Corey Scobie joined Symend in January 2021 as our Chief Technology Officer. Corey is a software design and development expert with over 25 years of experience with the world’s top web players and Fortune 500 companies. For the past 18 years, Corey has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area leading remote technology teams for Chef Software, Akamai Technologies and IBM. Corey has a wealth of experience developing leading-edge technologies from early-stage startup through to scale and acquisition.
Learn more about Corey’s experience building large scale distributed systems, the key aspects he plans to bring to Symend and how he stays up to date with technology trends.
Tell us about your career journey and what led you to Symend.
I was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Alberta with an unwavering passion for the technology scene. In 1994, in the emergence of the commercial internet, my best friend showed me a floppy disc that contained the first graphical internet browser, and we watched the first web pages render. That seminal moment in my life influenced my decision to pursue a career in tech. I ended up working for a venture capital funded, early dot-com era startup, which ignited my love for witnessing early-stage company growth and building companies to scale.
My tech career has led me to travel the world and live in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Norway and now Silicon Valley for the past 18 years. Being a tech leader in Silicon Valley has allowed me to watch early-stage startups blossom in every sector and stay close to the foundational technology movements that are shaping the future of tech.
Prior to Symend, I was the CTO at Chef Software. After Progress Software acquired Chef for $220 million, I was introduced to Symend’s CEO and Co-Founder, Hanif Joshaghani, by board member John Connors. I was instantly drawn to Symend’s strong, timely market fit to tackle a critical social problem and disrupt an industry that impacts millions of consumers globally. Today, Symend is leveraging technology to solve a problem that has never been solved in this way before. We’re on the tip of the sword defining a new category powered by behavioral science, and I couldn’t be more ready to take on the challenge.
Which accomplishments best capture the range of your experience?
I led the technology roadmap and enterprise automation portfolio at Chef Software that served Fortune 500 companies such as Facebook, Ford, General Motors and Nordstrom.
Formerly I was Director of Technical Sales, Services and Support at DataPower, which was acquired by IBM in 2005. In four years following the acquisition, I took the company from $12 million in revenue to $200 million and grew the team by over five times to a total of 400 employees.
When I moved on to Akamai Technologies, one of the world’s largest distributed computing technologys, the challenge was keeping scale considerations top of mind as I built software that needed to be resilient for tens of thousands of companies globally.
What key aspects of your experience do you plan to bring to Symend?
I have a lot of experience building large scale distributed systems for large enterprises such as Verizon and Bank of America. My expertise building technology for major players in key verticals such as telecommunications and financial services will be an asset to Symend as it expands into new markets and verticals in 2021. My vision is to build software that will help Symend’s clients seamlessly integrate disruptive solutions that challenge the way they engage their at-risk customers.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about the path from startup to scale-up as it relates to technology?
Building scalable technology leads to a tough balancing act – it’s important to control the inevitable chaos with implementing structure, process and repeatability while ensuring we don’t stifle innovation.
How do you balance ambitious undertakings with day-to-day execution and delivery?
The best thing you can do for your clients is make them successful, so a high degree of focus is required. The hardest part is building a road map that leaves you enough capacity for day-to-day execution alongside larger structural initiatives. While there is no formulaic answer, I remember the importance of making pragmatic decisions, keeping customers happy and focusing on building the business for scale.
How do you keep your skills fresh and stay up to date with technology trends?
Before COVID-19, I went to conferences, got exposure to different perspectives on technology and collected and analyzed the information. The pandemic has drastically shifted the methodology of data collection, so these days I look to my Twitter feed to discover what’s trending in software development and DevOps. The hints I gain from Twitter prompt me to do further research and discovery to stay up to date with trends that will impact future generations.
How do you give back to the technology ecosystem?
Young tech companies often have tremendously innovative ideas but lack leadership knowledge. I believe the best way to support growing tech startups is through sharing experience and different perspectives – I do this when I can at conferences and through mentorship opportunities.
What is one piece of advice you wish you would have known during your time at previous hyper-growth companies?
When you’re growing at a rapid pace, culture change is inevitable. It’s important to be focused as a leadership team and immerse new hires in the workplace culture. When you scale from a few hundred to a few thousand, bureaucracy creeps in and kills innovation. However, if innovation is an integral part of your culture, you need to be relentless about making room for it through all stages of hyper-growth.
How would you summarize your leadership style?
I am passionate about creating a culture of empowerment and accountability in the organization. As a leader, I believe I add the most value by being as much of an advisor as I am a decision maker at the top while empowering people across the organization to discover new problems and test solutions. I strive to give people opportunities to own and be accountable for decisions, regardless of their role.
What are some fun facts about you that we can’t find on LinkedIn?
- I’ve never had a cup coffee in my life. I rely on a high protein, low carb diet to stay energized
- I have a partner named Casey and two daughters named Madison and McKinley
- I am based in Pleasanton, California