Frontier Podcast by Gun.io

By Gun.io

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Description

The Frontier Podcast by Gun.io explores innovation in software engineering. We chat with smart, forward-looking industry leaders and developers to discover the latest trends happening now and what might be coming next. If you manage or hire developers, are solving business problems with technology, or write code yourself - welcome to The Frontier.


Gun.io is the top service in the US to find and hire elite freelance developers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us at https://gun.io/podcast

Listen Notes


Episode Date
Eric Rodwell, VP of Conga
24:06
Ledge sits down with Eric Rodwell, VP Worldwide Solutions Engineering at Conga, to discuss the importance of self awareness when starting the journey of professional development. He shares helpful tips on putting yourself in the shoes of your customer to keep quality high and deliver an exceptional experience.
Sep 16, 2019
Glenn Thimmes, CTO of Centeva
26:04
Glenn Thimmes joins Ledge on the podcast to discuss his technical experience. From working for Microsoft becoming an expert in .NET, to becoming CTO for Centeva developing agile solutions for the federal government.
Sep 11, 2019
Eric Hunter, CTO of Spherical Models
21:44
In this episode, Ledge sits down with Eric Hunter, Managing Director for futurist consultancy firm Spherical Models, LLC and CTO of Bradford & Barthel, LLP, about how having a stroke sparked his interest in how we process information and the intersectionality between future technology and human behavior.
Sep 09, 2019
Mike Kritzman, CEO at SkillNet
22:44
Mike Kritzman, CEO at SkillNet, joins the podcast to discuss how Skillnet is helping companies to do better with their HR by upskilling and reskilling to retain talent.
Sep 05, 2019
James Graham, Founder of Community Phone
25:36
Ledge sat down with James Graham, Founder of Community Phone, to talk about how Community Phone is reinventing the way we look at telephone companies by helping millions reduce the cost of their monthly phone plan, safeguarding their online privacy, and providing competent help from individuals in their local community immediately.
Sep 03, 2019
Jason Hintersteiner, CTO at Imperial Network Solutions
24:10
Jason Hintersteiner is the CTO at Imperial Network Solutions and is an expert on all things WiFi and joins the podcast talk about this technology that we use everyday and how to think about security holistically when it comes to Wifi networks.
Aug 30, 2019
Andrew Plato, CEO, President, and Founder of Anitian
27:46
In this episode, Ledge sits down with Andrew Plato, CEO, President, and Founder of Initian to chat about accidentally discovering the SQL attack, and through that experience gaining an appreciation for security which led him start his own security firm.
Aug 29, 2019
Adtech innovations at the retailing edge
31:34

In this episode Ledge sits down with Michael Weissman, 10-time entrepreneur, career high tech executive, and consultant to such tech allstars as Apple, Amazon, Adobe, and more.


Michael’s current adventure is Synchy, an advanced adtech product that delivers product advertising right alongside the product purchase experience, following on the success of Amazon’s ad network, and building a next generation enhancement to the concept.


Michael asks the compelling question, “Why is the best advertising OFF of the retailer’s website?” And furthermore, “Why is the worst advertising ON baked into the retail experience?”


When it comes to culture, Michael doesn’t hold back. He and his team have a strict code of constructive disagreement they use not in order to be right, but in order to get better. It’s made them a strong, effective unit for more than 6 years.



Aug 28, 2019
From Startup Weekend to YC to startup success
29:50

Technology co-founder Matthew McDonald is no stranger to rapid change. He joined a Startup Weekend event, met some contractors there with an idea to change construction equipment rental industry, and built a prototype -- booking their first validation client the same weekend.


When a friend suggested they apply to Ycom, Matthew admits he blew off the idea at first. After deciding to go through with it, his co-founders and he were shocked to be accepted, and moved together to California after having only known each other for 6 weeks.


Fast forward to present day and EquipmentShare is 300+ employees strong, having built a powerful online and offline business. Matthew’s personal story is compelling -- he had the personal awareness and fortitude to work with a mentor after having grown the team to 11 as the founding CTO, and admitting he just didn’t like the leadership seat. He stepped down and continues to make critical contributions as Principal Engineer. The story of that process is inspiring on many levels, and will be instructive to any engineer who questions the standard leadership path.

Aug 27, 2019
Pet Tech - Wearables for Healthy Best Friends
28:40

Electrical engineer, Fabrizio Filippini, has always had a strong passion for web, IoT, and sports. That got him into wearables, which led him to join as a co-founder of FitBark. 


Wearables for animals? No one thinks innately about health monitors for pets like they do for humans, with our Apples Watches, FitBits, and more. It turns out this is an important area of development because pets don’t communicate their conditions through their behaviors the same way humans do. Dogs especially communicate happiness when they see their owners, even when they might be struggling with a serious health issue.


Fabrizio and Ledge talk UX, data, IoT, and more in this novel look at the wearables you might never have thought about.



Aug 26, 2019
We’re all targets: Preparing for inevitable security breaches
23:40

Dan Tienes, CTO of Corporate Cost Control, has unique perspectives on cybersecurity, particularly having taken a personal interest in the well-known Equifax breach, having spent time working at the company for 9 years after an acquisition. 


With a deep insight into the Equifax corporate culture, born of his time at the company, Dan has thoughtful perspectives on both failures of technology and failures of process, that likely led to the famous breach.


It’s a complicated story with no clear answers. What we can learn is complexity of the modern systems upon which we all rely is SO great that it’s inevitable that challenges will arise. The key is in our preparedness.



Aug 23, 2019
Applying disruptive technologies in a familiar fashion in conservative business sectors
21:12

Tim Anderson is the Vice President of Technical Operations of Kasasa, a community financial institution fintech company. Kasasa offers a suite of checking account products for which Tim runs the implementation and support team -- making sure customer data is onboarded properly.


When you serve a conservative customer base, the day to day isn’t necessarily a cutting edge revolution in technology -- it’s not about the fintech disruptive hype cycle in an industry that’s by nature conservative. What’s more, disruption doesn’t have to feel like something different. It has to feel like something familiar.


Consumers compare mobile app experiences to Uber and Lyft. More staid industries need to be ‘cutting edge,’ but relative to something the customer already uses and understands. Consumers want friendly, personalized service, across channels, that’s convenient, personalized, and consistent. Modern technology helps us get there.

Aug 22, 2019
Video calling technology on the cutting edge with Lifesize
35:08

Video connections are critical in a remote business environment. If we’re going to embrace remote work, we need video calls. That’s what Ledge talks about with Bobby Beckman, CTO of Lifesize, a formidable competitor in the video calling sector.


The major challenges of video call handling cover a range of technical challenges. Furthermore, the user experience challenges like making videos easier to join, require a huge rethinking of telecommunication norms and habits.


How do we make connecting by video easier than a phone call? How do we solve video call connection and discovery? It’s useful if we look back to the challenges we’ve already solved with phone number and email address discovery.


Returning from the meta-topics, Ledge and Bobby discuss paying off our technical debt - and how Lifesize replaced every line of code and every server -- in 2 years. 

Aug 21, 2019
Technical trends and trade-offs with a career CTO
17:38

Three-time CTO, Rich Brown, put in his Fortune 500 time across the enterprise sector at Bank of American, SAP, and others. 


Ledge and Rich discuss the trade-offs of native and hybrid, cloud and local, and the true experience end users are looking for.


We talk about the evolution of Microsoft and the company’s re-evolution in the developer ethos with the acceptance of .Net Core.

Aug 20, 2019
Scaling remote engineering teams like Auth0
26:18

Damian Schenkelman is the Director of Engineering at Auth0. Ledge reached him at his remote office in Brazil. 


Auth0 provides SDKs and APIs for identification and login. Auth0 is the Stripe of logging into websites and apps.


As an engineering director, Damian’s number one objective is scaling engineering teams: making sure the right people are in the right seats with the right training and support to do their job. In this wide ranging interview he discusses remote culture, distributed teams, team building, trust, and more.

Aug 19, 2019
The amazing business of being ‘uncool’
22:34

In this episode, Ledge sits down with Nav Bhachech, who boasts an impressive CV having worked at both Microsoft and Amazon, to talk about his work with various SV-area startups.


Nav goes into detail about his work with developing Microsoft Office apps, utilizing add-on and API functionality in standard Office applications. He discusses the issues with developing systems that aren’t considered ‘cool’, but are highly valued by those that use them.


Nav also reflects on his career, particularly what he’s learned with regard to scalability. ‘Scale has a zillion different dimensions’, he says, while going on to discuss the difficulting to scaling the recruitment process - In summation, ‘we need a consistent culture - one that values excellence in engineering’.



Aug 16, 2019
The Role of Faith in Technology
25:06

In this episode, Ledge sits down with Nav Bhachech, who boasts an impressive CV having worked at both Microsoft and Amazon, to talk about his work with various SV-area startups.


Nav goes into detail about his work with developing Microsoft Office apps, utilizing add-on and API functionality in standard Office applications. He discusses the issues with developing systems that aren’t considered ‘cool’, but are highly valued by those that use them.


