Shakudo Advisor Spotlight: Adam Dille

Originally published on Shakudo.io

For Shakudo’s very first advisor spotlight, we sat down with Adam Dille, SVP of Product and Engineering at Quantum Metric.

Adam was introduced to the Shakudo founders through Quantum Metric CEO, Mario Ciabarra. Shakudo didn’t have a product or money at that time and wasn’t even named Shakudo. Seeing the potential in the founders, Adam met and advised them throughout Shakudo’s founding journey. Through his input the product evolved into Hyperplane, an end-to-end MLOps platform for data scientists. Once the product had a skeleton, he gave the Shakudo team an opportunity to pilot the product and Quantum Metric soon became Shakudo’s first customer. Beyond his astute product insights, he has been instrumental in the development of the company by providing valuable insights about the product to potential investors, leading up to Shakudo’s seed round earlier this year. We wanted to capture a glimpse of what makes Adam an insightful and valued advisor of Shakudo.

Adam’s advisory work with us has been impactful from the time before we had a product. It’s one thing to provide advice to a company that’s already growing and in market. It’s completely different to help get a product off the ground, which is exactly what Adam did for Shakudo. The entire Shakudo team is inspired by Adam’s trajectory as Quantum Metric’s SVP of Product and Engineering and by the guidance and support that he has provided from day one. — Yevgeniy Vahlis, Shakudo Co-founder & CEO

Can you tell us little bit about your background?

I love building things. I found my way to software engineering because I fell in love with building with code. Over the years I’ve built a little bit of everything: shrink-wrapped off-the-shelf software, web applications, native apps, infrastructure systems, consumer-facing, enterprise, you name it. As time has gone on, I’ve been able to hold onto the technical craft that I know so well, but I’ve shifted the way in which I apply it, in order to build entire product lines and the organizations that bring them to life. I’ve learned so much over time, not only about the ones and zeros, but about the many little steps and choices that it takes to make a product successful.

What excites you most about Shakudo?

I’m big on ownership and autonomy of teams. I’ve always disliked the idea that someone’s work may need to pass through many disconnected teams before making it into customer hands. Shakudo aims to make Data Scientists more productive and more autonomous by abstracting away the old processes of taking models from a small development environment and scaling them up to work in production. Fewer middlemen means that those Scientists can be more deeply connected to how their work meets the customers’ needs.

What lead you to advise Shakudo from so early on?

It was all about the team. Yevgeniy, Christine and Stella each struck me as brilliant from the moment I first met them. They had also chosen to solve a relevant problem that they were passionate about and experienced with. That combination of strong talent focused on the right problem can really increase the odds of success. Most importantly, I just genuinely enjoyed spending time with them, which made it just feel like a natural fit from the beginning.

What was one of the meaningful moments in your career?

I had a manager who recommended to executive leadership that I move into his position as he moved on to a new opportunity. The way that he spoke for me was so meaningful and so trajectory-changing to my career that I’ll absolutely never forget it.

What energizes you day to day?

I love running into new problems to tackle. I think every engineer has a little bit of that built-in. I can use the same skillset over and over, and as long as I’m solving something new for someone different it keeps me interested and engaged.

Quantum Metric is on-fire and is on a trajectory to be a Dragon — it’s already a Unicorn!. Do you have any advice for other leaders in the tech space who are trying to make their businesses as successful as Quantum Metric?

Focus relentlessly on the customer and everything else will fall into place. If you’re building a product that solves a real and recognized customer problem, you’re focusing on applying that product to generate the desired solution and you’re staying closely connected to your users to ensure that the ROI from that solution is maintained over time, then you’ll succeed. But it’s really easy to go astray in any of those three phases of the product lifecycle, so you have to check yourself often and stay grounded in that customer focus at all times.

Shakudo is a disruptor of the end-to-end machine learning operations (MLOps) space. Hyperplane, Shakudo’s ML platform, integrates multitude of powerful open-source point solutions and creates a unified and user friendly environment. Through Hyperplane, Shakudo offers data scientists and engineers a familiar experience to use the tools they already love, with many of the common engineering and DevOps tasks fully automated and one click away.

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