Ed Lui is CareGuide’s New VP of Engineering
As one of our company’s first employees, Ed’s hard work and ingenuity has allowed our sites to grow to hundreds of thousands of families and job seekers every month. He joined us in 2014 as our Senior Software Engineer, then became our Director of Engineering, and has just now been promoted to VP Engineering.
We sat down with Ed to learn about how he and CareGuide have grown so much in the last year, and where we're headed. Read on for the full conversation.
How long have you been a software engineer?
Professionally, I’d say about 8 years. But I’ve tinkered with computers since my dad brought home a Commodore-64 when I was a kid.
What was your flight path to CareGuide?
After working with great people and startups in NYC (MeeGenius and ideeli) for the previous 5 years, I was looking for a challenge a little closer to home here in Toronto. John and I had connected a while back at a Ruby on Rails Pub Nite and had been on each other’s radar since. We reconnected over coffees, and the opportunity and company seemed too great to miss out on.
What are you favourite things about working at CareGuide?
The people here are incredible – supportive, engaging, smart and capable. After working for some remote teams, it’s nice to have an office to visit with friendly faces. Plus being able to bicycle in or bring my dog are big bonuses.
What are some priorities for you as our VP Engineering?
Growth and engagement – both organizationally and within our suite of sites. I love mentoring new developers, and building capacity within CareGuide. I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far, and I want to get more people on our marketplaces. So thinking of innovative strategies of obtaining new users, and smoothing the onboarding of them will continue to be important. Plus site stability and responsiveness, the bread and butter to any online marketplace.
How has CareGuide progressed since the time you joined, just over a year ago?
Across most major dimensions, CareGuide has progressed! We have added a ton of users, grown revenue and increased our staff. Natasha has been responsible for elevating our design game. Brian and Danica are customer service pros who seem to be taking a page from Zappos. I’m amazed how far we have come, and I’m excited about where we’re headed.
What’s the single most important factor you consider in someone who would like to join the engineering team?
As Joel Spolsky said a while back, Smart and Gets Things Done™. I think that was an off-by-one-error – you asked for only one.
What is your vision for the engineering team a year from now?
A year from now, I’d see us continue to mature as a team. I love mentoring new developers. I’d like to see this tradition cascade throughout the rest of the team. The old saying of "each one, teach one" really resonates with me.
Additionally, we focus on measuring, monitoring, and improving everything we do around here. There are some tried and true technologies we employ to do this, and some new ones we’d like to explore. A year from now, how we do analytics and conduct business intelligence will become even more sophisticated.
What are the some challenges you face in terms of scaling the sites and handling additional user growth?
Ensuring we maintain the quality and inventiveness that got us this far. We’ve taken to heart a metrics based growth strategy that takes into account feedback loops, as championed by Andrew Chen. I’d expect the hard work we’re putting in now to pay excellent dividends in the months to come.
If you had a magic wand and could fix three things on the engineering side of things, what would they be?
You mean beyond macro-level, world changing engineering challenges like solving world poverty and environmental catastrophes? How about not having to deal with emoji and MySQL’s infamous utf8mb4 charset problems have to be a problem one has to solve. Perhaps some readers with strong backgrounds in data science can help us answer how best to find the perfect nanny? Or a clever way to transport my dog via bicycle to our gorgeous office?
Wouldn’t it be great to work with this guy? Check out our engineering opportunities here.