Nav also reflects on his career, particularly what he’s learned with regard to scalability. ‘Scale has a zillion different dimensions’, he says, while going on to discuss the difficulting to scaling the recruitment process - In summation, ‘we need a consistent culture - one that values excellence in engineering’.



Aug 15, 2019
Better Sales Conversions with Next-gen Software Demos
23:34

Do we take software demos for granted? Should we be investing more energy and attention into demo UX? CEO and founder of Omedym, Greg Dickinson, believes so. Omedym’s solution helps companies craft interactive software demo experiences, intelligently delivering answers to would-be buyers’ questions in real time.


As Internet culture wreaks havoc on our attentions spans, would-be customers ashew the traditional solution evaluation process. Customers demand instant understanding, and rapid results. Omedym achieves this by using analytics to dissect customer data and unpack the intent of buyers with instant fractional demos that answer objections on the fly.


If you want to understand the buyer’s journey, and the best way to connect with customers, this episode is a great place to start.

Aug 14, 2019
Retail SaaS Platforms at the Cutting Edge
19:00

ason Zubrick has enjoyed a trailblazing career in retail finance, helping small-scale outlets revolutionize their technology approach, as the CTO at defi SOLUTIONS. defi’s loan origination solution provides banks, credit unions, and auto lenders with a flexible technology platform that enables modern lending programs.


Innovation and accuracy underpin performance in this  industry and Jason emphasizes testing as central to ensuring defi remains ahead of the curve in a demanding market.


With 15 years in retail, including at video game retailer GameStop, Jason has a unique take on SaaS, retail, and trends in tech, as well as fascinating insights into what’s next in the field.



Aug 13, 2019
Mobile App Security and Threat Defense
24:25

Mobile app security expert Domingo Guerra is an authority in a field that’s growing at a frenetic pace. As the founder of Appthority, Domingo witnessed first-hand how businesses require increasing levels of assistance to properly secure critical business data and protect consumers on mobile platforms.


When Appthority was acquired by Symantec, Domingo continued his work at the cutting-edge of mobile threat defense. In this episode, he shares his belief in the preeminence of device security in a culture where personal mobile devices often form the backbone of company operations.



Aug 12, 2019
Software dominates high-traffic commerce
29:36

Leon Fayer began his prolific software engineering career some 25 years ago in government contracting, and has since shifted gears to focus on the private sector. His multi-sector gives him unique insight into the ways technology has come to define every discipline of commerce.


After years of founding and running successful start-ups, Leon now works in consultancy with high-traffic sites, such as Wikipedia and National Geographic. His varied work has enabled him to observe the shift in mentality that is now dominating the commercial sphere. Every company is becoming a technology company by necessity.


In this episode, Leon joins Ledge to bring his extensive expertise and insight on what’s now, and what’s next.

Aug 09, 2019
F.A.T.E. – From Addict to Entrepreneur; “Chasing the High” (Author Interview)
26:12

Entrepreneur Michael Dash had it all -- a multi-million dollar business, cars, real estate, you name it. He also had a compulsive and addictive personality that led him to gambling, drugs, and a destructive path that brought it all down. In his new book, “Chasing the High,” Michael lays out his path to redemption in a raw, honest, framework that he’s turned into a program called “F.A.T.E” -- From Addict to Entrepreneur.


Ledge and Michael talk about addiction, the positives and negatives of the entrepreneurial drive, and most importantly about life balance and the critical habits he’s discovered to keep himself happy and effective after missing the mark for many years. Every listener will see something of themselves in this story, this episode, and Michael’s book.

Aug 08, 2019
‘Showing respect for abstraction’ - an AI pioneer on machine learning and data science
23:42

AI pioneer, Sandra Carrico, joins Ledge in this fascinating episode where she recounts the early days of AI, the early 80s AI winter, and the dawn of computational linguistics.


Now the VP of Engineering and Chief Data Scientist at Glynt.ai, she works daily with the company’s ML systems to refine the patented algorithms she invented to extract data from documents such as utility bills, insurance claims and medical records with better-than-human accuracy.


Sandra delivers fascinating insights into how she turns problems into solutions with a mix of mathematical know-how, coding experience and management skills.

Aug 07, 2019
Making the leap from Philosophy to Software Engineering
26:54

Caleb Ontiveros, who left the University of Notre Dame’s PhD program in philosophy to pursue a career in tech, is often asked by people studying philosophy how he transitioned to software engineering and programming.


Caleb created the Facebook group, Philosophers in Software Engineering to help others like him. The group’s members collect and share advice for philosophers interested in learning how to program or in careers in software engineering.


In this episode, Caleb chats with Ledge about philosophical thinking in software, and how software can enhance philosophical thinking.

Aug 06, 2019
Psychological safety in tech and software engineering with a human touch
24:36

Software may be written on machines, but it's written by and for human beings.


That’s according to Ledge’s guest, April Wensel founder, of Compassionate Coding, a company offering advice and workshops to engineering teams on how to bring a more human touch to the workplace.


“We weren’t caring enough about human beings in the engineering process,” notes April, who used her background in software engineering to tailor her company’s interactive workshops so the content deeply aligns with her technical audience.


In this episode, we get to hear April’s perspective on the importance of emotional intelligence in the coding process, and how to promote psychological safety, diversity, and organizational effectiveness.

Aug 05, 2019
Drone software and cognitively diverse remote teams
20:12

Eric Hauser has spent his entire career working in software engineering. Beginning with stack development and ending up in management, Eric is currently working for Drone Deploy, a San Francisco based startup that develops drone technology. 


Ledge and Eric sat down to discuss Drone Deploy’s business model, and how the company focuses on developing drone software as opposed to drone hardware. With commercial drones becoming increasingly affordable, the focus has shifted to developing more advanced software for data collection purposes. 


Eric also offers his perspective on remote working, noting how he’s glad it’s brought ‘cognitive diversity’ to his team. With a geographically diverse workforce comes an array of perspectives that ultimately leads to products that work great for a diverse user base.



Aug 02, 2019
Machine Intelligence and the Future of AI
27:14

A 20-year veteran of software engineering, Oren Boiman’s Bay Area-based Magisto has reached 100 million users over the last decade. Oren has been a visionary in his field, understanding the importance of AI well ahead of the curve. Magisto is a pioneering video editing app, which employs AI to assist with the editing process.


This fascinating chat with Ledge covers the future direction of AI and user interfaces, and the importance of the younger generation ‘needing to know’ everything!


If you want to harness AI in order to better understand customers then this podcast is a great place to start.



Aug 01, 2019
Innovating a mature product: making email smarter, easier and safer
33:20

With over 50 years of existence, email is one of those things we just take for granted. But it is by no means solved: there is an ongoing conflict between security, control, and user experience. Who hasn’t struggled to organize all the information scattered through emails ahead of an important call?


Alexis Panagides is the CEO of mxHero, which specializes in improving the email experience for businesses and end users through easier access, better control, and enhanced safety.


Alexis shares his vast experience around email, from his beginnings in Brazil  to his ongoing challenges as an innovator in this space. He and Ledge also talk about the benefits of remote teams. Alexis shares his favorite tools and tips for working with distributed teams and his thoughts on why right now is the best time to become an entrepreneur.



Jul 31, 2019
Driving traffic that converts for B2B sales through video
26:32

ideo ads for B2C are all the ra ge in 2019: we expect our favorite brands to reach out to us through engaging, high quality video content. But what about B2B? Can video help move your customers through your funnel faster?


Graeme McLaughlin is the Head of Strategy at Explainify, where he helps B2B companies communicate better with their audience to drive sales.


In this podcast, Graeme and Ledge talk about marketing strategy and how sales and marketing can work together to bring in more revenue. Graeme shares some ideas to help you avoid paralysis by (data) analysis and instead focus on asking the questions that truly matter.



Jul 30, 2019
Health tech, subscription boxes, and streaming video
34:42

Ryan Yockey has accrued an enviable résumé, after over 15 years of working with a wide variety of cutting-edge companies. 


A self-taught dev, Ryan founded his own art business, DNA Imprints, in 2006, and currently works as Director of Engineering at FabFitfun; an innovative firm that dispatches boxes packed with health-related goodies to mostly female clients.


Ryan has always been at the epicenter of commerce, sales and connecting with customers throughout his career, and he shares with Ledge his ideas on how this works in the contemporary climate. Don’t miss this inside view into the subscription box business with a healthy dose of tech.



Jul 29, 2019
Measuring the Impossible with Data Science
23:56

John Feland attempts to measure the impossible! In a world in which the consumer market is increasingly defined by data, John Feland assists companies with enhancing their social capital; the trust that consumers place in their brand. Over a diverse and impressive career, beginning with research posts at Stanford, Feland has continually refined his understanding of data, how to intelligently identify the important data, and how to gain insight from it.


