One of our newest imports, Michael Heilemann, made the big move across the Atlantic to join the Squarespace team just a few months ago. His beautiful interface work on other platforms, most notably WordPress and Habari, had him in high demand, and caught the attention of Anthony Casalena. Michael flew to New York to meet the Squarespace development team and voila -- he fell in love. “Squarespace was a force to be reckoned with,” he says, “and a collection of people the likes of which you’d be lucky to meet in passing, if at all." Denmark didn’t have a chance.

This past November Michael and his wife locked up their apartment in Copenhagen and arrived in New York City with just enough belongings to fit into the trunk of a taxi cab. He described the decision as, “simultaneously one of the hardest and one of the easiest decisions I ever had to make.” Sure there were the comforts of home, but more appealing to Michael was the chance to try something entirely new. The appeal of life within the most iconic skyline in the world didn’t hurt either.

Name: Michael Heilemann

Job title: User Interface Director

What do you actually do every day? I mostly raid the fridge, rearrange chairs before hours, and then when I can't put it off any longer, I spend the rest of the day in the company of TextMate and Safari, hammering out HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

What is your background? I was born and raised in Denmark, where I started out doing web design in the dot com days. Then relegated it to intense-hobby level with years of open source development -- from the earliest days of WordPress through Habari and various other projects -- while I was a game developer (first as a graphics artist, then as a level designer). Most recently I had my own company doing web and interface design and consulting.

Favorite thing about working at Squarespace: The passionate progressive thinking.

Aside from Squarespace, what is your favorite online tool/resource? Instapaper and CloudApp.

Favorite blogs: Daring Fireball, AdactioIgnore The CodeLongform, Motel de, Skiffy, The Art of the Title Sequence, The Daily What, 5 by 5.

Who do you admire and why? Stanley Kubrick. His work is unrivaled, insightful, mysterious and true.

Last 5 songs played on your iPod? Well, I've been listening to Nine Inch Nails all morning, but... 

  • “Telegraph Road” by Dire Straits
  • “No Leaf Clover” by Metallica
  • “Mama” by Genesis
  • “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears.

What do you do for fun? I love cinema and tend to either watch a lot of movies (and TV shows), often Star Wars, which somehow became my speciality. I work on my own web projects from time to time, play games, and I love photography. I hope to do more of it as the weather improves.

5 fun facts about yourself:

  • I used to have shoulder-length hair. Now I'm all but bald. Damn you genes.
  • I studied Computer Arts in Dundee, Scotland, but didn't pick up Scottish.
  • I can't sleep on airplanes.
  • I can be a pretty mean Team Fortress 2 soldier ("Screamin' eagles!").
  • I didn't start drinking coffee until about a year ago. 

If you could pick one superpower, invisibility or flying, which would you pick? Why? Invisibility. The whole flying scenario is fraught with danger and unknowns. Is it even legal? What would the government do when they found out that I was flying around unaided? I'm sure the US Customs and Border Protection Agency would have a thing or two to say about that. And furthermore, I think a lot of people hear "flying" and equate it to being Superman, but it's just flying, not invincibility or even temperature resistance (say hello to Mr. Wind Chill). There're simply too many unknowns, whereas with invisibility you know what you're getting.

Stay in touch with Michael via his personal blog, Binary Bonsai, or on Twitter @Heilemann. He also has an account just for sharing his Instapaper favorites, called @Heileshare.