FutureStack Speaker Spotlight: Roland Tritsch (Gilt Groupe), Patrick Lightbody (New Relic) and Nic Benders (New Relic)

futurestack-logo.png__768×200_Can you believe that FutureStack is less than a month away? We sure can’t! This week we chatted with three fantastic FutureStack speakers: Roland Tritsch from Gilt Groupe, Patrick Lightbody from New Relic and Nic Benders, also from New Relic.

Roland Tritsch, Gilt Groupe

Roland is the VP of Infrastructure Engineering at the Gilt Groupe and is one of the architects for the implementation of the platform.

Roland Tristch

Q. What first got you excited about technology?

I first got excited about Software Engineering when I realized that I could implement Horner’s method on my Sharp PC 1500 and my math teacher said, “If you understand the algorithm enough to write a program, you can use it in class” and that was 30 years ago.

Q.  What open question in tech are you dying to see solved?

How to C.A.R.E.  I am interested in how to Create, Attract, Retain and Enable great people.

Q.  What is the biggest challenge you face in your work today?

I am constantly looking to find good, clever ways to leverage other people’s innovations to accelerate my own innovation. For instance we are using the camera in the iPhone to do color matching with our inventory. I am looking to accelerate our ability to detect and implement these kind of opportunities for innovation.

You can follow Roland on Twitter here.

Patrick Lightbody, New Relic

Prior to joining New Relic to lead its product management team, Patrick had previously founded two companies in the website performance testing space: BrowserMob (now part of Neustar) and HostedQA (now part of Compuware/Gomez). He has also spent time contributing to open source projects, mostly notably Selenium and Struts 2. Patrick lives in sunny Portland, OR with his wife and two beautiful daughters.

Photo by Trav Williams, Broken Banjo Photography, www.BrokenBanjo.net

Q. What first got you excited about technology?

My initial exposure to computers was playing video games — specifically Doom. As soon as I learned that you could build custom modifications and maps for Doom, I got sucked into software development and never looked back!

Q. If you could go 100 years into the future, what new technology would you hope to see?

100 years from now I hope to see massive improvements in renewable energy — whether it be batteries, fuel cells, or solar power. Recent advancements with things like graphene supercapacitors give me hope that that portable, long lasting, fast charging power is within reach and will dramatically change technology across the board.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you face in your work today?

Much of my job requires making sense of massive amounts of data such as product usage by customers, sales and support activity, and raw application performance data (170B daily metrics!). I want to make as many data-driven decisions as possible, but it’s difficult with such a large and disparate set of data sources.

To keep up with Patrick, you can follow him here.

Nic Benders, New Relic

Nic has been pushing packets and building software since before the internet had two JPGs to rub together. He is now a manager on the Site Engineering team at New Relic where he works hard to keep operations interesting, to fight the insidious MTTR, and always, always, make everything more awesome.

Nic Benders

Q. What first got you excited about technology?

I can’t remember a time before I was excited about technology.  I remember having arguments with my friends about jet engine designs when I was seven years old and learning to program with my mother on our TI-99/4A “personal computer” when I was eight.  I think that most kids are excited about technology, whether it’s space or robots, cars or computers.  I am just lucky enough to live in a time when I can get paid to play and there are always new toys to grow into.

Q. If you could go 100 years into the future, what new technology would you hope to see?

I want self-driving cars.  Seriously, that’s not too much to ask, is it?  The personal automobile is an amazing tool, but it has a huge impact in the way we live our lives.  Reducing the human element would have an immediate short-term impact by improving safety and reducing pollution, but the long-term vision of fully autonomous transportation could be so much more.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you face in your work today?

I think the biggest challenge I have at work, is one that is very common to our field, which is how to balance collaboration and focus.  The tasks that we are working on today tend to be both broad and complex.  So if we fail to work together with others we won’t just duplicate work or miss easy solutions, we could actively impair other engineers through conflicts or other negative interactions.  At the same time, the problems we are facing are complex and so they take a lot of focus and concentration to properly understand.  Without being able to focus on a task we are both more prone to errors and only able to make small fixes, when often we need big solutions.

You can find Nic on Twitter here.

Jana is one of the happiest people you will ever meet. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that she loves what she does. She started at New Relic as their Offline Community Manager and now she manages all of New Relic’s internally organized conferences. View posts by .

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