The Engineering Leadership Podcast

The Engineering Leadership Community (ELC)

We share the most critical perspectives, habits & examples of great software engineering leaders to help evolve leadership in the tech industry. Join our community of software engineering leaders @ www.sfelc.com!

Optimizing the product trio w/ Saumya Bhatnagar #102
2d ago
Optimizing the product trio w/ Saumya Bhatnagar #102
We discuss product innovation with Saumya Bhatnagar (CPO & Co-Founder @ involve.ai), who shares her passion for the product trio and how it enriches problem-solving! We cover how to best optimize the product trio, implementing empathy into your communication practices, the importance of the value priority score, frameworks for healthy & energetic discourse between the product trio, and improving the experience of telling users “no” while pursuing potential “yes” opportunities.ABOUT SAUMYA BHATNAGARSaumya Bhatnagar is the CPO and Co-founder of involve.ai, an AI-driven Early warning system that helps companies predict churn and revenue growth opportunities using customer data.Before starting involve.ai, Saumya co-founded a startup right out of high school in New Delhi which focussed on using technology to reduce gender-based abortions in India. She did her undergrad in Computer Science and went on to earn her Masters's in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a focus on Natural Language Processing.She is a Forbes 30 under 30 alum, winner of the Stevie Gold Entrepreneur of the Year award, recognized as the 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech by the National Diversity Council, and is on the list of Top 100 Women in Technology by AI Technology magazine.Saumya is a strong advocate of more representation for women in tech and is the founder of a nonprofit in India for women empowerment.When not working, Saumya enjoys binge-watching Netflix, photography, and traveling."A good relationship is not about how well you work with each other, but how well you fight with each other and how well can you disagree with each other. That's the entire goal of a product trio. They shouldn't agree. They should look at it from different lenses, but then how do you have that argument and come to a consensus is like the hardest part of managing it."- Saumya Bhatnagar   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022SHOW NOTES:Why it’s valuable to always consider the context of a problem first (2:07)How Saumya became passionate about the product trio (5:47)Optimize the product trio by exercising empathy & good communication (10:39)Why designers & front-end eng should be connected from the start (14:36)The five components of the value priority score framework (16:59)Improving the experience of telling users “no” (20:16)The role of recency bias in prioritization conversations & how to get to “yes” (24:16)Determine a product’s success by measuring what will impact the outcome (26:36)How the product trio gained alignment regarding the trust score feature (30:54)Saumya’s tips for knowing when the product trio is working well (34:20)Frameworks for healthy discourse within your product trio (36:17)Incorporating a bottom-up decision-making process (39:28)Rapid fire questions (42:43)LINKS AND RESOURCESCompetitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors - Michael E. Porter's book that has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world.Dopamine Nation - Dr. Anna Lembke’s book that explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain.
Customer narratives, business fluency & investing in developer experience w/ Marco Argenti #101
Sep 27 2022
Customer narratives, business fluency & investing in developer experience w/ Marco Argenti #101
Customer narratives are a transformative tool to help you build successful products! Marco Argenti (CIO @ Goldman Sachs) explains how to develop these narratives as your team’s guiding vision and help eng orgs better understand “the business” side of software. Plus we cover best practices for investing in developer experience, Goldman Sachs’ transition to prioritize external developers, and the signs, signals and trends Marco’s used to navigate his career across tons of different emerging technology fields.ABOUT MARCO ARGENTIMarco Argenti is the Chief Information Officer at Goldman Sachs. He is a member of the Management Committee, the Firmwide Technology Risk Committee, the Client Business Standards Committee, the Enterprise Risk Committee and the Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Mr. Argenti joined the firm as a Partner in 2019.Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Argenti served as Vice President of technology of Amazon Web Services (AWS) since 2013, overseeing all aspects of the product lifecycle of Cloud Services, including strategy, business planning and developer engagement, and leading several AWS technology areas, such as mobile, serverless, Internet of Things, messaging, and augmented and virtual reality. Before that, Mr. Argenti spent several years at Nokia Corporation, where he was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Developer Experience and Marketplace from 2011 to 2013, with responsibility for Nokia’s developer ecosystem and app store across the company’s entire product portfolio.Earlier in his career, Mr. Argenti was a board member and Chief Executive Officer of internet and mobile company Dada S.p.A., as well as a board member, executive vice president of strategy development and chief technology officer of Canadian e-commerce solutions provider Microforum Inc., where he founded Internet Frontier Inc., an internet publisher and e-commerce retailer. He previously founded and sold Dreamware S.r.l., a software development firm, to Microforum Inc.Mr. Argenti serves on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, also known as PanCan. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall."Today, the world is so complex that it's almost like an asteroid field and when you navigate an asteroid field, if you don't turn often, you're gonna be having some surprises and so that's why iteration is so important. You need to release sometimes multiple times a day because the world is changing in front of you and there are opportunities and obstacles that come all the time."- Marco Argenti   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022SHOW NOTES:Marco’s leadership journey – as a CTO, VP of Tech, and beyond (2:39)Questioning biases & observing signals when predicting opportunities (8:41)How Marco used intuition & data when deciding to work with Goldman Sachs (10:10)Why engineers must understand business principles (13:46)Using customer narratives to create a guiding vision for eng teams (17:47)How to help eng orgs better understand the business metrics of software (22:01)Why Goldman Sachs transitioned to prioritizing its developer clients (25:39)Shifting the focus from internal developers to external developers (31:34)How the tech team navigated challenges during this transition (33:34)Rapid fire questions (36:43)
Celebrating 100 episodes - our favorite moments from the Engineering Leadership Podcast so far
Sep 20 2022
Celebrating 100 episodes - our favorite moments from the Engineering Leadership Podcast so far
