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Meet Ed Chan: The Fast Interview

Ed Chan, senior software engineer at Fast

Ed Chan

Role: Senior Software Engineer

Team: Orders

What do you do at Fast?

Right now, I work on several projects across teams, one of which is refactoring our workflow architecture to make it more testable and modular. Mostly, I look for processes that could use refining, and implement automation and streamlining to increase efficiency.

Describe your typical day here.

Meetings, team alignment, and then coding time and reviews for peers. Compared to my last job, I talk to people here more often, which I like.

Where were you before Fast?

Pendo for three years.

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?

Hong Kong. I was always a troublemaker, but the Hong Kong school system is incredibly disciplined. I am still very independent-minded, but as a kid if you told me what to do I’d say no, I must do the opposite

I was always good with public speaking and stand-up. I was outgoing and loved to talk. 

What led you to engineering?

I found my passion for physics long before computers. On my lunch hour, I'd study physics with the professor even though I was too young to take the classes.

At 15, my family moved to Asheville, North Carolina. My school had a physics teacher who wanted to start a robotics club. Programmers were rare in Asheville, so since I was also in the computer class, it fell to me to make the robot move. I did, we placed second, and I thought, this is fun, too.

Why did you say yes to Fast?

Startups have a certain energy. If you come from FAANG, there might be a new initiative every few months. But at a startup, you’re still finding your way and building things out. I really like the energy of Fast – there are so many ideas and ways of accomplishing things. The open feel without invisible red tape is pleasantly surprising. People can truly come here, be creative, own the part they want, and go really far with it. 

What’s something you’ve found at Fast that really stands out?

Being comfortable with uncertainty. It’s good to feel comfortable with not knowing what the outcome will be, but committed to exploration, making progress towards the goal and seeing what happens along the way. And we prioritize getting it done.

What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?

Joseph’s (Nam, Engineering Manager, Orders Team) management style. It’s eye -opening. I never thought about going into management, and didn’t understand what it meant, until I met Joseph. 

Joseph isn’t here to just tell me what I need to do. He creates the environment for me to say and make wiser decisions on my own work: how I should prioritize, build, collaborate – even who my collaborators should be. He believes we’re all quite smart and have the ability to do great things. It’s been great having a manager that allows me to do what I think is best for the company. Being very genuine is a huge differentiator in our world.

What food or drink is always at your desk?

Carbonated water. 

What's something you regularly do, but you know you shouldn't?

I can’t eat the last bite of food on my plate.

Your non-negotiables for life?

Carbonated water. Also, things you believe now might not be reasonable in the future, and you should be willing to change with the times. Keep your mind open, study all the varieties of something.

One thing about you that is always and forever true.

I’ll never be on time consistently. Also, I'll never be able to find my phone.

Where can we follow you?


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