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cover art for Episode 7: Manish Narayanaswami, Kissflow

Tech Connects

Episode 7: Manish Narayanaswami, Kissflow

Season 1, Ep. 7

Manish Narayanaswami is an associate director at Kissflow, which is a builder of no- and low-code platforms that enable business customers to build apps and workflows with a minimum of coding. He’s spent years refining how to use cutting-edge technologies to make things simpler for end-users. 


I wanted to talk to Manish because I’ve been fascinated by no- and low-code tools for a long time. For businesses, no- and low-code presents the tantalizing possibility of allowing employees who don’t have a tech background to quickly spin up the apps and services they need. However, many technologists are also concerned about how no- and low-code workflows could potentially make it more confusing to manage an organization’s tech stack. Let’s listen as Manish and I hash out how these technologies could have a significant impact over the next several years.  

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    28:18
    Our next guest is Adam Seligman, who’s VP of developer experience at Amazon Web Services, or AWS. In that role, he’s been relentlessly focused on making software more accessible to everyone, no matter what their level of development experience. I wanted to chat with him for a couple of reasons:  First, AWS is launching a portfolio of A.I.-powered helpers and tools for developers, which could fundamentally change how thousands of people build the software of tomorrow.  Second, there’s a whole new generation of tech professionals who are scoring their first roles as interns, junior developers, and more. Meanwhile, the tech industry is changing rapidly thanks to the evolution of A.I. and other technologies. Adam has some interesting insight into how these new techies can use A.I. to accelerate their problem-solving and early careers. Here are some additional takeaways from our discussion: First, generative AI is being used by a wide range of people, from skilled data scientists to early career interns. Whether you’re an experienced tech professional who wants to speed up their coding, or an intern still trying to figure out how to use the building blocks of technology, A.I. can make things a little easier by automating tasks and suggesting improvements. Second, if you’re running a team or project, consider allowing your interns, junior developers, and other tech professionals just starting out to use A.I. It could allow them to solve some challenges faster.  Third, A.I. as a technology is here to stay. It’s helpful at this point to figure out how it’ll best integrate into your current workflow, whether that’s designing solutions, writing code, or debugging.  We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career. 
  • 37. Episode 37: Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group

    21:10
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    29:44
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  • 35. Episode 35: Jeanne Cordisco, Chief People Officer of O’Reilly Media

    37:47
    Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Jeanne Cordisco, Chief People Officer of O’Reilly Media, which produces books, tech conferences, and an online learning platform for tech professionals who want to upgrade their skills. As CPO, she’s focused on how HR can tie a company’s “people strategy” to its broader objectives.She’s advocated for HR to participate in the highest-level decision-making to ensure the right people are being hired and retained, because that ultimately determines how well a company carries out its strategy and delivers for its customers. Let’s listen in as we break down everything from how businesses can retain their tech professionals, to the role HR can play in a company’s broader strategy:Here are just a few takeaways from our conversation:First, if you’re a manager or involved in HR, it’s important to recognize that talented, highly-specialized workers have their pick of jobs—and they’ll leave for a new employer given the right motivations. You need to be very conscious about whether you’re providing a memorable, valuable experience to your employees—and that goes beyond just salary. For example, collaborative cultures, flexible schedules, and continuous learning can all persuade valuable employees to stay onboard your company.Second, it’s important to talk to your reports and team members about career progression. Where does an employee want to go? What training do they need to get there? If a tech pro feels like their organization is committed to their growth, they’re far more likely to stay and deliver their best work.Third, HR is often considered a support function. But HR needs to play a key role from the beginning in strategic planning. They need to take a company’s existing skills and resources into consideration, figure out where there’s a gap, and help formulate a plan to close that gap.We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
  • 34. Episode 34: Tigran Sloyan, co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal

    32:58
    Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Tigran Sloyan, who’s the co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal, a startup that’s trying to improve technical hiring at every stage of the process. CodeSignal’s products aim to present candidates with questions relevant to real-world scenarios, and hiring managers with questions supported by research. He also wrote a recent piece for Fast Company about the need to apply A.I. to training and education. I wanted to talk to Tigran about a number of topics, from training and technical interviews to how the rise of A.I. will impact tech careers. Here are some quick takeaways from our chat: First, anyone who’s hiring tech professionals must think about skills as more than just keywords on a resume. Tech professionals must be truly competent, which means knowing how any skill—whether it’s a programming language, knowledge of a framework, or something else—interacts with other elements throughout a tech stack and ultimately yields results.  Second, it’s important for the hiring process to actually simulate the job itself. It’s not enough to ask a candidate brainteasers or math problems copied off another website: you want to see how the candidate would handle the concepts and tools involved in the job itself. Think about that if you’re currently thinking through how to create a great hiring process. Third, education works best when it’s personalized. A.I. could indeed help us create personalized learning tracks for all kinds of students. While that might raise some questions about the accuracy of what an A.I. is teaching people, you could presumably sidestep that through a system of checks, balances, and evaluations. We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career. 
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    27:13
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  • 32. Episode 32: Tariq Shaukat, co-CEO of Sonar

