Process and Politics of a Company Merger: Robert Stewart with Castlight
Today we welcome Robert Stewart on the show.
Robert is in the midst of a merger with his company, Castlight. This is very exciting news for us at Gistia because we love having the opportunity to explore a new topic here on our show.
In this episode we discuss the overarching questions of what a merger is and what it means for Castlight as we dive in to the friction points that arise during the process.
Carlos: Alright, Robert, thank you so much for coming on the show it’s been a long while coming. I’m very excited to have you here at Tech People. How are you?
Robert: Doing great. Thank you so much for inviting me to come on your podcast. I also have been really looking forward to it as well.
Carlos: Alright, well it’s my pleasure to have you. I know we’ve has some ups and downs getting this recorded. One of the good things that people may be listening to the show are now going to enjoy maybe as much as I did is that we got to meet in person almost by coincidence, because I wasn’t sure what was going on at that time, but we’re going to talk some of that story of. It will make sense after the end of this episode, but we got to meet in person. That was pretty cool.
Robert: Yes, really fantastic.
Carlos: Alright, so just to get into the meat of it. Robert, tell me a little bit about yourself and what it is that you do at Castlight.
Robert: Sure, so I grew up in South Mississippi. Found myself out in Houston at Rice in college, my degree is in Physics and Philosophy. When you get a degree, at least at that time, when you get a degree in Physics, you get a Bachelors degree it pretty qualifies you to get a Masters, and then PhD. And that’s kind of the path that I was thinking about going down. I just really wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I ended up moving to Austin after I graduated, getting a job at a research lab at UT Austin and then I was going to grad school there in Computer Engineering. The position that I got there just totally let into was involved underwater acoustics. A lot of the work that the team does at applied research labs, at least the groups I was working with, is working on sonars for submarines. And so I started, first I was doing studying of scattering of sounds and ocean sediments, so much more physics oriented. But you end up with a lot of data even then when I was doing this and much more so now. But a lot of what you have to do is analyze that data and often you to write around code and so I started doing a lot more coding. And I’ve done a fair amount of that in my college classes but doing it every day most of the day I was like, “Wow this is really cool.” And so I ended up on this project where we were working with the small submarine called the Inner 1. And what the sub does is it gets really close to the bottom and it sends a sound into the water column and gets reflection back, and then cross correlates the signals. We got two receivers and then we are able to create a 3D bitmap of the ocean bottom. This was in the early 1990’s, quite a while ago, so we did some really cool stuff using Inmos transputer, so as coding and this esoteric language called Occam. It was really nice super simple language but it existed just on these transmitters, but it’s very cool and so I got exposed to doing a little bit of a similar language programming and reading bits of serial ports and then doing 3D bitmaps and font shading and kind of image processing pipelines and parallel processing pipelines. I just got exposed to a lot of cool stuff and real time systems, and that converted me to like it. This is what I really want to do and kind of fell in love with it. And then after about 5 years I met my wife and she was working at UC Berkeley where she running the college radio station there and decided to actually I like that better. Getting married to her and moving out here better than staying in grad school, so wrapped all my course work and then headed out to the bay area, and that’s kind of how I got into software business out here.
Carlos: By the way when we first met you were the VP of Engineering at Castlight but now you are also the CTO, right? Tell me a little bit about your role today.
Robert: Yeah, so I still have a very operational role and that I have a group of about 35 engineers within our overall engineering team which is around 150 I believe kind of full time engineers. The teams that are in my group are mostly data science and some of the data engineering teams and then platform infrastructure. I have that kind of role over a lot of the data pipelines, building up provider directories and the pricing data that we do at Castlight, but then kind of this overall responsibility for technology at Castlight and kind of the choices that we make. I try to play this role of understanding what other teams are doing as well and helping them make the right choices. Always got to strike that balance of using the right tools and the right platforms but not kind of going too far where everybody is using something different and it becomes hard to manage. A lot of times I sit between the engineering team and what we call resilience engineering. They are part of the engineering team but a bit more of an operational role so I try and help out there because I had a lot of operations experience from previous jobs, and also between sales and customer experience and these other groups as well. So trying and help the rest of the company that’s outside of engineering understand the decisions we’re making and choices we’re making about kind of the direction of our platform.
