Frontier Podcast by

Frontier Podcast by

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The Frontier Podcast by explores the bleeding edge of software development. We chat with smart, forward-looking industry leaders to discover the latest trends happening now and what might be coming next.

The Frontier Podcast by explores the bleeding edge of software development. We chat with smart, forward-looking industry leaders to discover the latest trends happening now and what might be coming next.
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The Frontier Podcast by explores the bleeding edge of software development. We chat with smart, forward-looking industry leaders to discover the latest trends happening now and what might be coming next.




How to scale DevOps, standards, and automation in a high-growth agency

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...


Digital transformation, bleeding edge, and legacy tribal knowledge

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,...


Neural networks in 500 lines or less; open source in one line

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...


Low config, open source, and the rising dev rel community

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...


How to create an engineering Manager Voltron

"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...


E-commerce innovations, metadata, and decision engines

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...


Pigs, chemistry, startups, and CTO stories

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...


Creative influence with The Tech Ninja

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...


CX from lead to user to evangelist

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...


Scaling an engineering team in a transformational industry

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,...


Engineering Meetings that Teams Love: Lessons from improv

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...


Customer discovery and early engineering feedback

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...


Creating an engaging and authentic engineering practice

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.


Borrowing Innovation from Aerospace: an engineer's perspective

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...


Pragmatic Microservices Design - How to keep calm, and ship code

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...


Delivering fast: people, process, and purpose

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...


Solving Customer Problems (The Ballad of the Sales Engineer)

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...


Launching a tech startup inside of a legacy enterprise

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...


Startup life, stability, payroll, and change

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...


I'd like my mainframe with CI/CD, please

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 --...