Committed to Success: Eric Lin, Director of Engineering at Dapper Labs

November 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

Eric Lin is the director of engineering at Dapper Labs. We asked him a few questions by email about his experiences working with Commit.

Tell us a bit about Dapper Labs. What problems do you solve?  

Dapper Labs was founded in 2018 with a goal of bringing the benefits of decentralization to mainstream consumers using blockchain. We have 90 employees around the world, with our headquarters in Vancouver. Our partners include Warner Music Group, Ubisoft and Animoca Brands, and we have projects with other major sports, music, automotive, and entertainment partners in the works.

Dapper Labs built CryptoKitties, the most successful and recognizable game in the blockchain space. Partnering with the NBA and NBPA, we recently launched NBA Top Shot, a fan experience built on our Flow blockchain platform.

What are some of the typical challenges you face when hiring engineers? Why is it so important to hire the right people?

Our people are our greatest strength. Our diverse team flourishes in an environment where personal autonomy and professional growth are encouraged. And we value our culture above all else. 

There are four main values we consider when hiring any team member: 

  • Founder mentality: At Dapper Labs, everyone is an owner. We look for people with big-picture thinking, who care about the whole company’s success and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results.

  • Impact: We have a bias for action. We measure our efforts in terms of outcomes and clear results.

  • Kaizen: We strive for excellence and are continuously seeking feedback to identify ways to improve. 

  • Curiosity: We seek out unique perspectives and encourage healthy debate. Our team is always curious about what others are doing, listening to and learning from colleagues, competitors, and especially customers. 

Because of this, our bar for talent is quite high. We need engineers who aren’t just experienced in a technical capacity. We need people who have strong product and design sensibilities, are effective communicators and collaborators and can jump into a project mid-development, assess how they fit the situation, and drive impact.

What support were you looking for when you came to Commit? What role(s) were you looking to fill?

Generally, we look for people who are able to deal with ambiguity and communicate well with technical and non-technical teams. And while understanding of blockchain technology is nice, it’s not required. Team members do well when they are able to be creative and innovative, and work well independently and as team players. They have practical experience with design and implementation and are able to apply their skills across a variety of use cases. A key skill is the ability to understand the power of planning, paired with comfort for improvising and prioritizing the most impactful tasks on the fly.

We had a number of open roles when we engaged Commit. Commit was able to fill three different but technically specific roles, for a senior front-end developer and two back-end developers. They did it in a very short time frame without compromising on the quality of talent. 

Our growth team in particular needed someone who could adapt quickly and join an extremely agile group. Andy Vivash from Commit joined us and pushed code on day one. He continues to deliver consistently, collaborates with other engineers, and be an essential part of our team. 

We also brought on Benjamin Van Meter and Jude Zhu from Commit, who have fit in really well.

What has it been like working with Commit?

Commit has been flexible and easy to work with, and has met tight hiring timelines. But the most important thing is that Commit has spent time getting to know our products, and invested time to deeply understand what a value fit looks like for us. This can sometimes be missed by third parties.

How have the Commit engineers fit in with your team? What has impressed or surprised you about their skill sets?

The work we do at Flow and Dapper is in a new space, and we are constantly tackling challenging problems. This necessitates both a high level of creativity and strategic thinking on complex issues. Our team members have the ability to think outside the box and try new approaches when needed. Every engineer we have engaged from Commit ticks those boxes. 

Across the board, the Commit engineers have been able to work well with the rest of our team. They started contributing on day one, and continue to deliver and push hard the same way our other engineers do. 

The Commit team has experience working on OSS projects, and we’ve been impressed with their experience with Golang, Kafka, and testing methodology. We have a complex set of microservices and event-driven architecture that they’ve been able to pick up quickly.

What would you say to other startups about working with Commit, and about Commit’s model?

Commit is a true partner, creating a differentiated approach by focusing on developing engineering talent that can plug seamlessly into leading technically-driven organizations. The time and effort Commit invests in their team has resulted in a productive experience working together.

Will you work with Commit again?

Of course.

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