Karan Gupta, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Shift Technologies joins host Marcus Blankenship, Senior Manager Software Engineering, Heroku in this week's episode.
Karan shared his career trajectory, which includes founding aliceapp.ai, a fast, privacy-first recording and transcription service for investigative journalism, and acting as an advisor for various companies, including Alphy, a platform for women's career advancement.
A concept important to Karan is pragmatic engineering. Pragmatic engineering is about having "an oversized impact on the business by applying the right technology at the right time". It's about the technology, the process of creating that technology, and its impact on the underlying business. For example, building an electric car is cool, but producing a version in which people feel safe? That's engineering that changes the world forever.
According to Karan, these are the key things that matter in development:
Function (capabilities provided)
Form (how it looks and feels)
Fabrication (how it is built on the inside)
He recalls the value of the snake game on 404 pages. And the value of intentionality, saying "once you add a feature, it's probably going to be there forever. It's probably going to need maintenance and love and care forever. So do we really want to put it in?"
He talks about design and the balance between form versus function, such as designing something aesthetically pleasing versus easy to use. Then, there's fabrication: "How well can we make it? Can we deliver it quickly? And can others maintain it?" Sometimes using off-the-shelf software and well-proven frameworks are the most effective, and "Perfect is the enemy of good enough."
Karan stresses the importance of being a learning organization. "Be open to picking up what's out there to help make more informed choices, especially if the choice is to stick with the tried and tested." Good engineers are always open to learning about what new things are coming out and open to different opinions, frameworks, and ways of thinking.
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