#273 Ori Keren from passionate dev to having an impact with LinearB
Challenges of Scaling (04:55)As his career progressed, Ori faced the challenges of scaling a company. The core issue was maintaining the company's culture during growth. He underscores the importance of **retaining the essence of the company's beginning stages** even as it expands. For junior developers in startups, it's crucial to understand and contribute positively to the company culture.
Work-Life Balance (08:23)Ori stressed the importance of **finding a balance** between work and personal life. Even in demanding roles and hectic schedules, prioritizing time for family and oneself is crucial. This is a reminder for all developers to ensure they aren't losing themselves in the rush of deliverables and deadlines.
Evolving with Tech (15:21)The world of software development is ever-evolving. Ori's journey from working with basic tools to more sophisticated ones like Linear B is a testament to **adapting with technological progress**. Developers, especially those starting out, should be open to continuous learning and embrace new technologies.
Valuing Team Dynamics (22:34)No matter the product or service, Ori believes that **people and team dynamics are at the heart**. This belief influenced the creation of Linear B, aiming to help developers and managers understand team performance. For junior developers, it's essential to recognize their role within a team and the value of good team dynamics.
Emphasizing Soft Skills (28:50)While technical expertise is essential, Ori places high value on **soft skills such as communication and empathy**. These are crucial, especially when transitioning from a developer role to a managerial one. Developers should focus on cultivating these soft skills alongside their technical prowess.
The Dual Role of a Manager (34:15)Ori discussed the duality of a manager's role: ensuring the team's health and delivering the product. He suggests that focusing solely on product delivery can be detrimental. **A manager should strike a balance** between team well-being and achieving milestones. Junior developers should be aware of this balance when transitioning to leadership roles.
The Power of Asking Questions (40:29)Ori encouraged the act of **being bold and asking questions**, no matter how trivial they might seem. This fosters understanding and clears any ambiguity. Junior developers shouldn't hesitate to seek clarifications and challenge the status quo when needed.
Humility and Work Ethic (43:12)Highlighting the principle that "no work is beneath anyone," Ori emphasized humility and strong work ethic. Regardless of titles or positions, everyone should be willing to do what's needed for the team. Junior developers should embody this principle, showing willingness and **dedication in all tasks**. Junior developers can glean a wealth of knowledge from Ori Keren's experiences. From understanding the intricacies of scaling a tech company to the importance of soft skills and team dynamics, Ori's journey provides valuable insights for those starting their tech careers.
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⚠ The following transcript was automatically generated. ❤ Help us out, Submit a pull-request to correct potential mistakes
Ori Keren 0:00
You know, you create bugs when you're a developer, which is fine. It's nobody is like bagless that you learn that like the price that you pay when you make mistakes with people. You learn two main things first, that people are not deterministic. They're not a function, you input the same parameter. And they output the same, the same behavior. No, you can input the same parameter and people behave different. And the second thing is, yeah, that people still up to this date is like, when people ask me, what keeps you up at night. If I did doubt in ours, like, wasn't doing justice with someone, or you know, somebody feels bad, because those are in the area. You know, when they didn't deserve it, those are the or I probably miscommunicated myself on what I meant, was like the area that still keeps me up at night. So that those are two lessons I learned really fast as a young manager.
Tim Bourguignon 1:04
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building. On this episode, I receive Ori Keren. Ori got his first developer job in 2000 and eventually grew into leadership roles. He is now the CEO and Co-founder at LinearB. As CEO he doesn’t get to write as much code as he used to, but he loves helping other dev leaders translate engineering activity to business success through data and metrics. And I'm sure we're going to talk about this today. Ori, welcome to Dev journey.
Ori Keren 1:44
Thank you. It's great to be here.
Tim Bourguignon 1:46
But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew, and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info, and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. So already, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as is customary on this show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your dev journey?
