Sorin Dumitrescu: “The value of a team is greater than the sum of its parts”

Sorin Dumitrescu: “The value of a team is greater than the sum of its parts”

At Bunnyshell, we’re not only focused on building a product but also improving or creating the technology that makes our product possible. Ultimately, our goal is to become the reason why SMEs are able to keep their applications online.

As you can imagine, a vision as ambitious as this also needs a great team behind it, and for many startups, this means having the best engineers. And we agree – having the best of the best in your team is a huge advantage. But in our experience, to build a great product and the business around it takes more than that. You need people who will go above and beyond their job requirements and daily tasks, and in that regard, we couldn’t be prouder of the team behind Bunnyshell.

Q: You’ve been part of quite a few startups now – what do you love most about working in a startup?

I absolutely love the energy within a startup. The team needs to move fast and iterate quickly towards optimal solutions. No time is spent on non-essential things, and everything is geared for maximum outcome. You always need to be able to turn the ship around fast.

I also like that a fast-paced startup has smart, passionate people who are driven to solve issues outside their direct scope of work (aka “caring”).

And last but not least, one’s impact is very tangible, as the results of your work can rapidly be seen.

Q: You’ve recently joined the Bunnyshell team – what inspired this choice? Why did you choose Bunnyshell?

First of all, the product is amazing, and I see enormous potential in it becoming a real game-changer in the DevOps industry. While doing so, people will definitely have accelerated growth on multiple facets, and this is an immensely rewarding thing to experience (for both self and colleagues).

Second, the team that Bunnyshell already had when I joined completed my set of prerequisites that things will unfold as predicted.

Q: What achievement are you most proud of? Why?

I’m a very constant type of person, and I believe that results come long-term, based on sustained work. There have been a few highs (and lows) throughout my career, but I wouldn’t say something specific was the thing that I’m most proud of.

Long-term, I have a few things that I’m proud of:

  • the contribution I’ve had in building efficient development teams, in terms of both process and people
  • the influence I’ve had in some of my colleagues’ amazing professional growth
  • striking the right balance of quality and speed based on business needs.

Q: What’s your favorite product / feature you’ve worked on? Why?

Some of the most satisfying work that I’ve done is related to performance optimizations, both code-wise and infrastructure-related. This is what ultimately led me here to Bunnyshell.

Q: How important is the culture of technology to you?

Obviously, technology really helps us in our daily life. So many things became way easier through technology, and others became outright possible (as they were previously not). Therefore, I am a big fan of employing technology where it makes sense and employing the right technology – meaning not to complicate things.

Besides that, personally, I am a tech enthusiast – I enjoy almost all gadgets, home automation and really like integrating things (hardware and software) for fulfilling a purpose.

Q: What are you passionate about in the technology space?

Efficient web-based applications. By “efficient,” I mean fast-enough applications, but also cost-effective to run. This is also one of the factors which have made Bunnyshell this appealing to me.

Q: How do you deal with the unexpected? (bugs, crashes, downtime, network unavailability that you didn’t see coming or were not in your control)

I generally deal with the unexpected in two stages:

  1. identifying and applying the immediate action required to fix things ASAP
  2. performing a root cause analysis to figure out why it happened, what we didn’t consider, and finding a permanent solution that will prevent similar or related issues from arising again.

I also have the general mindset that every possible issue can be foreseen. Because in almost all situations, they can. It’s just a matter of efficiency: time spent to prevent the issue vs. the risk of the issue arising. So I generally try to think of what can go wrong and weigh the risks (probability and impact). Based on this, a more defensive approach is needed or not.

So whenever an issue that was not appropriately handled arises, I try to re-analyze what else we missed and might not fit into our previous assumptions.

Q: What do you think the future of DevOps is? Where would you like to see Bunnyshell?

The market conditions impose automation to be in place, as DevOps specialists are already very hard to come by, and the demand is outgrowing the supply rapidly, so many companies are already performing this transition towards automation, and many more are thinking of it.

When it comes to Bunnyshell, I see the future us as a crucial player in the DevOps segment (top 5 most recognizable companies), helping tens of thousands of SMEs and developers to have (and keep) their applications online.

Q: In your opinion, what does it take to build a good technical team? And how important is it for the success of a product?

Bunnyshell is a very technical product – technology is what we actually sell, the product. So for us, having the best possible team is paramount.

Building a great team is really hard work, and I believe that all good things emerge from having the necessary core team and the right context.

The core team must be composed of team players who care about the product well beyond the job’s minimum requirements. Hard skills are obviously important, but they can be taught; soft skills, on the other hand, not so much… I truly believe that synergy is a value every team should pursue. For me, the fact that the value of a team is greater than the sum of its parts was proven time and again. And achieving synergy within a team requires every single member to give out his/her best while always keeping in mind the common goal that it has, plus having a continuous desire to grow.

Context is the second component that I mentioned, and it refers to defining the set of rules within a workplace, but in an informal way, by providing people with clear desired behaviors to have in various situations, thus setting boundaries for what’s expected and what’s not – and this is best done through example and interaction.

E.g., what to do when you screw up something. For us, it’s signaling problems as soon as possible (as they tend to only get bigger with time passing), adopting a detached mindset, then objectively and blamelessly analyzing the problem and coming up with a solution. Or – not to look away when you spot an unrelated issue while investigating something; or – offering to help a non-technical colleague (in need of help) if you happen to overhear a conversation while passing by the hallway.
This set of behaviors ultimately builds culture.

Q: How do you translate your ideas and vision into terms your team can get behind?

I always try to lay out the benefits for the users. This answers the crucial “why are we doing this?” question. And I try to take on multiple perspectives, e.g., time saved, complexity reduced, convenience, etc.

Having the people that actually build the product understanding what’s being solved is monumental – this way, they can contribute actively and end up with better solutions for the users.

Ultimately, products are built for users, and if what is being built truly helps them, everybody wins.

Q: Do you have any other “tech” hobbies? How do you spend your free time?

Nowadays, I spend most of my free time with my family (I have two absolutely amazing kids). Fortunately, activities here vary plenty, so there’s no time for boredom.

I also regularly read on both tech & management topics.

As for other tech hobbies, I did some Arduino-based projects back in the day, including a robot and some home automation more recently, but nothing spectacular.