4 LA tech leaders share what keeps their companies on the cutting-edge

by Michael Hines
June 7, 2019

Staying on the cutting-edge is a challenge for many tech companies — but not all. Some have cracked the code, combining a commitment to innovation with a deep knowledge of where their industry is headed — along with what their users’ current and future needs are — to stay ahead of the curve.

We recently caught up with four Los Angeles tech leaders to learn more about how their companies adapt and evolve in times of rapid change, along with the new technologies, tools and trends they’re keeping an eye on.

 

Clutter Los Angeles tech jobs

Clutter is an on-demand storage and moving company that simplifies the time-consuming process of storing the stuff you just don’t have space for. On-demand storage was a nascent industry when the company launched in 2013, but that’s changed. When it comes to staying ahead of the curve — and the competition — Director of Growth Engineering Chris To said Clutter’s strategy centers on data and adaptability.

 

Tech moves fast. How have you adapted or evolved your business to stay ahead of the curve?

In a high-growth company like Clutter, where there's a tight loop between technology and operations, the tension of moving fast is something we've had to evolve significantly as we scale. For example, we made the decision to capture all optimization in-house, ranging from A/B testing to event tracking. This has allowed us to build and respond with high confidence to metrics in our business — because we have fine-grained access to all of our data.

We’re also a highly adaptive organization. As growth accelerated in 2018, the business was hitting new boundaries every day. Rather than slowing down, we focused on reducing response latency to challenges across our organization. We introduced daily cross-functional meetings where we review key business metrics and execution priorities with daily follow up. Now we use this format across the entire organization and as needed on other key initiatives.

An open-source tool we're particularly excited about is MLflow and the framework it provides to manage the full life cycle of data science and machine learning.

 

What new technologies, tools or trends are you excited about or eyeing for future initiatives?

Data permeates every aspect of our business, from customer acquisition to revenue management and our supply chain. It's exciting to evaluate the tools Google Cloud and Amazon are adding to their data and machine learning stacks, as well as the broader marketplace outside of the major cloud vendors.

An open-source tool we're particularly excited about is MLflow and the framework it provides to manage the full life cycle of data science and machine learning. Data science tools are being introduced across our entire supply and demand life cycle to maximize our efficiency and quality of service. Any new tool that increases reliability is exciting. The other trend we've been investing in is serverless computing. Originally there was some skepticism, but it has proven to be a convenient architectural paradigm to scale since we have a lot of back-end workflows.

 

ServiceTitan Los Angeles tech jobs

Home service companies use ServiceTitan’s cloud-based business management platform to streamline their operations, deliver higher levels of customer service and boost sales. For ServiceTitan, staying ahead of the curve comes down to identifying technologies that add value for their customers. According to Director of Engineering Matthew Altman, machine learning is one technology in particular that the company is very excited about.

 

Tech moves fast. How have you adapted or evolved your business to stay ahead of the curve?

This is an ongoing challenge as there is always something new and shiny popping up. Ultimately, a lot of experimentation happens with different technologies to determine where value can be added for our customers. When we find value in a particular technology, such as machine learning, we invest to maximize the beneficial impact on our customers. For the engineers, it’s a really exciting time.

When we find value in a particular technology, such as machine learning, we invest to maximize the beneficial impact on our customers.

 

What new technologies, tools or trends are you excited about or eyeing for future initiatives?

One of the most interesting areas of technology today are the opportunities that machine learning provides. Machine learning opens up an entirely new way to solve difficult classical problems in an efficient way. These benefits can then be applied so that our customers can run their businesses in an optimal way. For example, ServiceTitan’s solution uses machine learning to help our customers determine the most efficient routing for their technicians. This is only one example of the many ways that we are applying technology to aid our customers.

 

Cie Los Angeles tech jobs

Cie is as an innovation accelerator that helps enterprise companies bring exciting and new ideas to life. It’s also a growth accelerator that works with entrepreneurs to turn ground-breaking ideas into full-fledged companies. Given that Cie is involved with tech at all levels, it should come as no surprise that Director of Product Micah Miller said the team places a high value on continuous learning and knowledge-sharing to help them stay ahead of the curve.

 

Tech moves fast. How have you adapted or evolved your business to stay ahead of the curve?

It’s imperative to keep a voracious appetite for learning new things. That’s why we’re always reading and consuming information on emerging technologies, testing new software and hardware, and hosting internal knowledge-sharing events that accelerate our understanding of how people use and experience technology. Additionally, tools that give real-time feedback on features and functionality, such as Hotjar, give us the edge to stay ahead of the curve.

We also embrace the fact that we don’t know all the answers. We take the time to listen and understand how real users respond and interact with features. This has also allowed us to ultimately deliver better business outcomes for both our startup and enterprise clients.

What has particularly caught our eye is the promise of the smart home, so we’re focusing future strategic initiatives around exploring that ecosystem.

 

What new technologies, tools or trends are you excited about or eyeing for future initiatives?

There are so many interesting emerging technology trends — from augmented reality to personal health tech and the Internet of Things — that it’s hard to choose! What has particularly caught our eye is the promise of the smart home, so we’re focusing future strategic initiatives around exploring that ecosystem. Before, you used to have to run home to check if you left the lights or sprinklers on, but now you can just look at your phone.

This instantaneous access to information is thrilling to us, and we see huge opportunity across many different applications that will impact people’s lives.

 

Vlad Aleksandrov
Senior Director of Engineering

MyLife.com is in the reputation business. More specifically, the company gathers data from government and other publicly available sources to create a “Reputation Score” that can then be edited and enhanced by the person it belongs to. According to Senior Director of Engineering Vlad Aleksandrov, research and development and open-source platforms are crucial for keeping MyLife.com ahead of the curve — and its customers happy.

 

Tech moves fast. How have you adapted or evolved your business to stay ahead of the curve?

R&D keeps us ahead of the curve. We make time for the exploratory work that helps develop specific products and solutions. Exploring new ideas, sandboxing, prototyping and finding out what works and what doesn’t is fun for the engineers and puts them in the best possible position to find success.

R&D keeps us ahead of the curve. We make time for the exploratory work that helps develop specific products and solutions.

 

What new technologies, tools or trends are you excited about or eyeing for future initiatives?

We leverage a variety of open-source platforms to ensure fast and reliable service for our customers. We use Elasticsearch for search, which is a search and analytics engine capable of solving a large number of use cases. Easy application development, high performance, multitenancy support and near real-time operations made it an easy choice. We’re starting to upgrade to the latest and greatest version, version 7.0.

 

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