Ori Keren 2:37
Yeah, if I have to place the start of my their journey, it's around the age of 13. I had to I got Sinclair Spectrum for the 80 I keep bringing it up almost every time I speak. It's an old computer, but probably the best was ever manufactured. And my friend, my neighbor had it and I wanted to end in a great games, by the way took like the game, like one hour to load or have a day. But it was such an amazing experience. But then I discovered that on top of like, the games that you can play, you know, there was like, a tic tac, jetpacks, cool. There's all this, go search for this game. They're still amazing. But I also found a basic book, a book on how to program in bass. And my friend's brother, older brother, he did this stuff. And it looks like it looks like magic to me. But it means like you input stuff into the computer, and then computer does what you tell them what you tell them to do. So I started learning basic, on my own, on top of playing games, and I forced my sister, my poor sister, she's five years younger than me to play my crappy games that are really, really bad. But that seeing seeing someone interacts with something I build as bad as it was that that was kind of I think, that was like where the seed was planted. And I know what I wanted to do. I also really enjoyed playing basketball at that time. So I had two hobbies. So I say oh, either I'm going to build things in computers, or I'll be a basketball player. It didn't turn out as much as I wanted with basketball. So that's kind of like the beginning. I think, everywhere I go, I remind myself still that the same desire or the same narrative exists there. Like you build something. Okay, so now you build it, I build that higher scale or company, we have a problem. But that's still what excites me when you build something and it helps people solve problem in the US it almost want to be a fly on the wall, seeing what every user does with what we build. So that's where I would place my start as a developer
Tim Bourguignon 5:00
This is awesome. Did you realize that this could be not just a hobby? Which will your life back then?
Ori Keren 5:07
Now, you know, maybe if I would give a cliche answer, yeah, I knew, but I didn't know I was 13. I really enjoyed it. I did stuff with computers, and only came back to doing more things as a developer with them, like, at the age of 2223, when started doing something serious with computers, like so we can talk about that. Yeah, so I live in Israel, I'm based in Tel Aviv, and we all have to do mandatory army service. So usually, like, you know, I finished my army service, and it wasn't something around computers. And I look for my first job, I didn't want to go to school it so I went to work in a company. It was early days of the Internet, in, in, in, in the world and in Israel, as well. And I actually took my first job as a data entry job. So you know how Google had color, but be before Google yo exists. And what Yahoo did was an index of website. So humans would input website so this website is about this and about that they wrote, like, so I went to a company that I saw an ad and I went to a company that did that. And it was a young company, you know, people were working together content people with data and people like me, and it was the developers, they sit in that room can say, Hey, what are you building? Show me what? And they show me those books. It was a ASP ASP dotnet that those, say, Hey, man, like I even remember the syntax, I used to build stuff like that when I was 13. I got good friends with them. And once I finished my project, which which was like a three or four month project to build the first index of website, I actually got my first job, they paid me not so good money at that phase, but they gave me a shot. Like I, I remember, like what I did, like, made the first change that I put to production, then, you know, I evolved there. I, I worked there for like, 18 months, but then that's the value decided, okay, for one. This is if you asked me, Hey, we did a new index phase, I knew Hey, this is what I want to do in my life. And I decided to go and you know, there at least in university, learn is properly. So that's kind of like beginning.
Tim Bourguignon 7:47
Yeah, before we get to the university, how did you convince this company to take you on not as a as a data entry person, but as a developer now?
Ori Keren 7:58
Yeah, I think, you know, I did the data entry job. And they gave me a book, okay, go go learn this book, like, and I read it with such a, you know, taking two days I finished reading all the books and say, Okay, listen, I think I know what I need to do give me a shot to do one change. And they had like a small task. They manage their tasks in like Excel, something like that. You know, it was the I even remember what it what it was, it was the early days of the internet. And light events in the internet was so rare. So this company was kind of like a web portal. So they did there's I don't know like concert at 6pm or something. And all the change the change was like when something was live get like a blinking I don't know even just says live the event is now and I had to do you know, write the if statement that if the event is now so okay, let me try it. I tried to put the change without a bargain. So it Nice job. And at the end, they said, You want to stay here we can pay you a lot of money. And do like I? Well, I convinced them hey, you should you should give me a job after you know, after I go like after I finished the project, and then I became friends with them and they offered me the job. Because they pay me not so good money. And I was you know, in my early days, but after after a couple of months, I was as good as them.
