We had the good fortune of connecting with Tom Bajoras and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tom, what inspires you?
I’m inspired by elegance. What I mean by “elegance” is a combination of beauty, simplicity, and function. One normally thinks of elegance in connection with clothing, architecture, cars, etc., but I believe it can apply to anything that’s designed to serve a purpose, and that includes software. When I’m presented with a problem, I don’t just want to find a solution; I want to find the most elegant solution. For software this means the simplest, smallest amount of code that completely solves the problem. The parallels in the arts where I find inspiration are Bach, Japanese poetry, and farm-to-table cuisine. Elegant solutions don’t just satisfy my artistic ego; they also have real economic benefits to our clients: Elegant software is less prone to problems, more durable (as the software needs to work with future versions of hardware and software), and it is more easily maintained by future developers who weren’t involved in writing the original version of the software.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
From its very beginning, Art & Logic was thought of as more than a business; it’s a social experiment. The goal was to bring together brilliant, creative software designers all over the country to form a “virtual office.” In 1991 this concept was far ahead of its time. Throughout its entire 30-year history, the company has maintained only a small office for administrative functions and meetings with clients. Various collaboration tools, some custom and some off-the-shelf, have made the virtual office possible. Over the years we have reaped multiple benefits, some obvious and some not so obvious. For much of the company’s history (not so much now that working from home is more common in technology companies) it meant that we could tap into lower cost labor markets. But the deeper benefit is a healthy work-life balance: Employees don’t have to drive to work, and hours are flexible. The company even has a “constitution” which guarantees fair treatment of employees and clients. We have made sacrifices to uphold these values. For example, the company is optimized for stability rather than growth. This has allowed the two owners to guard the culture of the company, but the sacrifice has been that no one is “getting rich.” The result is a 30-year-old technology company that, almost miraculously, still has the feel of a small family-run business.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, it of course totally depends on what their interests are. Los Angeles has an enormous variety of experiences to offer, including the arts, history, nature, sports, food, etc. But, let’s just say hypothetically, it’s someone visiting here for the first time, and they’re open to a little bit of everything, here’s where I’d take them:
First I’d take them for a 1-hour drive, on just freeways, to give them an idea of the size of the city. Or, better yet, I have a friend who is a helicopter pilot, and maybe we could get him to give us a helicopter tour of the city.
Then I’d take some surface roads through ethnic neighborhoods, including Thai, Armenian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Persian, Ethiopian, and Filipino, stopping for snacks in each neighborhood. Wherever possible, no fancy restaurants; preferably food trucks where no English is spoken!
Go to Griffith Park Observatory at night and look out over the city.
Hike in Malibu Canyon to enjoy nature, but also to point out spots where movies and TV shows were filmed (Planet of the Apes, M*A*S*H, etc.)
Walk or bike along the ocean, maybe take a surfing lesson.
Go to a Lakers or Clippers game.
Go used recording shopping at Amoeba Music.
Go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl or Disney Concert Hall.
Go to Westwood Memorial Park and show them some celebrity graves, including the unmarked spot where Frank Zappa is buried.
Optional (depending on interests): The Getty Center, Hollywood Blvd., the Petersen Automotive Museum, LACMA, Santa Monica Pier, the Broad museum, Huntington Gardens
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The other cofounder, and equal partner in Art & Logic is Paul Hershenson. He and I have been in business together since the beginning of the company (1991), and it would be impossible to imagine this company without him. It’s like a marriage. In fact, our wives jokingly refer to each of us as the “other wife.”
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