Carlos: Yeah. In a moment I want to ask you a little bit about how engineering plays a role in the company. I think just to start off with our topic of today. The overarching topic is you guys merge with another company. We’re using the word merging by design. It could also be a purchase or a merger. And I think that’s kind of the story that is interesting to tell because there’s a little bit about it before and then after and also that in between is where you guys are at in a merger. Not only merging with another company from a business perspective, it’s a whole thing of its own. But now from an engineering perspective we are going to explore a little bit about what it means to merge from a technology perspective or from a staff perspective and kind of those experiences that you are going through. Just to make sure we are covering everybody that is not aware, what is Castlight? I think that’s the first question before we can really talk about this merger and why it happened? What is Castlight and what is the mission?
Robert: Yeah, great questions. So Castlight is a company now that is providing a health benefits platform. Mostly it’s for large self-insured employers. We also do work with some health plans, so this really companies that provide medical insurance and also Anthem would be a good example of that. And so what we do is we provide a service that has a web and mobile application that the family members that work at these large self-insured employers. They can login to this application. They can search for high quality providers, medical providers, general providers, pharmacists and find out like prices. They can find the price and quality information about these providers. They can also see information about their past cares, their medical claims, and prescription drug claims. And then we use a lot of that data to make recommendations to them and so it’s a very personalized experience. And so the goal of the company is to make kind of the navigating the healthcare system and getting the right care as simple as possible. So we try and remove a lot of the friction because anybody who spent any time dealing with the US healthcare system say, it’s very confusing, it’s very complicated. It is a huge industry and it’s about 18% of GDP in the United States, so just enormous industry. A lot of players and so it’s quite complicated. Since employers are providing these medical benefits a lot of times they provide very customized benefits to their employees, and then the way healthcare gets paid for is very complicated. So that’s the real goal is making it as easy as possible. It’s never going to be trivial because healthcare is just at its core. It’s complicated, you know, taking care of our bodies and taking care of diseases, that’s not pretty simple but we want to remove kind of the pain out of that. We kind of got started, it was around 2008, 2009, and 2010. Initially launched as this like Pricing and Quality Transparency Tool but we moved on pretty substantially and significantly from that really expand what we offer, and so now about 250 or so large self-insured employers on our platform. It’s about 7-8 million people in the United States that have access to the Castlight application.
Carlos: Wow! That could be a country of its own basically. That’s Switzerland right there. Alright, as we are talking about the merger, right, there must be another company that either you guys merged with or the other companies merged into you guys. That company is Jiff, correct?
Robert: That’s right.
Carlos: What was Jiff? Why was Jiff a company that made sense to merge with and how did that meet kind of the strategy?
