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Navigating the Rollercoaster: From Rapid Growth to Unwinding with Tracie Hlavka

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Etienne is thrilled to sit down with Tracie Hlavka, former CTO of Flyhomes, to discuss the tumultuous journey of rapid scale and the poignant process of winding down a company. Tracie reflects on her experience navigating the job market amidst layoffs and shifting funding landscapes, shedding light on the challenges of finding the right fit in a tough market.

Tracie and Etienne also delve into the complexities of managing a tech team during rapid growth and downsizing, highlighting the delicate balance between building scalable systems and adapting to changing circumstances. Tracie shares insights into the intricacies of hiring and team organization, emphasizing the importance of aligning technology with business objectives and fostering a culture of resilience.

The conversation also touches on the emotional toll of layoffs and the significance of empathetic leadership in times of transition. As Tracie explores her journey of self-discovery and career exploration, she also reflects on the lessons learned from the book Designing Your Life and the value of embracing possibility amidst uncertainty. Join Etienne and Tracie as they navigate the highs and lows of the tech industry, offering valuable insights for CTOs and aspiring leaders alike.

Tracie Hlavka
Tracie HlavkaCTO / VP Eng / Tech Leader
Deeply people focused technology leader. I love building and scaling teams, creating the conditions that bring out the best in each person and the team. By creating a sense of purpose for the team and individual, people are more connected to their work, the business and each other.

Time Stamps:

[1:59] – Tracie finds the current market tough, especially for series B/C startups and consumer-facing ventures.

[3:44] – Tracie sees a challenging cycle in rapid scaling, grappling with evolving processes and clinging to past achievements.

[6:21] – Hear how Tracie finds rapid scaling exhilarating, despite its challenges, embracing the process of hiring and growth.

[8:21] – Tracie relishes the challenge of building systems and teams to support rapid company growth.

[10:59] – For each hire, Tracie conducts around ten interviews, with approximately 100 applicants for consideration.

[13:30] – Tracie argues that hiring can initially be inefficient, requiring time for new hires to integrate and become productive.

[16:57] – Tracie advocates for yearly adjustments in team structure to match business needs, balancing deep expertise with innovation.

[20:02] – Managing code boundaries and team dynamics becomes challenging when splitting teams to match organizational growth.

[23:40] – Tracie points out that educating about realistic technology expectations involves managing the desire to scale prototypes instantly.

[24:44] – Tracie argues for the importance of handling layoffs with empathy.

[26:24] – Adapting to rapid changes requires adjusting systems.

[29:35] – Tracie shares that she found solace in taking time off and exploring the book Designing Your Life to navigate career choices.

[30:49] – Exploring alternative scenarios and milestones through exercises fosters openness to new possibilities and insights.

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