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Equivalent to Magic
41 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Atlassian CTO Sri Viswanath on Maximizing Innovation
Over the last two decades, Atlassian has become the leading creator of enterprise project management software. Its suite of tools include Jira, Confluence and Trello -- products that guide the workflows of many Fortune 500 companies.Sri Viswanath has been CTO at Atlassian for more than 5 years. He’s a deep thinker who’s comfortable inside complex adaptive systems. And he’s constantly tweaking his technical team’s process to spark continued innovation.“If you improve 1% a day, You're 37 times better at the end of the year,” says Sri. How does he encourage that kind of steady improvement? In this episode, Steve and Quentin talk with Sri about his appetite for complexity, his management style, and how Atlassian develops new products.This podcast is a production of General Catalyst.
32 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Snowflake’s Christian Kleinerman on Breaking Limits of Data Warehousing
In this episode: Christian Kleinerman, senior vice president of product at Snowflake. Snowflake is a pioneering data warehouse platform that helps companies make sense of massive amounts of information in the public cloud. It currently manages 250 petabytes of data. It runs 515 million daily workloads for customers across finance, health care, government, education, manufacturing and more. It raised a billion and a half dollars from investors, including Salesforce and Berkshire Hathaway. Snowflake became one of the year’s biggest tech stories. In the fall of 2020, it went public -- becoming the biggest software IPO in history. The company’s share price doubled on the first day of trading.Christian is the database expert behind Snowflake’s product evolution and growth. We’re going to talk with him about what the company is doing differently to organize, manage and retrieve massive sets of data -- and why, when he first heard about what the startup was doing, it sounded too good to be true. Christian was previously the director of product management at YouTube. And before that, he led the data warehouse product and business at Microsoft.This podcast is a production of General Catalyst.
32 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
GitLab’s Eric Johnson on Radical OpenCore Transparency
In this episode, we’re talking to Eric Johnson, the EVP of Engineering at GitLab. Eric oversees a distributed team of engineers at GitLab, which is one of the world’s biggest all-remote companies. And no, it’s not covid-remote -- the company is natively remote, with 1,200 people across 67 countries.GitLab is an open-source DevOps platform that makes software development faster and easier. It has over 100,000 customers serving millions of users. We’ll hear from Eric about the technical culture inside the company that makes the platform so valuable to developers at both enterprises and startups -- and how it’s operated remotely for nearly a decade.GitLab’s culture is based on radical transparency. Everything is meticulously documented, shared, and publicly edited. That’s a crucial piece of bringing everyone together in a remote environment. It can also be a challenge for technical executives and managers.So why create this kind of culture in the first place? As Eric explains, it helps remote teams make decisions very quickly, with confidence. It’s also a core piece of the platform itself -- setting it apart from other DevOps providers.
41 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Dropbox’s Akhil Gupta on ‘Brutal Prioritization’
This week’s episode is all about magic pockets, nickels, cupcakes, and brutal prioritization. It’s a conversation with Akhil Gupta, the general manager and VP of enterprise at Dropbox.Before that, he was the VP of engineering and the head of infrastructure -- running a 500-person engineering team that helped create the technical foundation for the Dropbox we know today.Steve and Quentin will talk with Akhil about how Dropbox scaled reliably from 2,000 users in 2008 to hundreds of millions of registered users today. Back in 2012, when Akhil first joined the company from Google, there were 30 engineers. Dropbox had emerged as a leading cloud storage provider, but it faced a clear choice: should it build its own storage or rely on the public cloud? Enter "Magic Pocket."And that technical challenge forced him to adopt a simple philosophy: brutal prioritization.“My anxiety always is when you get too many people in a company, you start creating problems and you start losing focus because you have so much new energy, you are growing fast and you can say, let me solve every single problem. So I wanted to give a signal to the team saying, we need to always prioritize. And prioritization is hard, prioritization is painful. And hence the word brutal,” says Akhil.This podcast is produced by Post Script Audio in collaboration with General Catalyst.
37 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Nick Caldwell, Twitter's VP of Engineering
In this episode, we talk with Nick Caldwell, the VP of Engineering at Twitter. Nick joined Twitter over the summer, after a long career building enterprise products. He now leads a team of 700 engineers on the consumer side. That presented him with a very different set of daily challenges.“Enterprise versus consumer is a very different mindset and approach that I see people struggle with if they aren't comfortable with it. But enterprise, if done correctly, is more like chess. Consumer products are just gambling, as far as I can tell. It's gambling plus, it's maybe like fantasy football,” says Nick.Nick was hired at Twitter because he’s really good at managing teams and setting product roadmaps. He got his start at Microsoft, where he worked for more than 15 years leading the data platform organization. Quentin and Steve spoke with him about those early days working in enterprise -- and how they compare to his roles at Reddit and Twitter, which have very different cultures. This podcast is produced by Post Script Audio in collaboration with General Catalyst.
