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55 minutes | Sep 27, 2017
Meet Lukas Sliwka, CTO @ Grindr on Keeping the Stack Tuned to 3.2 Million Daily Active Users
We met with Lukas Sliwka, CTO at Grindr, in their West Hollywood office to learn more about what it takes both from the team and from his leadership to scale up a backed stack to meet 3.2 Million DAUs (Daily Active Users). We covered so many things, including: How the to scale the Grindr stack from 800,000 and to millions of DAUs and how a near crisis was handled over a holiday in a remote starbucks parking lot. We also learned how the combination of the performance and low maintenance needed to keep infrastructure in place made led Grindr’s engineering team to consolidate their databases to Amazon Aurora. On failure, we learned about Lukas’s thesis on failing fast, but almost as important, trusting the executive team to carry their message forward and ensure that the entire engineering team can fail fast and improve. We also learned lessons from a “big bang rewrite” decision, including its impact on new functionality and market competitiveness. We looked carefully at the evolution of Lukas’s leadership and how a management thesis that blends operations, culture and technology changes over time. In the beginning of Luka’s career at Grindr he focused on technology (ie still writing code) and as he matured, he focused more on operations (ie what processes and metrics), and as the team grew, he focused more on culture (ie pushing the button on every single technical hire for culture) On setting out for success (or failure), we learned what it takes to be successful at Grindr: curiosity and willingness to experiment and try new things. Carefully looking for this trait has allowed both new and veteran talent to adopt really quickly. On goal setting, we learned that a combination of practical planning and brute force has been a proven methodology for Lukas. For Lukas, goal setting starts the evening before by setting a few key objectives. Brute force is not natural but a necessity in order to execute on what needs to get done. We also learned how hitting the gym at 5:15 and waiting to check emails until after the workout sets a practical work life balance for Lukas. On luck, we spoke about how to stack the deck in your favor, particularly by investing into the right communities, such as meetups, and building the right relationships with interests that genuinely resonate. On balancing life interest such as motorcycling and relationships, Lukas reflects on mistakes he made early on by not putting a priority on delegation. We also covered how having a correctly well defined outcome helps to call it quits or a success. Squishy targets prevents making the proper risk assessments and analysis.
59 minutes | Aug 24, 2017
Meet Karim Varela, CTO @ Coffee Meets Bagel on agile software and meeting 10x spikes in traffic
We met with Karim Varela, CTO at Coffee Meets Bagel, in their San Francisco office, right off of Market St., and had the opportunity to learn more about the leadership, team, and beliefs that enable Karim’s team to build a consistently high quality product. We covered many things including : Android vs IOS app. If you’re trying to build a global scale app, you should start on Android (80% of the market share globally). If your goal is start making money from rich Americans, than start on iOS. On pursuing a career in tech, and how San Francisco is great, but not the only place. Starting off in Portland, Karim worked out of hacker houses in Bali, Costa Rica, as well as working full time in Los Angeles for Tinder before making the move to San Francisco. At Coffee Meets Bagel, Karim manages an active team of engineers both in their offices in San Francisco, as well as remote teams. How the re-airing of a pitch to Mark Cuban on Shark Tank impacts traffic by 2 to 3 times the normal load. How building a side project with 10 people (!!!) impacted product quality and marketing, and ultimately affected the project’s ability to get funded. It’s so hard to get focus on delivering really good work while staying on top of all of the pieces together. What separates a hobby from a business is the willingness to sacrifice everything or figuring out how to do it full time. How collaboration yields great ideas but doesn’t all lead to a better product. What makes the difference is getting your head down and getting real work done. Although collaboration is great the frequency and attendee volume of collaborative meetings can strangle engineering productivity. How agile software is great in speeding time to market, but doesn’t always lead to the best result. In many cases agile software can be used to justify carelessness and hastily defined product requirements. We also want behind the scenes on philosophy including objective morality vs the golden rule and how this influences decision making both in professional and privately and when is it time to say “I quit.”
26 minutes | Aug 11, 2017
Meet Com Truise - Where Code and Music Converge
In 2010, Seth Haley, a creative director in New York finally gained traction with his synth wave project Com Truise. Called one of the best musical artist to code to, the Com Truise project has become popular with both engineers and the general public for its 80s style, synthetic, and rich beats. We met Com Truise in San Francisco and discovered a strong connection in the habits, routines, and interests that help both create great music and durable code, including Focusing on the most important thing to get one in the day from 5:00AM to 1:00PM without interruption from email, social media, or the internet. How simple the music actually is despite sounding complex Completing the body of a new tracks in one sitting by surrounding himself with silence. We covered many topics, including: Early beginnings working as an art director in NYC Sneaking as a drum and bass DJ back in the day 1:45 Where “Com Truise” came from Downtempo vs synth wave music 5:00 Inspiration behind the music from Neon Indian, Prince, Michael Jackson, and others 5:30 How the first mix tapes started with Block Rocking Beats by the Chemical Brothers, a casio keyboard, 8:00 Starting “Elite Radio” online radio station 9:30 Finding success in music 10:30 Waking up at 5:00AM to get stuff done 11:30 Probiotics, coconut water, and coffee to charge the batteries 12:00 Sitting for 20 minutes in the backyard 13:00 How focusing on producing a track from start to finish in one sitting helps to him to focus and get things done 17:00 Gear that he uses 18:00 How the space around him influences the output of his music 18:30 Impact that music blogs in early 2010s influenced music discovery and 20:00 How posting authentic content over instagram is more valuable than explicit promotional content and twitter 22:00 Overstimulation of content 23:00 When Seth isn’t on the road or producing music, he’s actually an avid fan and learner of grilling and baking.
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