Today, Argus Insights, which he founded in 2009, leverages agile analytics to deliver powerful social influencing. And Feland is also active in teaching at The Nueva School, providing students with insight into a diverse range of technology, data, and commerce-related topics, as well as the intersection between them. Ledge sat down with John for this fascinating chat with a data expert who has the very heart of modern business at his fingertips.

Jul 26, 2019
The inside story of Gun.io from its founder and CEO
34:23

For our special 100th episode, Ledge sat down with Gun.io’s founder and CEO, Teja Yenamadra for a first-time telling of the history of the company going all the way back to the dorm room days and tracing a winding road of pivots and relationships to today’s premium developer and client experiences.


You can also watch this interview on our youtube channel by searching The Frontier: Gun.io.


Thanks to Cosair Distillery for sponsoring and hosting a whiskey tasting to make this one go down smooth



Jul 25, 2019
The myth of junior developer risk and how to create a balanced engineering team
24:00

Lee Warrick wasn’t satisfied with the standard storyline regarding junior developers. A career-changing bootcamp graduate himself, Lee heard the same tired explanations over and over again about how hiring juniors was rife with expense, risks, and headaches that from his experience just weren’t true.


He started the Tech Jr podcast to support junior devs, along with a series of meetups where juniors could get together and share advice and approaches for their careers. Along the way Lee developed a compelling framework to help employers understand how to get high ROI out of recruiting, employing, and retaining junior developers. In this episode he sits down with Ledge to share the highlights.

Jul 24, 2019
The global future of sensor technology on the smart edge
26:59

CEO and President Becky Oh started her career as an Apple chip designer and quickly realized she wanted a bigger view of how her products played into the broader business. She took a role in Field Application Engineering and thus began her journey into business development, which she continued to advance until joining PNI Corporation when the now-global sensor company was in its startup phase.


PNI has advanced it’s position under Becky’s leadership into a global player in the smart edge and IoT sectors. Becky and Ledge discuss the path new network technologies take to adoption, when your competitors are your friends, and how to form fruitful alliances that create a rising tide for all companies in the space.

Jul 23, 2019
Organizing a tech conference; advice from the pros
31:36

Tech conference veterans Sarah Withee and Colin Dean joined Ledge in this episode to talk about their combined dozen years of organizing tech conferences, what they personally get out of it, and the value the events provide when done well. We talked through all the stakeholder groups, how to take good care of them, and how to think about budgeting, speakers, and more.


Colin and Sarah are two members of the Abstractions.io conference team in Pittsburgh coming up in August 2019 where over 2000 software pros of all types will convene for learning, community, and more. Tickets are still available so don’t miss it. And don’t miss this episode for evergreen advice on running great conferences when you get the itch to start your own.

Jul 22, 2019
EdTech and the ‘empathy-based’ technology vision
15:37

Kirk Gray relishes his role as VP at McGraw-Hill Education. In this episode, Ledge talks to Kirk about his fascinating perspective on technology and education. 


An EdTech veteran of 18 years, Gray has worked for a variety of startups before moving into engineering leadership. Having experienced the dawn of EdTech, Gray goes into detail about the early years and how the industry has evolved.


We hear how the rise of empathy-based technology promotes teachers getting the best out of their students, working with educators instead of against them. Kirk also talks through some of the difficulties of working in EdTech, specifically the ethical barriers surrounding data collection.


Jul 19, 2019
We are at the precipice of something totally, totally different
18:26

As CTO of ONIS Solutions, David Ramsey is at the forefront of the big data movement. With a passion for technology and nuanced view on the subject given his work in Africa, in this episode David shares how he expects data to change our lives in the future.


Citing industry examples such as food and transportation, David’s optimistic vision of the future imagines how data collection creates jobs and enables high net creativity.  

Jul 18, 2019
Investing in a smart home that won’t soon be obsolete
12:52

Despite the hype surrounding virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Home, a fully digital home isn’t a reality quite yet. But can we prepare our homes for the future, to avoid tearing down walls later? How can we invest in home technology without worrying it will be obsolete in two years?


Ben Wiliams, Technical Director at SAV Digital Environments sat with Ledge to chat about the challenges of building future-resistant control systems and keeping them up and running under any circumstances.


Ben also talks about the next big thing in the software side of custom integration and smart buildings, as well as lessons learned from managing hardware engineering teams.



Jul 17, 2019
Engineer or engineering leader? What’s the difference and where do you fit?
12:59

Software engineer or engineering leader? What’s the difference and where do you fit?


Corey Nichols began his career in the tech industry as a software engineer.


He anticipated working on “hands-on technical aspects of software engineering,” but instead, coordinated different teams and encouraged his developers to continue learning and improve the “quality of code” they wrote.


Nichols transitioned from being a software engineer to a Director of Engineering at SonoSim, helping grow the company from 20 to 50 employees. 

Ledge sat down with Corey to find out what’s involved in a leadership of engineering role that differentiates it from the software engineering seat.




Jul 16, 2019
Better smart homes with connected cloud services
31:44

When Kent Dickson founded Yonomi just over five years ago, smart devices were still an obscure concept. But the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant helped change that, and now Yonomi is playing a major role in crafting cloud-based solutions for the smart homes of the future.


Yonomi's vision was to help make life in the new smart home environment more convenient for everyday people, who are not necessarily tech-oriented. Under Dickson’s guidance, Yonomi is helping to marry together all smart devices in a home, creating a coherent infrastructure, rather than a confusing mess!


This intriguing chat with Dickson sheds a lot of light on the challenges of the smart home niche, and provides real insight into what our homes may look like in the very near future.



Jul 15, 2019
Scalable video capture and playback plus building an international team
24:43

Oliver Friedmann is the CTO and Co-founder of Ziggeo, an API for video recording and playback, that’s essentially like Stripe or Twilio for video. The service abstracts all of the work for developers to allow apps and websites to take advantage of video streaming and capture.


Ledge and Oliver chat about the engineering challenges he and his team overcame, both client side (think old browsers) and server side (think millions of users recording concurrently), as they developed their solution.


On the organizational, Oliver has made amazing use of a worldwide distributed team, largely sourced through online marketplaces. Oliver’s tips for remote, distributed team management provide excellent tactical guidance for work isolation and around-the-clock productivity.


Jul 11, 2019
From whimsical consumer product to critical B2B enterprise technology
22:30

Amir Rubin co-founded Paracosm in 2013 with a mission to “3Dify the world.”


Since then he’s led the company through a total conversion from fun, visionary consumer product to critical B2B enterprise solution. What started as an idea to 3D map the world for experiential AR turned into a technology and approach that saves enterprise customers weeks of work every day.


Ledge sits down with Amir to see what it was like emotionally to transition from a visionary 3D world mapper to getting measurements inside buildings for industrial purposes and how to grow in the CEO function when you come from an engineering background.


Jul 10, 2019
Soft skills, communication, and programming as a thinking activity
19:32

“We need to be able to talk to people. Talking to the computer is the easy part.” That’s Java developer advocate Trisha Gee at JetBrains. 


Trisha speaks worldwide about career development for programmers, including soft skills, communication skills, and what it means to really progress your career as a developer.


In this inspiring episode, Ledge talks with Trisha about listening; asking questions; sharing information, and how those activities are what make us a senior developer, a VPE, or a CTO.

Jul 09, 2019
Celebrating Independence the Freelancer Way
5:10
In this July 4th bonus episode, we at Gun.io would like to celebrate the spirit of independence shared by our professional freelancers with this short audio essay from our host, Ledge. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day to you and your loved ones.
Jul 04, 2019
Hardware is hard; you make it happen or you don’t
21:50

Keith Nothacker, Founder and CEO of BACtrack, even in college knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. When he was looking for something -- anything -- to sell online, he decided it was crazy that the police could test anyone for their blood alcohol level, but consumers couldn’t test themselves. So he decided to solve that problem. 


BACtrack pioneered the consumer market for breathalyzers, positioning the product as an affordable, consumer-friendly safety device. In 2004, BACtrack became the first company ever to receive U.S. Food & Drug Administration clearance to legally sell the devices to consumers for personal use.


Ledge sat down with Keith to share the story of his company, from design to prototypes, manufacturing to distribution, and into the age of the smartphone. As Keith says, “Hardware is hard,” but just like any other business you buckle down and make it happen.



Jul 03, 2019
What really caused that bug?
13:50

Software and DevOps engineers spend a great deal of time in logs, analyzing what's happened, and trying to surmise why it's happened. APM software gets us part of the way there, but what about actually seeing what the user did to trigger that bug? 


In this episode Ledge sits down with Doug Suvalle at Glassbox Digital to learn about their contributions to this solution set, and chat with him about how engineers can help enable the revenue functions who sit closest to business stakeholders.



Jul 02, 2019
How do you move 50TB per day to 15,000 global engineers?
23:49

How do you move 50TB per day to 15,000 global engineers? Eric Klinker knows.


He’s the Founder and CEO of Resilio, and former CEO of BitTorrent. Resilio is a vastly enhanced enterprise version of BitTorrent Sync - a completely P2P alternative to Dropbox.