Tim Bourguignon 9:30
So you are at the end of this of this phase of now developing inside this company and you're realizing Okay, I think I need some kind of formal training or formal or training. What were the options and how did you choose in for going to university as you said,
Ori Keren 9:47
Yeah. I did. I decided to change as I said to myself, this company, you know, I learned a lot here, you know, because I progress so much I was the same hunger, like to learn and learn more things and bring more things. There's other more, all of us are the kind of junior developers there. And I felt that I need to learn from people who practice this as a profession, like, you know, the thing is very serious. So I looked for a job in a company that, you know, people who've been doing this for 10 years, and I can learn from the so that's one thing I did, the second thing I did, I went and look for university track where I can continue to work all while learn. So instead of like, the options were to go to some university and the okay to a pause for three years or something like that. But I found like, you know, a track that existed in Tel Aviv, the city I live, like, then that way you can do to eat two days, two full days a week. One of them is like Friday, which is an off day here, like you work, the work here, which here is like Sunday to Thursday. So on Friday, I wouldn't like to allow like, an adult, like studying at night, a lot of studying on my own. And for four years, this is what I did, like catoca working, like, learning so that that was what I was looking for to find some somewhere where I can study and you know, get the practical, like, experience at the same time.
Tim Bourguignon 11:25
Did you know that this was better for your learning style? Or was it your curiosity, saying I don't want to be locked in a classroom somewhere I want to be hacking on the side of the universe.
Ori Keren 11:37
I think it's a combination of the fact that I was saying things like, Well, I'm already working in this, it's going to be probably not the best move to go in to pause, you know, for three or four years. And to come back, I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I don't want to stop it. And also, yeah, spot on. This is my learn learning style is very autodidact. So I got it, I want to learn a lot of things on my own. I think it struck the right balance between like, not just staying on the practical level, kind of understanding data structures, algorithms, all the things that they teach you at the university, but stay close to the ground and see what what do I do with it on a day to day? Yeah, so it felt really a balanced approach. Where in I keep saying to people, this is my journey, it could be, you know, wrong for or not the right one for everyone, because everybody comes from different backgrounds. And, but that was like, felt like the perfect like next step for me.
Tim Bourguignon 12:43
Yeah, and that that's why I'm asking, it's really, you have to find out what is right for you? And what what's your learning style? And then what kind of counterparts you need? Do you need teachers showing you theory? Do you need practical side, you need both alternating? Do you need to make your mistakes, and then come back to understand the theory, and we're all different, we all need different things. So where did you work during that time at the same company? Or did you find a different job,
Ori Keren 13:11
I found a different company I took like, I don't hear I need a job where I can work four days a week and not five. Because one of the days I'm going to go to university, I'm going to do everything else on on my time. This was a great company and company name was inter wires and what week company did it built like elearning solution, you know, over the internet, there was like, instructor like a professor or somebody that speaking and a lot of people who are listening and seeing video, and this is a talk in 2001 2002 where the internet was like, not not working. And in such a great lesson like everything, they built everything. But today if somebody would do it, it's probably not that's why but they build everything from scratch everything like the protocol that ran the voice packets, the video the this screen capture sort of like a you know, an app like the zoom of today, but 20 years ago, and there were very smart people there that kind of like I learned so much from them on how you know get organizing in how you work, how you test swing, how you think about the big picture in terms of architecture. So I learned a lot from I owe a lot to that company. I learned a lot from them. While studying and so funny, I remember everything I studied, I wanted to come to the work and implement. You know, I remember studying you know, in C++ you study linked lists, you know, like the data structure. I just found an excuse to push it into the software Somehow it was absolutely not needed. It worked. But you could probably implement it in a much more simpler way. But But that, yeah, that back and forth, like, you know, until you develop a little bit you understand, okay, now I have all these tools in my tool belt, I'm gonna use what I need. But this was like, really exciting times.
Tim Bourguignon 15:23
In hindsight, was it the right, the right medium for you to learn? Was it what you expected and the right playground and impulse at the same time to to grow as you as you want? It?
