Growing Product and Engineering Orgs from Zero to IPO

At this year’s Saastr Annual conference, I’m excited to interview Nick Caldwell. Nick has an incredible background. He started the PowerBI team at Microsoft and grew it from a small number of people to more than 300. He left to become VP Engineering at Reddit and tripled the size of the engineering team to 150 people in 18 months. And then he joined Looker as Chief Product Officer.

In short, Nick has helped grow engineering and product teams from very small to very big three times. In preparing for the session, I’ve learnt a lot about Nick.

One of the things I admire the most is his desire to mechanize the creation of leaders and managers. He writes about it quite a bit and has also delivered presentations on the topic. For example, he has a test for determining whether an engineer ought to pursue an architect career path or a manager career path.

In addition, Nick differentiates between management and leadership. Many people conflate the two: great managers are great leaders. But they aren’t the same. You can be a great leader without managing people. And you can be a great manager without being a great leader.

Last, Nick has a unique perspective on engineering management, having worked in big enterprises and smaller ones; and working for both enterprise and consumer companies.

All these subjects will make for a great conversation and I’m certain I’ll learn more about them during our chat together.