Scaling Engineering Teams with Matias Woloski

Matias WoloskiMatias Woloski is the CTO and co-founder of Auth0, an identity platform that provides authentication, authorization and single-sign-on as a service. Auth0 was founded in 2013 and it has now 300 employees and it’s a fully distributed company. Since 2013, Auth0 has tripled and doubled its revenue every year, counting with more than two thousand customers and tens of millions in recurring revenue. Before Auth0, he co-founded a high-end consulting business that employed 120 consultants. Matias lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina and he’s built the company from there with co-founder and CEO Eugenio Pace, who lives in Redmond, Washington.

In this episode we discuss scaling engineering teams, hiring a VP of Engineering and.

Contact Info:

twitter.com/woloski

auth0.com

Show Notes:

randsinrepose.com – michael lopp blog. it’s almost like a reference book 🙂

https://www.archanar.com/ unstoppable women – podcast of women in leadership
https://mastersofscale.com/ masters of scale podcast: it touches on leadership but it’s broader in scope.

 

Books

 

 

 

These classics were important in the beginning of my career, when I was 20ish:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Transcript

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:02] Good afternoon Matias welcome to the show.

Matias Woloski:
[0:05] Hey Christian thank you for having me.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:09] Absolutely it’s it’s completely my pleasure my pleasure and where are you calling from today.

Matias Woloski:
[0:14] I’m sitting on my home office in Argentina summertime looking at my my window on the Palermo.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:28] How very nice I’m sure a lot of the people in my listeners the predominately I think are going to be in North America so they’re going to be a little jealous that it’s summertime now they’re in Argentina and you’re enjoying the sunshine and then the fair-weather that’s that that’s awesome.

[0:42] So let’s get started at quickly a little bit with just a beef background of kind of technically where you came from and then you know kind of how you got to be where you are today and what you’re doing.

Matias Woloski:
[0:53] Absolutely so.
Well I haven’t I have a computer engineering degree from the Quality Inn in Argentina there.

[1:11] And so I when I when I.
When I saw you go to the actually I also start working at the same time I’m so how much storage do in the.com in a boom like 2002 – 26 months I think.
And then the company went bankrupt.
And Tina like 2001 when everything went completely down.
By the middle of the University have Milhouse.
Idem.
That’s it was in 2013 when I founded which is it.
Currently working for CTO and founder.
Super hot.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:28] Yes I can definitely imagine know your company today is something that I think is geared towards engineer’s and developers to integrate into into their products and sells correct.

Matias Woloski:
[2:41] Yeah that’s yeah that’s correct.
In the same way like tribe with.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:01] Great so any of my listeners out there if you’re struggling with any identity issues will not personal but good company wise.

[3:13] If you have anything I’ll put the company off the arrow in the show notes.
And then certainly you can kind of check it out there and learn more about it there no going you scale the couple things I think you said your first.
Enterprise said was a consulting company scaled about a hundred people and then your current company as well but how many people are in your your current company now especially on the kind of Technology.

Matias Woloski:
[3:37] We are total of 280 approximately.
I need stitches Under My Umbrella right now.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:58] Sure absolutely no along the way you went from you had a technical background went from being an individual contributor.
Two then having to manage teams and I manage some quite large team so what were some of the mistakes that you made early on as as I process as you were learning on the job.

Matias Woloski:
[4:17] Oh boy yeah.
Being hired in this initial company I work for.
Going out of high school or can I company doing some stuff they already in electric samsung.com,
competition.
When asking people now I have no idea what that.
The owner of the company who was competing in a completely different situation so have any steaks.
I didn’t know anything about it,
I don’t want to say that was my fault,
Austin.
I don’t run into leadership Ted because I co-founded.

[5:52] The turning points for by Midlake 2008 one week.

[6:02] It was everything about people management.
Combat Dallas.
You know you’re thinking song all the time and so you think it was like this relationship.
Because I have to.
Reading books.
To try to correct some of those mistakes that I would say,
technical leadership.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:23] Sure and I think you make a good point that even though you had a you know you we’ve all I think had bad managers or maybe managers that weren’t the best in our careers and I think that I found that I learn as much from.
Some of those poor managers as I do from some of the great managers write you get to see.
The effects that their management style has on other people including yourself and in some cases you swear that I’m never going to do that way because you see the impact it has.

