For our first installment of WELL’s Meet the Team Feature, we’re excited to interview Thor Clark, WELL’s CTO. Thor is approaching his one-year anniversary at WELL (he joined in March 2018), and is especially proud of the rockstar product engineering team he’s built.
What do you do at WELL?
I’m responsible for product, engineering, technical security, and technical operations.
Where do you live?
We live in the Westside area of L.A. I love that Southern California weather—it’s great for getting out with the kids and dogs.
Who lives with you?
Two kids, two French bulldogs, one wife.
A typical day in the life looks like…
There are no typical days! WELL is growing fast, so there’s generally recruiting activity, whether it’s interviewing, sourcing, or working with recruiters. There’s always a team-building component, whether that’s one-on-ones or training activity. There’s some customer engagement or prospect engagement, vendor relationship management, product activity, architecture discussions, and planning. Sometimes there’s travel—visiting customers and partners, that kind of activity.
There are always big rocks and little rocks: there’s making progress on big, long-term projects and also dealing with short-term issues, making sure both are moving forward.
First piece of code?
I wrote an assembly language version of Conway’s Game of Life when I was 12.
Delivering newspapers–that ages me, right?—in Paradise, California.
I once spent half a day selling vacuum cleaners over the phone. I’d literally take a page out of the phone book and start calling people.
Your top pet peeve (or three)?
Self-driving car technology should be better than it is! In general, I’m frustrated by things that aren’t well designed.
Your proudest achievement, personal or professional?
Professionally, I’m proud of having been part of three successful startups with good outcomes: Investools, SignNow, and Tabula Interactive.
More personally: I dropped out of school to do my first startup, and then I went back and finished school. I went out in the world and did stuff, but I still got that degree. I feel pretty good about that.
We wouldn’t know it to look at you, but…
I played trumpet, then baritone, then tuba, then sousaphone in high school. I worked my way up to bigger and bigger instruments over the course of a few years.
And I was a firefighter! I spent a summer fighting forest fires in Northern California.
The people you admire most are…
My mother, definitely—she put herself through Stanford Medical School late in life. Tom Brady’s pretty impressive, too.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
Be passionate about learning. Be focused on people—users and coworkers—and think about what drives them and what they’re trying to accomplish. It can be fun to brain-tease and problem-solve, and don’t lose sight of the end goal.
Find work that you genuinely enjoy. “Finding your passion” is an overused and vague phrase, but find a role, team, and mission that make you enjoy going to work every day. ♥
Thor Clark leads a team of 20 engineers, Product Managers, and Program Managers.
To see current opportunities to work at WELL, see our Careers page.
Talya Meyers is WELL’s Health Editor. Talya began her career in academia before transitioning to writing full time. She has written for Smithsonian Magazine online, BBC Future, Refinery29, and the Los Angeles Times, among other venues. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University.