One of the very earliest memories of Kinetic Café is me walking into the Kinetic Café office. We had just extended the office into the old TBDC boardroom. David Dougherty was standing there and talking with Sady Ducross when I was introduced to him. He shook my hand firmly and said – “Welcome!” He then went on to tell me with excitement about how we’d use the space. “It’s going to be great! And we’re growing!” Those were the words that would echo the next two years at Kinetic Café. We grew from about 30 people to 70 people in a span of 2 years and we’d also roll out the first and best in-store retail technology platform today. Don’t get me wrong – there were lots of rough days. There were lots of long nights and weekends. There were a lot of tough decisions to be made. But at the end of the day, we made it. 2 years later, Kinetic is at a different evolution of its growth.
When I introduce potential engineering candidates to Kinetic Café, I often times use these words – Kinetic Café is a product company that is powered by our platform. I then go on and talk about the platform that we build. I talk about how it’s based on a micro-services architecture pattern, how we have SDKs that easily integrate the apps as well as how our integrations are designed to securely connect to the enterprise platform. Our platform is performant, scalable, secure and reliable. It’s not sexy but it’s the minimum requirement to get into this space at the enterprise level. Our platform faired extremely well in an unannounced external code audit as well as commercial grade Black Friday traffic early in it’s infancy. Most startups never get this far. Even if they build a product, it’s never adopted by the enterprise space because it is extremely difficult to build an enterprise-ready product at scale as its entry into the market. In general, the enterprise space is hard. However, it will also be extremely lucrative because it’s such a hard space to get into.
While the technology is great, our greatest strength and the core of our platform – our heart of hearts – is our people. Looking at my resume, for better or worse, I’ve had the privilege of working for 10 different companies and with over 30 teams in my career. This is by far the most talented company that I’ve had the honour of working with. We have leaders like David Dougherty We have some of the strongest designers out there today – the ratings of our apps in the app store prove it. We have some of the best engineers out there in Toronto – the stability of our product and external audits prove it. I’ve been most fortunate to have had the opportunity to guide the Engineering team. The thing that I’m most proud about is we have and can continually overcome any challenge that will come our way.
What’s next for me? I’ve been offered the opportunity of helping out with the technical strategy for a not-for-profit foundation. I’ll be joining WE.org as their CTO. The WE foundation or movement is responsible for 3 main programs: Free The Children, Me-To-We as well as We Day. To provide context, mentoring is a very big part of how we run engineering at Kinetic Café. It allows us to help grow the next generation of engineers here at Kinetic Café. One of the things that I love about WE is the ability to provide the means to mentor, grow and help a whole new generation both here and abroad. If you’re interested, here’s the video that got me really excited about We.org.