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Photo by Todd Diemer

When people ask me what a VP of Engineering does, I like to reference the analogy Mark Suster used in a blog post clarifying the difference between a CTO and VPE:

VP’s of Engineering are essential to making sure the trains run on time.

Having been in this role for a while now, I’d expand that by saying:

VP’s of Engineering are essential to making sure the trains run on time and identifying the best way to lay down tracks.

If the CTO knows the destination, the VPE is identifying the route to get there.

Driving the Trains

Before we unpack what a VPE does, it is essential to understand the different roles within engineering leadership. …

I know what you’re thinking. Why does this need a blog post? Can’t I simply use ‘min-width’ and ‘max-width’ media queries to isolate out the iPad Pro for custom styling? The answer is maybe.

For a lot of responsive websites, you can rely on the browser’s width to make a website respond intuitively based on the device’s browser dimensions. When you want to have custom expectations based on the device type, however, it becomes more nuanced.

The best example of this is the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro has browser dimensions (1366/1024) that are very similar to common desktop dimensions (1280/800), which can make the management of CSS breakpoints tricky as there will be overlapping breakpoint widths. …

It’s difficult to explain my set of responsibilities without understanding the context of my role within our engineering team.

I’m responsible for thredUP’s Web and Mobile Engineering Teams. As a result, I work with our product, design, and marketing teams very closely.

Our engineering team also has a VP of Engineering who is responsible for thredUP’s Operations Engineering Team. He works very closely with our COO, VP of Analytics, and our merchandizing team.

Our engineering team does not have a conventional org. chart. Our VP of Engineering and I both report directly to our CTO. That might seem strange to some, but the intention is to position our engineering leadership team such that engineering leaders are directly interfacing with business units within the company that can leverage our engineering strengths in terms of competencies to maximize efficiency and output. …


Dan DeMeyere

VP Engineering @ thredUP

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