Today we are talking to Jeff Haynie, the Co-Founder and CEO at Pinpoint. And we discuss how to communicate the value of engineering inside of your company, the most important aspect of a co-founder relationship, and how engineering performance management will change everything.
All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast!
Jeff was co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator before the Axway (NYSE:AXW.PA) in January 2016. Jeff is a long-time serial entrepreneur, angel investor, technologist and blogger.
Previously, Jeff was Co-founder and CTO of Vocalocity, a software provider in the communications arena and before that, CTO of eHatchery, a digital incubator and off-shoot of Bill Gross’ idealab!. Jeff has worked on numerous standard committees such as IETF and W3C as well as a core contributor to a number of important open source technologies such as JBoss and OpenVXI. Jeff served with distinction in the U.S. Navy.
Advanced analytics have transformed the way all sorts of industries and departments operate: marketing, sports leagues, brokerage houses, oil exploration, you name it. But not software. When it comes to the business of building software, most companies remain stuck in a Dark Age of emails, status reports, pivot tables and PMOs.
There’s a better way — a modern way. By applying data science to unearth how organizations really work, Pinpoint helps leaders advance the way people and teams deliver software.
Find out more at pinpoint.com
- Started pinpoint after they started Appcelerator. Developers first and foremost. Started Pinpoint after selling Appcelerator. How do you measure engineering performance? How can engineering advocate for what they’re working on? Building a language between engineering and non engineering
- Engineering as a trade is super important and it’s time to treat it as such. How do you help
- At what point is the why lost? They focus on the how and sometimes the when. A lot of the problems as an industry comes from spending a lot of time talking about how things work. How is the customer using the software, what are the use cases.
- How do you advocate for the things that engineering is doing? Agile is a great example. Purposefully designed to be opaque. From a business point it’s from it’s like is it a pizza box or is a t shirt size?
- Engineering is the tip of spear in many companies. Still like Venus and Mars. This is what inspired Pinpoint
- When they started Appcelerator they wanted to build mobile apps and needed a framework to build them. Built titanium just because it was frustrating.
- Felt like they were best equipped to understand how the technology worked and as founders understood the why. It’s difficult to drill down to the why. What are the outcomes. The middle is the process – the pipeline.
- If it’s hard enough to understand at an engineering organization with a technical founder, what is it like at a company where that is not the case?
- Going to hire the best and surround them with all the tools to be at peak performance. We need to treat it as such
- The first thing Joel thought was how do you game the metrics? The only way to do that is to become a better engineer. When they created it they added a counterbalance system in it. It makes you think about gaming the system in a positive way.
- Need to sit down with CFO and be able to communicate why engineering is important and valuable. Going to drive X amount more revenue. Can keep doing what we’re doing and have the same thing. Advocation for engineering
- Tying it 360 to the whole organization. Great engineering is always about high performance. Engineering is never static. It’s always changing.
- Got to a point about 15 years ago where he never carries his laptop on vacation.
- Engineering Performance Management.
- How is the potential customer reaction? Focusing on early adopter type companies in the beginning. Talked to at least 1000 CIOs CTOs cfos etc and only had one who said nah I’m good I don’t need to worry about this
- The challenge collectively is that it’s easy to explain the need for it but people aren’t out seeking for it. The outlook will change as people adopt it and say i can’t believe we did it this other way
- All boats rise in this category. The fact that they plug in with all of the software to analyze all the data.
- The play is to to make it where everything can plug in to pinpoint. Look to reorient the engineering data model itself
- When did you first fall in love with technology? 12 years old. Started with a TI994A. Saved up enough money to buy it. Started out writing games. Created a little company called bizarre software and wrote a break dancing game. Sold things over newsletters. Wrote software to automate processes for his parents business.
- Lots of his friends went to college and he went in to the Military. Joined the Navy and worked on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier during the first gulf war.
- Been building software his whole life. Build company after company.
- What blows his mind how much technology actually comes from the military and nasa and how far advanced they are
- Do you do any writing or speaking? An expressive person. Spends a lot of time speaking and talking.
- Relationships with the co-founders. Tips things hes learned throughout his career. This will be 19th year working together and 3rd company. Truly think of him as a partner. Respect and friendship. What’s great and magical is that they are the most different people you can meet. Introvert / Extrovert. Find ways to compliment. Staked out own areas and take the best of what they’re both good at and super happy with their roles. Have debates but in the end walk away with a unified vision.
- What he cares deeply about, Nolan is okay to let him deal with it. What he cares less about Nolan cares deeply about. What you end up having is people that fill the other roles. Both deeply technical but are also deeply business oriented. Makes them comfortable handing things off to each other for a while.
- Become very empathetic and very trustful of each other. It’s hard to teach other people this but it takes time
- How did you meet Nolan? Started a company and both lived in Atlanta. Nolan was employee 5 or 6 and he was an engineer. Building out an analytics product for the company. The company was about 6 years old when they sold it and right before they sold the company Nolan was running a labs group and Jeff really enjoyed working with him. As they sold the company they said lets find a way to keep working together.
- Appcelerator started as a consulting company, and that led to titanium. Moved to the bay area in 2008.
- Moved to Austin Texas last year.
- What state has low to no income tax? Where is a good place in the middle of the coasts. Middle time zones. Good tech hub.