Today’s episode marks a special occasion – 100 episodes of The Engineering Leadership Podcast! To celebrate, we’ve compiled some of our favorite moments from the past hundred episodes, featuring a wide range of high-energy guests and compelling topics. We cover tension points while scaling eng & product orgs, why you should seek existential issues, how to get unstuck in your career, helping engineers outgrow their positions, hyper-growing your eng org/career, identifying burnout, understanding workplace injustice, confronting your fear of failure, and much more!Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022SHOW NOTES:How to focus on what really matters... seek the "existential issues" & find where there's "Room AND Attention" - Will Larson (3:23)The Portfolio of Time Management - Jean-Denis Greze (8:50)How to get unstuck in your career - Wade Chambers (13:04)“Crashing” your way to a seat at the table - Melody Hildebrandt (15:51)The fundamentals of managing up - Jan Chong (17:12)Common tension points while scaling engineering and product organizations - Jeremy Henrickson (19:31)The story of Amazon Apollo, solving the right problem & pitching the right stakeholders - Melissa Binde (24:43)"Hero Developers don't scale" - Andrew Lau & Eli Daniel (30:09)How to increase your pool of potential candidates - Farhan Thawar (34:48)Why you should help engineers outgrow their positions & how to discuss career growth with your team members - Tara Ellis (39:45)How eng orgs (and careers) evolve through hyper-growth - Samir Naik (43:32)Move as fast as long as - Richard Wong (47:41)Lessons from leading large-scale, complex, strategic projects - Wendy Sheppard (49:38)How to operationalize your approach to leadership - Sri Viswanath (52:55)How to detect & identify the early signs of burnout in your engineering team - Erica Lockheimer, Sabry Tozin & Lori Allen (55:50)The root causes of workplace injustice & the roles we can play to prevent it - Kim Scott & Trier Bryan (59:29)Conflict optimizations vs. conflict resolution & why eng leaders need to embrace conflict - Jordan Adler (1:04:14)How to get over the fear of silence - Alexis Rask (1:07:22)Leading through uncertainty - David Silverman (1:13:50)"Rage-fixing" & Eddie's breakthrough moment confronting fear of failure at Gusto - Eddie Kim (1:20:05)LINKS AND RESOURCESEpisode 30 - Spend Time On What Matter w/ Will LarsonEpisode 18 - Building a Successfully "Spiky" Org (Part 2) w/ Jean-Denis GrezeEpisode 21 - Conscious Career Growth (part 2) w/ Wade ChambersEpisode 72 - Why Engineering Needs a Seat at the Negotiating Table w/ Melody HildebrandtEpisode 43 - Managing Up w/ Jan ChongEpisode 38 - Align & Scale Engineering AND Product w/ Jeremy HenricksonEpisode 47 - Building Technology That Endures w/ Melissa BindeEpisode 79 - Translating engineering to the CEO w/ Andrew Lau and Eli DanielEpisode 10 - Speed & Creativity in Recruiting w/ Farhan ThawarEpisode 75 - A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Career Growth & Internal Mobility w/ Tara EllisEpisode 77 - How eng orgs (and careers) evolve through hyper-growth w/ Samir NaikEpisode 63 - Speed vs. Quality w/ Richard WongEpisode 31 - How to Lead Large Scale Projects w/ Wendy ShepperdEpisode 65 - Building Autonomous Teams & Engineering Career Ladders w/ Sri ViswanathEpisode 66 - Addressing Burnout in Your Engineering Org w/ Erica Lockheimer, Sabry Tozin & Lori AllenEpisode 44 - “Just Work” w/ Kim Scott & Trier BryantEpisode 74 - Conflict Optimization w/ Jordan AdlerEpisode 32 - Ask Powerful Questions w/ Alexis RaskEpisode 12 - Leading Through Uncertainty w/ David SilvermanEpisode 29 - Remove Fear of Failure From Your Org w/ Edward KimSPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR PRODUCTION TEAMNoah Olberding, ProducerLinkedIn: strong movie opinions? Send Noah a message with your hot cinema takes!Dan Overheim, Audio EngineerIG: @doverheimAre you also an avid 3D printer? Check out Dan’s 3D printing work here: bnd3d.comEllie Coggins Angus, CopywriterLinkedIn: books? Check out Ellie’s bookstagram: @ellieturnsthepage
Scaling your leadership to 3x exec roles and transforming your values, systems & habits w/ Vinay Hiremath CTO @ Loom
Sep 13 2022
Scaling your leadership to 3x exec roles and transforming your values, systems & habits w/ Vinay Hiremath CTO @ Loom
We speak with Vinay Hiremath, Co-Founder & CTO @ Loom, about his experience balancing three high-level exec roles and living out his personal values at work while prioritizing his mental & physical health! Scaling up is never easy, but Vinay shares tips and systems that have worked for him, including utilizing timetables, building good habits despite emotions, and triply verifying decisions. We also cover the stigma surrounding paternity / parental leave in the tech industry, how knowing your values inspires better health, and journaling frameworks for identifying values & goals.ABOUT VINAY HIREMATHVinay Hiremath (@vhmth) is Co-Founder & CTO at Loom - Check out Vinay’s video bio on Loom here"I'd lost a sense of direction because I just took on so much work. Direction became something that was a luxury for me to think about which is an incredibly dangerous place to be as an executive and it's really easy to fall into it especially when there's a fire hose of work that's coming at you all the time.And then I had morphed my life around work versus around my health and I realized the thing that had led me to have so much mental clarity before was my health. And so I started taking health incredibly seriously again.”- Vinay Hiremath   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022SHOW NOTES:Vinay’s experience taking on three exec roles at Loom (3:51)Why creating a daily timetable is crucial for busy eng leaders (6:02)The intersection between mental health & living by your values (9:14)What Vinay’s personal values are & ways he identified them (10:35)Incorporating the value of freedom within your eng org (11:35)How your goals & competencies act as gatekeepers to your values (16:25)Tips for building out your schedule to expand your working capacity (19:02)The importance of understanding your systems (20:11)As you scale your eng functions, set up delegation systems (21:49)Why eng teams should utilize budgets & triple verification (25:48)How triple verification works in people systems (27:07)What the CEO role taught Vinay about leading engineering (31:40)How Loom tackles the stigma surrounding parental leave (33:40)Prioritize mental & physical health to live out your values (35:48)Journaling frameworks to contemplate values (40:28)Vinay’s process for building – and keeping – new habits (43:03)Recognize your emotions & act despite them (47:07)Rapid fire questions (48:28)
Unconscious patterns of human behavior that hold us back w/ Luther Kitahata #98
Sep 6 2022
Unconscious patterns of human behavior that hold us back w/ Luther Kitahata #98
We cover how psychology, neuroscience & mindfulness tools can help eng leaders overcome challenges, communicate successfully, and foster a culture of empathy! Our guest is Luther Kitahata, an Innovative Executive Leadership Coach & Interim CTO/VP of Eng – he’s also described by Chip Conley as the “Obi-Wan Kenobi of Silicon Valley.” We also chat about identifying personality types, uncovering unconscious traits/patterns, shifting from the comfort zone to the growth zone, and how to be a transformative leader!ABOUT LUTHER KITAHATALuther Kitahata is an Executive Leadership Coach known for his expertise in innovation, C-Suite roles leading global organizations, and as an entrepreneur building companies from the ground up. Luther draws on his deep understanding of the patterns that drive human behavior as well as his own corporate leadership experience to provide individuals and organizations with a transformative and pragmatic approach to their most complex challenges. He is described as a "Silicon Valley Obi-Wan Kenobi" in Chip Conley's bestselling book Wisdom at Work.Luther works with high-growth companies led by senior executives who are committed to their own growth and transformation. Having been a C-level executive himself, he knows their challenges from the inside out. His methodology is designed to uncover hidden strengths and blind spots. He encourages leaders to experiment with new behaviors and actions. This results in transformations at the individual, team, and organizational levels.Luther draws on his 20+ years as a C-level operating executive, as well as entrepreneurial expertise starting 8 companies, enabling him to bring practical and actionable guidance to his clients. He has grown new teams from 0 to 100+, taken over large existing teams, and successfully handled turnaround situations. Luther also serves as a Fractional CTO or VP of Engineering to fill a recruiting gap; mentor founders growing into their leadership roles; or upgrade product development methodologies to drive agility, maturity, and scalability.“We make these patterns for ourselves all the time and particularly early in life, we learn patterns of how to navigate the world. The problem is that the modern-day world has a lot of stimulus and input that can throw us into that survival state, that fight flight freeze state very easily. So if you understand that that's what's happening, that we have all these patterns and they're mostly unconscious or barely conscious, then you start to think, ‘Well, okay… What are the patterns that are serving me and what are the patterns that aren't?'"- Luther Kitahata  Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022SHOW NOTES:Luther’s journey from eng leader to executive coach (02:33)The relationship dynamics between executive coach & fractional CTO (4:58)Using Enneagram results to assess eng leader’s response to challenges (6:16)Why you should be self-aware of your personality type (8:54)How to coach eng leaders to talk in ways that others will listen (10:58)Mindfulness techniques to foster a state of empathy & curiosity (12:32)What unconscious traits & patterns hold eng leaders back at work (15:42)How to recognize & address unconscious patterns (20:03)Tools to help you uncover areas where you experience resistance (21:43)Overcoming unconscious patterns by identifying your tendencies (22:49)Shift from the comfort zone to the growth zone (25:28)How to transition away from the high-stress zone (27:38)Transformative leadership starts with self-awareness & a growth mindset (30:10)Rapid fire questions (33:56)Luther’s method for tackling to-do lists with tools like Trello (35:51)Rapid fire questions continued (38:38)