Ori Keren 15:35
It's a great question. I think, by the way, if it was happening, if I went through the same journey, let's say I was born 20 years later, we're going through the same journey now. I think I would make a different choice, because the availability of all the resources to learn on your own word is available as they are right now. But it's also an advantage advantages I learned so much about like, I think, I think there's a practical knowledge of how how to program in a specific language. Yeah, you don't need like university for them. You don't need like, brothers, like, how to think, to think about things, you know, in a broad way, from data structure about offer and offer, you know, all these algorithms and how much time it will take them to run. Even you're not implementing it on a day to day, but it puts this logic that's embedded gets into your bloodstream into your DNA, how to think about problems that I would never get from a different place. Now. If it's needed for developers today, that's a different question. And a very interesting question. I think I think I was lucky because I keep talking to people that were kind of like my generation that we're kind of like the last generation that had the privilege to develop throughout all the stack, you know, I wrote in assembly, I wrote in like C++, like, you know, so you see different things in different system, like, you know, memory overrun, I don't know if a lot of people know what it is right now in the software developer, and of course, in embedded in all that people do. So it was the right decision for now, for that time. If it was happening now, I would probably be, you know, more impatient and say, Okay, let me go, let me start work somewhere. Make me make money
Tim Bourguignon 17:35
to build something, as you said that I want to drill down in this not leave it hanging like this. Do you think nowadays, we're missing something by not teaching? The younger generations? The stack from the ground up? And really going through the moves of of the as you say, the, the small Oh, big Oh, and, and how it was to really manage memory and manage performance from the from the ground up?
Ori Keren 18:04
It's a great question, I think, well, first, I don't I'm not sure what's like I didn't see like, a program of what they're the students are being taught right now. So maybe they still go through all this. I don't know. Like, if you go to like university, but I can see that from the people we're hiring. Some of them go through that journey. Some of them didn't go to study, and they just come with a lot of practical experience. I do think there's a big importance to like, learn, like, a little bit of history of algorithms and evolvement of things gives you a lot of like, you know, big picture, like kind of understanding. I don't know, specifically managing memory is the right thing, like again, but yeah, I see a lot of importance to do some kind of theoretical learning that will give you foundations, but but it's not mandatory. Some people are amazing developers and amazing engineers without it. And with some people, I can see you know, how they're lacking it so it all depends. Yeah, I think like I told you, I believe that everybody has their own journey. There's like a lot of curious people that never went like to sit in a university there but learn how to program and kind of understand why you know what, I need to go some basic let me understand like the OSI, like the network layers that we understand what so it all depends on the individual.
Tim Bourguignon 19:43
I want to piggyback on the on the word curious that you said because I've been struggling with the same question I, I went through a traditional university curriculum, I had everything built from the ground up. I barely touched assembly but but but still I touched assembly and so Um, I had this or, and I realized it's not the case anymore. And should I be gatekeeping as an old men saying, Hey, you have to do it by way or not? And the end of the answer is obviously not. But I was I was searching what was important to me, and I think I pinpointed a few few years ago. It's really a curiosity. But when I see somebody who was not afraid of saying, hey, there's something I don't know, here and peek under the cover, go one level deep level deeper and say, Okay, I want to understand what was what's going on down there. It might not be assembly yet, but at least it's getting down a little bit. And that's the variable I've been looking for in my recruitments, in the people I look for, because it seems to be a trend in in becoming great at what you do. So that's my answer to that. But
Ori Keren 20:53
I couldn't agree more. I think like curiosity is really really important. Some of like, you know, you can, you could probably solve some problems with, well, the original ways to go search for it in Internet now we have like, Gen AI that you can do stuff with, but so you can find answers quickly. But think to be the best at what you do. You got to also like, yeah, yeah, it's curiosity. Like exactly like you said, Well, I want to understand how these things work the deeper level, so let's dig a little bit deeper. And then yeah, it's also okay to get into this, you go into a rabbit hole of interesting things that you discover about memory and like this thing that seemed, allow yourself to go there, it's fine. Like to go after your curiosity. Yes, you do this all the time, it's not good. You should also probably focus on the past, but allow yourself every now and then to go into those journeys that learn new things, even if they don't serve what you do on a daily basis. I think it's really important.
Tim Bourguignon 22:01
Former guests on the show, coined this way, back then says, Go deep when you can, and go brush out go broad when you must. And he was really saying your company is going to push you into going broader into learning more, but in a less deeper extent. So whenever you can go deep, because the time you will have on your hand at that time, at that point, you will never get to go deep on your on your company time. And that's kind of why I've been trying to see things this way. Since then. It's, it's helped a lot.
Ori Keren 22:32
Yeah, it's a very smart way to look at it.
Tim Bourguignon 22:36
So when you when you were describing this, this, this first audit this job you did in an alternating between university in this job, you started describing a bit, learning how things work on the technical side, but also on the people side on the on the organizational side, on the quality side, etc. When When did this this passion? I will they call it passion for organizing people and making an assemble work together? A starch really emerging into your story?
Ori Keren 23:08
Yeah, so in that company, I actually worked there for like nine years, which is very rare in the industry. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So like, and, you know, if you got a good, that was a good developer, and then they usually what companies do when you're a good developer, they say, Hey, you should be a team leader. Because like, we're growing and actually refused it. Like, I think for three years, because I wanted to go learn other languages working, get my experience in other things. Yeah, I can say again, you know, when I look at it, you know, from now that was a smart thing, but honestly, it wasn't from like, looking about on my career, I'm an extra, I just really enjoyed it and said, I'm still gonna have enough time like to be a manager. So I wrote in every language that was out there and I moved to this team to do I moved around around technology, etc. At one point, I think that the passion in me to make a greater impact on where I work was stronger than the passion to learn a new technology. I really identify the way like I kind of identifying myself help going in helping people and helping them like be better and mentoring etc. And I said, Wait, why am I doing it? I told myself that I'm enjoying sitting with myself listening to music and programming. But ya know, I actually enjoy like, helping people because I like to help people and also Yeah, I want my company to succeed. I want like to make a bigger impact. That was the point that I kind of identified. Okay, like, I got it. Yeah, I'm going to accept being a team leader. By the way, I learned a lesson about timing in life, because there was an opening and opening and opening, and then there wasn't. They say, hey, we don't ever roll for you as a team, we didn't know. And then I was impatient. But but at the end, they found me like he had a job as a team leader. But that was the point where I said, Yeah, like, you know, I think every young team leader, when you start, you kind of say, I hire management, they don't know how things should run. I know, because I'm still developer, so that, yeah, I live with my people. I know how it should be run, you guys probably are doing it wrong. Too much bureaucracy can run my thing. I started with that. That was what's driving me. And, yeah, that was the first point in time I became like a teenager, I like a great team of three people. I mean, I made so much mistakes, so many mistakes is that I can manage to make any, I think, you know, you create bugs when you're a developer, which is finance. Nobody is like fabulous. That you learn that like the price that you pay when you make mistakes with people. You learn two main things. The first that people are not deterministic, they're not a function, you input the same parameter. And they output the same the same behavior. No, you can input the same parameter and people behave different. And the second thing is, yeah, that people still up to this date is like when people ask me, what keeps you up at night and say, if I did doubt, in hours, like, wasn't doing justice with someone, or you know, somebody feels bad, because those are the area, you know, when they didn't deserve it, those are the or I probably miscommunicated myself on what I meant, was like the area that still like, keep me up. And so that was like the two lessons I learned really fast as a young manager.
Tim Bourguignon 27:13
I couldn't agree more. There's there's the saying again, that people don't leave companies, they leave bad managers.
Ori Keren 27:21
Well, I wasn't dependent. I was attendee told him when I was wrong. But it's just the mistakes when you're doing something, you
Tim Bourguignon 27:33
know that I wasn't I was speaking backing on the on the bug thing. Indeed, when you're a manager, you don't treat bugs. But what you create is resentment is, is people wanting to leave at some point if you do enough of a bad job at it, and that that has been keeping me up at night as well thing, okay, how do we prevent this? It's funny that you describe your story this way. Because that's kind of the way I describe mine as well, really fighting against it for a while. And finally accepting this and then going at it with a lot of preconceived idea of how this is going to go and how to do a great job and really thinking, okay, is this the case now, I've been fighting against this and not looking in this direction, obviously, trying to not look at it, and now embrace it. And that was really scary at first. So how fast did that grow? From this team of three? You've tried to keep it low for a while? How did how did you manage it?
