Talking About Trust at Surge 2013 (Updated with Video)

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To build a truly great, inspiring tech organization, you need to trust your team to make decisions and manage projects directly. That was the takeaway of “Trust: The Secret to Scaling a Tech Organization,” the presentation Gilt co-founder and CTO Michael Bryzek gave yesterday at the Surge conference in National Harbor, MD.

By focusing on execution and empowerment, Gilt has grown its team from zero to 1,000 employees in just a few years. In the process, we’ve cultivated a culture that emphasizes trusting people to follow the right course of action. This means that anyone can post to the tech blog, throw a party (as long as there’s money left in the budget!), and experiment with cutting-edge technologies that aren’t currently part of our stack. To keep projects and innovation moving forward, we use key performance indicators that measure our progress. Click here to view slides from the talk.

Surge, organized by OmniTI, is one of the top scalability and performance conferences in the world. This year’s Surge featured some excellent companies–including Spotify, Box, Fastly and AppNexus–as well as a variety of promising start-ups and enterprises. Among the many highlights was Message Systems CTO Alec Peterson’s presentation on “Messaging at Scale.” Peterson described his company’s messaging ecosystem and how they built a massively parallel, event-driven system to manage two-way communication around email. Much of what he talked about lined up with the design of our own push notification system (apn), which was some nice validation for us.

The biggest highlight of all, however, was getting to Surge’s engaged, knowledgeable audience. During the post-presentation Q&A, audience members asked Bryzek lots of questions about the mechanics of KPIs, the organizational transition to our current team structure, our peer-to-peer budgeting experiment, anti-fragility, and other topics. Their enthusiasm and interest in what we do at Gilt was energizing and inspiring. Thanks again to OmniTI and its partners for inviting us to participate!

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