Robert: Sure, I know that you’ve interviewed Falko Buttler on this podcast and anybody who had listened to those would hear a lot more detail about Jiff, and did just have dinner with Falko just last night so it’s working out great with the team there. So Jiff was providing this really great mobile first well being platform that would engage employees around fun fitness oriented challenges and then also reward users for participating and benefit programs that their employers were sponsoring. Primarily it’s around activities so walking, like steps that you would take and track with this Fitbit or MSFit or Garmin or even Google Fit or some of their application on your phone, sleep tracking, nutrition, chronic condition management, so programs like that and that the employer really wants their… Unfortunately this is one of the cases where incentives are aligned that the employer wants their employees to be healthy, they want them to come to work to be productive and happy. And so they are willing to pay for that because they get serious benefit for that and it’s great for the employee as well. It’s like not, I wouldn’t say they are being manipulated to be healthy. I think everyone wants to be healthy and so that’s really great. And so what Jiff did is they’ve built this really great ecosystem with partners and with deep integrations with these programs. And so the Jiff systems gets information back as people participate in this program and so we can keep encouraging them to stay involved and stay active on these programs. Other focus of Jiff is really helping these employers and the employees get the most out of these employer sponsored benefit plans/benefit programs. There’s some really great programs around maternity benefits and disease management, and one of the big problems is getting awareness of those. This is kind of the area where there was overlap between the approach of Castlight-Jiff that we both kind of coming to this. These employers are offering these benefits programs. They are having difficulties reaching out to the right employees and some cases they don’t have sufficient information about like who would benefit the most. And some employees they might see it a little bit creepy if your employer reaches out to you and says, “Hey, you should sign up for this diabetes program or this maternity program.” That might be a little too big brotherish but as being a third party company and we protect all these data we don’t provide specific identified data back to the employers, we’re able to reach out to them. And because we have more data and we combine it together we’re able to identify the right people. So what we are trying to do is by looking at this data, giving this personalize experience is finding the best benefit programs for you or for the employee or the family member in reaching to them at the right time. So maybe when you went through open enrollment, you know, everything is great and you saw all these lists of benefit programs and there was something in there about, say, a diabetes management program and you’re like, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me.” But then 6 months later you got this diagnosis of pre-diabetes but you have forgotten that there is this program that you might really benefit from. So we would see that on the data and we could reach out to you on the application and set that up as like a recommended program and then connect you directly into it. Again, like reducing the friction making it as easy as possible to take advantage of these programs.
Carlos: Talking about friction, what are some friction points when you thought of we’re merging with this other company. What are some of the risk? What are some of the red flags? And maybe you don’t need to tell us, you know some of this is confidential, but maybe at a high level what’ something that as a VP of Engineering or again now as CTO and VP of Engineering. What are some things to consider, right, when thinking of a process such as this? What are some risks? What are some negatives? What are some things to kind of look out for and what are some positives? What are some of the motivations for a merger? After that I want to start talking about like some of the challenges you’ve had with your team because you have a growing team. Though in order to, you know, you had to kind of made those decisions ahead in order to validate. Is it worth it having some of these other problems that are going to arise? We call them problems but are now challenges, so what was that initial process and summing things up and down from a technology kind of perspective.
Robert: Yeah sure. First I want to go back to something that we talked a little bit earlier and then I’ll get right into that. So merger versus acquisition and kind of like meaning of these things so, and some of this does lead to like kind of challenges that can come up when one company buys another one and I’ve been on both sides of this so. I’ve been like multiple times been at companies that have been acquired or merged with and so I know what that experience is like, and can’t or can be like. So technically speaking a merger is when a new legal entity merges out of two previous lead existing entities and in the strict case that there is a new name for it and it is really is separate from kind of the previous entities. An acquisition is when the acquired entity is absorbed into the acquiring entity. And so that, they kind of the buyer sort of continues on and the company that’s bought moves into it. But these terms get used really loosely and part of it I think is just the notion that just the sound of acquisition so it’s like you’re being assimilated into a borg. So merger sounds nice but actual true mergers are not that common. It’s more about a merger of equals or like symbolically a merger. And that is what we try to make happen with Castlight-Jiff. But that is a concern. It’s like something you have to think about when you’re buying another company, when you are trying to combine these companies together is just the impact especially if you are on the acquiring side and you’ve never been in that situation. It’s just have to really be sensitive to what