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Introducing Equivalent to Magic: A Podcast

  • October 15, 2020
  • by Quentin Clark, Steve Herrod

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Arthur C. Clarke

We’ve all experienced that moment of pure wonder when we’ve seen a transformative technology for the first time. For some people, that spark might have happened the first time they held an iPhone or engaged driver assist and let the car do the navigating.

Or maybe, if you’re more like us, it was the first time you saw a clustered system continue to function even when one of its machines failed or when your team booted Windows on a fresh chip architecture of their own design. We’re all about the magic that happens far down the tech stack that enables so many of the products and services we enjoy and rely on.

Equivalent to Magic is a podcast celebrating the slightly-less-frequently-sung heroes who are building the technologies and platforms that make those a-ha! moments possible for the rest of us. In each episode, we’ll go deep with product and engineering leaders from companies like Slack, Facebook, Uber, Dropbox, Intuit, and Instacart to learn how they dreamt, designed, and built their platforms to scale, delighting billions of people along the way.

We won’t just focus on the wins like all the hockey stick growth these platforms are known for or some wildly successful product launches. From conversations like these, the real learning comes when you go back and dissect the challenges and, in some cases, the failures that these teams have faced over time. There’s been so much meaty stuff to dig into with these folks: Managing teams that have had to scale ridiculously fast, triaging disasters both natural and software-based, and really getting into what it feels like to be building experiences that deeply impact the way we all work and live.

Join us for the first season of Equivalent to Magic, where we kick off with an interview with Thuan Pham, the former CTO of Uber. We’re excited to share these stories with you. Let us know what you think and if there’s a product or engineering leader you want to hear from on future episodes.

— Steve Herrod and Quentin Clark

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