    19:48
    Our next 'Tech Connects' guest is Tariq Shaukat, who’s co-CEO of Sonar, a company devoted to enabling developers and other tech professionals to write cleaner code. Previously, he was president of Bumble, and before that, he was President of Google Cloud, where he was responsible for product, engineering, and much more.I wanted to talk to Tariq because the software industry is at an inflection point. The rise of low- and no-code tools, along with code-writing chatbots like ChatGPT, could fundamentally alter software engineers and developers’ workflows, and even enable people without much coding experience to produce acceptable software. With its tools providing analysis and coding guidance, Sonar could help developers navigate this interesting new environment. Let’s listen in!Here are some quick takeaways from our chat:First, while the current generation of code generators—say that five times fast—is exciting, the practice of coding is going to need human attention for quite some time to come. There’s every chance that auto-generated code could introduce security, compliance, and other issues into your tech stack.Second, across every industry, more and more companies are becoming “software” companies. Developers are more important than ever to a company’s strategy and outcomes. If you can build software in a reliable and secure way, you’ll find a plethora of opportunities in a wide variety of places—you don’t have to focus your job-hunting efforts exclusively on the tech industry.Third, tools such as Sonar will likely lead to even more people within an organization generating code, even if they don’t come from a traditional tech background. If you’re in any kind of management or team leader position, keep that in mind as you plot workflows for your future products. 
  • 31. Episode 31: Ed Frederici, CTO of Appfire

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    Our next ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Ed Frederici, who’s CTO of Appfire, which is a company that builds apps that boost enterprise collaboration and workflows. He’s focused on ways to enhance the functionality of companies’ software ecosystems, especially if they’re trying to manage projects and services across multiple platforms and tools. That gives him fascinating insights into key issues such as automation, democratizing data, acquisitions, and knocking down internal silos so tech pros can work more effectively.Here are some takeaways from the conversation with Frederici that I found particularly interesting:First, it’s important to keep in mind that A.I. isn’t going to instantly solve all of your problems and challenges. As A.I. tools and services become more sophisticated, you should think of them as force multipliers, freeing up time and resources so you can focus on things that truly matter. It’s an enhancement for work, not a replacement.Second, scaling up is a key goal at many tech companies. However, scale isn’t something you achieve purely though tools or even tactics—instead, it comes down to building an effective culture that allows you to recognize great opportunities and work toward them. You ultimately need people who are engaged, well-trained, and who know what they’re doing.Third, siloing is a huge issue. A lack of transparency and an inability to share learnings and data can prevent teams and companies from achieving their goals. In the end, it comes down to the three ‘c’s: communication, coordination, and collaboration. If teams can effectively communicate, coordinate, and collaborate, those silo walls will come crashing down.Fourth, if you’re going through an acquisition or acquihire, you can make a difficult process a little easier by assuming good intentions. Don’t let the uncertainties of the situation drive you completely insane. Instead, making a point of asking questions and doing your best to keep lines of communication open.We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career. 
  • 30. Episode 30: Ben Marx, Director of Software at True Anomaly

    21:50
    Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Ben Marx, who’s Director of Software at True Anomaly, a startup focused on space-based security and sustainability. Their current projects include Jackal, an autonomous orbital vehicle that can swoop close to other satellites and carry out surveillance imaging, as well as a new manufacturing facility in Colorado. As you’ll hear during our discussion, Ben has deep experience in software, which comes in useful when you’re trying to write code for something zooming around orbit—there’s not a lot of room for error, as you can imagine. There’s a lot of buzz around space lately, and I was really curious about what it takes for software developers and tech pros to break into this rapidly evolving arena. Let’s break it down with Ben! Here are some takeaways from the conversation with Ben that I found particularly interesting. First, you’ll remember Ben mentioned he studied philosophy and economics, worked at a number of different startups, and experimented with different fields before finding his way to coding in the context of space. For software developers and other tech professionals out there, his experience just goes to show that your skills and experience can translate into many different fields—it’s all a question of what interests you. Second, if you’re managing a complicated software project, it’s important to evaluate languages and tools in the context of what you need done. For example, Ben chose Elixir for True Anomaly’s space applications because it’s fault-tolerant, scalable, low latency, and more. Even if you’re new to a particular industry and you feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end, you know how languages and tools work, and you can build your success off that. Third, if you’re tasked with helping to develop an internal software culture, keep two things in mind. First, don’t be afraid to be expressive and speak up about what you think is working well (and not so well). Second, it’s important to know when to say ‘no.’ Sometimes you need to turn something down or go in another direction in order to succeed. Saying ‘no’ can save a lot of time and effort.  We covered a whole lot of other topics, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed.