Next up in our Employee Spotlight series is developer success lead Eddie Hou, who’s always ready with a creative solution.
Eddie Hou likes people. He likes talking to them, getting them to open up, and figuring out what makes them tick. He’s also an engineer by trade and a problem-solver by passion. That combination of skills makes him perfectly suited for his role at Finch, which requires thoughtful communication, technical trouble-shooting, and reading between the lines to get to the core of any issues that arise. We recently spoke with Eddie to learn more.
To start, can you tell us about your role?
I lead the Developer Success function here at Finch. It’s a technical client-facing, post-sales role that requires being quick on my feet and having in-depth knowledge of the product. To put it simply, I'm a technical resource for our customers. It’s my job to set them up for success right from the start. This actually entails a complicated set of responsibilities, because the challenges that we’re tackling are unknown-unknown types of problems. We are constantly trying to define success and answer tough questions: How do we get customers to continue using our product? What type of problems are they facing? We're working with so many different verticals and personalities, the answers vary from customer to customer, and how we prioritize those wants into our roadmap is very complex.
That sounds like it requires a unique skill set. What did you study in school?
I majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering and added an engineering business minor. I’ve always been interested in commerce and business but my dad encouraged me to study something technical. He would say, "You'll always have a job [as an engineer], and you can always transition to business, but you can't become an engineer if you only have a business degree." I thought that made sense.
What did you do prior to Finch?
I worked at another startup called Moveworks as the first customer success engineer and I helped build the team there. Over the course of that process, we went from a series A company with one or two customers to a series C company with more than 150 customers. Moveworks was valued at $2.1 billion when I left. Once I was done building out processes, my day-to-day became slightly redundant and a bit too structured for me.
What did you take away from that experience?
I think my experience at Moveworks shaped who I am today. It showed me what it took for a startup to succeed and the people that I worked with side by side really made the 12-hour days feel worth it. The group of people that were part of the original cohort were extremely talented and dedicated people, especially my mentors, Gwen and Ahmed. I learned from them every single day - both the skills and the mindset to persevere and push through difficult times and problems. I’ll cherish those memories for the rest of my life.
How did you hear about the opportunity at Finch?
A recruiter reached out to me and that led to a couple of informal conversations with Jeremy and Ansel [Finch’s co-founders]. We spoke about the types of problems that they’re facing and how they’re thinking about the future of this particular space. I was instantly interested in learning more about the team. I think the team determines whether a company's going to succeed more so than the idea itself and I really liked the team.
What was your impression of the team?
I’m a people person yet very analytical so the conversations were interesting, to say the least. It was clear that others at Finch were mission-driven and passionate. They also demonstrated a high level of ownership over whatever they're working on. The reality at Finch is what I expected during my initial interactions: everyone's committed, passionate to create a change, and they're able to push through when things feel challenging.
When do things feel challenging?
Things feel challenging when you’re in the thick of everything. It’s easy to get caught in the weeds of problem solving and lose track of the impact that we’re creating. However, when you zoom out and look at our progress over a month or a year, for instance, it’s significant. It’s rewarding when we acknowledge, "Wow, we increased our customer base by 40% in the last quarter." Those numbers are only reserved for the best-in-class companies and we’re already seeing these results as a 20 people startup.
What do you like most about your job?
I like creating solutions for complex problems. It’s really satisfying when my engineering background comes in handy! I also love building relationships with customers throughout their entire journey. Internally, my co-workers are great to work with and I enjoy watching the company grow. We’ll share stories and learn from one another. These moments will be the ones that we reminisce about a year or two from now.
What do you like best about working at Finch?
Finch has a lot of great qualities; I’ll share three. First is the ability to lean in and contribute to business decisions. Every start-up would say that individual team members have the opportunity to make a huge impact within the company. In my experience, that isn’t always true. Second, there’s a constant feedback loop. Everyone is open to it and we take it very seriously. We have healthy and constructive debates where folks don't get defensive. Lastly, there’s a much better work/life balance compared to my other experiences — by far. Ansel and Jeremy care about people, and they want them to stay for the long haul.
Interested in joining Finch? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions.