A Day in the Life of a XuKeeper: Dan


For our final Xukeeper of 2016, meet Dan Caddigan! This principal software engineer, who is based in our Boston office, is a lawn game champ, seltzer aficionado and has an awesome side hustle that has him occasionally dreaming of warmer weather.


How do you explain your work to your friends/family?

Although this only covers the DSP portion of what we do I usually say: “You know the ads on the right hand side of a web page?  Every time you go to a web page there is an ebay-style auction to show you an ad there, but only lasts 1/10th of a second and there are millions of them every second.  DataXu is bidding in these auctions 24/7 on behalf of its clients.”

As for what I do – I lead the team that is rebuilding our user interface.  My main responsibility is to ensure that my team members get good, detailed requirements and are shielded from distractions so that they can focus on building features quickly.  This keeps me in a perpetual state of controlled chaos making sure that the developers, API team, architecture, product and user experience teams are on the same page so the different pieces all fit together nicely.  In between the peaks of chaos, I also develop features  and oversee the overall architecture for the client-side application.

Dan Caddigan and girlfriend in New Zealand
A stop in Wanaka, New Zealand during a trip to AUS / New Zealand that Dan took with his girlfriend Julie.

How did you land at DataXu?

I graduated from Cornell University in 2003 with a major in Computer Science and have been developing software ever since. I spent 5-6 years at a human resources software firm and then decided to quit and try out consulting, which I did for 3 years before coming to the Xu.  I joke with my family and friends that this was my “first retirement” because I typically spent the summer mornings golfing or sailing and then I would work in the afternoon or evening.  DataXu’s own Kevin Fennelly is a long-time friend of mine and got hired at DataXu about 6 months before I came on board.  About once a week for those 6 months, Kevin tried to get me to come in “just have have lunch with the UI guys,” saying things like “they’re cool, but suuuuuper nerdy, you’d love them.”  I eventually caved and came in for lunch, and a week later I was a DX employee.

DataXu’s core values are: Excellence, Collaboration, Innovation, Trust and Customer Obsession… the value that resonates with you most is….

Innovation: in order for DataXu to stay competitive, we need to innovate and build products and processes that scale.

If you weren’t doing this for a living, what might you have ended up doing instead?

I own a (very small) wine company with three friends from college.  Sometimes, more so in the cold Boston winter, I think about how awesome it would be to move out to Sonoma and focus on our wine business.

Dan Caddigan Wine Smelling at friend's wedding
Showing off his wine chops at a friend’s wedding.

What would you say is your greatest strength that translates to the workplace?

Organization.  Leading a project that has so many different inputs and stakeholders requires a lot of organization and attention to detail or things would fall through the cracks.

What is your life motto?

“Always keep learning” – This is especially important in the technology field where things change so quickly.

Favorite perk of working at DataXu?

Freedom to explore and adopt new technologies and patterns: on the UI project, we’re constantly challenging initial decisions to see if there is a better way to do things.  With our company-wide adoption of and move to AWS, I see even more opportunities for technical innovation coming.  The new ping pong table is pretty sweet, too!

Favorite snack in the DataXu kitchen?

Seltzer! Pro tip: I have a cranberry lime Polar seltzer bottle that I refill with the Bevi machine and I swear it tricks your brain into thinking you’re drinking Polar.

Cat sitting on couch
Dan’s 18 pound calico Vivi mugging for the camera

Favorite DataXu memory?

When I first started at DX I quickly joined the softball team.  I played baseball most of my life and felt like it would be a good way to get to know some of my new colleagues.  At one of the first games, Sisqo’s “Thong Song” started playing out of our bluetooth speaker, to which I exclaimed “Oh man I love this song, it reminds me of when it came out my freshman year of college.” Carly Rauh, also on the team, was certain that I must have my years mixed up, so I asked why.  “Because I was 8 when this song came out.”  That’s the moment we realized that I was a decade older than a number of the players on the softball team =0

If you could have coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Elon Musk – I’m fascinated by most things that come out of his mouth.  Also, maybe if I left an impression on him I could get a free trip to Mars out of it.

What is a fun fact about you?

Despite having terrible vision in one eye and miserably failing my ophthalmologist’s depth perception exam, I’m extremely good at lawn and bar games.  I’ve won a 64 team cornhole tournament 3 years in a row, had a 200+ bowling average one year in college, won a Boston urban bocce league and am currently working on getting my ping pong skills back at the new table at DataXu.  My friends and family joke that since one of my eyes is so bad I’ve developed a sixth sense that only works for lawn games.