How I landed my 13.000 km dream internship

lunar_welcome

This is my story. The story of a green smiley alien from planet Italy that decided to follow his dream and never listened to the naysayers.


One year ago I was in Chile, experiencing the most amazing adventure of my entire life. Most importantly, there I discovered what I wanted to do in life: web development.

As a matter of fact, during my university exchange, I was lucky enough to meet a bunch of people that, at first made me fall in love with web technologies, then set my enthusiasm on fire and, finally, showed me the bleeding edge stuff down the path.

That’s why approaching the end of my South American studies I felt lost: was my dream over?

In that moment I discovered something great. In fact, there is a place on planet Earth that a group of people is using as a headquarter for their space web missions. And not only they are doing the coolest things, they also have great fun in the process.
That place is called Lunar Logic.

lunar_logic_observatory

Back then I had a crazy idea, I could have revolutionized my plans and joined those crazy and foolish space travelers for an internship. That way I would have had a whole group of astronauts with whom grow as a developer while writing my master thesis.

I didn’t even have the time to think rationally about it that I was already sold on the idea. Problem was, Lunar didn’t have any position open. Furthermore, they had recently closed the summer internship program.

There was only one way to convince them: I just needed to make the impossible possible.

For a few months I had been researching and studying every possible piece of information I could dig about them. Armed with that knowledge I tailored a perfect CV and a Polish-ed cover letter.

It was a one shot one kill chance, so I bought a flight ticket. Then I sent them my presentation letter, saying that I was going to be in Poland and I would have loved to meet face to face to discuss my application.

The day I got their ok I was already traveling through Poland. It made me super happy but I knew that I would have needed much more than that before celebrating. In fact, I had to face the Demo Day, a day long interview with all the crew.

Our contact happened on August 27th. When they opened the gate of the rocket to let me in, the feeling was strange; I already knew so many things about them and their shuttle, that it all seemed like a meeting with old buddies.

The moment I got into the place I spotted the Happiness Chart, the whiteboard where every Lunar person tracks his or her mood daily using a colored drawing: red for bad, blue for so-so and green for happy.

Happiness Chart

Walking through the hallway the situation got more and more crowded. So much that, when we finally got to the kitchen, the room was literally packed.
What surprised me is that I was the one asking about technical stuff, all of them were more interested about my life, hobbies and experiences.

Suddenly, all the people started gathering in the big room I saw near the entrance. In fact, it was Lean Coffee time: Lunar Logic weekly meeting.

I was stunned by the biggest room in Lunar: it felt relaxing with its two sofas and lots of fluffly bean bags, amusing with its foosball and darts, stimulating with its squared black Ikea library full of books.

Back to Lean Coffee. On the whiteboard the astronauts were writing down, one by one, the topics they wanted to speak about altogether. Then, after a brief vote they discussed every point in the established order.

I was shocked by how much every idea was listened and encouraged. That felt more surprising because every new voice I listened to was supporting a diverse opinion from the previous one. Still the discussion was balanced.

lunar_sofa_room

After the meeting I encountered the captain of the (space)ship and took a seat with him on one of those comfy sofas.
What followed was the most intriguing two-hours interview I have ever had. And that wasn’t because he was drinking a beer in the meanwhile, or maybe it was?

Jokes aside, that conversation turned out to be really challenging. In fact, we both were trying to understand if we could have been a good fit for the job.
That was the moment I decided to drop the bomb. It was a dangerous move but rule number one during interviews is to be honest, so I complied.
Thing is, my situation was fairly complicated because I only had a few months free before coming back to Italy to attend a few more courses and graduate.

“It’s going to be something uncommon anyway so we can bend some details to have you aboard”, that answer ended our chat.
This whole conversation made me super inspired and on the emotional level I got the answer I needed: Lunar is about people, about the group.

At that point the clock on the wall struck 14:00 and I was left in the hands of the nerds. At first, I had to pair program some new functionality. Secondly, we talked about my background as a developer.
I have to be honest, that was the part of the interview where I sucked the most. But it’s just the way I am: ace the impossible things and slip on the easiest ones.

I was 6 hours into the Demo Day but the most important test still had to come. In fact, with three more developers I had to prove my reflexes and physical coordination.
It was Foosball time and it wasn’t ever a matter of being bad. I got completely owned. At some points I couldn’t even see the ball. I guess that their no gravity trainings in deep space made the difference.

The moment I got out of Lunar Logic’s base I only had one thing in mind: I wanted to become a proud astronaut.

I’ll never forget a few days later when, while seated on a bed in the worst hostel ever, I’ve read the Lunar email with their positive answer.

lunar_email

My dream was on. Again.

Now I just had to convince my university and a professor to be a supervisor of mine on a project in Poland that didn’t even exist.
But that’s another story.

If you liked the post ping me on twitter @riccardoodone.
If you hated it you can go drink your Hatorade somewhere else!


This post is dedicated to all my Chilean friends and professors that supported me for a full year and gave me the inspiration and the enthusiasm to undertake this path through web development; without you I would not have a dream to fulfill.

Also, I’ll be always grateful to all the Lunar folks who gave my dream a shot and welcomed me into the family.
I feel proud of being a member of this awesome crew.

  • Anna M

    Great to have you here, be back soon! :)

    • Riccardo Odone

      I’ll be asking for dopełniacz remotely :)

  • Anna Ślimak

    We will miss you! Come back!

    • Riccardo Odone

      I’ll be back and ready to rock n roll sooner than you think ;) In the meanwhile, keep the impreza up!

  • Jaime Navon

    Dear Riccardo, it was a real pleasure to have you here for a year. You are one of those students that I really love: huge enthusiasm, hunger for new knowledge and a permanent smile in the face. I remembered that you talked once about Lunar Logic and I am glad that you get to work with them. I am sure that they will appreciate your contribution.

    • Riccardo Odone

      Thanks for the message! I miss so much our weekly meeting and coming super early to the department to work on the IOP with you. Here I feel at home, it’s a whole group of people with “huge enthusiasm, hunger for new knowledge and a permanent smile in the face” (and they have vodka too :) ).

      Gracias Profe, #VivaChile

  • Riccardo,

    It was a pleasure to meet you and to have inspired you to in following the web development path. I’ve always seen a huge enthusiasm in all you do, web of life stuff, and that is something rare to find in people. It is awesome that you could complete your internship successfully in Lunar Logic, and I am sure it was an amazing experience. You are a living proof that travel and work are compatible and can form a life style.

    Hope to see you again, in Italy o another place in the world.

    • Riccardo Odone

      Hey Seba!! The main responsible for this! Thanks for the comment. I’d really like to have the occasion to work together on something in the future. In fact, it was a pity that you were in Brazil while I was in Santiago working on the IOP.
      Maybe some shared open source thing will come up, let’s see.

      Gracias Seba! Espero verte pronto, qué te vaya todo la raja!