rtyler

Be a Libor

I reflect occasionally on how I've gotten to where I am right now, specifically to how I made the jump from "just some kid at a Piggly Wiggly in Texas" as Dave once said, to the guy who knows stuff about things. I often think about what pieces of the Slide engineering environment were influential to my personal growth and how I can carry those forward to build as solid an engineering organization at Apture.

The two pillars of engineering at Slide, at least in my naive world-view, were Dave and Libor. I joined Dave's team when I joined Slide, and I left Libor's team when I left Slide. Dave ran the client team, and did exceptionally well at filling a void that existed at Slide bridging engineering prowess with product management. Libor often furrowed his brow and built some of the large distributed systems that gave Slide an edge when dealing with incredible growth. In my first couple years I did my best to emulate Dave, engineers would always vie for Dave's time, asking questions and working through problems until they could return to their desk with the confidence that they understood the forces involved and solve the task at hand. Now that I'm at Apture, I'm trying to emulate Libor.

(Note: I do not intend to idolize either of them, but cite important characteristics)

To understand the Libor role, the phrase "the buck stops here" is useful. A Libor is the end of the line for engineering questions, unlike some organizations the "question-chain-of-command" is not the same as the org-chart. If a problem or question progressed up the stack to a Libor, and between an engineer and a Libor the pair cannot solve the problem, you're screwed.

What does it take to be a Libor you may be thinking:

Playing the Libor character at Apture has been interesting to say the least, I've done a lot of work getting a number of systems in place to help educate my decisions, particularly in our production environment. Focusing on the entire stack as a complex system has allowed us to make some adjustments here and there that have literally started to pay dividends the day after they ship.

Non-engineering also benefits from having a Libor character in the organization, at Apture the product development narrative has changed, I find myself emphasizing:

Tell me what you want, we'll find a way to do it

That's a breakthrough.

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