Let’s meet Rob.
Hi! My name is Rob and I am the engineering manager on the Marketplace Feature Team. I live in Oakland, California, and work on the match and dispatch portion of our product.
What events in your life have brought you to your current role today?
I had a rather unconventional path to software engineering. I started as a biochemistry and philosophy major in college, graduated during the financial crisis, and there weren’t that many jobs available. I started in ad sales for an ad tech company and eventually found that I would rather build useful artifacts than my Rolodex, so I decided to make the career change. I’m one of those success stories from boot camps. I did a coding boot camp, got my first job as an engineer in ad tech, the idea being to skill up as much as possible, knowing the domain. I could then transfer those skills to a product that I really was passionate and cared about. Wonolo was that opportunity and I’m glad that I can work here for the mission.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
When I have to make a difficult decision and I don’t have an opportunity from input from others on getting advice, I really fall back to the Tao of Wonolo, our values. I ask myself questions like:
Does it help the actual humans who use our service?
Am I appropriately balancing risk on the one hand and potential impact on the other?
Am I running towards problems that I’m best suited for?
Am I taking myself too seriously?
How easy is that decision to reverse?
What is one piece of life advice you can give to anyone?
I recently rewatched Avatar the Last Airbender on Netflix. One character, in particular, Uncle Iroh, has some sage wisdom that I particularly like. He says it’s important to draw wisdom from many places. If you take it from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. In that case, he’s talking about the different elements in Avatar, but I think that that applies to life a well.
If you really knew me, you would know that…
If you really knew me, you would know that I was a band nerd in high school. I was concertmaster, and that means I played the clarinet.