Trust: The Secret to Scaling a Tech Organization

2c07fa0a0a25758c3f4ee929640d2998?s=47 Michael Bryzek
September 12, 2013

Trust: The Secret to Scaling a Tech Organization

As leaders, one of our primary goals should be to let innovation flourish. Yet many large organizations continue to hold onto outdated processes, and bureaucratic habits that hinder their growth and frustrate their employees. The best technologists often choose to leave these large companies to create their own businesses and bring their ideas to market.
One of the most important transformations occurring in today’s business world involves true and complete decentralization of decision-making and ownership within an organization. At Gilt, we’ve learned that this transformation requires trust to be successful. This talk will reflect on my real-life experience growing Gilt from a blank white board to a global ecommerce leader with more than 1,000 employees. It will highlight what it truly takes to scale a modern technology organization, and discuss how to create a culture of trust.


Michael Bryzek

September 12, 2013


  1. Trust     The  secret  to  scaling   A  tech

     organiza1on       Michael  Bryzek   Co-­‐founder  &  CTO,  Gilt     @mbryzek   hCp://    
  2. Trust! Behind  every  organiza1on  are  people     Create  true

     trust     And  people  create  great  things  
  3. Our Story! Our  Story   Of  Scaling  a  Tech  Startup

      From  0  to  >  1000  people   Where  every  day  great  people   Contribute  beau1ful  code   And  innovate  constantly  
  4. Why now?! Bureaucracy   Startups   Innova1on   Millenials  

  5. The Social Experiment @ Gilt! Can  we  empower  small  teams

      To  innovate  autonomously       Move  from  ideas  and  backlogs   To  execu1on  and  innova1on      
  6. Innovation vs. Idea! Innova1on  !=  “having  an  idea”    

    Innova1on  =  “having  an  idea”        +  R&D        +  tes1ng        +  redesigning        +  building  it        +  geXng  to  market        +  using  it   Execu1on  
  7. How to focus on execution! change  who   gets  to

     decide   what  is  executed  
  8. Scrum: Does this Well!

  9. How can a growing org do this?! Strategy   Ini1a1ves

      KPIs   Teams   Ingredients     hCps://  
  10. Tactics: Teams!

  11. KPI: The important Step! Manage  by  KPI  and  by  KPI

     only     This  is  really  the  cri1cal  step  
  12. It works! Empower  teams     Focus  on  execu1on  

      Enable  innova1on  
  13. People! What  do  Smart  and  Autonomous  People  Want?   • 

    To  make  own  project  decisions   •  To  build  something  that  maCers   •  To  impact  business   •  To  develop  a  strong  sense  of  well  being   •  To  work  with  great  people  
  14. What do People Want?!   Trust  

  15. Trust in Engineering! •  We  trust  our  engineers  to  write

     so^ware   •  We  trust  our  engineers  to  manage  our  systems   •  We  trust  our  engineers  to  change  our  databases   •  But  do  we  really  trust  their  judgment?  
  16. Who can post to the blog?!   Anybody   Any7me

  17. Who can throw a party?!   Anybody   Any7me  

        (as  long  as  the  spreadsheet  s0ll  has  money  le3)  
  18. Decentralization! Decentralize  by  default     Can  go  too  far

     –  look  for  emergent   centraliza1on    
  19. Fear of Errors! Minimize  risk  with     Transparency  

      And     Real  1me  Feedback  
  20. Enabling Technologies! Lots  of  Small  Applica1ons     Ioncannon  

  21. Lots  of  Small  Databases     Lots  of  Small  Teams

        Lots  of  Small  Errors,  Really  
  22. Lots of Small Applications (LOSA)!

  23. Ioncannon! “sbt  release”  and  code  is  in  produc1on  

  24. Galactica! server  =  allocateServer()   deploySoftware(server,  “svc-­‐foo”,  1.0)   addToPool(“svc-­‐foo”,

     server)     findServer(“svc-­‐foo”,  “0.9”).foreach  {  s  =>      removeFromPool(“svc-­‐foo”,  s)   }     …     garbageCollect(“svc-­‐foo”,  “0.9”)   S0ll  a  work  in  progress  
  25. An7fragile  

  26. Great  people  do  great  things     Empower  them  with

     real  Trust     Enable  trust  with  transparency   and  real  1me  feedback  
  27. Ques7ons?     Trust   The  secret  to  scaling  

    A  tech  organiza1on       @mbryzek   hCp://