As computing at the cloud is beginning to migrate back to the edge, some predictions say edge data growth is going to reach 50 times the current usage. Resilio is the technology designed to serve that market need.


Eric sits down with Ledge in this fascinating episode about the story of BitTorrent, which at one time accounted for 40% of all internet traffic. Now Resilio is advancing that story to enterprise data on the edge.

Jul 01, 2019
Understanding the full business impact of your technology
17:22

When you reach an executive position, you need to understand all of the functions of the business. That’s especially true when you grow out of a purely technical role. Your view needs to expand from the project context to the overall business context.


That’s been the experience of Cheada Lao, EVP of Operations at Allied Administrators, a leader in the benefits administration field. The firm’s primary objective is 5-star customer service, which from an operations standpoint touches internal and external software systems, data privacy, and even UX.


Cheada and Ledge discuss when and how to decide the work you should do in-house vs. using external partners, and how to attract and retain excellent staff when you don’t work in the latest and greatest startup.



Jun 28, 2019
Megascale high-performance decision engines
25:54

If you’re shopping online for pretty much anything, there’s a very good chance the pages you’re looking at are being dynamically generated based on A/B testing and automation powered by RedPoint.


George Corugedo is the firm’s co-founder and CTO. In this episode George sits down with Ledge to discuss how his global engineering organization created industry leading decision engine performance of less than 50 milliseconds per decision and scales it using .Net Core and containers to more than 30 million real-time decisions per day.


Don’t miss George’s powerful lessons learned going from small company technical founder to global CTO.



Jun 27, 2019
The software and hardware behind parking tickets
21:08

If we’ve learned anything at the Frontier, it’s that interesting technology stories can be found anywhere… even in that parking ticket you got last month that you’re still cursing over. Ever wonder how they know where your car was parked and for how long? Ledge being a collector of parking tickets himself had to find out.


In this episode, Jim Suttles, IT Director at Republic Parking Systems shares some of the amazingly elegant software and hardware solutions they use to make sure you’re paying for parking. You’ll probably pay more attention to those signs after you listen to this episode.


Jun 26, 2019
Engineering management tips for worldwide Ops, Dev, and Leadership
28:06

Scaling an engineering organization is challenging enough when you’re colocated, and when your whole team is developers. What happens when you also introduce data science and 24/7 SRE? That’s three entirely different types of work. Now distribute those workers around the world and imagine the complexity.


Ledge sits down with Alex Newman, serial founder, engineer, and management thinker about how he and his co-founders at Intuition Machines think about and solve these problems. The key word? Evolution.


This episode is chock full of great value-driven techniques like blame-free process, accountability and autonomy, and ownership.



Jun 25, 2019
DevRel and community building for authentic relationships
42:18

Communities are people who not only share common principles, but who also develop and share practices that help individuals in the group thrive. DevRel means building communities for technical audiences.


If you want to know about DevRel and community building, you need to know about Mary Thengvall and her host of curated, authored, and spoken content covering these critical topics.


Mary and Ledge talk authenticity, career paths, relationships, and much more in this deep dive episode.



Jun 24, 2019
Adopting enterprise risk management to conserve capital
14:14

APIs, microservices, connections to external systems, integration with legacy systems… the list of software complexities gets longer and longer.


In this episode Ledge is joined by global enterprise IT leader Dipanjan Choudhury. With almost 20 years of experience in software development, platform, and consulting leadership roles, we wanted to get his perspectives on risk mitigation so smaller companies can learn from the best practices of larger companies and prepare themselves for growth.


Dipanjan argues convincingly that as QA and Security shift left, so should Risk Management. Because the cost of addressing risks increases exponentially as you move right in the SDLC,  pre-enterprise companies can benefit greatly by adopting this mindset, especially when they are capital-constrained.


When we recorded this interview Dipanjan was the Technical Director of CAST. Since that time he’s taken a role as Associate Director at ValueMomentum.



Jun 21, 2019
How to manage hybrid remote/colocated teams
24:32

In this episode, Ledge sits down with Greg Starling, a full stack e-commerce and mobility expert with broad experience in the CTO seat. Ledge and Greg talk through his advice for staying on the right side of Apple’s review processes, and how to stand out in the crowd to potentially earn yourself a mobility partnership spot, based on his experience at Monscierge.


We also discuss how to manage remote team members, going so far as to setup specific video terminals where each remote team member can join conversations with an always-on camera just like they are in the office. Because one of the hardest team configurations is hybrid, the mix of tools and management techniques is challenging to make it work.


At the time of recording, Greg was the CTO of Monscierge. He recently took a new role as Labs Lead for Tailwind.


Jun 20, 2019
Scaling a team to support every stack
28:32

John Isdell is the Director of Platform Engineering at Red Ventures. You may not know of Red Ventures by name, but you’re virtually guaranteed to have been on one of their sites like BankRate.com, Reviews.com, and CreditCards.com. They’re a digital portfolio company with a huge consumer web footprint, and with that footprint comes challenges of scale, legacy code, constant iteration, and evolving staffing needs.


Ledge chats with John about organizing large teams to tackle these challenges, how to hire to handle pretty much every technology, and how to prioritize your organization-wide backlog.


Jun 19, 2019
Strategic acquisitions to enhance your company’s value
16:12
Most of us have engaged with, and even built, products and platforms that make heavy use of messaging. But how does anyone know if those messages convert into sales or other actionable metrics? In this episode I sit down with David Galante, SVP of Marketing and Product Management at Mobivity to talk about how their vast point of sale data system does just that, specifically after having acquired and integrated customer loyalty startup, Belly. Stick around for some solid advice from the product hot seat.
Jun 18, 2019
An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management (Author Interview)
30:54

There's a saying that people don't leave companies, they leave managers. Management is a key part of any organization, yet the discipline is often self-taught and unstructured. Management can make the difference between fulfillment and frustration for teams, and, ultimately, the success or failure of companies.


Will Larson's An Elegant Puzzle tackles the challenges of engineering management--from sizing teams, to technical debt, all the way to succession planning. Drawing from his experience at Digg, Uber, and Stripe, Will Larson has developed a thoughtful approach to engineering management that leaders of all levels at companies of all sizes can apply. An Elegant Puzzle balances structured principles and human-centric thinking to help any leader create more effective and rewarding organizations for engineers to thrive in.

In this episode Ledge sits down with the author to discuss key lessons from the book.


Jun 17, 2019
Hiring a dev team when you're non-technical
21:00
Ubiquitous platform technologies like Wordpress open up a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs in every conceivable sector, yet even user-friendly tools usually require implementation and customization by qualified developers. In this episode with talk with Gun.io client, Arian Mirzarafie Ahi, a biologist and e-learning entrepreneur, about the difficulties of finding a great developer as a non-technical founder. Arian talks through the challenges, and the approach he took to overcome them so he could focus on growing his content business.
Jun 14, 2019
AI for everyone, AI ethics, and problem solving
13:50

Yoav Rubin is a Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft working on Azure AI. Previous to that he was a Research Staff Member and Master Inventor at IBM Research. He’s a published author and self described “software guy” with a lot of interesting perspectives on the state of the art in AI.


Yoav talks with Ledge about how AI, like other technologies, is being democratized through services like Azure AI such that any developer can take advantage of them. The Azure AI environment allows devs to design experiments, develop them, and move domain of AI from specialized experts to everyone.

Jun 13, 2019
Fractals! And let the scientist have the DevOps
20:28

Oksana Shmaliy, scientist turned technologist, currently leads IT Strategy and Architecture at Grange Insurance, where she led the DevOps transformation company-wide.


In this episode, Oksana and Ledge chat systems thinking, organizational scale, and how creative, multi-dimensional employees make the difference in high performance companies.


Oksana gets super-meta, showing us how fractal theory can help us understand complex human organization. Super-fun geeky stuff right here, and you do not want to miss out!

Jun 12, 2019
Agile transformation and delivering “first value”
16:40

One of the most difficult transitions an organization can make is moving from “how much will that cost?” and “how long with that take?” to “how quickly can we deliver first value?”


That’s the essence of Agile transformation, so Ledge sat down with Jeff Despain, Sr. Director Engineering at CHG Healthcare to discuss the company’s relatively rapid and intensive transformation to Agile product teams -- a full 80-person org in just over 9 months.


Jeff shares lessons about change management, leadership, and customer-focused value.



Jun 11, 2019
Look-alike audiences for B2B success
25:10

Facebook and Google pioneered lookalike audience marketing for B2C. Serial entrepreneur, and engineer-turned AI marketer, Olin Hyde, started Leadcrunch to do the same for B2B marketers, a group of buyers who behave in totally different patterns than consumers.


Olin and Ledge discuss how engineers can learn about product-market fit for their ideas, and how SaaS subscription billing might not be the best fit for all businesses to unlock value-based billing. He makes a really convincing argument you won’t want to miss.