[7:53] No wonder things to is.
You you’ve done that you kind of grew up like a lot of us did but I kind of just doing and making mistakes and learning from them what are the things that you.
Do right now then to try to help some new managers on your team what kind of guidance do you give any people that you’re promoting.
Or do you have on to your team and their first time managers with chips do you have for them.

Matias Woloski:
[8:18] Yeah so I think that the men that the main thing is is encouragement and awareness.
It’s it’s exactly the things that I I missed like.

[8:34] Got to realize that you’re making. Turning right.
Especially like.
Stand to me to see Riley.
Golf course that happens between one passage to the Harley Quinn from one one match in one cell to another dimension monitors.
I think that’s what you sound like.

[9:15] I’m sorry I recommend recommend.
So great a bandage compared to $90,
examples of things that when you grow up a lot of things.
I’m pulling for yourself you can get to see that okay he’s going to try to connect the dots right and everything.
If you have that monitor in in in Europe.
Your blog you won’t have an issue this is not rocket science that’s what I was I would say right this is.
And then how to become aware and encouragement.

Christian Mccarrick:
[10:15] Tracks I think that’s a good point spread the reason why do the podcast as you mentioned so that people out there who are going through some of the struggles,
1 interest and they’re not alone they’re not the only ones making me miss these mistakes and hopefully they can learn from some of the mistakes that myself and some of the guests like I have in the show like you have made,
and hopefully avoid did you know doing them.

[10:40] Yes yes so I think also I want to talk about your also scaling another kind of team right I think there’s congratulations in order and on the personal side ride you you recently and quit saying on the family side.

Matias Woloski:
[10:51] That that that that’s great to have had a baby 3 weeks ago.

Christian Mccarrick:
[10:57] Congratulations. I think I’m actually going to have a Roundtable discussion a coming up in one of my future episodes about how to scale the sort of a technical leader,
and I know father and how do you balance that right with your running a company being VP of engineering or CTO and.
And still balance all that so they tell listeners stay tuned for a podcast on I’m putting out some calls for some of the people I know that are.
Better parents and and kind of trying to juggle this this this day job and night job and everything altogether so stay tuned for that.
No I want to talk a little bit about you know you scared a couple of teams are still a couple companies from pretty large size is there a pretty decent size is today no.
What were some of the challenges you you saw and scaling what are some of the biggest challenges specifically on the engineering side since that’s what the predominately my listeners are.
I got what point that company was its eyes or something else where you started to see the biggest pain points and you’ll start to occur.

Matias Woloski:
[11:57] Yeah there’s a great article that I’ll send you the link.

[12:03] Got that I think will explain things very well.
Directions to Finley’s ketchup off to your right to be one in other words.
May I like it sweetheart everything was.
You see happy right now that’s what I call that beat you version.
I can go really fast that are not afraid of breaking anything.
You start getting a little.
Separation in 2015.
Chinese delivery.
19 of 10 front end or maybe your time and engineers.

[13:34] In retrospect Nike eat in realize that there are a lot of things that you are sending to the Beast,
2015 we make that change.
Perfect for not having ownership right front and back in.
Going through these big theme ride like 20 people and doing everything all over.

[14:22] I’m like there was no clear-cut of like fully in a fully functional.
Area right like that you know like you own this. Four-piece are you on this functionality the runtime.
16
Tactical teams now that would have people from different disciplines will have engine in liters.
So you would be cross teams that was one of the mistakes.
Adele 2016 and 2017 info.
Penis snake.
Finding that like another Turning Point than the scale we are not around in a 57 season.
Some of these themes now I guarantee you know, Laura School Bus work.
The ownership that we will try to bring initially now we’re again in the same place where like something’s got a lot of.
I will need to split a scorpion in in different domain.

[16:02] Assigning teams to the program ends with much much more clearly question.

Christian Mccarrick:
[16:16] Sure knows you as you did that did you have any did you I think a lot of companies sort of.

