Driven By Podcast

24. Engineering Mindset and The Power of Automation with Matt Cook

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This week’s guest is Matt Cook, Matt is currently the VP of Engineering at Tilled; before that, he launched his own startup, and before that, he was head of platform for Shipt. As you may know, Shipt was started in 2014 and was acquired by Target in 2017 for $550 Million Dollars. As you know, we live in a growing gig economy where people get to work in flexible ways that were not possible before. This is powered by technology, consumer needs, and how platforms bring together service fulfillment quickly, trackable, and cost-effectively. Even if you are not interested in how businesses like this scale and what it takes for them to operate well, you can still learn many things that can be automated with your own day-to-day experiences and where the world is continuing to move from a technological perspective. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode with Matt Cook.


00:12: The first real interest I had was the game StarCraft as apredecessor to world to Warcraft, the really popular modern game. But yeah, itwas a real-time strategy game. It required a lot of keyboard usage and there werejust a lot of variables, you built up an army and attacked other players

9:09 My challenge would be to take it one level further thanwherever you’re comfortable now, so let’s say, for example, maybe you’recomfortable with Microsoft Excel and inputting some data and maybe generating achart, I take that one level further

13:03 All of you guys and girls data ambitious, and does thatambition or drive carry over to other things, there’s… It merely just thisengineering and creating possibilities where there’s currently no possibilities

13:21 certainly the best engineers I’ve worked with at their coreare very curious, and so the idea of taking a challenging problem and solvingit, just bringing into the light a solution

15:35 Just whatever your current problem is, take that to someonewho’s got a technical background and really just brainstorm homes, get in frontof a white board and map out how long is the process we’ll get 17 steps

16:52 You get obsessed with what the problem is, they can reallyuse their creative energy to devise solutions that you wouldn’t have actuallydescribed as the business owner.

18:12 You really have to push yourself to stay focused on theproduct and even sometimes make sub-optimal in engineering decisions, becauseat the end of the day, if you don’t make a product that users love

21:22 What you measure improves, so if you tell the teamconsistently, hey, here’s what we’re measuring is our conversion rate on thefunnel, if you give that data back to the people who are actually building theproduct, they’ll find all kinds of creative ways

24:42 I get prettyobsessed with whatever the problem is that’s the most valuable to the company,and so I really tend to focus on whatever kind of the biggest fire is

40:03 One of thekey moments in ship’s trajectory taking off, I was actually Amazon purchasingWhole Foods

47:13 one of thechanges that it’s just hard to understand until you experience it, but thecompany is constantly changing, so the things that you did to launch one city,they don’t want to launch five as you have to adapt


–      Matt Haaga State Farm: