Loka Podcast
Engineering Leadership Insights

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45:11

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Minette Norman, VP Engineering Practice, Autodesk

Here’s my episode with Minette Norman, Vice President of Engineering Practice at Autodesk. Minette’s interests around engineering leadership and diversity resonated with me a lot and I think if used properly, could be harnessed as a superpower for start-ups all the way up to large enterprise software companies looking to maintain a competitive edge. Minette’s had an interesting path to being a Vice President. Starting in the world of theater, to being an individual contributor in an engineering organization, to being a manager, and then manager of managers. It’s quite the journey with lots of insights for professionals at all levels to learn from. For some fun trivia, stick around until the end and find out Minette’s favorite movie and how that relates to the process she went through to get her current role at Autodesk.

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49:34

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Chris Saint-Amant, Director, UI Engineering, Netflix

On this episode, I talk to Chris Saint-Amant who leads one of the UI Engineering Teams at Netflix. Given Netflix’s tremendous influence on the topic of company culture (Google “Netflix culture deck” for more details), we spend some time digging into that and comparing how culture was encoded at some of the start-ups Chris worked at, as well as during his time at mega brands like Disney and now Netflix. It’s also worth mentioning that Chris, like a lot of successful people I know, did not have a cookie cutter approach to his career. It was far more fascinating than most. As a special easter egg, see if you can spot the Netflix show poster behind the pic of Chris and I. Stick around until the end, and find out what instrument he played on his Nirvana cover band.

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38:56

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Ameen Kazerouni, Head of the Data Science Team, Zappos

On this episode, I talk to Ameen Kazerouni who Leads the Data Science and Data Science Platform Teams at Zappos. Given Ameen’s background, it should come as no surprise that we spend a lot of time digging into all things data science, machine learning and AI. We expand on topics like genetic algorithms which I think represent a huge opportunity in machine learning. Ameen discusses his start in bioinformatics, and how that provided a roadmap that took him to Zappos. It’s yet another glowing example of how unpredictable and interesting one’s career journey can be. Stick around until the end, and find out the first thing Ameen ever bought on Zappos.

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38:18

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Randy Shoup, VP of Engineering, WeWork

On this episode, I talk to Randy Shoup, the VP of Engineering at WeWork. We recorded this episode in WeWork’s new digs in Salesforce tower in San Francisco. In a random coincidence, when I was a kid, other than computers, I had a keen interest in world history, and it turns out Randy and I shared that in common. We cover topics like the fall of the Berlin Wall, and also talk a little bit about the history of Silicon Valley which is always an inspiring refresher course. Randy’s worked at some of the most celebrated companies over the past few decades including Oracle, eBay, Google, Stitch Fix and now WeWork. He discusses the engineering cultures across those companies and what he learned and liked from them. As an interesting trivia point, stick around until the end, and find out what what Randy and Roger Federer have in common.

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32:30

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Dr. Anthony Chang, Founder of AI-Med, Medical Director at CHOC Medical Innovation Institute

Here’s my episode with Dr. Anthony Chang recorded at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. I know him as the founder of AI Med (which you can find online at AI-Med.IO) but he’s also a veteran pediatric cardiologist, working out of the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, better known as CHOC. Have a listen, and I hope in some way, more of you will get inspired to taking a deeper look and get more involved in the field of AI and Medicine. As a fun bonus, stick around until the end, and find out Dr. Chang’s favorite James Bond movie. Enjoy!

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1:12:22

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Bjorn Freeman-Benson, former CTO of Invision

On this episode, I talk to Bjorn Freeman-Benson. Bjorn was most recently the CTO of InVision, which aside from being a breakout hit product, also uses a completely distributed model for it’s 800+ employees. Prior to Invision, Bjorn was the SVP of Engineering at New Relic, where he grew the engineering organization from 3 to 300 engineers through the IPO. Bjorn also spent time at both Microsoft and Amazon, and it’s interesting to hear his take on the engineering cultures at both. Enjoy!

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22:27

Now Playing

Amr Awadallah, Co-Founder & CTO of Cloudera

Recorded at Cloudera's headquarters, here's a fascinating take on a variety of Engineering Leadership topics including: The difference between a VP of Engineering & a CTO; How to measure a VP of Engineering; and an alternative strategy to recruiting engineers in Silicon Valley. Amr is insightful, engaging and entertaining all at once. Listen and you'll see what I mean.

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50:56

Now Playing

Laks Srini, Co-Founder & CTO of Zenefits

In this episode, I talk to the Co-Founder and CTO of Zenefits, Laks Srini. Laks and Zenefits have had an amazing journey from him being one of two co-founders of Zenefits, to getting into Y Combinator, to becoming one of the fastest growing SAAS companies of all time. As an added bonus, NBA fans should stick around for some interesting trivia at the end!