The cost of “aspirational mismatches” (and how to avoid them) w/ Lisa Dusseault #97
Aug 30 2022
The cost of “aspirational mismatches” (and how to avoid them) w/ Lisa Dusseault #97
If you’ve ever wrestled with technology choices & navigated the consequences of the wrong path… this conversation is for you! Lisa Dusseault (CTO @ Compaas) defines the dilemma of the “aspirational mismatch” & shares real-life examples of how it affects a tech org’s processes, architecture, and metrics. She dives into the frameworks & tools that have helped her work through mismatches, her golden rule regarding “innovation tokens,” choosing the right sized technology for your company, and why tech companies are prone to aspirational mismatch in the first place.ABOUT LISA DUSSEAULTLisa Dusseault is the Chief Technology Officer at Compaas. She has built her career solving complex technology problems. After Microsoft, she led internet standards groups at the IETF, and engineering teams at Linden Lab and Stubhub. She founded tech startups Cathy Labs, Klutch, and ShareTheVisit. Lisa holds a B.S. in systems design engineering from University of Waterloo."The conversation should have been about when and why this company needed a particular technology choice, not whether a technology choice was good in and of itself."- Lisa Dusseault   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022This episode is brought to you by JellyfishFor insights into where engineering teams are investing their time and resources, how they’re operating and performing, and the way in which leaders are managing today…Download “The State of Engineering Management Report 2022” HERE:jellyfish.co/emrTo understand how your engineering org compares against teams from across the industry and gain data-driven metrics to inform your strategic decisions regarding the right tools, processes and workflows…Learn More About Jellyfish Benchmarks @ jellyfish.co/benchmarksSHOW NOTES:Defining aspirational mismatch & its detrimental impact on eng orgs (02:10)What “cargo culting” is & why it’s a decision-making flaw (4:18)How aspirational mismatch manifests in eng orgs (5:48)The importance of tech companies asking the questions “when” & “why” (7:39)Examples of how eng orgs experience aspirational mismatch in their tech choices (9:08)Framework for tying your metrics to your org’s business objectives (12:33)How metrics can inform frontline decisions (14:15)Choose a technology that’s the correct size for your org (16:19)The cost of merging & compounding mismatches (19:28)Lisa’s golden rule regarding “innovation tokens” for tech start-ups (21:07)Why eng orgs need a unified vision to avoid aspirational mismatch in processes (23:52)Using epics to communicate company vision (26:37)Where aspirational mismatches come from & why eng teams experience them (29:10)Recommendations for withstanding aspirational technology pressure (32:11)Additional frameworks for working through mismatches (34:33)How to host conversations around realistically planning for future aspirations (37:02)Rapid fire questions (39:55)
Making intentional career decisions w/ Ali Littman & Ali Irturk #96
Aug 9 2022
Making intentional career decisions w/ Ali Littman & Ali Irturk #96
We discuss how to intentionally select & create new career opportunities, both external and internal! Our guests Ali Irturk (VP of Engineering @ CommerceHub) and Ali Littman (Interim Head of Eng @ Modern Health) share their favorite frameworks around eng leadership plus tips on prioritizing your opportunities, building great relationships, making tough decisions, and identifying your values. They also reveal recommendations on filtering / assessing decisions & their go-to leadership styles!ABOUT ALI LITTMANAli Littman is the Director of Engineering at Modern Health, where she leads product engineering teams that make it possible for people to receive online mental health services the moment they need and at no cost to the individual. Prior to her current role, she served as the Director of Engineering at Omada Health. Outside of her role, she is also a champion for diversity and inclusion, most notably leading a Women's ERG, serving on company-wide belonging councils, and providing imposter syndrome coaching.Ali Littman is a passionate engineering leader specializing in healthcare technology both in traditional and digital healthcare settings. She currently serves as Head of Engineering at Modern Health where she gets to lead engineering teams on the exciting journey of evolving how people access and receive mental health care treatment around the world. Ali enjoys taking startups through their scale phase and has been an engineering leader on hypergrowth journeys at both Omada Health and Modern Health - leading them through organizational, market, and product expansion. Her background in business from Haas at UC Berkeley helps navigate these business challenges with the philosophy of having business strategy inform the engineering strategy.At the end of the day, she cares most about being a great people leader who creates inclusive cultures and teaches managers how to be great managers for their teams. She also goes a step beyond her usual management duties to serve on Belonging Councils, lead ERGs, provides imposter syndrome coaching, and mentor individuals from under-represented groups in tech. Additionally, Ali's led external talks on navigating career growth, imposter syndrome, challenging leadership scenarios, and more!"I view my relationship to people that I work with or people that I manage right now, as actually like a lifelong commitment and I think because of that, I end up with these really strong connections even beyond past opportunities."- Ali Littman   ABOUT ALI IRTURKAli's day-to-day passion is creating and being part of efficient and effective engineering organizations that are firing on all cylinders where team members can achieve autonomy, mastery, and purpose in a psychologically safe environment. He will continue to realize this passion by working at CommerceHub as their Vice President of Engineering.He previously worked at rocketship start-ups funded by some of the top VCs in the world including a16z, SoftBank, Microsoft Ventures, and Lightspeed Ventures to name a few. Ali was the Vice President of Engineering at WorkBoard, a strategy and results enterprise SaaS platform helping large organizations align quickly for results, leading product delivery as well as accessibility, application security, release engineering, platform, and infrastructure teams. Previously, he was the Vice President of Engineering at ALICE Technologies working on revolutionizing the construction industry with an artificial intelligence-powered enterprise SaaS product.Ali also created and managed the advanced products group at Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX) for 8 years while working as an adjunct professor at UC San Diego. His team worked on creating innovative industrial vision systems and software to help companies improve their product quality, eliminate production errors, and lower manufacturing costs. Examples of the products he worked on were the world's first vision system on chip and the world's fastest 3D scanning system to name a few.Where Ali is today is quite different from where his journey began. Born and raised in Istanbul, I graduated from the Turkish Naval Academy and served as an officer in the Turkish Navy. After leaving the Navy, he earned Master's degrees in Computer Engineering and Economics at UC Santa Barbara, a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science at UC San Diego, and an MBA at UC Berkeley."In a grander scheme, I think people should be always looking for opportunities at all times. There's a famous saying... 'The best time to eat hors d'oeuvres are... they're being passed around. The moment that if you're not ready to eat, now you're gonna miss that!’"- Ali Irturk   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022This episode is brought to you by JellyfishFor insights into where engineering teams are investing their time and resources, how they’re operating and performing, and the way in which leaders are managing today…Download “The State of Engineering Management Report 2022” HERE:jellyfish.co/emrTo understand how your engineering org compares against teams from across the industry and gain data-driven metrics to inform your strategic decisions regarding the right tools, processes and workflows…Learn More About Jellyfish Benchmarks @ jellyfish.co/benchmarksCheck out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcTake our DevTools survey & share what dev tools you use!As a gift, we’ll send you a copy of one our favorite books AND you’ll be entered to win a free ticket to the 2022 ELC Summit!Fill out the DevTools survey HERE: elc.community/devtools2022SHOW NOTES:Frameworks for navigating new internal & external opportunities (3:36)Three steps for determining which opportunities you should prioritize (5:21)Ask this question to validate your assumptions (8:08)Reflecting on your personal values & how they align with opportunities (9:02)Why growth & interpersonal connection matter to Ali Littman (10:08)Ali Irturk’s recommendations for great networking (11:13)View your professional relationships as life-long commitments (13:09)Book recommendations for frameworks on the job search process (14:29)How the right manager can provide the best opportunities (16:47)Use a decision-grid to help filter & assess decisions (20:06)Analyzing your energy level & trusting your gut while making decisions (21:52)How your priorities evolve over time (23:49)The hedgehog & outliers concepts (25:45)Balancing your current strengths with opportunities you can grow from (29:29)Why there’s no such thing as a singular leadership style (30:47)Vulnerable leadership & creating a culture of trust (34:10)Rapid fire questions (36:42)LINKS AND RESOURCESThe 2-Hour Job Search - Steve Dalton’s instructional book on how to conduct a job search in the most efficient way possible.This Is Day One - Drew Dudley’s guide to cultivating the behaviors that will help you succeed and empower those around you.Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track - Will Larson’s book on attaining and operating in staff engineering roles.Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s book on the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles in everyday situations.A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine’s book on how the insights and wisdom of Stoic philosophy are still applicable in our modern lives.Coherence: The Secret Science of Brilliant Leadership - Dr. Alan Watkins’ book on the challenges that take a toll on a leader's effectiveness and the solutions designed to improve physiological factors that impact on core competencies.
Leading through ‘black swan’ events & pivoting AI/ML product strategy w/ Bridget Frey #95
Aug 2 2022
Leading through ‘black swan’ events & pivoting AI/ML product strategy w/ Bridget Frey #95
We discuss the challenges with leading eng orgs through unpredictable global events (like the covid-19 pandemic) & pivoting product strategy with Bridget Frey (CTO @ Redfin). We also cover the challenges & successes of building out AI/ ML products in your engineering org, creating an “uncertainty” algorithm, incorporating mental health best practices in your teams, and addressing data bias & systemic racism in your product’s features! Featuring guest co-host Ali Littman (Interim Head of Eng @ Modern Health).ABOUT BRIDGET FREYAs Redfin’s Chief Technology Officer, Bridget Frey (@SVBridget) leads the software engineering and analytics teams. Her mission is to build technology that makes the process of buying and selling a home less complicated and less stressful. She is a leader on issues facing traditionally underrepresented people in technology, and 36% of Redfin’s technology team are women while 10% are Black or Latinx. Prior to Redfin, Frey was the director of analytics and business applications at Lithium Technologies. In addition, she has held management positions at IntrinsiQ Research, IMlogic and Plumtree Software. Since 2019, she has served on the board of directors for Premera Blue Cross. Bridget holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was recently recognized as a Seattle CIO of The Year award winner."One of the things we built was this concept of virtual touring. So you could stay on your couch, but have an agent visit a home, but we could only get a very small number of people to hit that button. Despite all of our trying, we only had 1% of our tours happening virtually and then the pandemic hit and almost overnight, it jumped to about a third of our tours being virtual."- Bridget Frey   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022This episode is brought to you by JellyfishFor insights into where engineering teams are investing their time and resources, how they’re operating and performing, and the way in which leaders are managing today…Download “The State of Engineering Management Report 2022” HERE:jellyfish.co/emrTo understand how your engineering org compares against teams from across the industry and gain data-driven metrics to inform your strategic decisions regarding the right tools, processes and workflows…Learn More About Jellyfish Benchmarks @ jellyfish.co/benchmarksCheck out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:How Bridget lead a real estate tech org through a pandemic & tumultuous housing market (1:05)COVID-19’s impact on the healthcare tech space (2:02)How to adapt product strategy based on customer patterns (5:02)Leading with transparency & decisiveness in uncertain times (7:20)Redfin’s transition to digitizing traditionally in-person experiences (10:58)The pandemic’s unexpected influence on employee mental health & burnout (16:14)How your org can implement a company-wide “no meeting” / wellness week (19:43)Set your org up for faster decision making & implementation (23:52)Challenges & solutions when building out AI/ML home buying products (25:06)Incorporating human needs, desires & perspectives in automated recommendation products (27:40)Engineering best practices for uncovering deeper customer needs (30:06)The inside scoop on modeling an “uncertainty” algorithm (31:12)Prioritization conversations & product strategy at Redfin (34:31)Addressing data bias & systemic racism within product features (36:33)How hiring diversely leads to reduced data bias (39:06)A framework for reducing biased data outputs (40:20)What hiring practices lead to a more diverse team (43:43)How tech orgs can cultivate a culture of inclusivity & diversity (46:08)Rapid fire questions (48:51)
“Cloud-flation” & preventing runaway cloud costs w/ Leon Kuperman @ Cast.ai #94
Jul 26 2022
“Cloud-flation” & preventing runaway cloud costs w/ Leon Kuperman @ Cast.ai #94
We cover why locked-in cloud commitments are bad for eng teams & how your org can take advantage of elastic pricing models instead! Leon Kuperman (CTO @ Cast.ai) explains the dilemma of locked-in cloud spend, cost planning strategies for SaaS orgs, how to minimize egregious cloud egress cost and drive better cloud utilization through consistent analysis & debates in your eng org. Also learn why Leon is betting on container deployment as the future of software delivery & what that means for Cast.ai!ABOUT LEON KUPERMANFormerly Vice President of Security Products OCI at Oracle, Leon’s professional experience spans across tech companies such as IBM, Truition, and HostedPCI. He founded and served as the CTO of Zenedge (acquired by Oracle). Leon has 20+ years of experience in product management, software design, and development, all the way through to production deployment. He is an authority on cloud computing, web application security, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)."So you're literally committing to a three year deal where you know, in those next three years, the probability of computing power increasing is VERY high and the probability of cost decreasing for those same computers is very high. So you're not really getting the 30, 40, 50% discount. So I call these reservations or these look forward commitments a necessary evil because... customers HAVE to do it in many cases. They don't have an alternative. But at the same time, it's not good for the business!”