Meet Chad Nuesmeyer, SVP of Engineering and Product at PureSpectrum. Today Chad discusses how he keeps international product and engineering teams aligned and nimble. Learn his interesting path into market research and why you may find him sleeping in a portaledge, climbing a frozen waterfall, or skiing the backcountry before his morning round of calls.
Q: Hi Chad, let’s start with the basics. What was your journey to PureSpectrum?
A: I came to PureSpectrum by way of construction and finance. Growing up I assumed I would follow in the footsteps of my family and work in construction. But in college, I ended up studying finance and learning about venture capital. At some point, a friend and I argued about Nielsen ratings and whether or not there was a better way to do it. To prove that I was right, I started a business and got into market research. My company was eventually acquired and I’ve been working in different aspects of market research ever since, about 15 years.
I haven’t always worked in engineering and product. When I owned my own business, I did everything. But I’ve discovered that my knack is translating business needs to the engineering environment. I love fixing operational deficiencies and being able to solve problems with engineering.
In September I will have been with PureSpectrum for four years. My wife jokes that this is my longest W-2. But she might be right! I love it here. I came on board as a referral of Mark Menig. I’d been aware of him and his work for years, I was really pleased when he asked me to come aboard.
Q: This quarter we are focusing on our cornerstone of Transparency. How do you think that is echoed throughout PureSpectrum?
A: I see transparency in our relationships with each other and in solving problems. One of the things that’s unique to PureSpectrum culture is there’s not a combative experience when bugs happen. It’s really a collaborative process to fix it. Our teams know our platform extremely well. There’s not a lot of finger-pointing. That’s led to a Product and Engineering culture that’s transparent, leading to collaborative solutions. We work in concert with our clients and teams to resolve the issue and advance the platform.
We are also constantly seeking opportunities to engage with users. PureSpectrum has trusted clients who test new platform features and give feedback before official rollouts. To that end, we also listen closely to industry pain points. Even though I am in Product, I am called into sales calls so that I can speak with potential customers directly.
Q: You have team members all around the world that report to you. How do you stay nimble, responsive, and borderless?
A: Yes, we currently have Product Teams in four time zones. We have QA and Engineering in three other different time zones. All told, we spread across 5 different countries and a variety of languages but there are a handful of cultural tasks that we infuse into our teams to make them more cohesive.
The first is that most of us work remotely. When COVID hit, we did not slow down. We saw the wave coming and were prepared. Many of our team leaders had been remote for years leading up to COVID, we knew how to work remotely, and we shared a lot of our personal lessons with the team.
The second is equity and fairness. No one group is asked to constantly time shift. To that end, we use a lot of conference calling technology to shorten the distance between teams. Culturally, we try to be very quick to pick up the ‘phone’ and talk with the team instead of just messaging back and forth.
We also play games! Many of us have never met face to face but games help us be playful, and creative and see other sides of our teammates. We currently have a Battleship bracket sheet running where we will have a final-round shootout between our CS team and our Engineering team. Another team favorite is Codenames. We also have town halls and happy hours, we love to hear about the latest vacation, family outing, or just a crazy story.
And lastly, building on the theme of transparency, our team and the entire company have regular discussions about roadmaps and upcoming deliverables. The plan is known and communicated months in advance. Realities of business require that these plans be flexible to address the needs of the business. Product is quick to involve our engineering teams in these planning and pivots to the schedule. We regularly go from a stakeholder (sales team, client) to an engineering plan in 24-36 hours.
Q: Does the PureSpectrum Product and Engineering team offer professional development to its members? How?
A: One of the difficulties of rapid growth is also the rapid skills expansion that you need from individuals outside of their core wheelhouse. At PureSpectrum we use a number of different methods and tools. We’ve had success with online education like Udemy and Certification courses with partners Google Cloud and AWS. We also hold weekly training on a variety of topics ranging from QA to coding practices, leadership to language, and roadmaps to budgeting.
Most important though, and again building on our cornerstone of transparency, we have a culture of learning from ourselves. We are rigorous in creating post-mortems. When an issue happens, we discuss it holistically and understand what led up to the occurrence. We look at the contributors and we implement further preventive training. At PureSpectrum, we promote a culture of candor. To that end, I make sure my team talks about mistakes and learns from them.
And candor isn’t just from the top down. It is important for people at every level to know ideas and input can come from any level in the organization. We ask for input from everyone and celebrate successful participation.
Q: Outside of work, you are known for having some pretty intense outdoor hobbies. Can you give us some highlights?
A: The one that gets most people is my ice climbing, it’s been a passion for over twenty years. Ice climbing is usually a flash in the pan in most people’s arc through climbing, but it’s just something I have a knack for and I’ve enjoyed it. I have ice climbed in Zion National Park, Banff National Park, and from East Coast Ice to Southwest Colorado. My family and I built an RV so that I could spend more time chasing ice and they could come with me on some trips.
But otherwise, my family and church are big aspects of my life. I live in Utah and am a member of the local club. I have been married to my lovely wife for 19 years. We have 2 wonderful daughters that are coming into their teenage years – they still think Dad is pretty cool.
As a family, we love to be outside and in the mountains. I ski resorts with my daughter. And then, I ski the backcountry with my friends. I’m talking avalanche terrain. I love anything outdoors, fishing, hunting, skiing, rafting, cycling, and traveling in our RV, which is actually a school bus I completely converted.
I’ve also recently taught myself about bees! And we keep them on our property. It’s like SimCity for adults. You’ve got to curate all these aspects of your bee’s life. Surviving the winter is tough, but happy to report my bees did this year. Because of that, we’ll probably get about 6 to 10 gallons of honey this year. We keep some and my girls sell a little locally to friends.
We also have a new family project and are building an off-grid home. The land is heavily timbered and I’ve needed to learn about Chainsaws to clear a portion of the land for the building. It has been fun to learn about this whole new world of lumberjacking. I’m also learning how to weld. Did I mention my wife is very supportive and patient? Anyway, the list really does go on and on…
Thanks, Chad! If you are interested in learning more about PureSpectrum’s product offerings or joining the team, please reach out below.