Terry Hardie, Senior Operations Engineer
Most Recently Spotted: at his desk, with a large, inflatable killer whale suspended above his head
Strangest Experience: that time a wild killer whale nibbled on his toes
Terry Hardie is the Senior Operations Engineer at Instart Logic, maintaining and growing the content streaming network. A native of New Zealand, Terry has extensive experience in software programming and design, as well as building and maintaining complex networks. Outside of work, he is deeply passionate about orca whales and often dedicates his time to research work and expeditions.
Where were you before Instart Logic?
I was working at a startup called Contendo, and we were acquired by Akamai. When that happened, I quickly grew bored of the work at Akamai. I began to feel like a small cog of a large machine, and my job stopped being challenging. Even though Akamai offered enticing incentives for me to stay, I wanted to invest my time somewhere where I could work with interesting technology, be challenged, and have a chance to be hugely successful. After thorough research, I chose Instart because this is the place I can accomplish these goals.
Did you consider any other career opportunities?
When I walked away from Akamai, I knew that whatever I chose as my next job would have to be an investment in something I really believe in. There were definitely a lot of other opportunities I could pursue - for example, I was actually approached by Disney and offered a position as an Imagineer. I turned it down simply because Disney is another large corporation, and you can fairly accurately predict where they will be in the next few years. There's no chance of hitting it big there.
That's amazing! Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of your work?
I'm a huge whale fanatic, and I've actually been involved with several killer whale research expeditions. In 2001, I was part of a team that went up to Iceland to work on the rehabilitation of the whale from the movie, Free Willy. Just a few weeks ago, I was working on a project with GoPro, which is interested in making a mini-documentary about orca whales.
Wow! One last question — do you have a hidden talent?
Kyle Gentry, Director of Corporate Sales
Most Recently Spotted: Perched on his grey couch next to his lookalike bobble head — also perched on a grey couch.
Claim to Fame: Three-time contestant on a Japanese game show.
Kyle Gentry manages a high-caliber team of sales professionals while helping to win new accounts. His passion for startup culture brought him to Instart Logic, where he has achieved both personal and company-related milestones. Kyle, a former varsity golf player at Stanford University, now applies his competitive sports attitude to closing major deals with some of Instart Logic’s largest customers.
What’s great about working for Instart Logic?
That it is so multifaceted. I have the opportunity to contribute not only to Sales, but to the development of the overall organization as well. In this role, I have responsibility to influence and shape the growth of our sales team and support these talented individuals, and I find that extremely rewarding. It is extraordinary to watch them come into their own and achieve their potential, and I feel lucky to be working with them.
From a sales perspective, when you came to Instart Logic, what stood out to you about the solution set?
Most of us in sales prefer--greatly prefer---to sell a solution that we can personally understand and relate to. The problems that Instart Logic solves are universal, and the company mission resonates with the sales team. In many cases, I’m a customer of our customers, so when our sales team goes prospecting, we can pursue companies that we are familiar with. It’s tremendously gratifying to see our solution make a positive impact with our customers. We not only improve their application response times, but ultimately their business metrics.
It sounds like you found the right company!
Yes, without a doubt. Only a small percentage of startups will be truly successful, and a strong indication is when investors of the highest caliber come back for multiple rounds of investment. Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, and other Instart Logic backers are known for choosing the most promising new technologies, startup companies, and entrepreneurs. Their support is significant.
What advice would you give to someone joining the Instart sales team?
It’s ok to not know everything. Have an understanding of which areas you don’t know, and maintain your hunger and thirst to learn. Pull aside an engineer or someone on the Product team to go to lunch with you. Instart Logic is unique in that way. Here you have access to amazingly talented people who have a passion for the product, are ready to share their knowledge, and can help you learn.
What's your hidden talent?
Mehrdad Reshadi, Software Architect
Most Recently Spotted: making an espresso and snacking on pistachios in the kitchen
Favorite Topic: the manifestation of Darwinian evolution in all things
Mehrdad Reshadi works on the R&D team as a Software Architect, overseeing the development of streaming optimizations. He received his PhD at UC Irvine from the School of Information and Computer Science, and has over 25 publications in the field of computer science, and more than 15 years of experience solving tough, brain-twisting, world-impacting problems in software and hardware.
Before you joined the team at Instart Logic, what were you doing?