[16:23] Retroactively become reactive to how we do this did you have any planning’s at hey when you go to the size you were going to put this in place,
or you serve it started get painful you needed to look you look around,
you kind of look at that that that that that Squad type of Paradigm that they do at Spotify and then you kind of reacted to it right is that is that true.

Matias Woloski:
[16:44] Yeah yeah to be honest with you this is one of those things that I can charge my phone.
For the first time you don’t have the trust your grown and your.
I just found out in the in the way I wouldn’t want to fight.
Alexis.
I know you have all the dark dark if you’re playing.
You start walking and like outside.

Christian Mccarrick:
[17:39] Yeah I think though that they’re really that you mentioned first time Founders do this and I don’t think that’s necessarily even true I think people have gone through in the past.
They might have a little more understanding of the concept of what some of these things might look like.
But I think everyone really still struggles with when to put these processes in place because if you create too much organization early you know you might slow things down.
As you mentioned some of these generalist they just State you know that they’re there tackling problems day in and day out you don’t want to slow him down by more process and Brie Argosy than you need,
Legacy at some point in order to scale to help especially with communication and prioritization and focus as you were mentioning.
You do have to start doing that specialization you have to start putting in process you have to start doing organizational design but even my conversation I had,
in a recent podcast with Kimber and from one medical they kind of talked about well we think we might,
we should do something but maybe just not the right time not quite sure so I think everyone kind of struggles a little bit with when exactly to start putting things these these things in place and frankly it’s a bit trial and error.
Write it in how to pending upon your industry the employees you have the culture of it’s going to be different for every single person.

Matias Woloski:
[18:56] Yeah I mean yeah that I listen to that was great.
.

[19:20] You should student like a like a like a.
Shopping till the time then.
To compile everything right and that’s what you believe or two to two.
Dad dad when we qualify change.
What we did a suspension you write down all the challenges we’re having like black and white.

[20:16] Don’t recognize yourself in this trip into these problems that leaves were so it’s much easier to.
What’s your address changes in The Learning Station because they understand where you’re coming from the solution.

Christian Mccarrick:
[20:40] Yes no that’s that’s a very excellent point I I completely agree with you Matthias about getting people.
Hard letting them know full transparency about the challenges were having let them also let everyone else know communicate that we’re having an to be part of the solution and I thinking of often recommended to my managers at that is certainly one of the best ways.
To help effect change in a company so that there’s not a riot error fault right because they were part of this discussion,
they’re part of the solution and Anna more open to that kind of change because you know that they were you know they were injured remember of South making the decisions right.

[21:18] And what are the things interesting but your company to is you are somewhat distributed is that correct.

Matias Woloski:
[21:24] Yeah we have.
75% is up damn it in Argentina and not everybody in the capital city.
Chocolate some of the provinces in the inside the country we have another 35% in the US also across.
Detroit Philadelphia.
The rest of America Lake Canada Mexico Europe.
Some London some Spain want to go to there.

Christian Mccarrick:
[22:21] Now that’s a pretty distributed team was that a conscious decision decision when you started that you were going to have a team and you were going to allow kind of distributed Workforce.

Matias Woloski:
[22:32] Yes I think it was the first decision in class because when I started out to your in Chinese 13.

[22:46] I’m on my own and I was talking to a friend you got to find out who lives in Seattle.
Doing something.
He was at Microsoft he had his family like I was single but I didn’t have kids.
So I can start breathing like that,
why she was taking correct she made Sarah.

[23:49] You don’t like the company was remotely and then we started.

[23:56] Remotely.
He was like that says because there was no other option I guess.

Christian Mccarrick:
[24:09] Sure and you think making that decision to be a fay pretty largely distributed team as I helped you think with your success has it as I’ve been apart of it.

Matias Woloski:
[24:20] Oh yeah I mean you know.
Everywhere everywhere.
Which is cheaper and more convenient for him.
If we will.
It should we let your competitive Advantage because you have.
Call Russian tanks and you have much better Talent than if you is hiring in the place.
Things that you realize when you’re into it like you know how people that they know.
There’s like 200 people from all over the place interacting an exchange so rich like that what happened.
That it’s I don’t know how you can do it if you’re in 1 2 or 3.