- Leon Kuperman   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022This episode is brought to you by JellyfishWant to learn where engineering teams are investing their time and resources? Or how they’re operating, performing, and managing today?Check out “The State of Engineering Management Report 2022” HERE: jellyfish.co/emrTo understand how your engineering org compares against teams from across the industry, data-driven metrics to inform your strategic decisions regarding the right tools, processes and workflows…Check out Jellyfish Benchmarks at jellyfish.co/benchmarksThis episode is brought to you by our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Why Leon cares about cutting cloud costs (3:05)Economic & financial models for eng leaders (6:56)Cloud economics & its impact on cloud cost (8:18)The dilemma of locked-in cloud commitments (11:35)Why eng companies opt for locked-in cloud services (14:47)How container deployment will impact the current cloud model (16:01)Moving from a locked-in model to an elastic pricing model (19:39)What eng teams need to take advantage of an elastic cloud pricing model (22:07)Cost planning opportunities for SaaS companies (24:57)The best utilization debates for evaluating cloud spend (28:40)Three architectural planning principles to keep in mind (30:26)Drive better cloud utilization through consistent cost analysis & recurring debates (31:59)Defining egress & its cost for eng teams (33:05)Healthy methods for escaping egress costs (35:27)What “cloud-flation” means for eng leaders & cloud macro-economics (38:55)Rapid fire questions (43:06)LINKS AND RESOURCES(article) “Why Your Cloud Expenses Are Rising: Blame Cloud-flation” by Leon Kuperman(article) “Snapchat Earnings and the Case of Runaway Cloud Costs” by Leon Kuperman
Building your data engineering org w/ Taylor Murphy @ Meltano #93
Jul 19 2022
Building your data engineering org w/ Taylor Murphy @ Meltano #93
We discuss the dynamics & challenges behind building out your data engineering function with Taylor Murphy (Head of Product & Data @ Meltano). Taylor also shares his recommendations for collaborating in multi-stakeholder environments, the relationship between the data team & engineering, why you should run your data team like a product team, gaining buy-in around the ROI of data, and what it’s like being a company’s first data eng hire. Featuring guest co-host/community member John Wang (Director of Engineering @ Petal)!ABOUT TAYLOR MURPHYTaylor Murphy (@tayloramurphy) is the Head of Product and Data of Meltano, an open-source data platform that enables collaboration, efficiency, and visibility. Taylor has been deeply involved in leading and building data-informed teams his entire career. At Concert Genetics he scaled the Data Operations team to enable the management of hundreds of thousands of genetic tests and millions of claims records. At GitLab, he was the first data hire where he focused on building and scaling the data organization as the company headed towards its IPO. Taylor has been involved with Meltano since its inception, acting as the primary customer with whom the team engaged to understand the needs of modern data professionals."What next? I put this in a dashboard. What are you gonna do with this? I think a lot of people are like, ‘I wanna be more data-informed and I wanna build up a robust data organization.’ And that's where they stop. They think, ‘Okay, I'm gonna get the data, and then I'm gonna make a decision.’ And that's not good enough because there's always gonna be more work to do than you can accomplish. And every time you deliver a dashboard, they're gonna go, ‘Oh, this is great. What if we did this, this, and this?’ And that's fun for data people and you enjoy that, but you kind of wanna help them think through these things.”- Taylor Murphy   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022Check out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Taylor’s early days at GitLab as its first data eng hire (2:23)How Meltano evolved out of a GitLab business intelligence project (4:21)Using data eng to discover problems & iterate solutions (6:01)Why having data teams under finance can be detrimental to product strategy (7:22)The importance of data eng representation at the VP level (10:01)The ideal time to build your data eng team (12:57)Communicating the ROI of data eng functions (14:53)How to gain stakeholder buy-in (17:04)Prioritizing qualitative data in a solution’s early stages (18:54)Taylor’s recommendations for the early stages of building your data org (20:05)Roadblocks when building data teams – and solutions for success (22:42)The “run your data team like a product team” thesis (25:52)Best practices for applying product team principles to your data eng functions (27:57)The hand-off between data engineering & the broader engineering org (29:08)Navigating company politics from a data eng perspective (33:02)Prioritization conversations between data eng & other stakeholders (36:25)Rapid-Fire Questions (38:31)LINKS AND RESOURCES(blog) “Run Your Data Team Like Product Team” by Emilie Schario & Taylor Murphy(follow) @josh_wills -
Growth & mobile engineering post-strategic transformation w/ Atish Das Sarma & Shannon Ma @ Patreon #92
Jul 12 2022
Growth & mobile engineering post-strategic transformation w/ Atish Das Sarma & Shannon Ma @ Patreon #92
Building growth & mobile eng teams from the ground up is never easy – but the right frameworks, guardrails, & strategic conversations will set your org up for success! We cover the intersection of growth & mobile engineering with Atish Das Sarma (Head of Growth Engineering @ Patreon ) & Shannon Ma (Director of Engineering, Mobile @ Patreon) discussing how to balance short & long-term growth demands, strategically aligning new features & growth, and what it’s like making the transition into an established company with room for impact!ABOUT ATISH DAS SARMAAtish (@atishdassarma) leads the Growth Engineering team at Patreon. The Growth team at Patreon is responsible for holistically improving the product surface to help creators build and grow their businesses. Specific areas of focus include working across the full funnel to drive member acquisition, member retention, and creator acquisition.Previously, Atish led iCloud subscriptions growth initiatives which is part of the broader Services organization at Apple. In addition to accelerating revenue growth for iCloud, Atish was also responsible for various data and ML initiatives across Cloud Services. He also held roles at Twitter and Google. Atish is passionate about working in areas with a broad opportunity & scope from the early stages, defining long-lasting themes, and building the corresponding teams to execute on them. He particularly enjoys leading organizations that are directly accountable for key business outcomes."For growth, you need to sort of think holistically in Patreon’s world, both from creators’ and potential members’ side and truly understand what is perhaps preventing some creators from getting started. So how do you sort of think about that holistically and then start building solutions that will empower them longer term.”- Atish Das Sarma   ABOUT SHANNON MAShannon (@shannonma) is the Director of Engineering for Mobile at Patreon. Shannon and the entire team are diving in to create a world-class mobile experience built to best serve creators, so they can showcase what they do best. He previously supported consumer product teams at Instagram and Facebook for nine years. Prior to this, he got started in mobile at Apple helping build iOS."Our goal as a company is to be the best memberships product for creator. Our hypothesis about how we can get there is by really kind of like coupling content around community. In order for us to do this really well, the community almost has to feel like it's part of the content, like it helps kind of like elevate the content.- Shannon Ma   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022Check out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Patreon’s major strategic transformation (2:30)The role mobile plays in Patreon’s vision (5:27)Integrating a growth strategy holistically throughout your product (6:11)What it’s like transitioning into an already well-established company (7:48)Defining a framework for an early-growth organization (11:41)Guardrails to balance short-term and long-term growth demands (14:16)Habits & rituals to inspire strategy-focused conversations in your team (18:00)Shannon’s decision-making process – and why the focus is on mobile (19:22)The intersection of growth and mobile engineering (22:07)Why being a “ruthless” prioritizer is key (24:28)Prioritization conversations between mobile and engineering (27:05)A sneak-peek into Patreon’s next big bets (28:32)The implications of new features on growth engineering (32:07)Start with targeting your high-intent users (34:08)Rapid-Fire Questions (35:05)
