Senior Full Stack Engineer

Ian S.


Q: Who are you? Where are you from?

A: My name is Ian Santagata (he/him/his) and I’m a Software Engineer here at Modulate.  Who I am is a much deeper (and arguably philosophical) question than I can do justice to briefly, but I grew up on the Connecticut shoreline, along the murky waters of Long Island Sound.  

I’ve lived in the Boston area around the same amount of time as Connecticut, so if you asked me where I “felt like I was from”, I might say either Connecticut, Boston, or avoid philosophical answers altogether and say Southern New England!

Q: What’s your background? What did you do before Modulate?

A: After high school in Connecticut, I moved to Boston to attend Boston University (BU) where I studied two of my many passions, space and computers, or more appropriately named Astrophysics and Computer Science.  

After undergrad, I still held onto my passion for space, but acknowledging that Astronomy positions usually require further education and that I needed to get my career started (student loans are no joke), I started working out of college at Workday just outside of San Francisco.

From there, I grew and honed my programming experience and skill set as I programmed my way into Boston-based software companies like Wayfair and Indigo AG, until finding myself here at Modulate.

Q: Why are you joining Modulate?

A: I’m an avid gamer myself and have seen first hand what toxicity does to communities around games I know and love.  Modulate is trying to address toxicity issues in online gaming communities, and I’m ecstatic to be a part of that. 

I want to make a positive impact on some small corner of the world that I am passionate about, and here at Modulate, I know that I am doing that with coworkers who are equally as passionate about making such an impact as well.

Q: What’s your ideal work environment? Any special strategies you use to stay effective?

A: I work best in a collaborative, open environment that encourages others to ask questions, learn, and grow from one another.  

However, when I’m trying to reach a “flow state”, I find that I can become distracted by others talking around me.  Over time, I’ve learned that it’s much easier for my brain to “tune out” one sound than it is to ask it to tune out many sounds, particularly if a few people are talking.  My brain wants to listen and understand what others are saying!

My special strategy is to listen to music (ground-breaking, I know), particularly music without speech to enable my brain to ignore music instead of ignoring the varied sounds of multiple humans speaking.  I’ve found lo-fi electronic music, post-rock music, and instrumental or orchestral music to work great for this!

Q: Tell us about something you must have in any culture you join?

A: Transparency.  In my opinion, it is the bedrock of so many other cultural facets, including a growth mindset, collaboration, and providing constructive feedback, all of which are crucial in the health of not just a company and its employees, but of individuals as well.

Q: Who are you outside of work?

A: First and foremost, this is a very short question with a very long answer – there’s a lot of things that make up who someone is, inside or outside of a certain context.

I’m an avid gamer - playing games has been my longest running hobby.  I remember the first video game I ever played (Super Mario Bros. on NES) and the first game I ever owned (Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis).  But I play plenty of board games and D&D as well, so I’m no stranger to the table-top.

But I’m also a dog-dad, space enthusiast, American football lover (my team is the New York Giants), hobbyist video game developer, sci-fi enthusiast, travel lover, dungeon master (DM), technological tinkerer, Lord of the Rings nerd, Calvin and Hobbes lover, beer enthusiast, frequent concert-goer, music lover, rock climber, local restaurant enthusiast, pick-up basketball player, sports lover, sustainability advocate, humor seeker, …

And I’m probably a few dozen more things, too. This is what makes the “who are you” question so hard to answer!  But for the record, I’m not just these things outside of work – I’m not-so-secretly all of these things inside of work, too!

In fewer words, I’m a lot of things, but I like to consider myself “a really big kid” - I’m always on the lookout for the next big adventure and try to have fun, no matter what I’m doing!

Q: What’s something you’re great at that few people realize?

A: I’m pretty good at drawing and sketching with pencils, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to ensuring that the result looks exactly like my mind envisions, so I don’t often share my work.

Q: Leave us with a fun tidbit - a favorite joke, a story from your past, an obscure riddle, whatever you like!

A: Since there isn’t nearly enough about outer space in this yet, here’s a bit about space!

Any free-moving liquid, like water, will form itself into a sphere when in outer space because of surface tension.  Check out a video of Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, washing his hands on the ISS to see this in action!