· [Thinking inside a large box];

What I did in the past & what I’m looking for next

The goal of this page is to go beyond a resume and hopefully provide useful context on my past experience and on what I’m looking for in a new role.

For my work history, check out LinkedIn. For open source contributions, GitHub.

The sections are:

  • Highlights and numbers
  • How I see myself
  • What I care about in my work
  • Personal values [WIP]

This is a ton of text. Absolutely no need to read it all. Happy to discuss in person.

Highlights and numbers

Time at PlanGrid (December 2015 - Current)

  • Lead feature and platform engineering teams, across Backend, Web & Mobile, up to a size of 25 team members.
  • Hired 14 engineers, most of them senior, many through network and outreach. Reshaped a lot of the recruiting process for my teams and for PlanGrid as a whole. As part of my hiring effort I built one of the strongest iOS engineering teams in the SF Bay Area, which is widely recognized in the iOS community.
  • Built a strong personal brand (open source, talks, etc.) that drove a lot of my recruiting efforts.
  • Shaped PlanGrid’s engineering culture through a series of initiatives (open source contributions, tech talks, 20% time for working on platform improvements, redefinition of career ladder & compensation bands).
  • Contributed to PlanGrid’s long term product strategy.
  • Drove reorganization of engineering into feature teams & platform teams that can deliver on product strategy.
  • Helped significantly increase the amount of product initiatives my teams delivered.
  • In my first year at PlanGrid as an engineer and tech lead I redefined the app architecture and patterns to enable us to scale the iOS engineering team. Part of this is documented in this popular blog post. Also significantly improved build and test tooling as well as release cadence.

How I see myself

I see myself as a very technical engineering leader who works best at the intersection of product and engineering. In my leadership function I focus on hiring great talent, shaping a strong team culture and providing the autonomy required for a sense of ownership to unfold. I believe team members deliver their best work when I combine freedom, motivation & accountability in my leadership style.

I’m good at thinking in systems and like to use that skill to analyze how a product & engineering organizations can be improved. This analysis spans people, organization, product and technology. I see my primary job as identifying and anticipating issues that limit my team’s potential (now and at future scale) and driving changes to resolve them.

I am an open book. I believe in transparency and radical candor and I work best with teams and peers that share that belief. I set a high bar for myself and for others and I love when I receive feedback on how I can improve. One of my strongest values is to always follow through on my commitments; I hate dropping balls and very rarely do so.

I love writing as a tool to shape my thoughts, share them with others and foster discussions - my blog is an evidence of that.

Lastly, I care a lot about the personal relationships I build with people. I’m still in touch with almost everyone I worked with closely in the past.

What I care about in my work

  • Building great products & teams
    • I consider myself very technical, I have a fair amount of successful open source projects and talks, and I love staying up to date on what is happening in software engineering (one of my favorite current reads is Designing-Data Intensive Applications). That said, I have the most fun when I work with teams that use software engineering to build great products (developer tools are very interesting products as well!). One of the most visual examples is a hack-week project I worked on with a small team that uses ARKit on iOS to build an indoor location tracking system for tracking issues on construction sites.
    • While I love building products as an individual contributor, I’ve learned how much more I can move by building great teams that build great products.
    • In my ideal role I split time between recruiting, mentoring and building a great team culture - and solving interesting product & engineering challenges as a team
    • In a slight twist on the famous quote by Peter Drucker, I believe that “Culture eats process for breakfast”. I err on the side of “as much process as necessary, not more”.
  • Strong alignment with my, team, manager and peer group
    • I’ve learned that a shared set of values among me and my peers is essential for working together effectively. I’ve listed what I care about under Personal Values.
  • Autonomy and room for creativity while being held accountable for outcomes
  • Having a measurable impact on the business

Personal values

You can find a list of my personal values here.

If you feel like there’s alignment between what I’m looking for and what you need, I would love to chat!

Just shoot an email to: me@benjamin-encz.de