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Why I Joined Skyflow After Building a Team at Google

I left a growing team, path to promotion, massages, and free food as Team Lead and Manager of Developer Relations at Google to join Skyflow. This post explains why I made this decision and why I’m so excited for the future.

I joined Google in 2018 as a Senior Developer Advocate after 7 years of working as the founder and CTO of an HR-technology company. Over the course of four years at Google, I founded developer relations for a new product area, was promoted, and built a team from the ground up. 

Despite being on a path to another promotion and continual investment in growing my team, I decided to leave all the massages, lunches, and amazing teammates to join Skyflow.

So, what motivated me to make this move, what makes Skyflow special, and why was this opportunity too amazing to pass up?

What’s Special About Skyflow?

Despite my success at Google and the love and respect I have for my team and teammates, I’ve always known I’d eventually return to startups. The startup I founded never reached the level of success that I had originally envisioned, and since leaving it to join Google I’ve always felt like I had unfinished business in the startup world.

However, Google is a great company, with many amazing perks and people, so the bar to motivate me to move was very high. Despite this high bar, I made the leap to join Skyflow. So what makes Skyflow so special?

Big Problem and Vision

Every consumer wants to believe that their data is safe and that they have control over how businesses are using it. However, it’s incredibly difficult for many of these companies to secure your user data, which can lead to data breaches. Data breaches not only impact consumers whose personal data is stolen, they also erode consumer trust and impact a company’s bottom line. 

The reason this is a challenge for businesses is that often privacy and security come as afterthoughts once the product is already in use. Prioritization for privacy often comes after a growth phase. At that point, user data is being captured, moved, and replicated throughout the company’s systems, moving from the consumer product to databases, into a data warehouse for analytics, and beyond. Engineers in the company have come and gone, so they lose track of where, why, and how user data is being used.

Additionally, with all the rules and regulations around data governance and residency, privacy and security is a complicated space to wrap your head around. Even a well-intentioned company with a desire to address privacy and security from the start may lack in-house resources and expertise to do so.

Companies want their engineers to focus on building new features for their core products, not building out complex solutions to deal with privacy. Companies and engineers alike want to manage privacy well, but data privacy is a hard problem. But, many hard problems have been abstracted into APIs, like Twilio for communication or Stripe for payments. So, what if privacy had an API? What if creating a privacy-preserving application could be as easy as solving authorization with a service like Okta?

Skyflow is this solution. 

Skyflow is the world’s first zero trust data privacy vault delivered as an API. They are solving a real problem that affects everyone. Its product is universally applicable to every company storing user data, and that is very exciting.

The Time for Privacy is Now

Businesses are collecting more and more data all the time. Between voice devices, smart phones, websites, and facial recognition software, data warehouses are growing incredibly fast. However, there’s also an ever growing number of data breaches, hurting businesses and consumers. Additionally, there are more and more rules and regulations companies must comply with to protect PII, PCI, and PHI data. 

Consumers are becoming more privacy conscious, forcing businesses to recognize and prioritize privacy concerns beyond the pressure created purely by regulations. For example, Signal grew by 25 million users after WhatsApp added a popup informing their users that some of their information is shared with their parent company. Flurry Analytics reported that 96% of iPhone users opted out of app tracking last year after Apple released new privacy control features.

The two-front pressure on companies from both governments and consumers is forcing companies to do a better job managing people’s personal information. 

People shouldn’t have to give up their privacy to use a product, and a customer support agent shouldn’t need to have access to all my personal data just to help me fix my Internet. Companies with limited resources and expertise shouldn’t have to own the responsibility of securely storing user data. Instead, they should rely on an API that provides data privacy as a service, backed by privacy experts.

Skyflow has bundled all of their expertise in the privacy space into a simple API that any developer can use. The need for a product like this is now, and it’s only going to continue to grow.

Incredible Leadership Team

The leadership team is incredible across the board. The CEO, VP of Engineering, CPO, and CMO have an amazing work history in leadership roles at major corporations like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Apple and an amazing track record of success. 

Anshu Sharma, the founder and CEO, has founded multiple companies and been an executive at major companies like Salesforce and Oracle. He’s been at hugely successful companies during their growth phase and knows what it takes to build a big business. And he’s used his insights and experience to become a successful angel investor.

When people of this pedigree come to you with a potential opportunity, you gotta at least entertain it. For me, when I evaluate a career opportunity, I’m trying to optimize for working with great people and choosing what I might be able to learn. I ask myself: are these people that I want to spend my time with? Do they have something to teach me? Are they people that I admire and want to be like?

Skyflow ticked all those boxes. The executives aren’t just incredibly accomplished individuals, but they are also nice people. People that I wouldn’t mind modeling my career after.

Huge and Exciting Challenge Ahead

Skyflow is solving privacy by proposing a new way of thinking about how businesses treat and manage sensitive user data. Instead of treating PII like every other piece of data, it should instead be isolated and managed differently. It must be secured in a zero trust data privacy vault. The vault architecture isolates and protects sensitive data, while keeping it usable.

The data privacy vault delivered as an API is a new idea, a new category of product — and creating a new category presents a big challenge. 

We need to help developers understand how to build with data privacy in mind from the start of the product life cycle, and understand why a data privacy vault is the correct architectural design.

For me, someone who loves computer science, solving problems, serving as an educator and advocate, as well as being an ex-founder, I couldn’t pass up a challenge like this.

Developer-First Product

Similar to companies like Stripe, Okta, and Twilio, Skyflow is a product that’s “built by developers, for developers”. Developer relations and developer marketing are strategically important investments for the company. Having a great developer experience isn’t just a luxury, it’s a must.

As someone who loves empowering developers, it was really important to me to have executive buy-in on the importance of developers before joining as the Head of Developer Relations. This buy-in frees me and my team to focus on execution and owning the challenge of making Skyflow the privacy solution for developers. We have the agency to do what’s right and have strategic impact.

Final Thoughts

Google was a great experience, I met and worked with a ton of super-talented, fun people. However, Skyflow represents something much bigger to me. An opportunity for personal growth, learning from some of the best leaders in the business, and building an awesome program and team from scratch to take on developer education and awareness for a completely new product category.

I’m over the moon excited for this next chapter of my career with Skyflow. We have big dreams and big plans — and if you want to be part of it, we’re hiring across all functions, including developer relations.