How Demand.io is Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning for Engineers

Flexibility and innovation at Demand.io allows Principal Software Engineer Brian Stanback “to grow tremendously as both a leader and individual contributor.”

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on Mar. 22, 2024
How Demand.io is Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning for Engineers
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There was a time in Brian Stanback’s professional career in which, on any given day, he might be doing a myriad of things: working on code that calculated greenhouse gasses across the supply chain, working on an update for a Salesforce-based app or scheduling the next shoot for his aerial drone photography business.  

“I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Stanback. 

In 2013, Stanback decided to shift from life as a small business owner working in sustainability tech to becoming a technical co-founder of Demand.io.

“The transition from business-to-business work to ideating consumer-facing products that ultimately help everyday shoppers has been a very rewarding experience,” he added. 

Demand.io is a tech accelerator and e-commerce network that uses Web3 principles to run a network of social shopping apps. 

Today, Stanback is the principal software engineer and one of the leaders on the engineering team at Demand.io. He is proud to say that the same kind of flexibility and diverse interests that started his career is present in how the product team works at Demand.io. 

“Engineers have the ability to be owners, innovators and leaders here,” he noted. “Of course, those who thrive as individual contributors are also empowered to do so. There’s room to be valued in flexible ways and take different paths.” 

Built In spoke with Stanback about his professional path and what keeps him engaged with his work at Demand.io. 

 

How has being a technical co-founder advanced your skill set?

Brian Stanback
Principal Software Engineer • Demand.io

At Demand.io, I’ve grown my technical skill set in areas like front-end and back-end development, including learning frameworks such as React, Vue.js and Nest.js. I’ve led the design and implementation of complex systems, ranging from data pipelines to distributed architectures. 

More recently, I’ve had the chance to delve into AI and machine learning, building classifiers TensorFlow and experimenting with large language models. Equally important, I’ve grown vastly as a communicator and collaborator which has allowed me to contribute more strategically to projects, lead initiatives with confidence and foster a learning environment among my peers.

 

What makes Demand.io a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?

Demand.io’s unique combination of a stable revenue base and a startup mentality fosters a special work environment. Our profitable products give us a secure foundation to build upon, so we’re not dependent on outside investment. Our format of operating as a media lab composed of deep generalists also gives every team member room to be valued in flexible ways — encouraging those who aspire to innovate and inspire as leaders, as well as those who thrive by building and making substantial individual contributions.

What’s also exciting here is that the team’s growth in recent years has allowed me to interface with different departments and perspectives, allowing for cross-communication and cross-pollination between different disciplines of expertise across the business.

 

Demand.io
Demand.io

 

 

What do professional development resources look like for the engineering team? 

Our engineering team incorporates a guild format, where we encourage continual knowledge-sharing on the latest new tools and frameworks we’re learning about. 

In my time here, I’ve completed some online Udemy courses and attended countless webinars. Engineers on our team are encouraged and sponsored accordingly to purchase development tools, obtain annual educational subscriptions and attend conferences of interest to them.

 

Are there any examples you would point to that highlight how managers at Demand.io assist in career development?

One thing I would highlight is how we set personal goals outside of our KPIs. I work with other engineers to decide what areas we want to upskill, such as learning more about AI implementation or working with large-scale data platforms. We then find ways to include them in specific projects.

 

Demand.io
Demand.io

 

Do you feel like you have been given room to grow at Demand.io? 

The emphasis on flexibility and innovation has allowed me to grow tremendously as both a leader and individual contributor. Working at Demand.io, there’s opportunities to develop diverse skills through various roles. 

Our culture of learning empowers me to not only contribute across the development stack but also actively participate in and acquire knowledge through our engineering guild processes, as well as explore and grow by working with new frameworks, languages and methodologies.

Our culture of learning empowers me to not only contribute across the development stack but also actively participate in and acquire knowledge through our engineering guild processes.”

 

How has joining Demand.io impacted your journey?

In a professional capacity, the emphasis on innovation is extremely important to me. I value being a builder and early adopter — working here translates my love for innovation into actionable initiatives and practices in evolving our tech stack. 

In my personal journey, I still get excited when I hear how we’ve helped someone save money. Knowing we empower multiple communities — shoppers, brands and advocates — is incredibly fulfilling. Creating exceptional user experiences aligns perfectly with my desire to help consumers worldwide.

 

What are you excited to accomplish next?

I’m excited to build Product.AI, an ambitious project that utilizes vast amounts of shopping data, encompassing product details, ontologies, customer reviews and more, to create exceptional user value. The research and development process, transforming ideas into useful products, is a constant source of motivation.
 

Read More‘No Longer Confined By Physical Boundaries’ — There Is No Limit to the Potential for Growth at Demand.io

 

 

Responses have been edited for lenght and clarity. Images provided by Demand.io.

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