Eliminating hierarchy, going direct & removing team friction w/ Greg Czajkowski #91
Jul 5 2022
Eliminating hierarchy, going direct & removing team friction w/ Greg Czajkowski #91
Greg Czajkowski (SVP of Engineering @ Snowflake) shares some of the secrets he’s learned about great teams! We discuss the power of eliminating hierarchy, “going direct,” reducing energy dissipation in your team, removing friction in your org, and creating “higher innovation per time unit.” Plus dilemmas balancing velocity & quality, what to do when team size is used as proxy for power, and how to know your eng org is operating at peak output!ABOUT GREG CZAJKOWSKIGrzegorz (Greg) Czajkowski, a distributed systems and organizations scaling expert, is Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support at Snowflake. Prior to Snowflake, Greg spent 13 years at Google, where he was VP of Engineering responsible for a broad portfolio of Google Cloud data analytics and machine learning products and for internal services addressing data analytics needs of all of Google’s businesses. Before Google, Greg spent six years at Sun Microsystems, working on Java runtime environments and operating systems. Greg has a PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University, an MBA from UC Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from AGH Krakow, Poland. He holds over 50 patents."What I learned at Snowflake is  really practicing "Go Direct."  If there's something you don't like, you'd like to fix, you have to go to the person who made the decision.Usually you learn much more about the decision. There's a good conversation. Sometimes you convince the owner of the decision to do something different.I think nothing beats going direct, because any other means of trying to change a certain decision, certain point of view indirectly, is ineffective causes, frictions, and ultimately energy gets dissipated.- Greg Czajkowski   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022This episode is brought to you by PlusPlusPlusPlus is an all-in-one technical onboarding and internal knowledge platform that fast-tracks productivity.Learn more & sign up at plusplus.co/elcCheck out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Qualities and characteristics Greg's observed in great teams (2:02)Why Greg joined Snowflake (3:46)“Go direct” and other secrets to great teams (5:27)Balancing "go direct" and the chain of command (7:35)Eliminating hierarchy (9:21)Creating higher innovation per time unit in engineering teams (11:21)How do you know your eng org is operating at peak output? (13:41)Balancing business expectations and removing the dilemma between velocity & quality (15:36)Energy dissipation (18:21)Removing team friction at scale (21:20)How Snowflake’s small team units optimize for intimacy, learning & dev happiness (23:50)How small teams scale up & interact across the eng org (25:56)How to address when team size is used as proxy for power & career progression (28:35)Rapid Fire Questions (30:37)
Alignment is the key to delivering great products & outcomes w/ Jonathon Hensley #90
Jun 28 2022
Alignment is the key to delivering great products & outcomes w/ Jonathon Hensley #90
We discuss why alignment is key to delivering great digital products & team outcomes, how to recognize & navigate misalignment, and create better alignment with Jonathon Hensley (CEO @ EMERGE, Author of "Alignment"). We cover a couple of community case studies exploring dilemmas like navigating misaligned product vision & executive conflict, transforming grand product visions into clear execution, AND shifting toward a customer-centric engineering culture!ABOUT JONATHON HENSLEYJonathon Hensley (@jonathonhensley) is co-founder and CEO of Emerge, a digital product consulting firm that works with companies to improve operational agility and customer experience. For more than two decades, Jonathon has helped startups, Fortune 100 brands, technology leaders, large regional health networks, non-profit organizations, and more, transform their businesses by turning strategy, user needs, and new technologies into valuable digital products and services. Jonathon writes and speaks about his experiences and insights from his career, and regularly hosts in-depth interviews with business leaders and industry insiders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two boys.Originally from Silicon Valley, Jonathon got into the digital product space inspired by the incredible people developing new technologies all around him and the possibilities they unlocked. This fueled his curiosity to understand how technology transforms the ways in which people live and work.Today that curiosity continues to drive him, as he works to help businesses harness technology. His work focuses on alignment, helping leaders define the value they want to create in a succinct and tangible way; where to focus, why, and what it will take to achieve that outcome. His favorite part is going beyond the idea but reimagining how you bring together people, data, and processes so that a client can succeed."We hear a lot of times about the execution gap - This gap that, you know, we have this idea, or we have this outcome we want to achieve… We start building something and then it doesn't have the outcome we intended.And that execution gap is because no bridge was ever built. You're making a leap of faith that somehow if we do this, that this will happen. And it's not grounded, most often, in its execution and process.And so, without a clear direction how do you know what resources, or people, or process, are even needed to achieve the intended outcome that you're working towards?- (Jonathon Hensley)   Our in-person conference ELC Annual returns 10/27-28!Learn from 60+ of the best engineering leaders in the industry / Critical insights on leadership, career and technology / Plus tons of experiences optimized for deep conversations & meaningful connections - all to help you build your support network!Don't miss out on being part of the biggest celebration of engineering leadership of the year!Grab your ticket HERE: sfelc.com/annual2022Check out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcThis episode is brought to you by PlusPlusPlusPlus is an all-in-one technical onboarding and internal knowledge platform that fast-tracks productivity.Learn more & sign up at plusplus.co/elcSHOW NOTES:Why alignment is the key to deliver great products & outcomes (2:22)What does alignment actually mean? (4:10)How do you recognize when you're misaligned? (7:51)How do you create alignment? (10:48)Navigating misaligned product vision & executive conflict (15:09)Transforming your grand product vision into clear actions (18:58)Making a shift to a more customer-centric engineering culture (23:27)Operationalizing customer empathy within your engineering org (28:05)How to gain clarity on the right intended outcomes (30:32)Measuring alignment (36:04)Rapid Fire QuestionsTakeawaysLINKS AND RESOURCES(Jonathon’s book) Alignment: Overcoming internal sabotage and digital product failure
Operational & Organizational Innovation w/ Zhichun Li #89
Jun 21 2022
Operational & Organizational Innovation w/ Zhichun Li #89
