast as you can and be creative at it. Don’t take investors who have only money – a startup is like a family.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

The more you know about programming the less you think you know.

Thanks for doing the interview, Jan!