What's your role?
I'm head of engineering. I look at my role as doing whatever can be done to give the engineering team the time and space to do what they're good at...build things! Workflows and processes should be implemented with as little friction and waste as possible. They're necessary but they don't have to be overly intrusive.
I get a buzz out of doing my part to enable really smart people to do really smart things. I also love doing my part to build an exciting and vibrant team culture. Watching teammates happily teach each other things regardless of job title or seniority is a thrill.
What is the secret to realizing a successful software project?
It's almost cliche now, but I still like to hang my hat on it because it's something that I have to regularly remind myself of: “Perfect is the enemy of done.” Reid Hoffman said it a little differently which evokes some emotion: “If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.” These are to say that in order to be successful, you need to be comfortable with your attempts, especially your earliest ones, being flawed. The feedback from your stakeholders on your iterations is immeasurably more valuable than taking extra time to get everything 'just right' before letting anyone see them.
What emerging technology or industry are you most interested in?
Artificial intelligence is something I've spent a fair amount of time on. However, the time I've spent on it is almost entirely non-technical. I'm fascinated by the philosophical and potentially moral implications. It's incredible to me how much good can potentially come from harnessing the power of AI, but also how many seemingly impossible questions will need to be answered along the way.
From a more technical standpoint, I'm (still) pretty captivated by IoT. The power you can get from connecting even simple things like laundry machines or thermostats is really incredible. Mix in being able to control everything from your watch, phone, car, Alexa or Google assistants, or Smart TV and I find it hard to go without much of it for too long. I have little interest in the hardware aspect, and I'm only slightly more interested in the strictly software side. What I'm really interested in is what it could all mean for how we actually interact with the world and each other over the next couple of decades.
What's your word of the day?
Go! It's as much a reminder as it is a refrain. I've learned over time that I have instinctive reactions that contradict what I know to be the right thing. An example of this is to just “Go!”. I've long envied friends of mine who were able to just take an action with unclear outcomes. Choose a pair of shoes without trying on eight pairs, pick a new TV without reading every available review, etc. I can objectively say it rarely does anything more than make you fall behind. If you're like me, fight your instincts and Go!
- Technology Strategy