We discuss operational & organizational innovation with Zhichun Li (Director of Engineering @ Scale AI)! We explore the early days of Rapid at Scale AI, different organizational design experiments Zhi’s tested, and many of the principles behind their operational practices. You’ll hear about merging engineering & ops, designing orgs for autonomy, scaling into multiple products, and leveraging different org structures for innovation.ABOUT ZHICHUN LIZhichun Li (@zhichun_li) is Director of Engineering @ Scale AI. She built the Rapid team from scratch with a focus on providing the fastest way to production-level quality labels within a day, with no data minimums. As an early employee of the company, she built up the infrastructure for Scale’s supply ops system and scaled up Scale’s 3D Sensor Fusion product.Before Scale, Zhi worked at Lightspeed China Partners, Facebook, Microsoft and Airbnb with roles in investment and software engineering. She was a producer of VC Pulse, a podcast spotlighting venture capitalists in China. Zhichun was the youngest ever admit to the Yale MBA program, and studied computer science at CMU."We tried to basically brand it as like black ops, i.e. the special kind of ops where you get to do 10x work and build a lot of product out of it. And that actually, in a lot of ways attracted very entrepreneurial individuals to want to join. So I think a lot of it is shaping the brand of the program, helping people understand how important it is and the things that I'll learn.- Zhichun Li This episode is brought to you by PlusPlusPlusPlus is an all-in-one technical onboarding and internal knowledge platform that fast-tracks productivity.Learn more & sign up at plusplus.co/elcCheck out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success. Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:The early days of scale & why engineering runs operations (1:44)What is ops engineering (3:48)Why engineering first got involved in ops (6:29)How to brand ops engineering to attract top engineers (8:51)Merging ops & engineering to eliminate silos (10:07)How to merge ops & engineering for the first time (11:39)How team composition evolved at Rapid (12:46)Designing your org for autonomy & customer empathy (17:07)Rapid’s operating principles (18:53)Generating Rapid’s operating principles (23:18)Painful short-term decisions that yielded better long-term outcomes (24:57)Scale AI’s evolution into multiple products (28:04)Behind the scenes of Scale’s multi-product moment (31:04)Leveraging general managers & org structures to drive product innovation (32:43)When to invest in, or shut down a project (36:21)Rapid Fire Questions (37:47)Takeaways (40:41)
From IC to global leadership: career growth as a Technical Advisor w/ William A. Adams #88
Jun 14 2022
From IC to global leadership: career growth as a Technical Advisor w/ William A. Adams #88
We explore the career journey of Technologist & Technical Advisor William A. Adams. We cover how he identifies his next career challenges, the technical advisor role and how you can build your skills to grow into the role. Plus we get into the “people challenges” of the job, how the “human work” is the secret to unlocking creativity, and why building the social fabric of work matters.ABOUT WILLIAM A. ADAMSWilliam A. Adams (@LeapToTech) is an award-winning D&I innovator, engineering trailblazer, and philanthropist. He was named the first Technical Advisor to Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott.As co-founder of the LEAP apprenticeship program – Microsoft’s D&I Program of the Year in 2020 – he helped launch the training of more than 26 cohorts around the world. His most recent collaboration with the U.S. Virgin Islands aims to train technical talent and build critical technical infrastructure.Early in his 30-year career, William was one of the first Black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. He developed mission-critical custom enterprise apps for NeXT computers and pioneered an instant messaging service purchased by the CIA.Today, in addition to his role as Technical Advisor at Microsoft, William is the philanthropic founder of The Event, a collaborative, community-based hackathon. When he’s not tinkering with code, the husband and father of three builds cabinets, knits, and rides a motorcycle."The predictive part of it, it's just pattern matching. You have to see it and go, 'What is that going to lead to? Let's play this out. Let's say AMD IS right. And this thing does come to pass. What will that mean?Let's say cloud computing IS going to be the thing... What is THAT going to mean for the (micro)chips? It's gotta be optimized 'power for efficiency.'So whoever can do that best is going to be the winner in that game.”- William A. Adams Check out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcThis episode is brought to you by PlusPlusPlusPlus is an all-in-one technical onboarding and internal knowledge platform that fast-tracks productivity.Learn more & sign up at plusplus.co/elcSHOW NOTES:William’s career journey from developer to Technical Advisor to the CTO @ Microsoft (1:55)Identifying your next career challenge & why William conducts a career assessment every 2 years (4:36)What is a Technical Advisor & how do you grow into the role? (9:21)How to gain buy-in and build influencing skills (13:02)Becoming a better synthesizer (15:21)Making long term predictions about technology (21:53)People challenges & solving the human equation (24:02)How to create shared understanding by listing assumptions (28:23)Why the "human work" is the secret to unlocking creativity in remote facilitation (30:42)Building the Microsoft LEAP Apprenticeship Program (33:01)Why creating the social fabric of work matters (42:16)Rapid Fire Questions (44:22)Takeaways (52:15)
Culture & self-compassion w/ Kevin Eyres #87
Jun 7 2022
Culture & self-compassion w/ Kevin Eyres #87
Culture is the social contract you have with your team. Self-compassion is the social contract you have with yourself! We explore practices to cultivate compassion with Kevin Eyres (Executive Coach & Former MD LinkedIn Europe). We cover practices to eliminate negative self-talk, self-doubt, and increase compassion in your team. Plus bridging the gap from aspirational culture to reality, and how to identify the top 3 behaviors that help you succeed as a leader.ABOUT KEVIN EYRESAn engineer by background, Kevin Eyres (@kevineyres) spent his early career leading engineering and product development teams for the likes of Compaq, Shopping.com and Alta Vista. Kevin has also been responsible for leading the European divisions of three Silicon Valley companies. He was the General Manager of Alta Vista International spanning 14 countries from 2001. He joined SideStep, now Kayak, as first employee and Managing Director in 2005 and in 2007 was appointed Managing Director for LinkedIn. Starting from his spare bedroom to IPO four years later Kevin lead the global movement at LinkedIn into five countries and the global Irish HQ.Kevin ranked 22nd in Wired Magazine’s "The Wired 100" in 2010, a listing that features the most influential people shaping the UK’s digital landscape.Today, Kevin lives in Los Altos and is now enjoying a plural career as an exec coach/board member/ investor / Hoffman Process Teacher."If you continue with the negative talk, it just reinforces itself. So stop. Acknowledge it, and stop. And the drop is you drop into your breath.And the self-compassion mantra is, 'This is a moment of pain. Everybody feels pain. I'm not alone. And may I be kind and gentle to myself.’- Kevin Eyres   Check out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Kevin’s journey to engineering leadership (1:36)What prepared Kevin to become a general manager (4:45)Kevin’s transition to executive coaching (6:53)Why culture and self-compassion are important themes in Kevin’s career (9:34)How to eliminate negative head talk (12:52)“Stop, drop & roll” to overcome self-doubt (16:24)How to create space from automatic responses of anxiety or shame (19:14)Bridging the gap between aspirational company culture and reality (20:54)How self-compassion and culture are connected (23:25)Increasing self-compassion in your team (24:44)How peer groups increase compassion and bring relief (26:24)Making self-compassion a habit (29:03)How to cultivate the patience to be compassionate (31:02)Identifying the top three behaviors that help you succeed as a leader (33:01)Rapid Fire Questions (35:13)Takeaways (39:10)
Storytelling and the Art of Public Speaking w/ Arquay Harris #86
May 31 2022
Storytelling and the Art of Public Speaking w/ Arquay Harris #86
