Henry Suryawirawan is VP of Engineering at Flip. They're an Indonesian fintech that recently raised $55M in the second close of their Series B. Apart from Flip, he also runs a podcast called Tech Lead Journal.
👋🏼 How would you explain your job to someone outside tech?
At Flip, my key roles and responsibilities span multiple areas. These include growing the engineering team to meet the company's growth, setting the engineering vision and strategic roadmaps, shaping the engineering culture by adopting best practices and ensuring the reliability and security of our services.
As a leader, I am also responsible for managing and coaching our engineers and providing them with the best resources available to get their craft done, continuously improve themselves and gain fulfillment in their careers.
🧐 What's something about you or your job that would surprise us?
On top of my day job as VP of Engineering, I also run a podcast called Tech Lead Journal on technical leadership and excellence.
I publish a new episode every week, and it's like having another full-time job! While serving the tech community with excellent quality content, the podcast also provides me with rare opportunities to upskill myself by learning from great thought leaders around the world. What a great way to apply double loop learning!
🏆 What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Working at Google before Flip is one key highlight of my career. At Google, I had a humbling experience working at a world-class tech giant surrounded by so many great people.
My stint there offered me many rare opportunities, such as speaking at Google Cloud summits and conferences, contributing to open source, and solving complex problems on the cloud. I also learned about the unique Google culture and what it means for someone to be considered Googley!
Another key highlight of my career is running the Tech Lead Journal podcast. At the start, I never would have imagined I'd get the chance to meet and exchange conversations with so many brilliant minds in technology. I was completely starstruck when I did the recording with Vaughn Vernon (twice) and Uncle Bob!
🔍 What's a startup trend or space you're watching this year?
Contrary to many people, I do not follow Web 3.0, NFT, blockchain, or the Metaverse. I am much more intrigued by trends around developer tools and experience.
Along with the growth of many tech startups globally, improving developers' productivity and experience would be one exciting space to watch out for! Hope to see more coverage on BackScoop for such startups around SEA :)
💼 What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
These days, starting one's career in tech can be really intimidating! The amount of stuff to learn is overwhelming, and one could easily suffer from impostor syndrome most of the time. I'd strongly suggest anyone starting out to put a lot of focus on the fundamentals and ignore the hype and any particular implementations.
Having solid fundamentals is key in tech. One can apply them to many areas, as the fundamentals rarely change much.
Do not spread yourself too thin in so many areas. It's a good idea to build deep skills in a few areas that you enjoy. Apart from the technical hard skills, do not forget to invest your time to hone your soft skills too, which include communication, influencing, teamwork, leadership, writing, time management, detachment, etc. Engineering is a team sport, and you need to work well with others.
Having said all the above, just start somewhere and do not overthink it. Tech will be there for a long time, and you should enjoy the long ride!
🗣 What's one thing you can keep talking about for hours?
I'm an avid learner of personal growth! I can speak at length about productivity, self-help, mental models, stoicism and my favorite books I've read lately.
🎥 What's your favorite movie/TV show?
Some of my favorites are Game of Thrones, LOTR, Ip Man, Batman and Marvel movies. I also watch football matches on TV (if that counts).
🍨 What's your go-to ice cream flavor?
Durian! When not available, I would go for the safe choice, chocolate!
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