Before Instart Logic, I worked at Qualcomm, where my focus was to make browsers on multicore mobile devices as fast and power efficient as possible. While there, I observed that individual browser optimization had reached a point of diminishing returns, and not much more could be done, especially in cases where application behavior crippled browser optimization. That suggested strongly that it was time for a radical, unexpected technology solution to emerge and carve out improvements in new ways.
What excites you about Instart's technology?
Our teams are constantly examining every aspect of speeding up application delivery for new possibilitie - we take nothing as set in stone. An example of that: we focus not only on fast application delivery but also on content optimization for better user experiences. I'm not referring to code changes in the page or application, because our approach makes that unnecessary. We've built a new category, Software-Defined Application Delivery (SDAD), where we place a sophisticated compiler in the content delivery path to speed up performance for the end user waiting at the browser. By the way, some conversations around our espresso machine have triggered innovative, exciting new developments. The open atmosphere, and the freedom to bring real innovations, have drawn brilliant researchers and experts to our R&D team.
What did you find most attractive about working here?
If you look at the life cycle of startups, there are three stages. There are the "newborn" startups that are in a rush to push out a product and prove themselves — here you have high risk and high stress. On the other side of the spectrum, there are companies leaving the exciting startup phase, where it's hard to make big contributions. Instart Logic is in between, in the Stage Two sweet spot, where we've proven our technologies work so well they can be considered breakthrough, yet there is a great opportunity to contribute to the long-term goals of exciting products, including solutions nobody has yet contemplated.
Do you have a favorite work perk?
Every quarter, everyone receives an allotted personal budget for "office improvement," and the cool thing is people have in several cases chosen to collaborate and pool their resources to buy awesome office perks of their choice. In our short history, we've already acquired a massage chair, a video game system, espresso machines, and more!
What kind of advice would you give to someone who is applying for a job here?
Remember to focus on strong fundamentals. The current tech trends and "hot, in-demand" skills are ever-evolving and shifting. For an engineer, a strong understanding of fundamental computer science skills is essential in order to innovate on the cutting edge. Bring all your discipline, training, and creativity to bear here.
Clint Snyder, Engagement Manager
Most Recently Spotted: Handcrafting recycled hardwood wine crates into fine furniture in his garage workshop
Desk Accessory: an extensive collection of hot sauces and raw honey
Clint Snyder works on the Technical Services team as an Engagement Manager, and is responsible for a smooth and seamless onboarding process for customers. With his unique background as a college football player from Stanford, Clint joined Instart in Summer 2013, and has made major contributions to the growth and development of his team.
We had a chance to chat with him about his unique background as a football player at Stanford, his career development at Instart Logic, and his hobby of woodworking!
So, what perspectives from being a college football player do you bring to work at Instart Logic?
When I started playing for Stanford, they were one of the worst football teams in the country. My first year there, the team won just a single game the entire season. By the time I left, we had completely turned the program around. It was a great experience because I was able to help build something notable from the bottom up. One reason I was drawn to Instart is that I saw a similar opportunity. I was one of the first sales hires and have seen incredible company growth after just one year here. The perspective I carry over from collegiate football is that it's great to come into the arena and do the unexpected — win against the overwhelmingly favored competitors.
How has your career developed in the year that you've been here?
I started here as a Sales Development Representative (SDR), but I was open to exploring different roles and taking on more responsibility. My manager recognized this and as the company grew, I had the opportunity to try some new roles that were created. Among them was the position of Engagement Manager, and that turns out to be a great fit for me, so that's where I am now!
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
In the last couple of years, I started making furniture out of recycled wine crates. I was inspired when I saw someone throwing away nice hardwood crates and the idea hit me: build something out of them, using as much of the original crate as possible. 3 days later — I came out with a coffee table!
I heard one of your pieces can be found in our headquarters?
Yeah, the third project I worked on is a bar that's actually in the office now — we use it during our Friday happy hours. It's got wine glass hangers, different compartments in the body, and some racks on the bottom. I's fun work, and I think everyone enjoys it.
Awesome and original! Lastly, do you have any advice for young professionals looking for a role at Instart Logic?
Coming into a startup environment, or any sales situation, keep in mind that you're not going to win every time. You distinguish yourself by how you react when things don't go your way. There will be times when you're stressed and have more responsibility than you might want on a particular day, but our team needs you to stay focused and aiming at our goals. Along with that, there's excitement in knowing that anything can happen, and there are significant personal rewards when you consistently give your full effort.
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