Interesting Stats about SmartThings (the Company)

(Col Hack) #1

So I’ve been poking around LinkedIn the other day and stumbled across SmartThings company profile. What immediately caught my attention is that out of 39 people who associate themselves with SmartThings, 17 identify themselves as engineers (44%) and 15 (!) as either executives or directors (38%). Out of those 15, five are in charge of engineering - CTO and four (!) VPs of Engineering. My goodness! Why on earth a company with less then twenty engineers needs four VPs of Engineering? That’s what I call top-heavy: too many generals commanding a too small of an army. No wonder stuff takes forever to complete.

I’ve been involved with several Silicon Valley start-ups with headcount under 50. There was at most one VP of engineering and one director or a chief architect. But four VPs? Makes me wonder if proximity to Washington, DC has something to do with it. :slight_smile:

(Ben Edwards) #2

Lending some inside info to this:

All of our VPs and Directors are very hands on in the VERY flat organization that is SmartThings. Even our CTO writes code. Don’t let titles deceive you - they mean different things at each organization and we don’t put much stock in them here anyway. There are actually 23 people - or nearly 60% - (I am not counting the CTO) who routinely code (as in every day) on various parts of the platform. We have a lot of moving parts to this whole thing, including, hardware, firmware, 2 mobile apps, a web-based IDE/API site, multiple websites including this site, the main site, a support site, and a shop, not to mention the entire cloud platform. I content the shear size of the undertaking we are in the midst of is why things don’t always go as fast as we would like. I would love to see you point out other companies that move faster, though. I am proud of our velocity and progress.


(Col Hack) #3

Hey Ben,

Thank you for your reply and hope you didn’t take my comment personally. I totally appreciate what you’re up against in terms of technical challenges. And although I’ve been an outspoken critic of certain aspects of your design, I think that you and your team have done truly remarkable job creating a user-programmable, cloud-based automation platform. It still needs a lot of love, but its potential is hard to overlook. Maybe that’s why I (and many others in these forums) feel impatient and sometimes frustrated that certain key features are missing or don’t work as expected. There’s a huge laundry list in the Designers forum that has not been addressed since last August.

I also believe that most of your user base at this point in time are HA enthusiasts, hobbyists and tinkerers, who would rather see small incremental improvements than wait 6 month for the next “big” release. I’m sorry to rub it in, but the iPhone app has not been updated for over a month and Android app is in even worse shape. I sincerely hope that SmartThings will succeed as a company and will become “The Next Big Thing”. And we, as your customers and users are here to help.

(Ben Edwards) #4

We love the passion from our community - both the love and the “tough love”. We will worry when we only see apathy. Our goal with App updates is to do them at least monthly. With the holidays and CES now behind us we should be able to get into that rhythm soon. Going to go look at the designers laundry list now :slight_smile:

(Todd Wackford) #5

I think he meant Developer’s Laundry List…

And if you’re a one-man start-up, your usually the:

  • President of Engineering, and
  • President of Finance, and
  • President of HR, and
  • President of Custodial Services, and, and, and!

The last start-up I was at was the same way with titles (lot’s of VP’s and Directors). In the beginning you didn’t make much. But, you had a prestigious title. After the company grew and true management tiers were installed, the structure normalized. Funny thing though, when we were all VP’s we were all hands-on and having fun doing it. Once we built the Manager > Supervisor > Labor structure under us, it became a job and we sat in meetings all day.

I’ve met a lot of the ST people and they are all VP caliber. They’re dedicated and committed to making this barely one year old company, to be the best-in-class in this crazy exploding industry.