Vidal: Hey, so good afternoon. Today I want to welcome Federico Soria or “Fede.” Fede, thank you so much for joining the show today.
FEDE: Thank you for having me.
Vidal: Fede, could you maybe tell people a little bit where you work and what your role is?
Tell us about Yourself
FEDE: Yeah, for sure. I’m an engineering manager for the Luxe hosting platform team. So basically Luxe, it’s one of the businesses inside of Airbnb and it’s everything luxury and what you might think luxury might mean. So gigantic villas, private islands. Sort of the highest tier of Airbnb. And how we deal with a hosts, guests, platform and everything, it’s kind of unique. Two years ago when the engineering team got started, I clearly remember one of the first challenges and everything we had to do was, we had to add a couple of zeros more to everything hardcoded number of minimum around Airbnb. It’s been a fun challenge.
What’s your background and how did you get into management?
Vidal: That’s great. Could you maybe say a little about your background and how did you get into management?
FEDE: Yeah. I’m a software engineer by trade, went to college at Arizona state, earned degree in software engineering. And then from there I worked as a software engineer for a couple of years and then it was on and off of doing my own business and managing other people obviously didn’t do so good at first and then it got better and better until I became CTO for a payments company here in the Bay area and then I went to be VP of eng for a couple of months at another startup. And then I joined as a software engineer here at Airbnb. And about a year into it I transitioned into management, engineering manager, which in Airbnb it’s not really a promotion, just a side step.
And then the reason I got into management here at Airbnb is because I cared deeply about people’s lives here at Airbnb, their professions, their careers. I always really like to help every engineer be the best engineer they could be. So helping them out, it became a natural thing for me and people really enjoyed working with me on that area. I’m like what if I do this for a living? And it’s like everyone’s like, yes, that’ll be very helpful and make it less ad hoc and more like providing you the toolset and control to actually help people become better in their careers.
I always really like to help every engineer be the best engineer they could be.
So that was my number one influence to becoming a manager. The other one was around upwards visibility and how do you work with leadership and setting sort of the structure and the direction of the company. Airbnb is very bottoms up. I mean that’s a very cliche, but the reality is that it’s up to the team to define what projects you want to work on and how you actually influence those OKRs or those signals that move the actual company forward.
Could you share with us a lesson you learned as an engineering leader?
Vidal: That’s a fantastic reason you gave for wanting to be an engineering leader. So I love that. And I think that also is the best practice at many companies. That’s great you have that parallel career track in the management track now it looks like an engineering track. I think you mentioned, you said you recently became a manager there and that at your previous company.