Christian Mccarrick:
[25:50] No
It is an interesting thought since you since your developers are so distributed throughout the world and your product is focused on Developers,
is your do you think your percentage of users actually use your product is more spread out worldwide because of your work first that you have distributed.

Matias Woloski:
[26:09] Some of the top bands.
Family to be eventually I’ll talk to you and I’m so.
What does anything that we know where we work on.
Remote Workforce people riding things that we have in Japanese.

Christian Mccarrick:
[27:03] Yeah correct I think one of the struggles that people have when scaling a company quickly such as yourselves is how to turn.
Build and maintain that culture you have and I think.
You know it’s hard enough in one location when you’re all there but the how do you help to make sure that the author of culture really kind of continues to the vision you had as a as a co-founder as you scale and grow and especially distributed.

Matias Woloski:
[27:29] Yeah I know that’s a good question.
We do a lot of things so.

[27:45] You know even though I like donkeys are awesome. Maybe that you have one person that is organic spider on you right,
but still got cards for the culture only one person please,
it is either also if you don’t really have because the conversation that happened in that week.
Where are you now shutting like a beer or like you know something.
Last year when we talk about this.

Christian Mccarrick:
[28:35] Make make sure you invite me next year to that one.

Matias Woloski:
[28:41] Now in the email the way back to the culture.
So the things that we said to dismiss off site was so we thought about that.
Just think about when they think about it.
I thought we put you at like you know instead of things and then we leave the session in the in the outside.
Chicken people work.
We we want them to.
What everybody is at,
DVD what’s the time of the finalists of.
Make sure everyone liquefying those things and Android that sell would own something that I.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:27] I hear you now yeah I got all the things I’m at the off-site about the culture and values in that so I think that’s that’s fine I’ll edit it in so that’s all that all works out well.

[31:38] Okay so we’ll continue on and I definitely got that Dakota find values and all that stuff so I’m so that’s so that’s perfect.
One of the things to about being remote and skate will not just be normal but scaling a company quickly in Spanish and scaling engineering team in a lot of people and I talked to any managers you know their concern is how do I hire.
Right so how would have you done as an engineering as engineering leader at your company,
to help with hiring obviously you’ve opened up the the the area where you hire from to worldwide so that certainly helps but what other things have you done to really help with,
are the hiring and interviewing process to help scale the team quickly.

Matias Woloski:
[32:24] So I think we are not in a special situation because we sell our talk to developers and so great.
Crosscards hiding growth had was to put our in a we are hiding.
. you know that. Always bring a lot of.
We also have a lot of legs remote jobs website.
The quality San Francisco.
Typically.
Dot-com around 1 out of 200 300.

Christian Mccarrick:
[33:31] Is that from all your sources or just from through the online job boards.

Matias Woloski:
[33:37] Most of the.
The biggest the biggest sources is is online.
It’s probably 80% of the Opera.

[33:55] I was going to be like this week.
I wouldn’t I wouldn’t go.
Everyone should movies.
It’s complicated win-win saying where in Europe did you know how you do things.
Metric the Ghostly.
I think what’s a year-and-a-half ago.
1945 Lexus NX.
That is like Siri questions you know what did I say about that.
And there’s no question what is your greatest achievement.
Yeah that little exercise,
I like to know something funny or something created.

[35:31] Are Winchester rifles goldenstein creatively.
I’m about to the metrics why 9619 screener and then from those 5.
That I was last week recently we don’t believe it worse is like one or two out of three hundred witches.
We’re expecting with a communication skills that we are expecting is it’s a challenge.
We do also.

[36:20] We doing exercise wear.
Nujabes controversy.
We could we create a slack Channel and we put the The Gambia there.
Got them really work.
And I would have a couple of those.
That we have one that is like get some.
Call somebody update.
Right on how you design it how you implemented and then like to go to the process with We the People.
The trailer for to my way for.
How someone will will work in along the road but also for Fort retaliation you know how is it to work.