33 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Intuit CTO Marianna Tessel on AI-First Software
In this episode, we speak with the Chief Technology Officer of Intuit, Marianna Tessel. Marianna is a seasoned tech executive who oversees all of Intuit’s product engineering, data science, information technology, and information security teams. Marianna previously led engineering teams at Docker, Ariba and VMWare. She landed at Intuit in 2017.Intuit makes a range of software products for taxes and business management, including TurboTax, Quickbooks and Mint. And she’s leading thousands of engineers in AI-first development to make products easier, cleaner, and more intuitive.“I think you're going to start rewriting applications with this AI first. And just the way the world of apps re-imagined itself for mobile, it has to reimagine itself for AI. Which probably is an even more extreme transformation,” says Marianna.Quentin and Steve spoke with her about engineering products in the midst of a pandemic that is crushing many of the small businesses Intuit serves.This podcast is produced by Post Script Audio in partnership with General Catalyst.
45 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
David Hahn on Building Product LinkedIn, InstaCart, and GoFundMe
In this episode, we talk with David Hahn, the former CPO of Instacart. Throughout his career, David has learned deep and meaningful lessons about what individual and enterprise customers need -- and how to translate those needs into fun, usable products.His resume includes a wide range of successful tech startups. So we asked him what ties those experiences at LinkedIn, GoFundMe and Instacart together. “I think there's some times where people look at kind of growth work and say, ‘Oh, gosh, those guys are just focused on button color, et cetera.’ And the reality is that the consumers really react to relatively small differences and things like word choice and things like button placement. They very much react to how much you really simplified a particular experience.”Quentin and Steve about designing for growth, having empathy for users, and the nuances of small adjustments.This podcast is produced by Post Script Audio in collaboration with General Catalyst.
41 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Jay Parikh on Scaling Facebook's Infrastructure
In this episode, we speak with Jay Parikh, Facebook’s outgoing VP of engineering. Jay is the architect behind Facebook’s data center infrastructure and engineering teams, who helped design and execute the physical layer that underpins the platform."We came together and had this big meeting and decided 'Okay. Well, we have to go and build our own infrastructure.' We had really no choice given the fact that we were scaling so rapidly. And we started to just struggle with the off-the-shelf kind of solutions out there, both open source software that we had. We massaged and bent those pieces of software as far as they could probably go," says Jay.Jay realized that he had to fundamentally change the way Facebook built resiliency into its systems. Deploying a network for 300 million people is much different than deploying one for 3 billion people. Quentin Clark and Steve Herrod dug in deeper with Jay about what happened in the years afterward.
40 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Slack CPO Tamar Yehoshua on Humanizing Software
In this episode, we're speaking with Tamar Yehoshua, the Chief Product Officer at Slack. We’re talking about designing products for the future of work, today.The pandemic injected a lot of urgency at Slack, which saw user growth explode after millions of people suddenly started working from home. We’re still sorting through how this mass-remote work culture will impact workplace collaboration -- and Tamar’s team is thinking deeply about how to better serve this new world in a human way."A lot of what I think about when developing software is how do you understand the emotional state of your user and being able to speak to that? How do you make sure your user, whoever's using your product feels good, doesn't make them feel stupid. We like to say that at Slack don't make your users feel stupid," says Tamar.Tamar has been the CPO of Slack since early 2019. Before that, she was a VP at Google with product and engineering roles across search and privacy. She was also a VP at Amazon’s search engine ad company, A9.Steve Herrod and Quentin Clark speak with Tamar about how she’s creating products, managing teams, and learning new things about Slack in this drastically different work environment.
42 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Former Uber CTO Thuan Pham on 'Violent' Growth
In our very first episode, we’re talking to Thuan Pham, the former CTO of Uber. Thuan is the longest-serving executive at Uber. He started there in 2013, when ride-sharing was in just a couple-dozen cities. He left in May of this year, when Uber is in more than 900 cities and booking billions of rides per quarter.Thuan will tell some harrowing tales about keeping Uber’s systems running as the popularity of ride sharing exploded."Hyper growth and exponential stuff seems fun to talk about when you look at the numbers and the graph, the hockey sticks and stuff like that, but when you have to live it and actually make it happen, it's excruciatingly painful," says Thuan.Quentin Clark and Steve Herrod spoke with Thuan about how he kept the technical structure of the organization intact as the company ballooned -- starting with the moment he arrived.
1 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Introducing Equivalent to Magic
Join Former Dropbox CTO Quentin Clark and Former VMWare CTO Steve Herrod as we go deep with the people making tech work at the most successful and cutting-edge companies -- to learn what they do, how they solve problems, and how they build and lead engineering teams.
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