Interview: Luca Grulla, Signal VP Engineering, on Clojure and London’s tech community

Luca heads up Signal’s engineering team, developing the software products which help our clients turn information into knowledge. In December, Signal was a Platinum Sponsor at ClojureX, one of the most important conferences for Clojure developers in Europe. I spoke to Luca shortly after ClojureX took place, to learn more about how Signal uses Clojure and to get his thoughts on the ways companies can build tech networks in London and further afield.

Clojure at Signal

[Joe]: Hey Luca! To kick us off, how important is Clojure to Signal, and how do we use it?

[Luca]: It’s part of our core tech stack, alongside Javascript and Python. So it’s one of the most important programming languages we use. It’s particularly important to us because our pipeline – how we analyse and classify information before it is pushed to our users – is mostly written in Clojure. It allows us to be effective while working fast.

[Joe]: Clojure is obviously vital to what we do at Signal. But why support a conference like ClojureX?

[Luca]: It’s the most important Clojure conference in London, and one of the two biggest at a European level. It’s an unmissable gathering of the Clojure community in the UK and abroad. We get a lot of benefits from the community – using open-source tools, reading publicly-available materials – so we thought it would be a great idea to give something back!

Also, despite raising our Series A funding round this month, we aren’t super high-profile yet on the London tech scene, so ClojureX was a chance for us to say “this is who Signal are, this is how we like to solve problems”. This puts Signal on people’s radar and helps build our network within the tech community in London and further afield.

[Joe]: Who gave particularly interesting talks at ClojureX?

[Luca]: It’s just a personal choice, but I did think that the James Reeves Asynchronous Ring talk was great – he is a massive contributor to the Clojure open-source community. Christian Blunden and David Humphreys also gave really interesting, engaging talks.

[Joe]: What were the main benefits of ClojureX for Signal, then?

[Luca]: It was the first time Signal has supported a conference through sponsorship in this way, so it was a great chance for our team to be ambassadors for Signal and to make new connections.

At future events, we are planning on sharing our knowledge of Clojure with the community, so stay tuned.

Tech in London

[Joe]: Why is it important to create strong networks within the tech scene?

[Luca]: If you share what you’re doing, you naturally create stronger networks. Useful exchanges of ideas help everyone to solve problems in the long run. Also, everyone wants to work with great people, and if people think of Signal as a place where they can work on challenging things in a fun, productive environment, that’s a positive too.

[Joe]: What are some of the ways that tech companies can contribute to the community?

There are lots of tech companies which can give back by contributing open-source tooling, which is really important. Right now, we aren’t prioritising open-source, but things might change in the future – who knows? But we still want to be active citizens of the tech community, and sponsoring ClojureX was just one way for us to do that.

[Joe]: Thanks for your time Luca!

[Luca]: Thanks!

We’ve seen how important it is to be active members of a tech community in a hub like London. Being able to participate in events like ClojureX is a great way to network and make connections. If you’d like to read more about Signal’s technology, click here. If you’re interested in our current job opportunities, head to our careers page.

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