If you ever find yourself staring at a screen not knowing how to even start an important presentation this episode is for you! Arquay Harris (VP Engineering @ Webflow) underscores the importance of storytelling in public speaking, and shares valuable tips on how to craft a narrative and get your point across in a way that feels natural for you.For Arquay’s slides & original presentation from our 2022 Spring Virtual Summit - check out the full video here: ARQUAY HARRISArquay is the VP of Engineering at Webflow. Prior to Webflow, she held Engineering leadership positions at Slack, Google, and CBS Interactive. A developer who also has a Masters in Design, Arquay loves the marriage of form and function. When not working she can be found cooking, stumbling over guitar and piano chords, or watching Seinfeld."And so if you were using this to give an actual presentation, you might say something like, ‘Imagine a world where deploys only take two seconds? Or what if tests only took 30 seconds to write?’So you're taking this undesirable thing and you're contrasting it with this idealistic future to really bring in that emotionality to get the audience hooked.- Arquay Harris This episode is brought to you by OrgspaceOrgspace is a management ops platform for software teams that helps your leaders scale. Easily create team configurations, propose org charts, visualize cost projects & create headcount plans - so you can spend less time on spreadsheets & more time on humans.Sign up for a free trial today, at orgspace.io/registerCheck out our friends at Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:What Arquay starts every presentation with (2:03)Message, tone, and audience (3:17)The hero’s journey (7:17)The mountain story structure (8:42)Nested loops (9:33)Sparklines (11:28)In medias res (13:14)Converging ideas (14:22)False start (15:16)The petal structure (16:27)Focus on the purpose (21:13)LINKS AND RESOURCES(Full video from 2022 Spring Summit) Storytelling & the art of public speaking with Arquay Harris -
Mindsets, Skillsets, and Toolsets w/ Sri Shivananda & Joel Beasley #85
May 24 2022
Mindsets, Skillsets, and Toolsets w/ Sri Shivananda & Joel Beasley #85
In this episode, Sri Shivananda (EVP, CTO @ Paypal) and Joel Beasley (host of Modern CTO! podcast and CTO @ Leaderbits) discuss some of the principles and frameworks that have made the greatest impacts on Sri’s career as an engineering leader. They cover Sri’s approach to organizational transformation, a framework for choosing new technologies, areas to look for when you’re building a pipeline of leadership, and recognition and disruption of patterns through self-reflection.ABOUT SRI SHIVANANDASri Shivananda (@srishivananda) serves as PayPal’s Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Sri oversees Technology Platforms & Experiences, leading teams responsible for the company’s secure, reliable and scalable global infrastructure and strategic core platform, the foundation that enables PayPal to deliver innovative services to global consumers and merchants.Sri has played a critical role in helping PayPal remain at the forefront of innovation since joining the company in 2015. Prior to his appointment as EVP and CTO, Sri was Vice President of Global Platform and Infrastructure, directing his team of technologists to drive massive growth at scale across a disruptive payments platform. Sri was responsible for all core technologies covering PayPal’s data centers, internal private cloud, online and offline data infrastructure, internal developer frameworks and tools, and various platform services.Before PayPal, Sri was with eBay for 12 years, working his way up from a software engineer to Vice President of Global Platform and Infrastructure. As VP, he was responsible for the company’s technology infrastructure that powered the eBay Inc. businesses, including eBay’s hundreds of millions of listings and PayPal’s millions of daily payments. Sri found his way to eBay via the acquisition of Deja.com.Sri has served on the board of F5 Networks since 2020.He received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio University and holds a Bachelor of Technology, Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharal Nehru Technological University."The most important thing here is that the human fabric in any organization, any team, any ecosystem is the most important one. When you align people to an outcome or a purpose, they'll figure out all the techniques that are necessary to do it. Sometimes they'll pull off magic when they are called the action.- Sri Shivananda  ABOUT JOEL BEASLEYJoel Beasley (@moderncto_io) is the host of the #1 leadership and technology podcast in the world, Modern CTO. Modern CTO is focused on interviewing high-profile executives in the leadership and technology space with over 150k active listeners. Joel is an MIT-educated CTO of Leaderbits with clients from Startups up to Billion dollar companies. He is also the founder of The Beasley Foundation, a charity that designs STEM-related children’s books that are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant women, and children in need.This episode is brought to you by OrgspaceOrgspace is a management ops platform for software teams that helps your leaders scale. Easily create team configurations, propose org charts, visualize cost projects & create headcount plans - so you can spend less time on spreadsheets & more time on humans.Sign up for a free trial today, at orgspace.io/registerCheck out Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:Changing mindsets, skill sets, and toolsets in times of transformation (2:16)Creating clarity and alignment in eng orgs (5:24)Getting skeptical team members to buy into mindset shifts (7:53)Sri's framework for choosing new technologies (10:33)Why engineering leaders need substance, depth, and hunger (14:40)How PayPal is democratizing financial services (19:43)The curiosity quotient (21:44)
Engineering Execution is a Strategic Weapon w/ Bill Coughran & Melody Meckfessel #84
May 17 2022
Engineering Execution is a Strategic Weapon w/ Bill Coughran & Melody Meckfessel #84
In this episode, Bill Coughran (Partner @ Sequoia Capital, Former SVP Engineering @ Google) and Melody Meckfessel (Co-Founder & CEO @ Observable) discuss ways to make your engineering org a strategic advantage to your company. They cover how to leverage feature/system “simplicity,” how to implement product instrumentation, when to bring in SREs, and how to balance tech debt and refactor work.ABOUT BILL COUGHRANBill Coughran (@BillCoughran) works as a founders' coach and partner at Sequoia Capital to help build spectacular technology-centric companies. Previously, Bill was Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google with oversight of Chrome, YouTube, maps, google.com, underlying infrastructure systems, and security."If a leader comes in and talks about, 'I did this and I did that' rather than talking about the teams that they worked with in the past... The reality is the work got done by others.And so, I think it's critical for more senior people to recognize the importance of an overall team. And part of their job is to help mentor and develop people on the team.- Bill Coughran  ABOUT MELODY MECKFESSELMelody (@mmeckf) is the CEO / Co-founder of Observable, where she is building the future of data collaboration. She is passionate about helping humans thrive through collaboration, inclusion, and insights. Before Observable, she was a VP of Engineering at Google, leading systems with a team of 1,000+ where she created the DevOps practice for Google Cloud.Melody was responsible for large-scale systems delivering successful outcomes for millions of users. Melody instills passion around data innovation - improving exploration and insights from data. She is an expert in tools and systems for productive teams to thrive, and that's exactly what she is bringing to the future of data collaboration on Observable.This episode is brought to you by OrgspaceOrgspace is a management ops platform for software teams that helps your leaders scale. Easily create team configurations, propose org charts, visualize cost projects & create headcount plans - so you can spend less time on spreadsheets & more time on humans.Sign up for a free trial today, at orgspace.io/registerCheck out Shortcut!Shortcut is an issue tracker that offers all the functionality, without most of the complexity making it easier for you to plan, collaborate, build, and measure success.Right now, listeners of our show can get 2-months free on any paid plan.Learn more & sign up at shortcut.com/elcSHOW NOTES:The challenge of keeping enterprise engineers close to the end user (3:26)Product instrumentation vs product intuition (8:22)Why it’s critical for eng teams to interact with customers as a company scales (11:31)How long should dev teams handle site reliability before bringing in dedicated SRE (12:35)What attributes Bill looks for in eng leaders (18:13)Why a tolerance for failure is key to innovation (22:01)Should early stage companies deal with tech debt? (24:17)The value of mentor-first engineering leaders (31:15)