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Building an Effective Engineering Culture, from Startup to Acquisition


June 2018

Building an Effective Engineering Culture, from Startup to Acquisition

This post was originally published on Enigma's blog, here.

An Interview with Gil Shklarski, CTO of Flatiron Health

Enigma: We're excited to speak with Gil Shklarski today to learn a bit about what makes him tick. To start off, how did you get to where you are today?

Gil: I joined Flatiron Health in 2012 as the second engineer. Literally, the first interviews I had conducted with other [prospective] engineers were done while I was still at Facebook, even running them on my Facebook laptop afterhours in my home in Seattle.

We grew very slowly in the beginning--it was just me and a very small tech team. I was setting up security and IT, which a CTO does at a small company. As we continued growing, and after we acquired another company [Altos Solutions], I started focusing on building an effective engineering team and culture--building the organization. It became less about me contributing to the tech.

Previously, I worked at Facebook for a couple of years, where everything is high-scale; I worked on data pipelines for fraud detection and for identifying "bad actors" on the Facebook website. When was the last time you clicked on a bad link in Facebook that led you to malware? Probably never. That's due to the data collection, and automatic analysis and response mechanisms, that my former team was building.

My first role in the U.S was at Microsoft, which I joined after working on my PhD in Israel. The funny thing about my PhD was realizing that as my work became more specialized, it became interesting to fewer and fewer people. Whereas at Microsoft, I would write a small piece of code that would go out to 25 million people instantaneously. So that was an exciting transition for me.

Lastly, before my PhD, I spent 10 years in government with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

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