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Q&A with Giacomo Guilizzoni

Founder and CEO of Balsamiq

My name is Giacomo Guilizzoni but I mostly go by Peldi.

I am the founder and CEO of Balsamiq: we make a little wireframing tool called Balsamiq Mockups. It recreates the experience of sketching user interfaces on a whiteboard, but digitally.

I am 39 years old and live in Bologna, Italy, with my wife and son.

How did you get started in development?

I started coding at age 12 when my father bought me a “teach yourself BASIC” course on those big floppy disks (yes, I am that old). I learned Pascal in high school, then studied Computer Science at the University of Bologna. I also did an exchange program at the University of California in San Diego for a year, which is where my love for user interfaces really developed. After graduating, I moved to San Francisco to work at Macromedia, which then became Adobe. I worked on real-time-communication solutions there for 6 years, it was awesome. Then in 2008 I moved back to Italy to start Balsamiq.

What software and hardware do you use for your work?

I basically live in these 3 applications: Google Chrome, Hipchat and IntelliJ IDEA. I also have Spotify running in the background most of the time.

In Chrome, my pinned tabs are for GMail, Google Calendar, Pivotal Tracker, Atlassian Confluence and the help desk admin UI.

What is your ideal work environment?

A simple room with a closed door, a clean desk, my laptop and my headphones. 
I love it when I get to quit Hipchat and Chrome and just simply code for a while, or open up OmmWriter and write something, like I’m doing right now for this interview. :)

Top-3 your favorite books / resources

  • Crossing the Chasm” really opened my eyes about early-stage marketing.
  • Growing a Business” influenced the way I am growing my little company, little by little, organically.
  • I get my tech news from HN, but I mostly ignore the comments there these days.

Who are the developers you admire most?

I am a big fan of one-man-band developers: Maciej Ceg?owski of Pinboard, Patrick McKenzie, Andy Brice.