Christian Mccarrick:
[37:52] Yes I think you made a good point to that,
before when you talk about your blog post and the transparency that you provide to prospective engineers in and candidates that it’s really important to him to know a little bit and get an insight into what your process is is a lot of people that they’re nervous or they don’t know.
But also at the end of the day you want people just like you mentioned with the slack in the conversations you want people.
They’re going to fit in you know you don’t just want the best engineer you want the best engineer that’s also going to thrive in your particular environment.
Right so giving them the understanding of what your environment is before also helps down to make a better decision.

Matias Woloski:
[38:32] Yeah I think one of our body is coming back cheap to culture is it’s right at transparency it’s one of those.
Some companies are nowadays.
It’s want one things to say then then I think it’s the chocolate,
you know I’m not just like a white boarding or something that’s like your opinion on the spot.
We want to eat dinner with us if they were working with us right now side by side.

Christian Mccarrick:
[39:09] No absolutely not I think I want to transition a little bit into another part of scaling a company especially as a co-founder of yourself.

[39:19] Your engineering team in your yard your product and and technology in a dream teams of a bro now going Beyond come to 70 people you’ve been in the role right now is sort of the CTO and the VP of engineering intern of the head of everything.
As we talked about before you know you can’t do everything and the expert at everything would be awesome everything at the same time right so.
I think that every companies scaling trajectory they come to the point where you know it’s it’s it’s time to maybe look inside or outside to fill a VP of engineering role at your company.
And.

[39:55] You know what sort of what made you realize that you had to hide it like it was time right what made you realize that now is the time to start looking to fill this role.

Matias Woloski:
[40:04] Yeah that’s it that’s a great question you to realize that life you know.

[40:18] You have the tendency to sing that you can do everything.
You have that power that I think it’s going to be so rude magic wand of making things happen.
And took the size of organization anymore people that I am.
One of the old timers that can working with them and I use them as like.
I’m trying to find work around that they know that we are at.
A lot of people already and I’m going it’s some sort of process something that goes down around that and because,
not now you need to take care of the operational side of things,
you know you don’t want to get security issue right.
Turning point in the war. I think it’s one of the challenges for founders.
On everything from Brother engineering design and everything in between.

[41:53] I think it was last year I started,
miss miss you lie I need someone.
Brother process weather.
Building things that I’m not the one to organize things.
Ananias and see what I’m going to try first.

[42:35] Bring more leadership into engineering but not bring a BP.
I’m working with the guy I have which was a timer when I want to play with you guys.
In that with we did here. Okay let’s see this product.
But the reality is that we’re growing so fast that in 6 months back and.
I still feel like I need to have someone.
I need to reset you don’t seriously give me the keys right now it’s it’s it’s important for me to.
Oh my gosh. That’s about you at work.
That’s why sometimes I take longer than right.
Because I think you could be a mistake if I if I put someone.
I’m so I think it’s time for everything and I am a big fan of making sure that we do the same.

[44:13] Totally in which Singapore.

Christian Mccarrick:
[44:22] And also you have theirs there’s concerns it’s your baby Ray do you want to make sure that a person doesn’t mess it up they don’t screw it up right so.
I think there’s stairs worries Army what I’m at everyone who’s the founder think when they.
Even if they’re not a Founder but you’re there an early leader and they have to hire someone underneath you you know he’s even I scale my own engineering teams it’s.
My most the biggest tires that are most concerned about are the ones that are the leaders underneath me right because.
I want to make sure you know they are going to continue with the standard of,
leadership and process and project management and culture that I have set to this point because you’re going to give me that away and it’s a concept you have to trust them.
But they’re a force multiplier beneath you and they could do you know they could help you greatly but they could also you know hurt you greatly as well.

Matias Woloski:
[45:19] Yeah that’s that’s,
Betty White.
It’s just like in Machinery right like it’s in that building,
you can make it big mistake there.
I’m taking my time to 2 I’m talking like how to say,
what how do you what are the question did you make like to realize you’re in the right.
You know you’re high in the right person that you understand exactly how the person work,
it’s super hot so I started doing getting a little talking to people like that yourself.
Couple of weeks ago.
Did definitions of Dixie still looks at.
What is a type of the unit.

