Roberto has over 15 years of professional experience working on large-scale systems. As VP of Engineering, he focuses on building the highly-available, fault-tolerant systems that power OpenSlate’s platform. Roberto has a wide range of experience in technology from supporting animators and maintaining render farms at DreamWorks’ Animation Technology and R&D departments, being responsible for storing and processing one-of-a-kind data coming from JPL’s — now disintegrated and part of Saturn’s atmosphere — Cassini spacecraft, and automation and build systems at Viacom.
As VP of Engineering, OpenSlate’s Roberto Aguilar shared insight on the Engineering team’s cohesive mindset and day to day experience, as well as his own personal anecdotes and cultural preferences.
What is it that motivates you to come to work every day?
We have a great team that works really well together, and that alone is a big motivator. Our high-level goal is solving interesting business problems with tech, and we have some pretty diverse backgrounds on the team. Each person brings a good amount of experience outside of OpenSlate, which is great, and really helps us approach implementations and tackle problems in a way that avoids issues down the line.
The company always has non-work related things going on that add to the culture and keep work enjoyable!
In your opinion, is there a recurring quality on your team or is it blended of different personalities?
It’s definitely a blend of different personalities, as I said we all have a good amount of diverse experience outside of OpenSlate but it’s serendipitous because we are able to commonly agree on a right way to do things. Also, something we have always had in common is that we don’t like tech for the sake of tech, but because it is solving a problem that’s easier for computers than it is for humans. In certain places and companies, tech dictates the business but in reality tech should facilitate the business, and that’s how we use it at OpenSlate.
What kind of personality traits thrive in your department as opposed to others?
At OpenSlate and on the tech team, self-directed people and self-starters definitely thrive; people who take ownership in the product that they’re working on and who are enthusiastic in making a particular feature happen. Our team is very collaborative and if any part of a product breaks, we are definitely all on it to ensure it succeeds.
With a number of people on our team a common theme I see is that good enough isn’t good enough. We’re always looking to make things better.
What does the tech team think about on a day to day basis?
On a daily basis, we think about what we’re going to code and how it fits with not only the rest of our material but more importantly the business itself. Top of mind for me is making sure the team isn’t getting bogged down performing repetitive tasks … that’s what computers are for! Process improvement is something we are working hard at, especially as we add more people to the team.
We’re actively striving to bridge the gap between the business side of what we’re doing and what the business needs in order to deliver products and have happy customers.
Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you would know: that my favorite book is George Orwell’s 1984. It fascinates me that almost 70 years ago, Orwell described a Dystopian future that has come to pass today and depicts our present world perfectly.
What was the most memorable concert you’ve attended?
The first one that comes to mind is a Gotye concert I went to a few years back. It was at the Santa Barbara Bowl and there was a massive gong on stage, when Gotye would hit it, it resonated through the entire stadium — I mean it was a small venue, so when he hit it it literally shook you.