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Building Successful Teams Through Relationships: One Yugabeing’s Perspective

People Stories: Focused on Trust, Relationships, and Outcomes

Daniel Isen

Hi, I’m Daniel Isen, a technical staff member working on YugabyteDB Managed. My interest in software and technology began when I was 12 years old, tinkering with jailbreaking iPods and rooting/flashing custom ROMs onto early Android phones. I pursued computer science courses in high school and then went on to study computer science at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where I completed six internships in various industries and locations. In my 3B semester, I took two courses which really interested me—database management and distributed systems. Around this time, I discovered Yugabyte, a company with a database product that blended my interests perfectly. I interned there in the fall of 2019 and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us about your experience at Yugabyte

When I first arrived at Yugabyte, I worked on YugabyteDB Anywhere (then called Yugaware) focusing primarily on implementing our encryption-at-rest solution in the control plane. I also worked on integrating it with third party KMS (key management service) providers.

From day one, I was impressed by the intelligence, experience, and (most importantly) the kindness of the people that I worked with. At the time, Yugabyte was a small company—around 30 people—so I had many great conversations with people working on different components of YugabyteDB. They had a vast amount of experience building similar products at companies like Oracle, Nutanix, and Facebook, and their expertise made it easy for me to buy into the company’s vision.

After my internship, I was lucky enough to start working full-time at Yugabyte in June 2020. I worked on several projects with YugabyteDB Anywhere, such as high availability (HA), before moving over to start YugabyteDB Managed (our DBaaS) with two other engineers in Spring 2021. As the company and team grew over these last three years, I grew alongside it and now lead a team of engineers working primarily on our task execution framework in YugabyteDB Managed.

How do you associate with Yugabyte’s core values?

Yugabyte has three core values which are:

  • Trust
  • Relationships
  • Outcome

Trust, to me, means working collaboratively as a team. It means having each other’s backs and striving to ensure the company’s success. This environment has helped me feel secure in learning, experimenting, and asking for guidance from more experienced colleagues. This has been immensely helpful in helping me grow my skill sets over the years. On a more personal note, I am in the process of moving to New York City for family reasons and appreciate being trusted to continue working remotely.

Relationships build successful teams. It’s about helping people, sharing knowledge, and having fun working towards a common goal. Just as I have been fortunate to learn from some amazing people here, I have tried my best to pass it forward by mentoring new hires and interns, and helping out where needed.

Outcomes is doing everything we can to ensure success for our customers and users. We work hard to investigate and resolve issues that impact our customers, even if that means burning the late night oil, and provide first-class support. Our customers are paramount to our success and ensuring they succeed is the most important criteria in measuring our own success.

What have you learned so far and how has Yugabyte contributed to your growth?

There are so many things that I have learned that I don’t even know where to start! Looking back over the last three years, some of the things that stand out would be 1) the importance of effective communication, 2) really planning ahead and thinking through multiple solutions to a problem before choosing one thoughtful planning and consideration of multiple solutions to problems, 3) putting the customer first and 4) prioritizing customer needs, 5) focusing on adding value rather than just working hard, 6) trusting my teammates, and 7) managing time and expectations effectively.

How do you spend your free time and are there any passion projects outside of work?

I have many interests outside of work. Since moving to the Bay Area three years ago, I like to explore new things such as restaurants and hiking trails on weekends. I have been learning to play the guitar for the past year and enjoy taking long walks, rain or shine.

Being from Canada, I am of course a HUGE hockey fan (Go Leafs Go!), and so I spend time watching that as much as I can. Finally, I am a huge history nerd, and love to read historical non-fiction books and watch documentaries.

Any advice for your colleagues, new hires, or those looking to join Yugabyte?

I would say leading with empathy is crucial. No matter the situation—personal, professional, or anything in between—we are all human..Remembering this can help anyone achieve their goals. I believe that to my core. We often say we work in a certain industry (software, healthcare, etc), but ultimately, we’re all working with people, and success is a reflection of our teamwork. I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing team we’ve built at Yugabyte and am excited about what’s to come.

If you want to learn more about the work we do and the Yugabeings who make it possible, explore our Careers page. You can also join our community Slack channel, and attend one of our numerous events and webinars to gain insight into our company culture and meet our team.

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