Mayralee Martinez
Nov 8 7 min read

Getting to Know: Frank Luse, Software Engineer

Getting to Know: Frank Luse, Software Engineer

Tell us about yourself.

I'm a software engineer with a passion for finding new, better ways of doing things and building products that people love.

How did you get started in your career?

When I went to KU, I knew I wanted to work on solving some of the biggest problems in the world today. I started a company in college dedicated to reducing food insecurity and growing food in a more sustainable way. At first, I had no idea that starting the business would lead me to learn how to code and engineer/architect a piece of software. I simply saw a glaring problem and lacked the resources to hire a developer.

However, the two years I spent building the web application and embedded system that our customers used proved the most challenging, energizing, and inspirational project I've ever worked on up until that point. That was the moment that I decided I wanted to start a career engineering innovative, ground-breaking software products - products that would change people's lives for the better. When I learned about what Finotta had started building, I knew banking was seriously overdue for change, and I had a feeling this product would be a game changer for millions of people.


Who has been your biggest inspiration?

When it comes to building products and companies, my biggest inspirations have been Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. The way that Jobs thought about design and how fundamental it is to the product's purpose and how he emphasized how a product makes you feel have become core components of the way I think about product development. At the same time, I admire the way that Jobs and Musk dedicated themselves to solving problems and creating products and entire industries that nobody thought were possible. "It can't be done" and "there's no way we can do that" simply aren't in their vocabulary, and I find that truly inspiring.

On a more personal level, my dad has always been my biggest role model. He's taught me so much about what it means to live a life worth living. He always encouraged me to unapologetically put myself out there, take leaps, do the things I loved, and open myself up to connect with others, even if that meant making mistakes. For him, failure was just another step in the journey, part of the process of growing and being human. That has always inspired me.

What is the best part of your job?

Very few people get the opportunity to work on a new product that changes the way things are done in the world and has a real, positive impact on people's lives. Even fewer people get to work in an environment like the one we have cultivated here. The fact that I get to start my career here and do both of those things every day never ceases to amaze me. I'm not sure if the best part of my job is getting to build a new product from the ground up, being surrounded by a team that supports me, pushes me, and cares about how I'm doing or getting to learn new things every day. Maybe the best part of my job is getting all three.


What are you passionate about?

As a kid, my interests changed constantly. One minute I loved playing guitar, the next, I became obsessed with painting, tennis, or the hottest video game. I remember being captivated by whatever my interest happened to be at the time. As a result, I've had a lot of passions over the years, and each one seemed to consume me for a time. My biggest, most consistent passion has been producing electronic music and DJing, which I’ve done for years under the alias “Fluse.” Producing has a lot of similarities to my career in terms of how technical it is. However, making music gives me a space to be more creative and artistic.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is overcoming technical hurdles. Sometimes we have ideas on what we want to do with the product that, at first, I have no idea how we're actually going to implement. Getting to work through those problems and build solutions to them that work and that people enjoy using has become one of my favorite parts of my job.


How do you think we can improve positive work cultures in the fintech industry?

We can improve work cultures by encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone, supporting them when things don't go as planned and creating an environment where people feel valued. Too much of corporate America pits co-workers against each other in a competition for the best jobs, the highest wages, and the most status. A perception of scarcity seems to have permeated through a lot of work cultures.

Rather than make workers feel like they need to sacrifice their time with their families, their passions and hobbies, or their own goals to get ahead at work, we ought to encourage them to take time to find what they truly love and to pursue it. The will to create that kind of culture swells up from the bottom and is codified at the top in decision-making circles. If enough workers and people refuse to work in toxic work environments, eventually, the groundswell will become too powerful to ignore.

What advice would you give someone who is starting their career in your field?

Just start building. You can watch a million tutorials, read thousands of articles, and still have no real experience building software. The projects I've learned the most from are the ones that I architected myself, dove into, and learned what I needed to along the way.


What resources would you recommend?

Some of my favorite books that I have learned the most from include Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, Jim Collins's Good to Great and Great by Choice, Ken Kocienda's Creative Selection, and Simon Sinek's Start With Why.

What are some rules you live by?

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” - Steve Jobs

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"I feel like if you're a really good human being, you can try to find something beautiful in every single person, no matter what." - Lady Gaga




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