Role: Engineering Manager
Team: Buttons, Orders, Catalog, Partner Integrations, Mobile
What do you do at Fast?
I’m an Engineering Manager and I support the Buttons, Orders, Catalog, Partner Integrations, and Mobile Teams. I focus on keeping the connection between these teams as they work closely together. I joined Fast in February of 2021.
Describe your typical day at Fast.
We’re hiring very aggressively, so currently I’m working to help expand our teams by recruiting the best engineering talent out there. I engage one-on-one with our engineers, other engineering managers, and folks outside engineering to resolve blockers and other challenges, while engaging with engineers on key technical decisions. The biggest priority for me right now is to get our product and services ready for enterprise sellers. I participate in a weekly review of our high-level projects, operations, and other small stand-ups and planning sessions for our sprints and retrospective sessions.
What led you to engineering?
I was into math and science from a young age, so I think it was a natural route. I interned at Google and got exposed to real industry code with high standards and learned from the amazing engineers there.
Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?
My dad was a diplomat, so it was a new country every three years. I was born in Japan, I’m a Korean citizen, and I’ve lived in Singapore, London, Korea, and China. I made new friends by playing sports – it’s language-agnostic. You can play soccer with anyone.
I loved it, but after the time I’d spend adapting to the culture and language, and making friends, I’d get on a plane and leave.
Where were you before Fast?
I was at Facebook in their Reality Labs division.
What was your first job?
Korea has mandatory military service, but there are different ways to fulfill that obligation. I worked for a security biometrics company. I wrote their software, compiled reports, worked on electrical and hardware engineering, installed the sensors – I even painted, marketed, and put up signs. It was very full-spectrum. And because I spoke English, I was in sales, too.
What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?
The bar is incredibly high in payments and identity to be accurate, consistent, and reliable, but also to provide a slick experience for the buyer. Plus, a lot of different platforms and ecosystems are at play during the purchase experience. It takes a lot of skill to make it work seamlessly, but our engineers are doing it. It seems like we just give buyers a simple black button that buys something with one click – but under the hood, we’re really pushing the boundaries to essentially create magic.
What food or drink is always at your desk?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and water. And banana peels.
What’s your proudest moment as an engineer?
At Google, I built (with other engineers) a continuous pipeline to train, build, test, and deploy our speech recognition models. Before, it was a spreadsheet and a manual process, but our work to streamline it automatically is still used today.
One thing about you that is forever true?
I’m used to adapting to new environments, so you can drop me in the middle of anywhere and I'll figure it out.
What’s something you’ve found at Fast that doesn’t exist elsewhere?
Lots of problem solving in a high-stakes and high-impact way. Also, the amount of intent to build, to help, to untangle. We have autonomy and an extreme ownership of our work, and a desire to help each other out.
Morning person or night owl?
Most used app on your phone?
Recently my oldest child got interested in chess. I’d never really played but wanted to at least pretend I'm better than him at it, and now I'm obsessed with a chess app.
Advice for engineers wondering what to do next?
Everyone goes through cycles. Some like to do one thing their whole lives; others like to stay curious. And that can be helpful to companies like us who are building from scratch, to work with people who can see multiple angles.
But it's important to be cognizant and notice if you’re at a bump in the road or the end of it. Check in with yourself, be willing to evaluate, and follow your heart.
Your non-negotiables for life?
For me, it’s family. If anything comes at the cost of that, I'd stop it.
Where can we follow you?