Ori Keren 28:30
Yeah, it grew fast, like I was at a team of three, I think, and like, first year to like, five, six, and the company you know, was very company was successful, and it grew more. And I think very fast. I was like, you gotta two years I was like, running like a team of teams, like team team lead, some of my people became team leaders that I had to like start the you know, coaching and guiding what it is to be a so I was sort of like the director like 20 people. It you know, that I was running. And it was different kind of fun. Once you're learning a little bit more experienced that you have, like, kind of know what you're doing as a team needs to start coaching people that how to become a team leader, what, what kind of mistakes, I think, by the way, one of the most important thing is like allowing, like, where's the sandbox where people can make mistakes and just directing them to death? In Where are areas where you? You're saying no, okay, I hear you, and we're not going to agree, but here is very crucial to what we do. So we didn't convince each other. And since I'm in charge, we got to go with my decision. But in 90% of the time, it's fine. I'll give you like full autonomy to do. So just just being very explicit about it and respectful and just expressing it and saying it I think that, at least for me, it proved itself allowed that not everybody accepted at some point to say, why did you decide to, somebody has to decide, and we're gonna, I'm not gonna stand in the middle, you know, and just not do everything this analysis paralysis like pattern that that can happen. And again, I'm going to let you convince my me and even if not, you're going to make the call in 90% of that, but that 10% Were you going to choose an architecture that doesn't match what we're trying to do? And I see you, you know, driving yourself into a wall? Yeah, that's my responsibility to stop you there. So just, I think that I enjoyed a lot like, training people on allowing like a space to make mistakes, we all make mistakes, and but try to to give that space in areas which are less harmful, etc, which is not not an easy thing to do.
Tim Bourguignon 30:52
No, it's not. What's your Ristic? In? Measuring? Is it still the time to coach this person into reflecting on this decision and maybe come to terms with there might be a better way? And saying, No, there's no time to coach it anymore, I need to interject, I need to stop the process. Which you probably mean, when it was little as possible.
Ori Keren 31:20
You mean when I have somebody like when we think different, etc. And but first of all, it depends on like, again, the criticality of the decision, if it's like, you know, a design of something that in my opinion, it's going to be a mistake, but it's fine to make to help them like go through the phases of making the mistake and fixing along because he can't just teach from this top down again, just like, people need to experience their pain on their own. That's like, I don't always like this analogy. But with kid is the same, like they got you gotta fall like they got it, you know. But so, but yeah, when it's like something called in on to the business. Then, again, like, I remember times where we, we need to choose a new architecture. And I thought, it's something that was chosen was the wrong one. And it's going to lead us to go into work for six months to discover that it was the wrong one. And then revert, those are the places where, well, I'm trying to jump in and evolve. Now, there's no United States, you asked about that. Also about like the, hey, let's try to convince each other because I hate like pulling the card of this and like, I almost not do it. And when. But it's one point, if we argued for like, four or five times and we weren't able to convince, by the way, a lot of time people out when they see me, I'll tell you why I think and I got convinced, or if we weren't, and we need to make a decision. So listen, like, sorry, but I gotta make a decision. And we're moving on. It's hard for some people to accept it. But that's how you that's how you manage? Yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 33:19
I totally feel you we, in the company I work for right right now, we really created very autonomous teams. And we really try to give them as much autonomy as they can. And and once in a while it happens rarely. But once you allow, we have really to to put a stop to something and say, Hey, no, we think it's not right. And it always felt like, like a failure from our end to come to this and say, Hey, how did we let this happen that we had to step in. And I haven't found the way to not have this happening once in a while. And probably it's life, it's, it is, but I still don't accept that I want to be better at this and, and be able to give people information and enough coaching and enough guidance beforehand, so that the right decision come up, even if it's not my decision, what I would initially have supported, but at least that we come to an understanding without having to pull this card and it still doesn't feel right. So trying to get insights from you from my own life but that
Ori Keren 34:24
mistakes up and all the time it's like and I was actually in a town hall meeting yesterday with my company and spoke with everybody and we're experiencing like very impressive growth. But I thought I read this thing I had to put for them two things. One is that everybody likes to speak about growth in past tense. It's so romantic. Look how we grew and the line looks very like you know, nice and clean. Like, you know, growing, but while you're in it, it fills with so much pain, like, you're you feel all over the place, there's one thing and the second thing I told them is like that, every time people are stretching themselves out of their comfort zone, this is what I admire the most in people in the company, and I'm gonna tell the first time you do it, you're probably going to fail, you're probably going to make a mistake. That's how that's how it happens. So yeah, failures are, they're like, part of our, our like, word and, and, you know, my kid is playing basketball and is like, when he loses is so passionate about like, using your, you can talk to him. So I know I can talk to him in the first hour. But after an hour, I gotta come in and say that you learn much more from this buy them from winning, like few winners, we want to prove this, okay, learn from this,
Tim Bourguignon 36:01
you during the day, I really like that reminding people that, that stretching out of their comfort zone really brings a risk of failing and that it's okay. It's really powerful to really formulate this way and have it in everybody's mind when they're doing something. That's cool. And so now you went from, from a developer to manager to manager of teams. And now you're at a company even to three degrees up? How did that feel evolving into this position?
