Fabio Akita on Locaweb

Locaweb is a strong supporter of RubyLearning.org and Satish Talim of RubyLearning recently caught up with Fabio Akita of Locaweb, who was kind enough to spare time answering questions posed by RubyLearning. Fabio Akita

Fabio Akita is a Brazilian Rails enthusiast, also known online as “AkitaOnRails”. He regularly write posts on his own blog and had published the very first book tailored for the Brazilian audience called “Repensando a Web com Rails”.

Satish Talim>> Fabio, a warm welcome to you. For the benefit of the readers, can you give some background on yourself and your role in the hosting industry?

Fabio Akita>> Well, I think most people know me better from my AkitaOnRails.com blog where I write tutorials, interviews and all sorts of Ruby, Rails and the “Art of Programming” in general. I wrote the first Ruby on Rails book in Brazil and
leaded some community driven book translations into Portuguese as well. When I realized the potential of Ruby I wanted to use it right away, but there was no market available for me to work on here. I had the great opportunity to spend a year working offshore for the Utah based consulting firm Surgeworks LLC last year and now I am Linux Product Manager at Locaweb. My goal is to carry on the mission I set to myself more than 2 years ago: in order for me to live in the Ruby world, in my home country, I would have to help push the community forward and create a true local market for Ruby related development. That’s also my mission at Locaweb.

Satish Talim>> Can you please give us a brief history of your company, Locaweb?

Fabio Akita>> Locaweb just celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, one decade of excellence in internet hosting services. It started with visionaries Gilberto Mautner and Claudio Gorá in the same garage-style, small budget story that would make you think about San Francisco, Silicon Valley, but it happened in Brazil. By their lead, they survived the first Internet Bubble Crash and leaded Locaweb to become the number 1 hosting company in the country by a gigantic margin, with around 400 employees and 133 thousand clients, hosting more than 220 thousand domains.

Satish Talim>> What are Locaweb’s target markets and what kind of products do you have now?

Fabio Akita>> I would say that we target both the developer community and corporations. Our services include Windows and Linux, shared and dedicated, hosting, allowing for a number of web development technologies such as PHP, ASP.NET, Java and now Ruby on Rails, with more to come. We also pioneered VoIP solutions and offer Exchange based solutions for companies, online storage, gaming servers, among other services.

Satish Talim>> What are Locaweb’s biggest strengths?

Fabio Akita>> There is no such thing as a “perfect thing” and as anybody else we have our share of problems. But what makes Locaweb unique in its area is their crew. All 400 employees, including 100 engineers, and all the leaders, investing resources into refining what we have, researching partnerships, new products and solutions.

We employ Agile processes and more importantly, Agile philosophy, which is rare in this business. The strength of any great company relies on the hands of their people. The company’s philosophy motivates self-improvement which reflects in the way people act and deliver. You can rest assured that whatever is wrong will be fixed and whatever the future holds, we will deliver. And I can say that confidently: we have some of the finest in the industry.

Satish Talim>> Why should somebody choose Locaweb instead of another host?

Fabio Akita>> As “enterprisey” as it may sound, because we can support you and offer you the best solution for your project. As I explained before, we are working hard to deliver great products for the future while enhancing what we already have. We are talking about the long run: this is a company with 10 years of successful history and we are envisioning the next 10 years, this is not a volatile startup, this is a rock solid company. We are always pursuing the best solutions for our customers. And we are listening our customers.

Satish Talim>> Is Locaweb committed to Ruby on Rails and its community? How?

Fabio Akita>> Very committed. Again, we have some of the finest in the industry working here, starting from our CEO, Gilberto, who himself is not only a business man but also a true apprentice of the art of technology. There is no recipe written down in stone on how to do technology, it’s about both engineering and art. It came from the CEO the initiative to pursue Ruby on Rails. He not only envisioned it as a nice looking business: he is also learning the platform itself and the Ruby-way. So he “understands” Ruby on Rails from a stand-point that no other business man around can.

He hired me with the clear mission to deliver the best services around Ruby on Rails to our customers. We want developers to enjoy being our customers, we want this market to finally flourish. This is not a simple matter of installing a module into our web servers and call it a day. It also means understanding and supporting the development communities. The “Rails Summit Latin America 2008” that will take place on October 15-16th is just one of these steps.

Satish Talim>> What was the idea behind Locaweb exclusively sponsoring RubyLearning.org’s Free Online Ruby Programming Course?

Fabio Akita>> Again, when I proposed this idea to our CEO he was immediately able to grasp its value. RubyLearning is a well recognized institution for the international Ruby community. And it is very important that it remains open to the world wide community. There are several Brazilians that learned Ruby through this course and we want many more to join and discover the joy of the Ruby way.

It is totally compatible with our mission: of not only delivering simple services, but also nurturing bold community-driven endeavors such as RubyLearning. I hope it keeps going on, evolving, and graduating more and more Ruby developers that are eager to expand this community.

Satish Talim>> Thanks Fabio for sharing your views with the RubyLearning participants.

Note: This interview is one of my ways of saying thank you to Fabio Akita and Locaweb and not directly influenced or specified by the sponsors.

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