Jun 10, 2019
AI-powered superheroes, aka “the humans in the loop”
22:12

David “Gonzo” Gonzalez is the CEO and Co-founder of Ziff.ai, a deep learning as a service platform. Ziff’s goal: Reduce the complexity required to profit from AI in an enterprise setting.


In this episode, Gonzo and Ledge discuss how to answer the question, “How do I know as a business person if my business model can be enhanced as an AI?”


It comes down to prediction, forecasting, and two areas where the profits really lie: automation, and augmentation. In other words, find opportunities to help the “humans in the loop” be faster and more accurate, and you’ll win.

Jun 07, 2019
Product management from zero to 120 million users
42:14

How do you make application changes when you have 120 million active monthly users? Ledge sat down for an amazingly useful chat with James Colgan, Microsoft’s Sr. Product Manager for Outlook Mobile to literally answer that question.  


For the last few years he’s been working with the largest, most complicated, and most sophisticated organizations with one goal: super-happy users at super-massive scale.


You won’t want to miss how James walks Ledge through the exact process he and his team followed from zero to 120 million active users in just 4 years.

Jun 06, 2019
The three pillars of engineering team productivity
25:04

“How does your software development team measure performance?” -- that’s the question Dan Lines and Ori Keren set out to answer with Linear B. Ledge sits down to talk with the duo, each veteran software engineering leaders with global teams and several high profile exits.


While planning their solution, Dan and Ori reflected on their experiences working together, specifically targeting the incredible amount of time they spent pulling data and munging reports in order to measure and demonstrate the productivity of their teams.


They built their new company to tackle that problem head on, drawing together dozens of data sources into metrics designed to track three pillars: Quality and Value; Activity and Throughput; and Social and Teamwork -- the balance of which achieves a high performance team.


Jun 05, 2019
Ethical engineering on the path to excellent systems
22:59

Liz Fong-Jones is a 15-year Site Reliability Engineer. She’s a former Google and current SRE and observability advocate for Honeycomb.io.

 

Liz evangelizes “Building Excellent Systems” that both look out for the people who use the system, and for the people who work on it.

 

In this fascinating episode, she talks with Ledge about wide ranging ethical issues in engineering, and about how it’s a business advantage to say you’re an ethical engineer.

Jun 04, 2019
Best practices from distributed team management across 30 countries
23:16

Chris Overton is the VP of Cloud Engineering at open source leader, Elastic, a globally distributed company with engineers in more than 30 countries.


Chris and Ledge discuss how supporting remote work is an unparalleled competitive advantage that allows for hiring the very best people, regardless of location. When the entire world is your candidate pool, you’re going to be hard to beat, and commercially available technology now makes that easier than ever.


After a full career of remote work, Chris is a wealth of tactical tips including how precise and deliberate communication is job one, and how being a micro-manager is a death knell for your team. Bottom line: if you don’t want to empower and trust you’re going to fail.

Jun 03, 2019
How customer empathy drives better engineering performance
28:18

Ravi Sahu is the founder and CEO of Strayos, a VC-backed computer vision and deep learning company that’s improving the mining industry by using 3D aerial intelligence to reduce costs, and to improve safety by providing highly accurate data.


In this episode Ledge and Ravi discuss the importance of creating a culture of customer empathy, and how that focus has allowed for better feedback and understanding from their clientele. Ravi also discusses how the Strayos internship program works to develop talented engineers, and shares a few specific tips on how to stay connected with your remote teams.

May 31, 2019
Autonomy and professional development for engineers who want to win
16:02

“Engineers want to win.” says Steve Prosser, VP of Software Development at Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the US, responsible for more than $20B in annual loan volume.


Ever worked at a company that tries to hide engineering from executives? Not this one.


Steve and Ledge discuss how their organization has gone all-in on engineer autonomy, where each and every dev manages their own communication needs all the way to direct executive team collaboration.


You’ll also be surprised to learn about the organization’s language choices, as well as their intense investment in learning and development to support them while building a robust recruiting pipeline.

May 30, 2019
AI could be your new legal assistant
29:02

Ever had to parse through an absolutely awful contract? How about a 60-page MSA from one of those big company procurement departments? One of the promises of AI is that the happy robots will start taking away the drudgery of tasks like parsing our 4-page IP transfer clause.


In this episode, Ledge sits down with Lars Mahler, Chief Science Officer at LegalSifter. Spoiler alert: they already have AIs to do this! As a bonus Lars lays down one of the best machine learning analogies the I've heard.

May 29, 2019
China, Huawei and the future of global technology
21:34

How will Chinese companies like Huawei affect the future of cyber security? How does our relationship with China affect the open source community and the future of AI? These are big questions for big thinkers like Chris Short.


Chris runs the newsletter DevOpsish and is also a Principal Product Marketing Manager for Redhat. In this episode, Chris and Ledge discuss the fundamental differences between Chinese and US internet, the technological, legal, and contractual hoops companies jump through in order to tap into a Chinese market, and a breakdown on how Huawei could shape the tech landscape in years to come.

May 28, 2019
Winning in a new industry with best practices from another sector
18:24

How can best practices from one industry change another industry? 25-year Technology Executive, Dave Ugan joins Ledge in the episode to deep dive into a real example: how he spent 6 years bringing UX, CX, and technology from the hospitality and attractions industry to the end-of-life (yes, funerals) industry.


Dave talks about the importance of iterating, of targeting open-minded customers early so you can turn them into evangelists, and how to take the critical feedback that helps your product leap forward. He also walks us through the critical pricing determinations that helped fuel growth.

May 27, 2019
Killing off unplanned work for Frictionless Development
28:08

Unplanned work blows up estimates, kills team morale, and drives down productivity, which makes it no surprise that the best agile engineering leaders target operations improvements as a core value. Today’s guest Shawn Kuenzler takes that mission even deeper.


Scaling engineering teams is what Shawn does, and he joins Ledge to discuss balancing efficiency with empathy for customers and team members, a concept and goal state he blends into what he calls "Frictionless Development.”


When we recorded this episode, Shawn was the Director of Engineering at Zen Planner. He’s since gone on to co-found Manatee, where he serves as the company’s CTO.

May 24, 2019
Put your DevOps through P90X
12:20

You’re one of the largest exercise brands in the world. How do you get your DevOps in shape? Ledge sits down with Bob Chen, Senior Director of Technical Operations at Beachbody to chat DevOps, deployment, working with multiple distributed teams, and knocking off technical debt.


See it turns out software teams often want to do their own thing… until they don’t. A good Ops team knows how to serve them, support them, and also give them room to set their own standards when needed. As Bob reminds us, “There’s always room for improvement!”

May 23, 2019
Integrity and quality in engineering, and leadership as an art
23:28

Software quality is like integrity - it’s doing the right thing even if no one is watching. That’s according to Merlin Quintin, Director QA Engineering at Redbox.


Merlin joins Ledge in this episode to discuss her unique approaches to engineering leadership as a veteran team member at a disruptive media company. Merlin says engineering is about who you are as a person, working together with other people, to make a difference.


This approach to leadership has guided Merlin Quintin through her time at RedBox and beyond. In this episode Ledge and Merlin discuss approaching leadership as an art, how to maintain emotional intelligence under times of stress, and how her emphasis on integrity and quality has shaped her career as an engineering leader.

May 22, 2019
Making yourself an indispensable engineering hire
17:26

Is recruiting engineering talent similar to courting professional athletes? That’s been our experience at Gun.io, and Steve Bayette agrees.


After traveling the world as a digital nomad, and successfully navigating two big-name exits, Steve now advises startups on how to hire world-class engineers and build industry-leading products. He’s also an investor in early stage technology and product companies.


In this episode, Ledge and Steve talk about how to make yourself indispensable in your company, and how to make sure you’re solving the problem you were really hired to solve. Hint: it’s probably not about the code.

May 21, 2019
F.A.I.L. Mindset (First Attempt In Learning)
18:30

No stranger to screens big (very big) and small, David Shapendonk was the Direct of Technical Ops for IMAX before flexing his entrepreneurial muscles.


He's now the CTO of Maestro Games, a startup helping to build technologies that incorporate music therapy with VR gaming to help people with anxiety, PTSD, autism, and other stress-related ailments.


In this episode, David and Ledge chat about the differences in scaling between small and large organizations, having a F.A.I.L. mindset (first attempt in learning), and utilizing a “trust and verify” approach to technical hiring. 

May 20, 2019
We've been acquired; we're laying off your entire team
14:32

You'll hear a lot of stories on The Frontier about starting, growing, and enhancing engineering teams. In this episode, Philipp Svehla, helps us explore the other side of the coin: bringing a team to a close.


At the time of recording, his company had been acquired by a larger firm that decided to wind down the engineering office he oversaw while consolidating overseas. Philipp had to shepherd the difficult work of rallying a product team to deliver their final project before being let go. It's a story heavy in human empathy, honest change management, and encouragement during times of adversity.


Philipp is now an engineering manager at Workday and recently reported to Ledge that most of his previous team has successfully landed in new and exciting roles.

May 17, 2019
Separating the signal from the noise in cloud
18:18

As companies move more and more workloads to the cloud, sometimes the number of new questions can seem to grow more quickly than the number of answers. In this episode Ledge talks to Leon Thomas, CEO of Jelecos, about their AWS services practice, using it as a lens into the changing world of cloud, secops, compliance, and more.


One interesting question: does it make sense to focus on one public cloud provider? Or is it more prudent to spread your business around? Doing so might trade one type of risk -- vendor lock-in -- for another -- overhead and complexity in staffing.


Multi-cloud or not, the choice of tools continues to grow, with all the cultural and people implications you'd expect. Leon helps us separate the signal from the noise. 

May 16, 2019
Technical Evangelism as the voice of building, shipping, and operationalizing better software
26:26

What exactly is "technical evangelism?" At Gitlab, it's sharing opinions on what's going on in the community as technologists -- helping each other to collectively move forward to build better, ship better, and operationalize better so software is more responsive to customer needs. That's according to Ledge's guest, Priyanka Sharma. 


The great thing about evangelists? They have opinions, and they can give us the historical context necessary to make sense of the rapid pace of change in our industry.


In this episode, Priyanka shares her thoughts on overtooling, how to handle the operations burdens of cloud and microservices efforts, and how to adjust process components for scale. Then she jumps into how to deal with media overload when you have a job that requires you to be up to date on tech trends.

May 15, 2019
Building teams with the Iron Triangle of engineering leadership
20:29

You might have heard of the "Iron Triangle" of software development: Cost, Quality, and Speed. You can only choose two. How about the "Iron Triangle" of engineering leadership?


No, it's not a new Game of Thrones episode, but it is an extremely useful tool for implementing leadership across your organization. In this version you choose amongst "Do, Lead, and Strategize".


In this episode Ledge talks with Engineering Director Colin Henry about how to prioritize those roles for your team members and yourself so you can together build a stronger operation. Ledge and Colin also talk about the the importance of KPIs to measure what is truly valuable to your team and what's in store for the future of remote work. 

May 14, 2019
The engineering magic behind low- and no-code platforms
28:32

What if digital and marketing teams could really launch amazing web apps without needing developers? That's the promise of low-code and no-code platforms. The interesting paradox is the extensive engineering required to create and maintain them. That's what makes this work so interesting: freeing developers to work on challenging problems while enabling others to achieve more powerful results.


Alex Howard is the lead engineer behind that process at Brandcast, and in this episode Ledge and Alex discuss the engineering challenges of simplifying (and democratizing) web development, balancing your workflow as engineer, and not painting yourself into a technical debt corner with features when you're building really complex, and innovative tools. 

May 13, 2019
Technology for good and people-first FTW
25:25

Embracing technology to make the world a better place; that's a common theme with this podcast. Kevon Saber’s story continues to weave that fabric.


Kevon started his tech career developing mobile games, later making a personal pivot to focus more on the cross-section of business and people.


After completing his MBA at Stanford, he went on to start multiple companies, ultimately landing as the CEO of GoCheck Kids, a mobile app that helps to detect early vision disease in children.


In this episode, Kevon and Ledge discuss the importance of a people-first mentality, how to grow faster by learning faster, and how he instilled an effective Agile stragey across the entire company to take GoCheck Kids to the next level.

May 09, 2019
Always be learning and The Fog of Development
22:38
It only takes a few minutes of talking to Ravi Lachhmann before you realize, "This dude seriously loves engineering." That personality serves him well as a Technical Evangelist at Cisco company AppDynamics. Ravi's perspectives on production outages, operating what you build, and "Netflixian" organizational design all come back to one root idea: keep learning, and keep growing. In this episode Ravi and Ledge talk engineering flavors, purpose-built tools, customer empathy, and much more.
May 07, 2019
No CTO to Global CTO in one phone call
17:20
Imagine this: you get a call for a CTO job. The company has never had a CTO. It's a global company with boots on the ground in every country and all 50 states. It gathers scientific data in droves that very well might save the planet. What would you do next? Sherry Hammons knows the answer. She's the CTO for The Nature Conservancy and that's her story. In this episode Ledge talks to Sherri about technology leadership, coming to terms with managing and leading when you like being an engineer, and how to keep your team emotionally safe so they perform better under pressure. Sherri's career path has taken her from professional musician, to solo coder, through multiple M&As, to trailblazing global CTO. Her insights and and experience will leave you energize and inspired.
May 03, 2019
Improved UX and business results using automation
12:02

Tyler Foster is the Vice President of Engineering for Sentient Technologies. As both a senior individual contributor and executive, Tyler has spent more than 18 years delivering technical solutions to the worlds hardest problems.


Tyler’s past-experience includes leading firmware and control system development for subglacial lake exploration ROVs deployed in Antarctica with the MSLED / Wissard project, front-end platform architecture and service design at Apollo Group, one of the world’s largest private education companies, and distributed systems deployed by many Fortune 500 companies to solve their most complex data problems at Cloudera. Most recently Tyler led a cloud infrastructure startup with operations in the US, UK, and Asia.

May 02, 2019
Digital transformation and the right tool for the job
15:27
Dan Morgan is a lifelong Chicagoan, with nearly 20 years of experience as a developer and manager. He’s worked across multiple industries including entertainment, paper products, transportation logistics, and health care. Technology is Dan's passion: he worked for five years on research data science with the University of Chicago, and currently serves as VP of Software Engineering & Development at Unitas Global where his team works to simplify the management of hybrid cloud environments. In his spare time, Dan is an active volunteer and board member with Ravenswood Community Services which helps secure food for families and individuals in northern Chicago.
Apr 30, 2019
Coordinating engineering teams to build a seamless user experience
22:14
In this episode, Ledge chats with Ryan Burgess, Software Engineering Manager at Netflix, about leading their Acquisition UI team optimizing the signup and login processes for one of highest usage apps on the planet. They discuss the challenges of coordinating among engineering teams at massive scale, working on technologies that span a multitude of different platforms, and how Netflix incorporates A/B testing at the core of everything they do while delivering your weekend video binge.
Apr 29, 2019
Open Source, the grey areas, and keeping sharp with community
16:07

Ahmad Nassri is a force in the open source world. Any given day you can find him leading advisory groups at the Node.js Foundation, kicking off OSS conferences, or masterminding technology communities like TechMasters.


You might be surprised to know he's also an architectural lead at one of the world's largest telco companies. Wait...How does love of open source fit into the legacy corporate world? Ahmad and Ledge tackle the grey areas between software engineeing skills, the people factors of hiring, and open source as a place to grow and professionally develop whether or not your day job contributes to the space.

Apr 25, 2019
How to be a developer advocate without being an Instagram model
25:08

Burke Holland is a Nashville-based Developer Advocate for Microsoft. He's one of the rare people who's had a developer advocate position since way back in 2011, so I asked him about his path to what we now have started calling Dev Rel. 


In this episode Burke answers questions like what is a developer advocate? What does a developer advocate do? And even how to become one. We also talked about finding your own authentic writing voice and how to grow your advocacy platform through writing. 


Finally, I asked Burke to run me through some of the most exciting features of Microsoft Azure that every developer should be aware of including the VS Code IDE, Azure Cognitive Services, and Cosmos DB.

Apr 23, 2019
How to scale DevOps, standards, and automation in a high-growth agency
16:29

I spoke to Tyler Shambora in late 2018. At the time of this recording he was the Directory of Technology at BVA. He recently founder Pack Digital, an e-commerce agency focused on innovation and conversion.


Tyler's role at BVA ecompassed a mixed bag of workflow, devops, standards, and automation. While attempting personal study in those areas, he realized that virtually no one talks about how to scale devops, delivery, and standards for high-growth agencies. "How we scaled" articles seem to always talk about product companies, but what about agencies, professional services, and dev shops who do the same thing day in and day out but for different emphemeral clients?


How in the world do you scale build and deploy pipelines in that scenario? Tyler and I chat onboarding, training, and just how far technical leaders can take the plug-and-play concept with devs when the only thing team members have in common is that they're all in the same building working on different client projects.

Apr 18, 2019
Digital transformation, bleeding edge, and legacy tribal knowledge
15:21
Nick Lumsden, COO of Online Tech, joined me in late 2018 to chat "digital transformation" or as I put it, "Hey, what's exciting between legacy and bleeding edge?" It turns out companies can make a pretty big mess when they throw all of their workloads on the cloud without a decent plan. The technology is the easy part. Remember when we cared so much about our servers that we named them? Those days are gone. In the CI/CD world we face a totally different paradigm. What used to be build, deploy, maintain is now build, deploy, destroy. The secret sauce of digital transformation is the total plan to bring along not just the bleeding edge, but also the legacy tribal knowledge that came before.
Apr 16, 2019
Neural networks in 500 lines or less; open source in one line
16:08
The fourth book in the Architecture of Open Source Applications series is called "500 Lines or Less." The book focuses on the design decisions that developers make in the small when they are building something new. Marina Samuel, Staff Software Engineer at Mozilla, is one of the authors featured in the book, for which she wrote a 500-line simple neural network for OCR. I spoke with Marina about her early career at Mozilla, her work on the Firefox Browser, notably on privacy initiatives, and about how to get involved as a first time contributor to open source.
Apr 15, 2019
Low config, open source, and the rising dev rel community
25:09

Jason Lengstorf runs developer relations at Gatsby, a free and open source framework based on React that helps developers build blazing fast websites and apps. 


By addressing the problem of app launch from the perspective of progressive disclosure of complexity, Gatsby's entire ethos is designed around shipping fast React components generated from and requiring the lowest possible config overhead - in other words, dig deep into the config if you like, but only if and when you want to. 


Jason and I talk about keeping the open source community first and foremost in their mission, and the critical seat that's being filled by the dev rel community as the role and monetization of open source software heats up.

Apr 11, 2019
How to create an engineering Manager Voltron
25:52

"Manager Voltron" Lara Hogan knows some things about high performing engineering teams. 


Following roles as Engineering Director at Etsy and VPE at Kickstarter, she founded Wherewithall to run workshops, trainings, and coaching on delivering great feedback, setting clear expectations, and balancing mentoring, coaching, and sponsoring -- all critical skills for anyone rising through the engineering ranks


In this episode I talk with Lara about the suprisingly human emotions that crop up during management practice, and how to know if you really want that promotion from developer to manager.

Apr 09, 2019
E-commerce innovations, metadata, and decision engines
17:32
Innovative shopping experiences drive e-commerce revenues by turning shoppers into buyers. In this episode I talk with Andrew Guldman, VP of Product Engineering and R&D at Fluid. Andrew and his team have innovated the Fluid Configure product all the way from Flash and Flex to React and Node. Their metadata and decision engine tackles the most complex of product configurators for the likes of Oakley, Fender, and Louis Vuitton. Andrew walks me through the importance of T-shaped skills and avoiding the hero pattern while growing an international team.
Apr 04, 2019
Pigs, chemistry, startups, and CTO stories
27:57
CTO of Labdoor, Helton Souza, has stories to tell. Stories about moving to America to learn English, about selling pigs (yes, pigs) online, about pitching for Startup America, and ending up in Silicon Valley. He's also got insights about taking scientific lab data and making it consumer-readable, about saving 46% on infrastructure costs with smart cloud moves, and about countless hours around a kitchen table coding like mad men in an Airbnb in Milan. At the end of this episode I could see the movie reel in my head. I think you will, too, as we discuss love of project, freedom of technology choice, and the human behavioral hacking required to motivate a team.
Apr 02, 2019
Creative influence with The Tech Ninja
16:47

You might not recognize the name Kevin Nether, but chances are you've watched at least one video by Kevin The Tech Ninja. If you haven't, fire up your YouTube app.


A self-described "guy who's just always loved technology," Kevin's videos have won acclaim and following for his creative, down-to-earth unboxings, product reviews, and the occasional rant. In this episode I talk to Kevin about being a creator, letting go in order to scale yourself, and the hard work of creating content you can be proud of in any discipline.

Apr 01, 2019
CX from lead to user to evangelist
19:14

David Feinman is the CEO of Viral Ideas Marketing. We met him in his role as one of the Community Managers of Online Geniuses, a huge internet marketing community known for their industry leader AMAs.


In this episode David and I compare notes about customer experience and UX as leads become trials and users become evangelists. Marketing, technology, and product SMEs speak different languages, but what we do is all part of the same continuum.


Emotionally engaging channels like video drive the first visits and uses. That's where product UX picks up to anchor adoption and retention. A comprehensive view of the customer experience from start to finish is critical for B2C and B2B software companies alike.

Mar 28, 2019
Scaling an engineering team in a transformational industry
30:28

Boston Code Viking, Steff Kelsey started as engineer #3 at Notarize. This episode was recorded while he was their VP of Engineering, leading a team of 40. He's now the VPE of Appcues. 


Scaling an engineering org is challenging enough on it's own, but what about doing that in a totally new market segment?


That's what Notarize did as it moved the Notary Public process to a video-driven SaaS interaction; nobody even new that was a thing until they did it.


Steff and I talk tooling, automation, ownership, and more with a special dive into building a culture where learning and problem ownership is a managerial right of passage.

Mar 26, 2019
Engineering Meetings that Teams Love: Lessons from improv
22:19

A veteran of Microsoft, Groupon, and now Mode Analytics, Engineering Leader, Ushashi Chakraborty has gotten used to hearing the most abnormal feedback: "I love coming to your meetings!" 


She realized after some reflection that her extensive improv experience through Chicago's famed Second City Conservatory, had instilled in her skills and habits that were just as useful for running engineering meetings as they were on stage. 


In this episode she recaps a presentation she made at the 2018 NY Nasdaq CTO Summit, entitled "Running Engineering Meetings Using Improv Skills."

Mar 21, 2019
Customer discovery and early engineering feedback
14:51
Practitioners turned tech founders give us a unique view into the customer discovery process because they usually start their companies in order to solve a problem they've experienced themselves. Such is the case for attorney turned startup founder Alex Nordholm, CEO of DealWIP, a legal tech startup whose product is a SaaS due diligence project management and workflow tool for corporate attorneys, investment bankers, accountants, and other transaction advisors. In this episode I speak with Alex about how he and his team fully integrate engineering into the product development cycle, bringing in engineers early, sharing the "Why" behind feature requests, and not surprisingly getting much better product market fit as a result.
Mar 19, 2019
Creating an engaging and authentic engineering practice
20:03
Google Staff Developer Advocate Kelsey Hightower is tech community famous for his down-to-earth and refreshingly funny keynotes. In this episode we talk about putting people first and tools second on the path to engaging and authentic engineering practice.
Mar 14, 2019
Borrowing Innovation from Aerospace: an engineer's perspective
19:58

Sina Golshany is the Director of Technology at Fabricated Extrusion Company. He previously spent 8 years at Boeing in various aerospace engineering roles.


Sina established and manages the computational engineering function responsible for supporting the custom extrusion business and product design needs of customers in various industries including, heavy machinery, aerospace, automotive, medical devices and more.


Over the course of his career, he's developed a unique framework for innovation. In this episode I invited him to share the four pillars of his system.

Mar 12, 2019
Pragmatic Microservices Design - How to keep calm, and ship code
17:45

In it's purest form, the microservices architectural pattern tells us to "dream small" while designing services, which is all well and good, but how small is still useful?


Pragmatic microservice design helps draw some useful boundaries, and keeps our eyes on shipping product. 


In this episode we talk to Director of Engineering Daniel Knight about breaking down business problems into known objectives in the business and technical domain, and taking the focus off trying to solve problems we don't yet understand. 


In that way, product teams can focus on the WHAT while engineering teams can focus on the HOW. It's all about balance.

Mar 07, 2019
Delivering fast: people, process, and purpose
19:02
Business and technology leaders face consistent pressure to bring products to market faster. Never in the last quarter century has the pace of change, the quantity of available tools, and the raw compute power been greater. In this episode, slashBlue CEO Tom Dodds joins me to talk about how to build technology that's aligned with the people, process, and purpose of the organization. Does it help people do their jobs better? Is it impacting the company positively? Is it helping the company with their lasting purpose? The answers to these questions contribute to a holistic view of technology implementation.
Mar 05, 2019
Solving Customer Problems (The Ballad of the Sales Engineer)
17:03
When we talk about the software development lifecycle, we often focus on the product and engineering functions, potentially leaving out a critical team: Sales, and specifically Sales Engineers. To add a little color to this role, we invited Chris Goodman, Director of Integrations and Alliances from SentinelOne. Chris gives a different look at customer empathy - one that's directly tasked with helping customers figure out the problems they really have, and how to solve them. At the end of the episode he shares a succint and powerful approach to help engineers stand out and secure coveted roles.
Mar 04, 2019
Launching a tech startup inside of a legacy enterprise
25:32

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is a global leader in the B2B Travel Management space. The Hotels division within CWT was rebranded as RoomIt in the summer of 2017. My guest in this episode, Alex Behrens, was brought in as Director of Engineering to lead that effort. 


It's no small feat to build an entirely new tech startup inside of a legacy IT organization, and I talk in detail with Alex about introducing Agile, building internal partnerships, and helping teams across the enterprise innovate faster while still honoring the original thinking that served the company well for many years before this effort.