Ori Keren 36:36
Yeah, so I had one more, I would say, interesting. Point in the station, like in a way where I worked in a company that I wasn't one of the founders, but very early on, I was brought in as VP of r&d. And this is actually where I enjoy, because this is where I, you know, build organizations kind of like, from the first days, and it grew. This is where I met my co founder. Now in the Navy, his name is Dan Lyons. He was we had two teams, one in Tel Aviv, one in Boston, and he was like running the Boston team. And we worked so much together, like he was reporting to me, then I kind of moved to another role. And I needed more stuff, we worked in a lot of premutation. So became like, very good friends. But in that company, Kellogg is where I learned, I think, very important lessons on how you build a team, at scale from you know, and also going through a lot of things that have been when you reach like 5060 people, what happens is there and what happens to your culture, now you need to maintain it, etc. But I think this is like the time that I also was kind of like looking on the other side of like r&d, and engineering is a very important component, you got to get it right, to have a strong company in a strong tech company. But it's just the first step. There's so many things that need to happen later, I became curious to all the, you know, reps, the sales reps are starting to pull me into meetings, you know, okay, this is a customer, the customer, sometimes if they buy the product, yes or no is like, doesn't relate to the means. I felt like 99% of the decision making is based on our product? Well, the answer is no. There's like sales processes and how they run in procurement and like, but that was like the phase where I kind of like started looking at the role of r&d in an organization and what the, and the amazing part, a strong technology could play in like building a strong business. So that was like the ones that we were that company was acquired. It was acquired by a big company by and yeah, so I stayed for 1618 more months. At that point, I said, Yeah, I'm ready to do something on my own. And it was very, by the way natural, like if somebody said, Hey, let's help. Let's open like, you know, restaurant tech companies don't know anything about restaurants. Or somebody would say, let's open, I don't know, something around. Health care, you know, I don't know anything about that. But how to develop software and all the problems that exist as a developer and then as a team leader, and as like, Oh, this is what I've done for 20 years. So it was so natural for me to start a company that helps with specific With those things with like how, you know, to improve like the engineering efficiency and reduce the toil and measure the productivity and align yourself better to the business. So those were kind of the steps before starting my own thing.
Tim Bourguignon 40:19
And that's what Linear B became.
Ori Keren 40:21
Yeah, linear D is a software delivery management platform. This is how we call ourselves. We it's a cut, it's like inside a category of tools that help you like, track everything that then measure everything that's happening to you. From code being written until code reaches production, for example, which is super interesting. That's still one of my, my most the metrics that I love the most what happens, like, where is it stuck? Is it stuck? Because you're waiting for a review? And you don't have like a good review process? Or policy? Is it stuck? Because, you know, see, the DevOps team and the engineering team don't talk a lot. So things get merged there in the main trunk or something like that. But then they elicit every I don't know, it's not coordinated. Is it stuck because it reaches production. But it's not strong, like feature flag or whatever policy to enable the thing. So I believe that what people are writing should be out in production in the same day, if you break it into small chunks, so a lot of my passion and my is like to make companies go move to work like that. But then you'll be Yeah, we help track it measure it. We provide a strong analytics around it. We also now do we took it to other directions, we focus on both the high level the field ops side of engineering, which is important to align the engineering better to the business. But also, I said to myself, listen, if I was a developer, like, and I'm now coming in, as you know, as any company that helps track so first of all, if I was developer, I'd say, Hey, you don't need to measure anything that I'm doing. I didn't mean like measuring. And that's like a vanity. And I'm saying about myself, as a developer only preserve to us, all other organ aspects of the company is measuring themselves. And we're the last ones to say no, no, it's an art we can measure it. So it took it took me some time to, but I connect it to my developer for 15 years ago, I would say the same thing. But then I think it's anything we told ourselves, listen, we gotta give something that developers can understand why data on where things are stuck with help them. So we build this amazing product called the component called good stream, where you can code rules that say, Well, you know, if the change is only a static file, or text or something we don't need like the two reviewers policy that we have. So you can basically the developer or developer experience, you can write rules on how to merge things faster, or increase the eyes set of eyes, you want on a specific change, and classify changes, and then make sure they go through different passes until they reach production. And this is the part that I'm really proud of, because it connects to all the journeys that I on the journey that I've been through. And to give something that developers can enjoy, because all of a sudden, I'm issuing a PR, it's approved in two seconds, because the system automatically approved it. That's like the moments that I really enjoy.