[46:55] 500 complete different situation.
I’m so in size of we are like you want somebody said text you later.
Next time one that said that.
It’s not just like a man that can understand how to build stuff around so what is your opinion on technology.
What decisions did they make one when when they’re building software I let go in through that process.
Galaxy mental model and I think about introducing new thing new languages.
That’s one thing that’s what makes you you know if I have to.

[47:41] Try to create an LLC of like how I do think that I want to hear if we have some some sort of connection there right leg and how we do things right.

[47:52] So how we been so far in this one main one right.
Which model play Southside understand how people were how.
You know how to get people watch weather is there a systems thinker sir or like.
Rocket science but this is this is a lot of.
How do you think about that what you experience it in.

Christian Mccarrick:
[48:36] You’re one of the things I’ve learned to is to have somewhat of an open mind and some of the areas because I’ve also had.
People who have hired as directors rvp’s below meat actually convince me or change my mind and do something that is actually much better than maybe would have had mine the first part right.

Matias Woloski:
[48:59] Yeah that’s that’s a tricky one because that’s one like you you get to buy us then and now.
Yes. Reaction where.
I’m All About Learning.

Christian Mccarrick:
[49:28] Absolutely so Matias I’m going to put you on the spot here for a minute alright and give me the 30 second Pitch for whether it’s a VP of engineering candidate or software engineer.
You know what what’s the benefit and why should people work for 4 x 0.

Matias Woloski:
[50:02] This is like a chauffeur.
Is Westin Mission in danger so far.
I’m so excited for Saturday developer and Company.
I sit in the same as a database like you why you was right.
Codes for.
Turn on SMS so it’s a great opportunity and then go straight to my account.
Execution of building that thing which is your you’re studying on something that is.
That is so you know,
send me send me an email.

Christian Mccarrick:
[51:18] Alright well that sounds great so it made his any any other recommendations that you have for new managers or Technical startup Founders that you know you think you want to pass along.

Matias Woloski:
[51:31] Well you know it’s a hit the journey that’s the two men.
I love this show me every every every step of the way it’s a it’s a great opportunity to learn and I think.
You know what you have to be open to learn and I think my main men.
In the Denali that’s because when you left we.
In a week we were not me or okay no wonder the same thing every time we have to pay dealership.
Just surround yourself with.

[52:20] People that are complementary to you hopefully better than that.
You know the team is pretty much everything every time we in a wish I would have.
How to decline I have to say now you can you can leave without telling any.
No worry and concern.
The money right.
There’s not there’s no better motivation than building a company and I’m making an impact on the way and so forth at your building.
Like that’s much better than having no couple of millions what amount of money in the bank right,
you know I’m done with my mind. And I can always go back and get a job anywhere.

[53:41] Keep going like this make the best out of it.

Christian Mccarrick:
[53:44] Excellent no that’s that’s fantastic points there is something I asked most of my other guests to I think you’ve mentioned one book already do any recommendations for.
Your books are resources or meetups or anything out there that that you might recommend to my listeners.

Matias Woloski:
[54:03] What year did a couple of podcast about the sky,
it’s another one recently that I heard that it’s it’s from.
I don’t know his name now but it’s just like a woman who want to make the leap from manager to director.
Similar similar topics Terre leadership that I I will enjoy.
The 7 habits of Earth.
Fake people.
Those at least one release cremation mark on on on on me.

Christian Mccarrick:
[55:18] And one final thing Matias is what’s the best way to.
Contact you for the listeners out there I’ll put the information in the show notes but whether you personally where there’s a Twitter or blog of medium you’re with your company website and anything you have out there if you can going to spell it out for.
The listeners I’ll be great.

Matias Woloski:
[55:40] Yes what I have my DMV open in Twitter I use that a lot w o l o s k i.
Email is Matthias Matias at.

Christian Mccarrick:
[55:59] Excellent Matthias I wanted to thank you very much for for your time today I definitely appreciate you you coming on the show.
And I’m certainly going to look you up next time I’m down your way especially if it’s in the winter time in in the northern hemisphere.

Matias Woloski:
[56:14] How’s the weather.
Thanks a lot for a referral for telling me I will enjoy it and again I’m a big file.

Christian Mccarrick:
[56:34] Alright thank you very much have a great day.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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