Johnvey Hwang, Co-Founder and CTO of Compell'd

Get to know our Co-Founder and CTO, Johnvey (and his love for the perfect cheesecake).
Discover Johnvey's Lists in Compell'd

Johnvey is a multi-passionate Renaissance man, and he never ceases to amaze the Compell'd team with what he creates. Whether it's a beautiful vase he made (that the rest of us would pay good money for), or homemade English muffins with the perfect texture, he cares deeply about what he creates and loves to perfect his craft. He takes great care in thinking critically about food in particular, and 10 out of 10 times if he says something is good, it's really good. Get to know him a bit more, below.

Tell us a bit about yourself - what were you up to before Compell’d?

My life before Compell’d was in the alternate universe of software, building things for companies to use instead of consumers. There are a lot of things that happen differently than in a consumer space like Compell’d, but the biggest change is that I still care about what I’m building outside of work hours because it’s a personal interest -- managing infrastructure for data centers is fundamentally not something anyone can have personal interests in.

"The biggest change is that I care about what I'm building outside of work hours because it's a personal interest."

How did you become the fervent food connoisseur you are today?

I moved to the Bay Area right after college and couldn’t find a cheesecake that I liked, so I decided to try and make one myself. It turned into a multi-month experiment to hone in on the best recipe, which I’m happy to say resulted in a damn good cheesecake recipe that I still use today. From that point forward, I think I just started to seek out better and better food -- which was good timing because San Francisco was on its upward trajectory of becoming a legitimate food town. The part about being a critic just comes naturally to me.

What would you say has been your favorite food project to date?

I have to say the most enjoyable is roasting chickens. Easy, yes, but there are a thousand ways to do it and there’s just so much satisfaction when you’re carving up the bird and dig out the two oysters for yourself. Sure, I have tons of gadgets and cookers to do speciality things, but those are often as much about the novelty as they are about the food.

What are some of your favorite meals?

My wife makes fun of me on this because I can never give a straight answer, I always say, “it depends”. Which is totally honest! I think each situation can have its own best meal. If I’m in a large group with worldly eaters, the banquet dinner at R&G Lounge is unbeatable. If it’s late night and I need some greasy food, I beeline for a burrito at El Farolito. If I’m looking for an intimate dinner that is an experience on its own, then it’s a night at Omakase. And for the record, Super Duper has a way better fast food burger than In-n-Out.

What are some other hobbies you have in your free time?

I like to make things so over the years I’ve done woodworking and ceramics, in addition to cooking. For outdoor activities, I snowboard in the winter and taste wine in the summer.

What are you hoping to create in Compell’d?

I love rating and ranking things, so I hope people come to Compell’d to do the same because it’s easy and satisfying. My dream scenario is that everyone thinks of Compell’d as their go-to place for saving and sharing recommendations.

"My dream scenario is that everyone thinks of Compell’d as their go-to place for saving and sharing recommendations."

What's some advice you like to share with younger engineers?

With software engineers, I always advise them to build with clarity in mind, not cleverness. Any worthwhile project will be done in a team setting so one has to keep that in mind. Although, if you ask some of my previous direct reports, they would probably tell you that I like dispensing life advice way more than engineering advice.

Thanks so much, Johnvey! We can't wait to try Boichik bagels that you rave about.

Discover Johnvey's Lists in Compell'd
February 6, 2020

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