Digibee Employee Highlight Series: Rodrigo Lara, Head of Project Management, Brazil
I sat down with Head of Product Management and rockstar bassist (my words, not his) Rodrigo Lara, for an engaging discussion about the present and future of Digibee from the perspective of one of its earliest employees.
For Rodrigo, the choice to work at Digibee was deliberate. His career had been primarily at big IT companies, and his current company was at a crossroads – they were being acquired. While he benefited professionally from the resources larger companies could offer, he often felt hindered to enact change, improve workflow, or bring new ideas to the table. He knew two of Digibee’s co-founders, Rodrigo Bernardinelli and Peter Kreslins, from previous work experiences and was intrigued with what they were doing. After discussing Digibee with them, he knew Digibee was the perfect next step for his career. The chance to help build something, to contribute to Digibee’s growth, to structure processes from the ground-up, and to be challenged every day, was just the opportunity he was looking for.
Life at Digibee
As Rodrigo approaches his 4-year work anniversary, he still talks about Digibee with a sparkle in his eye, and says it has been “quite a ride!” He really enjoys the flexibility he is afforded to propose new approaches and solutions and to make changes to processes. Rodrigo enjoys the recurrent problem-solving challenges, saying “if something isn’t working, we jump right in and change it, try something new. If that works, awesome, if it doesn’t work, we keep trying. We always have the creative liberty and freedom to adapt our processes.” As a member of a newly expanding team that is fleshing out our preliminary processes, I find this approach really encouraging.
Unless you’re very lucky or extremely green, you’ve probably had a poor manager at one time or another. While it’s easy to see what traits lead to bad management, it’s sometimes equally easy to overlook what traits define a good manager. As a manager now, Rodrigo credits his upbringing to providing him with what he sees as essential management skills - transparency, honesty, and communication. Rodrigo’s parents subscribed to honest communication with him and included him on important family discussions and issues, both good and bad. “They always took the time to really explain situations to me, to give the reasons behind the decisions they were making and make sure I had awareness of what was happening.” That experience has been incredibly invaluable in laying the foundation for how he relates to people and his team. He realized that always being transparent about the circumstances and making sure the team knew the reasoning behind decisions made the more difficult or uncomfortable conversations easier to navigate. Providing the complete picture of a situation also allows for the most complete solution to the problem.
The Future Ahead
For Rodrigo, the potential at Digibee is limitless. He loves that he joined a company that can solve a problem that everyone has – finding the right integration solution for their business. “We are doing something different from everyone else - we have a huge opportunity to hit the ground running. The problem we are solving is universal - but we found a different way of solving it. We have the opportunity to provide this kind of solution to very different customers, different industries, but it’s a generic problem - we have a creative solution.”
One of the challenges we face is changing the perception in the integration market, particularly in the enterprise realm. Rodrigo wants companies to understand that “these are complex environments with different ecosystems. This is a developer-oriented tool: even though it simplifies a lot of things for the developer, we need a developer to make it work…this simplifies the developers lives, so they can focus on complex, value-adding tasks, like specific algorithms, not worry about connecting to databases and things like that. They can invest their time in creating new things.” Digibee’s integration platform affords developers the freedom to do that.
As Digibee continues to grow, Rodrigo emphasizes the importance of remaining agile (just like Digibee’s product!) and “growing without breaking.” Rodrigo was one of the first 20 employees, and Digibee has expanded to close to 350. He wants to see us continue to create a growing internal structure that includes process elasticity and embraces all our differences across our teams, locations, mentalities, cultures, and backgrounds. This takes a lot of planning and agility, but he believes that Digibee is up to the challenge.
Besides the impact Rodrigo has already had on Digibee - one of his future goals is to be at the forefront of helping our customers determine the right solution for the problem they are trying to solve. Working with a lot of technically-minded clients, Rodrigo has found their instinct is to converge to the solution, but Rodrigo wants to change that conversation. He sees Digibee as being better positioned to be presented first with the problem and given the creative freedom to explore solutions, present options, and essentially provide the ideal resolution.
Balancing Work & Life at Digibee
Due to the pandemic, some of Rodrigo’s favorite hobbies, namely hiking and playing the bass guitar with a band, were on a bit of a hiatus. But, he has recently got back on the trail and has been hiking again - and, even better he says, is sharing that experience with his two children. It has been awesome for him to see that his daughter especially has developed a real proclivity for it. Rodrigo is also currently working to put together a new band, focusing on mostly cover music, and some new music, when possible. As a singer myself, I completely understand the deficit you feel when you can’t perform music regularly. Rodrigo has discovered a new interest to be a fan of - his teenage son is training and competing as a go-kart driver. Rodrigo found he loves to “tag along” at the track and watch his son learn this fascinating motorsport.
I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to keep meeting new (to me) Digibees, like the incredible Rodrigo, and seeing the company through their eyes. Keep reading our employee highlights to learn more about this fantastic team of people working to bring Digibee’s innovative enterprise integration solution forward in the US and globally.