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Jo Montanari

Introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Jo and I’m the CTO for modo which is a mindful productivity app to help people stay present and focus on what matters most. I have gone back and forth between coding and managing, and this is my third time swinging back across the engineer / manager pendulum. I also love quilting and sewing (aka buying way too much pretty fabric!) which I started doing during COVID.

What do you do for work?
We are a team of 4 at modo, all came together last year in August and went full-time in October. I’m now back on the tools, building the app on Google Firebase and React. I’m also looking forward to learning more about ReactNative soon! We are looking for beta users who are feeling overwhelmed and juggling a lot in their life. If you’re interested in what we do and would be willing to give our app a go and provide feedback, we’d love to hear from you! You can also join our waitlist if you would like to hear when we go live.

Team update: As of December 2023, Jo is a Director of Engineering at Culture Amp.

Any podcast you are currently listening to, or a book you are reading?
I’m not really a podcast person but I do enjoy reading fiction. I’m reading a funny book at the moment called The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. My mum read it when she visited recently, and she enjoyed it so much, I wanted to try it!

What do you do outside work?
Lots of sewing! But I also enjoy eating out and trying new restaurants. At the moment my top two Melbourne restaurants are Coda and Laura at Point Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula.

What is your favourite tool or resource, and why?
Right now I’m really enjoying the Epic React course by Kent C Dodds. I’m doing it with a friend, which makes it even better. Even if you know React, you can still pick up some great tips. Frontend Masters has also been invaluable.

Toughest work moment?
I’ve had a few tough moments when I got feedback that surprised me because how I thought of myself didn’t match up with how others thought of me. It was tough at the moment and could take a while to process.

Most rewarding work moment?
It’s been very rewarding being back on the tools and building a product that I’m truly passionate about. I’m a creator at heart and seeing people using what I’ve built is very satisfying.

Your one-sentence work-related advice
When I was thinking about whether to join modo, my future-CEO said “follow your energy”. Find the thing that energises you and do more of it, it will make you more motivated and happier in what you do. That advice really stuck with me.

Your one-sentence hiring-related advice
Hire the people with the right leadership and people skills, and don’t underestimate the value of people who can be the glue. You can teach them your tech, but it’s harder to teach people skills.

Connect with Jo on LinkedIn.