Engineering Leadership Roundtable: A Talk With Director, VP, and Founder-Level Engineers and Leaders

Audio Recording

Question Timestamps

0:00 Intro

5:21 Tamas' background - What was it like? What were you studying, what were you thinking, coming out of university? And where did you end up going first?

7:44 Ian's background - Did you have a similar background? What was your journey like?

9:46 Ian - What drew you to the startup space after Google? What was that thing that made you jump?

15:14 Tamas - How much of Ian's story resonates with you? Does the experience line up with yours, especially considering your disciplines are so different?

18:34 Tamas - When you left Roblox and you said you had that feeling where you bumped up against the growth, or not being able to grow any further, can you talk about that or clarify what that was? How did you know that you couldn't go any further?

22:56 Do you enjoy being a people manager vs an individual contributor (IC)? What are some positives and negatives that surprised you when you stepped into that role for the first time after leaving the individual contributor space?

27:59 Is there any scenario you can think of where you would want to go the other direction, back down to the individual contributor role?

34:10 Ian - What advice would you give a new grad or someone very early on in their career so they can actually "see behind the curtain"? So they can better understand the bigger picture and how their personal small goals actually tie into the bigger goals of the company?

37:21 How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest technology as a non-IC? Do you believe a software engineering manager needs to have experience as a dev to be successful?

47:30 What are some red flags when joining a company? How do these flags change as the company grows, and conversely, what are some green flags that might indicate that the company has a great future?

54:33 How can senior to staff engineers earn your trust in the influence and backing sense?

59:00 Management and managing up book recommendations

1:01:06 What expectations do you have for ICs and how do you expect them to contribute to the big picture? The nature of communications from leadership to ICs e.g. all-hands meetings

1:06:16 When you've had those big picture presentations, have you had ICs come up after the meeting and ask about something and give an idea? Has anyone taken that chance to talk to the big boss and say "hey maybe I can help with X instead of whatever my manager assigned me"?

1:13:23 How do you create productive long-term growth of your company or team while managing risk factors such as employee burnout and motivation?

1:21:30 Think back to the best partner or supervisor you've worked with. What did you like about that person's management style?

1:27:42 Final Thoughts