CAKE’s Spotlight is a series that features the amazing, talented, and intelligent team that drives the company’s continued innovation and growth. Today you’ll have the opportunity to meet (or learn more about!) our very own David Wilson. A true team player, David joined CAKE more than seven years ago and since then has advanced to the leadership position of VP of Product Development.
What is your role at CAKE and can you tell us a bit about your journey at CAKE?
I was hired at CAKE in 2012 as a Senior Software Engineer to manage a growing team of Front-end/Business-layer Application Developers. Throughout my tenure at CAKE, I was promoted from Manager to Director, to Senior Director of Engineering, consolidating the leadership of engineering across the full-stack of development, QA Engineering, and DevOps. Most recently, I have assumed the responsibility of leading our research and development as the VP of Product Development.
As VP of Product Development, my fundamental responsibility to CAKE, my team, and our customers is to provide the strategic product vision and roadmap, as well as the technical direction to achieve our objectives. After working closely with other executives and department leads, I establish the agenda for the research and development department, laying out the roadmap and milestones, and planning and evaluating the ROIC for each initiative. Additionally, I spend the largest portion of my day working directly alongside our engineers providing administrative support, architectural and technical mentorship, project guidance, and career coaching.
How do you see the industry evolving over the next few years?
Well, our industry landscape is continually changing as political and other agencies seek to protect privacy, while brands look to maximize their efficiency in advertising. The situation will continue to get much more complex for brands from a privacy compliance perspective.
However, at the same time, more data is becoming available as more people live their lives online via personalized devices. Machine-learning and AI will make anonymized pattern matching more relevant for targeting, which is important as policymakers continue to produce additional challenges for effective targeting.
Three words that describe how you work.
Collaborative. Optimistic. Analytical.
If you could switch your job with anyone else within CAKE, whose job would you want and why?
Hard question… because I believe I have the most enjoyable position. But, if I’m going to play this game: perhaps Garth Harris. He gets to dream with – and on behalf of – our clients over their businesses, and then strategize how CAKE can best fulfill those dreams. Additionally, he gets to oversee CAKE’s operational processes that best meet our client’s needs.
What do you love most about your job?
Without question, the people, followed by the problem-solving.
I’m a people person… so much so, that I almost didn’t become an engineer. As a young adult, I had this vision of software engineering as working solo in cubicles. However, I was blessed with amazing opportunities, coupled with natural technical acumen, and found myself coding and really loving it.
And, it didn’t interfere with my ability to work alongside others, and problem-solving together was like playing a game, that resulted in real satisfaction for me and for my clients.
My team at CAKE is stellar. I feel fortunate to collaborate with incredibly bright people that I mentor, and in turn, I learn from them every day. They’re reliable, creative, and a lot of fun. We have a real connection as co-workers and friends, and it is reflected in the teamwork and communication in the group.
It also makes development and problem-solving a lot of fun. Our industry presents really unique challenges – massive amounts of data at rest, significantly large volumes of data to ingest concurrently, and nano-second processing and decision-making. We get to use cutting-edge technologies and come up with clever ways to handle a distributed environment. Gathering in a room together to imagine our way through complex technical hurdles is like game night with my friends tackling an “escape room in a box.”
What projects are you most passionate about building at CAKE?
Our system is vast and robust… but at its core is measurement and reporting. For the past four years we’ve been focusing heavily on collecting, measuring, and managing data. We’ve produced a state-of-the-art, high-performance, hyper-efficient, scalable, distributed measurement engine. We’ve met paradoxical challenges, and have invented best-of-breed clever solutions, which enable our clients to scale and grow their businesses without limitations.
However, now it’s time to also focus on our reporting engine. Scalable, high-performing, flexible, efficient, extensible, and intelligent – it must be all these things. We’ve been discussing the possibilities as a team, and I’m excited to continue tackling challenges and innovate together.
The best, most satisfying kind of projects are the ones that provide an immediate and tangible benefit to our customers, and remind them why CAKE is the leading platform in the industry… this is exactly that kind of project.