Feb 28, 2019
Startup life, stability, payroll, and change
17:15
There's a difference between working for a startup, founding a startup, working freelance, and working as a consultant for a company on payroll. It all comes down to the risk profile you are willing and able to tolerate, and that is itself a function of the stage of life you're in and other variables. In this episode I sit down with Mong Truong who has worn all of those hats. We talk about the differences, and his current role consulting for large corporate clients as Technical Director of Primitive Logic where he tackles large projects, legacy code, and change management, just to name a few.
Feb 26, 2019
I'd like my mainframe with CI/CD, please
20:01
When you hear "mainframe" I bet you think "old school," or "dinosaur," or at the very least "legacy." After this episode with Compuware's Tim Ceradsky, you might change your mind. With hundreds of billions of lines of COBOL driving the vast majority of transaction processing in the US economy, mainframes aren't going anywhere any time soon. In fact, with COBOL programmers retiring en masse over the next decade, colleges and codes schools are picking up on the massive demand. And get this -- Compuware's tools allow the use of modern CI/CD tool chains, IDEs, and code visualizations that make a good case to banish the green screen monochrome horror stories you might imagine. Stick around for the fascinating tale of the COBOL Renaissance.
Feb 21, 2019
QA just "moved left"... now what?
16:15

When it comes to Quality Assurance, the hot buzz words are "automation" and "moving left." It's true that automated testing beats manual, but throwing a bunch of automated tests on your UI just to increase your test coverage isn't productive.


A holistic QA approach means everyone from product to engineering to business stakeholders is on board. 


In this episode we speak to QA leader David Morgan about building a quality-focused organization from scratch, changing process and culture, and implementing behavior-driven development that empowers stakeholders to speak and share a common language of software quality.

Feb 19, 2019
Stuck in a Career Rut? Level Up Your Speaking Skills
22:51

There comes a time in almost every engineer's career where they may need to communicate with a customer, train a teammate, pitch a project, or prove they are credible to a potential client.


Poornima Vijayashanker was the founding engineer of Mint.com where she launched v1 of the ubiquitous personal finance platform. She went on to Found Femgineer, an education firm that trains technologists on presentation, public speaking, and communication skills.


In this episode I sit down with Poornima to hear tips and tricks that make her students successful.


https://femgineer.com/present-book/

https://femgineer.com/confident-communicator-course/

Feb 14, 2019
Building an Engineering Recruitment Process that Candidates Love
24:47
Alan Spadoni is the Director of Engineering at Buildout. He's was an engineering leader at Groupon for six years prior to his current post. Alan shares some awesome insights on making your engineering culture attractive from a recruiting perspective in a highly constrained hiring environment, especially when you're recruiting for talent on technologies that are no longer at the peak of their hype cycle. Two key areas: make sure candidates have a great experience and make sure your interview process is highly focused on problems that are relevant to the work.
Feb 12, 2019
The Intersection of AI and Medicine
16:52
One of most promising areas for artificial intelligence research rests at the intersection of biology and medicine. That's where we found Robert Fratila, CTO and Co-founder of Aifred Health. He and his team won an XPRIZE at the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. He's worked on brain-state classifiers, computer vision packages for autonomous underwater vehicles, and predictive models for cancer patients, just to name a few. In this episode we dig into deep learning, neural networks, and hype-busting truths about the current limits of AI.
Feb 07, 2019
Post-Crypto Distributed Ledger for Business Leaders
15:47

Mike Talbot is the CTO of Veracity Consulting where he leads their data and emerging technologies practices.


He writes and advises on distributed ledger technology for government and business clients and he's the author of "A Brief Description of Blockchain," which aims to break this hot topic into layman's terms for business decision makers.


In this episode we delve into finance, smart contracts, risk, regulation, asset tracking, supply chain, and more.

Feb 05, 2019
Tips and Tricks to Career Hack your Soft Skills
22:38

Rusty Wilson started his career as a signals intelligence analyst in the US Army where, while deployed in Korea, he cut his algorithmic teeth on Perl scripts that ended up slicing days of processing time from his intelligence data processing before "Big Data" was even a catch phrase.


Rusty is a Certified Ethical Hacker, and a Hacking Forensic Investigator, among 10 other professional certifications. He's carried the titles CIO, CTO, and VP of Technology.


All the while he pursued his passion for providing strategic career development coaching for IT and engineering professionals, wisdom he shares with us in this episode.

Jan 31, 2019
When to use Native or Hybrid & What's Next in Mobile App Dev
14:49
Simon Reggiani is a multi-platform native and hybrid mobile developer with over a decade of experience launching apps on iOS and Android using Java, Kotlin, Objective-C, Swift, and React Native. Simon shares his opinions and insights based on his experience at Slack and other high-growth startups. He talks about when businesses should go native vs. hybrid, and how developers can make the leap from web app to mobile app development.
Jan 29, 2019
Interoperability via Machine-to-Machine Data Architecture
15:09
Jim Nasr is Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Synchrogenix where he spearheads strategy and implementation of emerging technologies such as large scale blockchain and machine learning in healthcare and the life sciences. He previously served as Chief Software Architect for the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this episode Jim walks us through the critical requirements of data interoperability and how designing for machine to machine data transfer is the most critical of architectural decisions.
Jan 22, 2019
DevOps Automation, Orchestration, and Choreography
17:30

Steve Peak is the founder and CEO of Asyncy, an ambitious foray into the brave new world of DevOps automation, orchestration, and choreography. An accomplished software engineer himself, Steve's contributions to the development toolchain includes other efforts like Codecov.io, which he founded in 2015. The future of application choreography in the cloud era requires new ways of thinking about abstraction, and Asyncy's passionate founder and team are charting new paths in this exciting field.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Jan 15, 2019
Service Discovery in a Microservices Architecture
14:37

Travis Scheponik is a Master Software Engineer, currently with Capital One. His previous decade of experience has included work in finance, government, education, and a series of multi-industry startups. His areas of expertise include legacy system conversion, cybersecurity, and application performance, as well as recent projects in service discovery, a topic we delve into in detail in this episode.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Jan 08, 2019
Democratizing Blockchain Technologies
11:33

As blockchain technologies proliferate, one of the most challenging aspects for business users and developers alike is accessibility and user experience. In this episode, Ledge chats with Joel Neidig, CEO and Co-founder of SIMBA Chain, a robust developer framework and API. Originally developed through a DARPA grant, SIMBA Chain enables anyone to quickly create blockchain distributed applications for iOS, Android, and the web.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Jan 02, 2019
Remote Tech Teams: How to Make it Work
21:41

Ledge sits down with Laurel Farrer, a remote work strategist and consultant, to chat about what it takes to strengthen virtual communication, streamline digital processes, and develop long-distance management strategies necessary for remote teams to work.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Dec 26, 2018
On-Prem vs. Cloud Deployments
10:23

Roland Cooper is a 10-year technical operations and infrastructure expert with broad experience in fintech, e-commerce, and B2C. In this interview Roland talks to us about the tensions between on-prem and cloud deployment. On the bleeding edge of software development we often forget the vast majority of technical infrastructure still resides on-prem and in private data centers. Roland walks us through the current thinking around PCI compliance regulations, guidelines, and interpretations of critical importance to any companies collecting and processing payment card transactions.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Dec 18, 2018
Disrupting Healthcare
19:15

Our guest this episode is Chris Venturini. Chris is a healthcare technologist in the venture technology space with broad expertise in platform development and domain-driven design. In this wide-ranging interview, we dive into Chris's perspectives on disruptive healthcare technologies and then dial in on risk mitigation through domain-driven design in the full software development lifecycle.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Dec 11, 2018
Teach Your Engineers To Play Risk
17:47

Ledge sits down with Rahul Garg, SVP Engineering & Product Management at Pypestream, to share tricks of the trade when it comes to orienting engineers around a product vision, teaching risk management, and the art of diplomacy between product and engineering teams.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Dec 04, 2018
First Principles Thinking for Bitcoin Exchanges
18:36

Today we're joined by Zach Dexter, CTO of LedgerX, to chat about Bitcoin, First Principles Thinking, and throwing away everything you know about a market in order to disrupt it. 


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Nov 27, 2018
API-As-A-Business
26:12

We talk with Christine Spang of Nylas about building a business with engineers, for engineers, using a modern API platform.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Oct 16, 2018
The Technology of Politics
21:46

We talk with Josh Hendler of Purpose about the unique challenges of building technology for organizations and campaigns in modern election cycles.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Oct 12, 2018
Better Data, Better Products, Better Business
27:02

We talk with Kelly Stevens of OneSpace about the importance of data-driven decision-making, especially in today's modern architectures.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Oct 09, 2018
Dealing With Legacy Code
48:38

Expert discussion and advice with Debbie Madden (CEO | Stride Consulting) and Jason Ables (Team Coach and Creative Scientist | Ethode) on the important considerations in dealing with legacy code, refactoring, re-writing or removing old code completely. 


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.

Oct 05, 2018
What's Next In Blockchain
30:03

John Fitch from Animal Ventures talks with us about how Blockchain is driving innovation in categories well beyond cryptocurrency.


If you love The Frontier, we bet you'll love our weekly newsletter, the Wayfarer. You can subscribe here. We promise to make you laugh at least once.


Gun.io is only freelancing service that engineers actually use to hire other engineers. Interested in getting in touch? Meet us here.



Oct 03, 2018