Boomerang

When I left TripAdvisor a year and a half ago, I wasn’t expecting to return. I’d had a great time over the preceding six and a half years, learned a lot, made an impact, and climbed the ladder. I’d worked on a dozen different teams across the Core Product department, finished up with a helping […]

Managing rapid growth

As I look back on my time at TripAdvisor and HelloShopper, and think about conversations I’ve had with various startups, one of the recurring themes has involved building and managing engineering organizations, particularly during rapid growth phases. From five to fifteen, to twenty five, to seventy five, to a hundred fifty, and so on. Each of these ramps […]

Ownership

Interviews are weird. Of course there are the nuts and bolts – getting there early enough but not too early, dressing nicely but not too nicely, the technical and behavioral questions, and so on – but more interestingly, every so often someone asks you a question that really forces you to reflect seriously on your experience or worldview. […]

Closing shop

The plan had always been to go for an A round in April. We had a solid idea (personal shopping!), enough cash to carry us through June, a great set of investors (seriously, some very nice and sharp people), and, to the degree to which you can depend on these kinds of things, a solid expectation of […]

AWS: a case study

At TripAdvisor, the devops team managed about 400 physical servers spread across three server rooms. We ordered and provisioned new hardware, scavenged parts (and sometimes whole servers) from the live site teams, replaced hard drives, installed and upgraded OSes, rebooted, rewired, and were generally on call for all manner of problems. What a pain. I mean, seriously, […]

Full-stack Javascript

I’m a Java guy. Or rather, I’m a C++ guy who ended up in Java. I like statically-typed languages, and think it would be cool if Java had double pointers (or at least reference parameter types) and explicit memory deallocation. I spent the better part of a decade coding video games in C++, and twelve […]

Analytics First

It’s trite, but true – when I first started at HelloShopper (né Scratch), I was overwhelmed trying to come up to speed on a new company, new team, new commute, new set of technologies, new code base, new tools, new operational infrastructure, new risks, new, well… Everything. The existing team had put together a website […]