Tim Bourguignon 43:45
This is awesome. And for the listeners who couldn't see your face, while you were describing this, you had a big smile on your face. And we're having a lot really speaking from the heart. So that's really cool. Thank you. Is there. So you spoke about culture for four minutes and saying when you scale? It's hard to to keep the culture in check. Is there any advice that you give newcomers in your in the in your in your company? I suppose you meet many of them, if not all of them, and advice that comes again and again and say, hey, now you were onboarding with us? This is the one thing I would like you to know.
Ori Keren 44:19
Yeah, we had by the company level, you know, then my partner and I, we, when we started the company, we we told us that we're not going to be the same. The company with the same four or five values, no, every tech company that I've worked for the four or five values, and they're all the same. People first customer obsession. You can't invent this, like I've been in five companies and they all had so we said behavior, what are the behaviors that are foundation and what are the behaviors that are exceptional and we chose like we try to keep it clean like three categories. One of the categories is work life balance. You know, it took me some time to understand the importance of this, it's very important. So foundational behavior would be just, you know, take care of yourself, decide on a program I exceptionalities. Like, if you start a running group or yoga or something, you make other people in the company to that foundation, because he don't just care about your work life balance, you build something big. But yeah, the advice is, like I saw, I liked a lot of those behaviors. I always like to say to people who are joining to, you know, to ask questions, if the question seems stupid to you. It's not. It's just other people are afraid to ask. Ask questions, get all the context that you need to be bold. If you see something that is like broken, this is broken. Maybe it's not when we you can talk and it's not as broken as you thought. So I like it when people are challenging. That's like, challenging, even the strategy of the company asked me, why are we doing this. That's the behavior that I like. And then the other thing to balance it is like no work is underneath. That's one of our principles. We finished eating, I don't know lunch. And we need to clean a table. Cabinet first be the first one to take something and think table just because of the whatever title I have. So no work is underneath you. If I if I need to do data entry, like you remember the data entry, if I need to do it again, now for the next hour. Just because I have a C in my title. I've got to do data, and it's fine. So there's no work underneath there. If you stay with those two principles, I think you'll be successful.
Tim Bourguignon 46:46
So where would be the best place to find you online and start discussion with you.
Ori Keren 46:53
So first of all, yeah, I'm happy to discuss me personally, you can find me on LinkedIn, that's the best place. And also on Twitter. And the company Linear B, you can find go to linear betta IO. Try, you know, product for free. Either, like the main one or good stream that I just spoke about. Yeah, those are the best places.
Tim Bourguignon 47:18
Fantastic. Anything else you want to plug in?
Ori Keren 47:21
Now that I really enjoyed it. And once maybe one is advice, everybody has their own journey. Just find what's your own and be successful?
Tim Bourguignon 47:30
Indeed, indeed. Thank you so much. It's been a blast listening to your story. And yeah, thank you again.
Ori Keren 47:38
I really enjoyed it. Thank you. Awesome.
Tim Bourguignon 47:40
This has been another episode of their journey. We'll see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share, rate and review. It helps more listeners discover stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m OTHEP. corporate email info at Dev journey dot info