January 18, 2017

QuickBase Engineering Spotlight

QuickBase is revolutionizing the way people work. The tools they provide enable companies to develop their own cloud-based applications which drive improved work productivity. Headquartered in Cambridge, they have more than 500K users and a presence in over half of the Fortune 100. 

We wanted to learn more about the engineering team and had the pleasure of catching up with Frank Tino, VP of Product Development. Bringing over three decades of engineering expertise, he gave us the inside scoop on what his team is up to!

QuickBase is hiring! Check out its BIZZpage

Jill Gregoriou: You’re bringing over three decades of engineering expertise to QuickBase. What are you most excited about owning the development of a B2B platform helping teams increase productivity and innovation?

FT: I’ve always been fascinated with the challenge of making powerful technology approachable to non-technical people.  And I’ve seen firsthand how successful technology platforms can unlock huge amounts of productivity.  QuickBase blew me away by giving non-technical business users the ability to create powerful database apps.  Our customers run the gamut from small business to the Fortune 500, and QuickBase apps manage everything from a bakery store to the logistics of a major retail chain. 

JG: What are the team’s core values? 

FT: We pride ourselves on being customer-centric and as such our mission is to enable teams to be vastly more productive.  Our walls are adorned with pictures of the customers and personas we serve and we are constantly asking ourselves how we can delight them by delivering customer value even faster. 

JG: How do you view QuickBase’s culture and what qualities do you look for in potential candidates to join your team? 

FT: I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, and got the opportunity to ask him what he looks for when he’s building a team.  His answer very much aligned with my philosophy in that he looks for people with the key skills that can’t be taught, like passion and the ability to make those around them better.  I’m always on the lookout for the same thing--bright engineers who are curious, have a learning mindset, and are passionate about pleasing customers.  I can teach the technical skills, but I can’t teach those key intangibles.

JG: What are some of the cool projects your team is working on?

FT: Well I can’t give away all our secrets, but I can say we are working on taking QuickBase to the next level.  This will involve solving some really challenging problems like making databases perform at scale with an inherently flexible schema and a rich role and permission scheme.  Or designing an interface that lets users more easily build powerful apps that work across all device form factors.  

JG: How does the engineering team stay involved in the Boston tech community?

FT: I encourage the engineering team to be active in the local tech community.  It’s a great way to connect with peers, hear about other interesting technologies, and recruit great talent.  We’re an active participant in MassTLC and we also work closely with many of the local universities.  Next week for example, I am spending the week at MIT mentoring sophomores in a leadership program.

JG: What types of interests does your team have outside of work?

FT: We have an eclectic set of interests on our team and we encourage people to pursue them so they have good work-life balance.  We have musicians and scuba divers, carpenters and marathoners.  We even have a trapeze artist!

JG: Want to dish the inside scoop on some of the perks QuickBase offers? 

FT: Waffles!  Seriously, every Wednesday is Waffle Wednesday where a different celebrity chef serves the whole company waffles (and bacon!).  We also have a rich benefits program that includes fitness reimbursement, four days off a year to volunteer, a generous 401K match and parental time off program.

JG: Complete this sentence for our audience: I love working at QuickBase because… 

FT: It’s trite but I love working at QuickBase because of the people.  We have a team that thrives on different experiences and different viewpoints. For example, one of our recent hires, Nick Vanselow, spent the last three years as a professor of psychology. Before starting at QuickBase, Nick had only 3 months of technical training, but his passion for building awesome customer experiences was clear. The rest of the team fed off his energy and helped him fill in some of his skill gaps. It was a great example of embracing learning and winning together.  We have another team we call the Delight team, led by Kristen Taylor, that takes on the trickiest customer escalations.  They don’t rest until our customers are delighted—hence their name!  We also have some amazing engineers on our team--in particular the work of Matt Greenwood led to a patent application around the way we dynamically model data in relational databases.  I just continue to be impressed with not only the talent of the team but the way they work together and bring out the best in each other.  They make it easy to love working here.

Jill Gregoriou is the Customer Success Manager at VentureFizz. Follow her on Twitter: @JillGregoriou