Denver Startup Week presents a live discussion on business development in Colorado. Photo taken on Tuesday, September 25 by Matthew McGuire.
Denver Startup Week presents a live discussion on business development in Colorado. Photo taken on Tuesday, September 25 by Matthew McGuire.

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

Denver Startup Week continued with an impressive day two lineup of events taking place throughout downtown Denver on Tuesday, September 25.

The week long event hosts free presentations for people within the tech community to share ideas and network.

Denver Startup Week hosted the ‘Developer Track Keynote: A discussion with Engineering leaders from Slack, Strava, Gusto, and the Trade Desk’ from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Basecamp on Tuesday.

The speakers at this panel included:

Denver Startup Week presents a live discussion on business development in Colorado. Photo taken on Tuesday, September 25 by Matthew McGuire.
Denver Startup Week presents a live discussion on business development in Colorado. Photo taken on Tuesday, September 25 by Matthew McGuire.

Michael Lopp – Vice President of Engineering for Slack (right side in photograph)
Eddie Kim – Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at Gusto
Steve Lloyd – Head of Engineering for Strava
Zak Stengel – SVP of Engineering for The Trade Desk
Moderated by Kelly Shuster at Ibotta (left side)

It marked my first time experiencing a group discussion at Denver Startup Week. Overall, I found the panel to insightful and informative.

Each of the four business leaders offered a unique perspective on growing a company in different regions of the United States.

They brought up the challenges of building their brands in Colorado due to the cost of office space. Additionally, they pointed out the expanding nature of the Denver area, and their plans to grow within different communities.

Three takeaway moments from the presentation for me included:

  • Contributions

The Trade Desk representative pointed out that the most important thing you can do as an engineer is to focus on contributions to a company. I sincerely support this theory.

One of my best pieces of motivation stems from the former pro-wrestler Scott Hall, “if you are so good, than prove it.” I compile that quote with the idea of making contributions to show the quickest route to achieving success.

  • Empathy

The representative from Slack had worked with Apple and Pinterest in the San Francisco area. His best piece of advice was to show empathy to fellow co-workers, clients, and people that may be in different sections of a company that are not directly in house.

This piece of the discussion stood out to me because I have seen the direct benefits of adding empathy, as well as emotional/psychological support to a team. It can be very effective when establishing effective forms of communication.

  • A Rising Tide

Eddie Kim was full of thoughtful quotes and inspiring messages. He pointed out this concept of a collective energy that forms when several groups of people come together to achieve similar goals.

Most companies will see high and low tides during their production flow, but as employees and managers, it is our job to help keep our ships moving in the right direction.

The audience was able to ask questions during the panel discussion.

One audience member asked about how tech companies measure their diversity within the workplace, and their plans moving forward. I was a little underwhelmed by the answers from the panel. Steve Lloyd had the best response by pointing out that a company needs to focus on diversity early in their development. It does appear to become harder to diversify after they build out teams in different areas.

With our small team, I have put diversity near the top of our priority list. In my view, it doesn’t matter your race or sex, as long as you can produce contributions to a team that expand the product or service.

Denver Startup Week has Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday left to check out engaging discussions and demonstrations. Connect with DSW on social media for updates.