5 Minutes With SnapApp’s New VP of Engineering

5 Minutes With SnapApp’s New VP of Engineering

Dan Trefethen 4/18/16

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Continuing our mini interview series that kicked off with the recent announcement of SnapApp adding three new leadership members in SalesMarketing, and Engineering, today we spend five minutes with VP of Engineering, Al Seeley.

Learn about his engineering background, most recently at Zipcar, his philosophy on how to lead teams focused on innovation, and where the future of technology will take marketing.

Q. What does your engineering road to this point look like? 

Before SnapApp, I spent seven years at Zipcar serving as Director of Engineering during their growth years through an IPO and ultimate acquisition by Avis Budget Group. There, I was leading distributed teams that delivered core technology to the stack including web and mobile applications, data/analytics, internationalization, and embedded systems development of technology that is installed in every Zipcar around the world. 

So what does all that mean? We developed the software and technology that makes Zipcars easy to find and use for its members.

Prior to Zipcar, I led engineering for an innovative startup business at Empirix.  My teams launched products and hosted services to manage mission-critical voice and web enterprise applications for customers including Dell, AT&T, Verizon, Avaya, American Airlines, and Bank of America.

Mostly, I’ve gravitated toward smaller tech companies and more entrepreneurial teams within larger organizations, which often have a startup feeling. I really thrive on the challenge to create new products and technologies that accelerate growth. 

Q. What’s the most exciting thing about leading an engineering team?

I believe the best innovations ultimately come from self-directed teams.  My style is to enable these teams with the vision, tools, and processes – then challenge and empower them to deliver great results.

I really enjoy the challenge of building engineering teams with people from diverse background who want to innovate and create great technology. It’s extremely gratifying to mentor team members and help them grow in their careers.

Q. What aspects of SnapApp most appealed to you?

During my first few visits to SnapApp, I was really impressed with the energy level in the open office environment and the passion with which people spoke about the product and the company’s business.  I appreciated the vision for the customer focused product, backed by a technical team that brings a wealth of experience and tenure with the company. 

Finally, I discovered a sense of community among the employees that is essential to a rapidly growing company such as SnapApp.

Q. In just a sentence or two, how would you describe SnapApp’s company culture?

The culture is very fast-paced, transparent, fun, and innovative. Snapsters work hard in an open environment to deliver for our customers, but also take time out to socialize with others at company events like regular lunches, Snappy hour, and a game of dodgeball.

Our company culture will surely continue to evolve as we move to our new Boston office in May.

Q. What do you see as the current obstacles for marketing technology? What’s the future?

Well, I just came back from the MarTech conference in San Francisco. The obvious takeaway from that conference is that marketing technology is booming. There is an increasing number of companies – around 3500 of them – competing in the marketing technology space, from content management to Big Data analytics systems, and many of them are new.

Customers are left with the task of integrating these new technologies with each other or with legacy systems. There would seem to be a great opportunity to drive interoperability standards across products in the marketing technology stack to make adoption of the technology easier. I expect that data security will continue to challenge companies that collect personally identifiable and electronic payment information for marketers.

As for the future, I’m interested in the application of Internet of Things technologies that are able to connect millions of consumer devices such as phones, cars, home appliances, and point of sale terminals.

The information from these connected devices could be aggregated into customer profiles and, using machine learning techniques, deliver intelligent personalized customer experiences –  with interactive content, of course!

Quick Fire Round

Q. Favorite travel destination?

I’ve traveled all around Asia, Europe, and North America but really enjoy leisure time with my family in Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park as one of my favorite spots.

Q. Last movie you really liked?

I enjoyed the The Imitation Game - the story of Alan Turing’s invention and its secret involvement in World War II.

Q. Last album purchased?

With the exception of a Kelly Clarkson album for my daughter, I added the The Beatles 1 album to my playlist a while back.

Q. Extracurricular activities?

I enjoy getting away with my family to travel, hike, and ski; an occasional pickup basketball game with friends; and am an avid fan of my kids' theater, gymnastics, and robotics competitions.

Q. Last book read?

Not including technical books in my collection, I recently finished the Steve Jobs biography and a short read in The Alchemist.

Learn more about our other new team leaders that are taking SnapApp to the next level. 

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