A Note on Engineering Culture from Vestorly’s CTO

Vestorly is a technology company first and foremost. We focus on building new effective solutions rather than rehashing old ones, using data in all its endless applications, and applying what we learn to other problems and industries. We recognize our engineering goals at every turn and build our team and roadmap to achieve them. There are no technological breakthroughs, no community contributions, no successes beyond Vestorly without a capable team of builders. As Vestorly’s CTO, I’ve worked with our other leaders to build a strong engineering culture to grow, support, and empower our engineers.

An Engineering Culture: The Principles in Practice

Come by the Vestorly office and you’ll likely hear someone quoting our favorite movie – “If you will it, it is no dream.” There is no limit to what we can create if only we devote the willpower and resources to it. This inspires us to create never-before-seen technologies, rather than rehashing old ideas. We don’t innovate older content management tools to fit the financial services industry; we create new technology, like the “browser-in-the-cloud” which gives our users ownership over their shared material and viewer information. Where others might take existing technology and fit it for a niche, we’ve created something new which can be applied to any industry.

As a sailor, I often like to see our approach akin to navigation with a compass, sextant, and depth sounder. Our methodology involves a tiered process where we map our long-term R&D vision, keep monthly goals, and maintain short-term weekly iterations to enhance our platform. We set long term goals through our roadmap, and then evaluate our progress regularly to ensure our actions and allocations match our priorities. We make mid-term goals and monthly epics which allow us to plan out our longer engineering milestones. We sound out our customers and product to make key investments in technology. For example, our Data Science team was able to build content streams over the long-run, and the Vestorly DevOps team was able to focus on a robust MicroServices architecture. We have specific visions around content automation which we fine-tune as we reach each goal’s destination.

And finally, we maintain weekly releases using agile methodology to drive our product forward with updates. These short term weekly goals give our team regular deadlines to resolve bugs quickly, complete the next phase of projects, and keep our long term goals feasible.

As we make technological strides, we contribute our knowledge to the open-source community. We like to solve hard technical problems and contribute this knowledge back to the open source community. We maintain contributions to the Ember.js community around Authentication, Infinite Scrolling, and Deployment Management. Members of our engineering team make regular contributions to Data Science, Mongo DB, and the Ruby communities.

A Team of Creative Thinkers and Investors

Our practices mean nothing without a team with the skills to match. We put special attention on every hiring decision and look for new members who bring unique skillsets to fill distinct roles. Our engineers come from varied and diverse backgrounds. Our team members have made open source contributions and have been involved with a diverse set of projects like 3D physics, noSql Databases, natural language processing, javascript frameworks, genetic algorithms, and other areas. Rich and varied experiences mean each of our engineers brings creative ideas and perspectives to the group.

Having worked at Microsoft on the Internet Explorer 1.0 team, I learned how building a creative culture is so critical to innovating in technology. Some of the areas around rendering and the network stack helped ensure critical improvements to the Web. Nothing was impossible. Our intense can-do, can-build style helped us quickly build great technology like we do today at Vestorly.

I encourage our engineers to research near areas of computer science and explore related project work, even if the value or applications of the results are not immediately identifiable. When team members have ideas which take their work off the scheduled roadmap, they’re given the time and resources to experiment. When we give talented builders what they need to explore their passions and interests, they’ll surprise us with unexpected discoveries and contributions.

We don’t outsource our core team to third-party companies. Our development team stays close and builds a set of abstract platform APIs which can be utilized for a myriad of different applications. We work with partners and individual developers who integrate our platform APIs. Each and every developer who we work with goes through in-depth coding interviews by the team. We believe it’s these individuals who work together to build the best products.

What It Means 

Our customers don’t just get software built with off-the-shelf technologies. Rather our company invests and researches in the software it builds to create something previously unavailable. This enables us to provide a missing data set which we visualize for our users. Our users get data they can learn from and act on, not just flashy numbers without substance. Together we provide a service, a technology, and a platform maintained 24/7 .

Vestorly truly is a full R&D laboratory with loads of exciting products in the works. This has enabled us to now expand outside of the financial services industry, where we will be able to take our technology to a new scale. Most thrilling is the launch of our new product, called Torii, which can service any small business professional and supporting enterprises.

We enjoy building great stuff which will last and contribute to our users’ businesses, the technology community, and our engineers’ futures. We enjoy delighting our users!

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