Tracy Lee is a startup founder and angel investor focused on developer tools. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs with go to market, marketing, development (management) and open source strategies. She loves to talk about discovering tactical ways to go to market, expand sales, and increase customer acquisition through automation.

“Tracy Lee has an innate sense of leadership,” says Simon Cuomo, software engineer at This Dot Labs. “She is able to succeed in any situation and I never cease to be impressed by her experience and knowledge.”

Lee is also a member of the RxJS core team, a Google Developer Expert, a Github Star, and a Microsoft MVP. She spends most of her time in the open source ecosystem, building products and communities in that space.

Tracy is truly an inspiration to those around her and has built an amazing community around the things she does. It brings people together in a way that stimulates growth and innovation. “It is consistently recognized in our industry as a leader in this business,” said Dustin Goodman, director of engineering at This Dot Labs.

After her last exit in 2015, she started a consulting company called This Dot Labs, which serves clients like Stripe, Xero, Docusign, Twilio, Roblox, Google, Cloudinary, Sentry, and more, but also helps startups launch from POC. To implementation.

Goldie Chan: What interests you in technology now?

Tracy Lee: Developer tools get better every day and continue to revolutionize the way we build software. It’s amazing to see the innovation in our space and how these tools are helping developers streamline their workflow, increase productivity, and build apps faster and easier.

I’m particularly curious to see how AI will begin to change the landscape in the developer ecosystem as well. Right now, AI can only go so far as to help get developers out of their situation, or spark ideas about how to code better, but it can’t replace the humans who do that task. But, what will this mean for our future, and how will we be able to use AI to better improve our lives as developers? Watching this unfold is and will continue to be fascinating. We’ve already been blessed with a lot of new tools and better development methods. IDEs that offer code suggestions and auto-completion have become the norm. Real-time error checking has made it much faster to send bug-less code to production, and many great collaboration tools to help with better code management in teams have helped us in the past few years.

The trend these days has also focused on new frameworks and libraries. Developers are starting to enjoy the benefits of these technologies that provide high-level abstractions and easier configuration to speed up development and remove the need for low-level configuration/tasks. Summarizing low-level implementation details allows developers to focus on solving higher-level problems and speeds up the development process.

Chan: What is your career path?

for me: I’ve always been a big believer in doing that. Since my early 20s, I started working at startups in Silicon Valley as a founder/CEO with a focus on marketing. I believe that bootstrapping on the ground is the best way to learn lessons as early and as quickly as possible before growth accelerates. My first startup, Dishcrawl, grew attendance (and people) from 15 cities to 250 cities in one year. It has been intense, fun and rewarding.

After my first successful exit as a startup co-founder, I decided to start my second career as a developer/technologist and started a consulting company focused on web and app development. We’ve been around for 7 years now, and have grown to over 50 developers worldwide. We serve a wide range of clients, including industry-leading companies like Stripe, Xero, Docusign, Twilio, Roblox, Google, Cloudinary, Sentry, and many more. It’s exciting to support both established organizations and help startups from proof of concept to implementation on the development side of the house.

I have also invested in several developer tools startups and have enjoyed mentoring startup founders and helping them accelerate their growth.

My passion for development and community has led me to become a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, where I am able to share knowledge with the broader technology community.

Chan: Who would you love to work with or partner with?

for me: I would definitely like to work or partner with big brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and other famous high-end brands. I have observed many sub-optimal consumer experiences across these brands. Understanding how easy it is for development to improve these consumer experiences, and leaving me confused as to why they aren’t, fuels my desire to help solve their problems (and for me, too, as a consumer!)

It is very easy to correct existing shortcomings and take consumer experiences to new heights while driving revenue growth, enhancing conversions and delivering more unparalleled experiences that can differentiate these brands in the market.

Chan: Describe your personal brand.

for me: My life revolves around my passion for empowering historically underrepresented people, building communities, and making a difference in the world. I try to build inclusive and supportive networks where we can come together, collaborate and uplift each other, creating a sense of belonging and unity.

I strive to provide mentorship, training, and opportunities that provide historically underrepresented people with opportunities. I always strive to promote a culture of empowerment, and inspire us all to become leaders in our fields.

Chan: Who is an Asian or Asian American who has inspired you and your career?

for me: The Asian individuals who have truly inspired me and shaped my career are my parents. From a young age, I witnessed their unwavering work ethic and dedication. They worked tirelessly, often putting in long hours late at night, even taking me to their workplace on weekends. Seeing their commitment to providing care for my sister and me and making sure my education was a top priority had a profound impact on my life.

Moreover, my parents did their best to provide me with every opportunity to succeed. They made sacrifices, saved diligently, and prioritized our education. They sent me to the best schools possible, understanding the value of education, and instilled in me the importance of hard work and perseverance. Through their example, they instilled in me the motivation to work tirelessly to achieve my goals and understand the tremendous impact that dedication and persistence can have on the path to success.

Chan: What lesson would you share with your younger self?

for me: If I could share a lesson with my younger self, it would be to recognize and embrace my leadership abilities early on. Looking back, I realize that it took until my freshman year of college for me to realize my abilities. I would encourage myself to seek out mentorship opportunities and participate in more networking events. In doing so, I was able to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experiences that would accelerate my development as a leader. I would open up greater opportunities for growth and set myself on a more intentional path to success.

Chan: what are you doing now?

for me: Currently, my primary focus is growing This Dot as a company and exploring new ways to empower development teams. We strive to make a positive impact through our consulting services, headcount growth, and legacy systems migration.

At the same time, I am turning my attention toward addressing the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles in technology. I am passionate about empowering women to reach leadership positions and making a difference in the ratio at senior levels.

To achieve this, I actively look for ways to support women in the industry and create opportunities for their advancement. This includes providing platforms, resources, and mentoring opportunities that can enhance their leadership skills and open doors for them to secure more seats at the table. It’s a long journey, and what I’ve decided to spend the next five or seven years focusing on. Change takes time.

Chan: Any career advice for this year?

for me: I recently interviewed Erica Stanley, Director of Engineering at Google, for my Engineering Leadership podcast, and she shared a powerful insight: “Never waste a good crisis.” This resonated deeply with me because we are all going through the same journey, watching the economic climate change. Although circumstances may be challenging, they also provide unique opportunities to invest in yourself and explore uncharted territories that may accelerate your career growth.

Adopting a mentality of continuous learning and development. Take advantage of anything that can help you gain new competencies, expand your understanding, or position you in a competitive market. Crises are always a catalyst for change and innovation. Remember, when one door closes, another opens. Embrace uncertainty with a positive mindset and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
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