Building Great Tech Teams: 12 Critical Questions

HBC Tech OCT 17, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of talking at First Capital’s CTO summit. I hosted an interactive discussion on team building for around 100 CTOs and VPEs of small to medium sized, venture backed technology companies. Here’s how the audience voted on 12 critical questions: #1: Should you hire specialists or generalists? (52 Votes) #2: Are job-relevant Degrees Necessary? (49 Votes) #3: What are your thoughts on remote employees? (55 Votes)...

Exotic Languages and the Web

HBC Tech OCT 6, 2011

Gilt Tech are hosting a series of NYC events on technology innovation. In the first of the series, “Exotic languages and the Web”, we’ll hear lightning talks on real-world uses of Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Erlang and CoffeeScript, followed by drinks and discussion. We’re hosting this on October the 19th at the Carlton Hotel on Madison Ave. These events are open to the NY tech community and we’d love to have you join us! Find out more and...

Restoring Page State with Session Storage

HBC Tech OCT 4, 2011

Managing the back button on the web is hard, especially remembering the previous page’s state when the back button is used. Fragment identifiers can be a solution, and there are some great plugins out there which use that method. However, there’s only one URL fragment, so identifiers need to be carefully namespaced to avoid collisions and the fragment in the URL becomes detritus that affects bookmarking, along with looking unpleasant...

Implementing Taxonomy for Better User Experiences

HBC Tech SEP 16, 2011

by Amy DeCicco, Taxonomist and Steve O’Brien, Sr. Software Engineer Halston, We Have a ProblemLike most rapidly growing start ups, product classification at Gilt Groupe was not fully formed at the outset. Initially, products were tagged with keywords, and those keywords were user-defined and free-form. One person’s “shoes” was another person’s “lace-ups” was another person’s “monkstraps,” and as a result it became increasingly more difficult to assess inventory by category...

Thinking Functionally - The Video

HBC Tech AUG 24, 2011

If you’re curious about functional programming, I’d recommend watching Dr. Venkat Subramaniam’s recent talk at Gilt HQ. “Thinking Functionally” provides an insightful and entertaining overview of functional programming techniques and assumes no previous experience in this area. Venkat does the whole presentation in TextMate, working through examples in Java, Scala and Groovy.

My Time in Gilt Tech

HBC Tech AUG 3, 2011

I walked into the office one morning to see my boss doing push-ups. Pictures were being taken and videos recorded. As a relatively new intern at the time, I was confused. It turned out he had answered a question with the word “mine,” breaking the only rule of the “Game of Life” at Gilt Tech. That type of thing isn’t too unusual at Gilt – its culture encourages this sort of...

Using Dependency Injection To Incorporate A/B Testing Into Your Applications

HBC Tech AUG 2, 2011

If you work at an e-commerce company, chances are you’ve probably come across the term “A/B testing”. We all know that it has something to do with testing out new features on users and seeing which ones are “better”. A/B testing is really the practice of comparing the effect that a feature (“treatment” in statistical terms) has on different groups of users. For instance, you might be developing a new...

Thinking Functionally

HBC Tech AUG 1, 2011

Gilt Tech is proud to host Thinking Functionally, a tech talk by Dr. Venkat Subramaniam. Venkat will speak at our 2 Park offices on August 18. More here. Thinking Functionally: Programmers are beginning to rediscover this powerful style of programming.  The prominence of multicore processors and the emergence of multiple languages  on the JVM is reigniting strong interest in this paradigm. In this presentation we’ll look at what functional programming is,  why...

Welcome to the Mothership

HBC Tech JUL 12, 2011

In the summer of 2010, our Ops team was tasked with migrating our production systems from one hosting platform to another and immediately began to take stock of the challenges presented by our tools and processes. At Gilt, we make extensive use of both Cobbler and Puppet for our provisioning and configuration management, respectively. Configuration management software like Puppet is awesome, but manually configuring nodes and maintaining the relationships between...

Gilt Technologie goes Global

HBC Tech JUN 21, 2011

Gilt Technologie is all about leveraging leading-edge technology to build and operate the most reliable and scalable e-commerce platform in the marketplace. However, recently, the organization took on a whole new challenge - maximize our ability to attract the very best in talent world-wide by building out a truly distributed, global engineering organization. To fulfill that goal, we’re heavily investing in our two new software development centers located in Portland, Oregon and Dublin, Ireland. Developing software...

coffee club

HBC Tech JUN 7, 2011

The first meeting of the Gilt Coffee Club: dedicated to improving the coffee culture in our office.

Product Recommendations at Gilt

product HBC Tech JUN 6, 2011

Product recommendations at Gilt work a little differently than they do at other companies.  For example, at Amazon they enjoy the benefit of having a relatively static and large inventory so they can do things like collaborative filter – where you can recommend a product based on what other people have bought or looked at. Gilt is unique because our inventory is in constant flux. The products we have one...

Gilt Tech Talks: Mike Taylor on HTML5 Web Messaging

HBC Tech MAY 26, 2011

Yesterday we were lucky enough to have Opera’s Mike Taylor delivering a Gilt technical talk on the HTML5 Web Messaging Specification. Mike illustrates how messaging makes communication within and between web applications possible and discusses message events and the postMessage() and MessageChannel() APIs. You can see the slides from the talk below.

Gilt Tech Talks: Java -> Scala with the Guardian's Graham Tackley

HBC Tech MAY 12, 2011

Graham Tackley of the was kind enough to deliver the latest in our series of technical talks. Graham discusses the Guardian’s transition from Java to Scala, highlighting both the advantages and difficulties of the migration. You can see the slides from the talk below.

Optimistic Type-casting in Objective-C

HBC Tech MAY 4, 2011

As developers, we often find ourselves dealing with some variant of this scenario: we’re iterating through a collection containing mixed object types, and we’re only interested in objects of a certain type. For example, let’s say we’ve got an NSArray representing desks in a classroom. Each array element corresponds to a specific physical desk, which may or may not be assigned to a student at any given time. If a...

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HBC Tech MAY 3, 2011

Warlock, the client of our charlie_sheen application at Gilt.

Managers, Stay out of the Way!

HBC Tech APR 25, 2011

Successful managers learn how to stay out of the way and let their teams work effectively and independently. Staying out the way doesn’t mean putting your feet up on your desk and playing Angry Birds on your iPad while your team does all the hard work. It means creating an environment where smart people feel empowered to recognize, own and solve problems. Here are some ideas to help you as a...

PuppetNYC Monthly Meetup: 13-Apr-2011

HBC Tech APR 15, 2011

Foreman and Change Management+VCS with PuppetJust so you know, the Systems Administration team here at Gilt is lazy.  We are constantly looking for ways to make our jobs easier, and automate everything possible.   When it comes to having to say, update a package on every server in our sizable network; we respond with, “That just sounds like a lot of work, I wonder if there is something that can do...

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HBC Tech APR 14, 2011

At CodeConf, I gave a quick lightning talk about one of the products of our recent Hackathon. It turns out, naming things is really hard (one of the two hard things in computer science). When we went to name our project, pressed for time, we went for the most topical thing we could think of at the time. Thus, charlie_sheen_service was released to production at about 1 am. charlie_sheen_service has...

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HBC Tech APR 8, 2011

Committing code at 30K feet.

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