they’re going through because they’re going to lose a lot of their identity. They’ve been putting all this effort into this and so focus about even like the company name, the values and all that, you know, deeply involved in that especially as a startup. And that can be hard to give up even if the company that you’re joining is pretty similar. It’s not quite the same. When I think about the challenges and mostly they fall into people, process and technology. And there’s an overlap, I mean some of these that I’m going to talk about kind of fall into multiple of them. But kind of broadly speaking, you know, so things like culture and values. The leaders talk to their teams about how critical culture is and the values of the company are and then when you then merge with another company if they are not the same I can be, cognitive dissonance goes on like this was so important but now we’re fine merging with this other company. Unfortunately, with Jiff and Castlight is very very similar. There was a lot of, we went through a pretty exhausted process to combine our values and the core it was pretty similar. Other things around people are job titles and compensation and that can be a big big deal for a lot of people when, like if you’re a small startup. In the early days a lot of people they’ll have titles that maybe they wouldn’t have in a larger company. But if you’re running engineering you’re probably not going to have just the title Manager of Engineering even if this is the first time you run an engineering group like a small startup. But when you get acquired by Google, you’re probably not just become VP of Engineering at Google. So that’s a little tough and when people maybe have to take a lower title, but if you don’t do that when they come in then the people already at the company like, “Wow, why is this person a VP?” or something like that. Titles mean a lot and the compensation as well, so with the startup a lot of people got a lot of stack a lot of times and taken a lower salary. And then when you come in to a larger company and you try and level people sometimes that can be a little difficult because they do have this pretty substantial stack compensation. So it will look odd at first like, well their salary is lower but there was a reason it was lower. It was because they got this incentive options and that can really throw up your internal systems. Like internal HR systems that now you’ll have people with very different balances of compensation within the company. The HR side is tough and then for the managers is pretty tough as well.
Carlos: I want to kind of zoom in into a few of this. I think there is another one that is like a bit more technical but let’s divide them between like these are people overall challenges, right, human challenges and this columns is sort of the interaction in human challenges right and there’s going to be some technical challenges. Let’s zoom a little bit more in the human ones before we go into now the technical ones, so how did you solve… I mean there’s a few of those that are kind of which to you is the more interesting one? To me just to put it out there, the one that is kind of the political one. That actually could derail the whole situation. But which has been the one that you think has been the hardest to solve and why?
Robert: I think the people is the hardest, so with technology it is going to impact engineers kind of disproportionate to the rest of the company. But the people issues, that’s the whole company, that reflects everyone. And people like their day to day experience, sometimes people will be, people take different views about say programming languages and frameworks, and API design principles. Some take very strong stances on it or they view themselves as I am a Java developer, Ruby developer or an iOS developer. And then if you get acquired by a company and that language or framework or technology is not a big part of what they do and you kind of see, “Well, if I’m going to stick with this my goal is much more limited now than what you may have received.” And for some people that’s some kind of a deal killer, deal breaker and they will choose to leave the company and maybe ultimately that’s the right thing for them. That’s what they really want to focus on. The entire company can’t change to compensate for exactly what everybody wants to work on. It’s just the reality of kind of larger companies. So that ends up being sort of a people issue because it’s how they think about themselves and what they do and the direction they want to go with their career. Those are pretty tough. If you don’t solve those early on then you’re demoralize and just not very excited about work and then that kind of spreads through the whole company. Sometimes it’s hard to get that information. Like I can just look at our infrastructure and our platform, we’re using Java here, and Ruby here, MySQL or MongoDB. I can look at that and I could see a little bit more easily. I can see where conflicts and problems will occur but trying to understand everybody’s view and what matters most to them. It’s a little harder to have that insight. It takes a big investment into talking to a lot of people and trying to get them to open up and understand what matters to them most about the company that they were part of and how that can still work for them in this company now that they are part of.
Carlos: In your case, what has been the result of this? Have you had to deal with many of these issues? Again, you don’t have to go into details but what’s been the challenge from, have you had to let some of people go? Tell me a little bit about how something like this manifested for you.
Robert: Yeah, so we’ve definitely struggled with a lot of these things and it’s been the case like every merger/acquisition combination that I’ve been part of this comes up. I think it’s not too surprising that would happen. Some challenges that we’ve had and this come up with mergers. I think most mergers, this is the different locations unless you merge with a company that’s like right next door to you or like really close by. If there is any kind of significant distance then it could be harder to get people face to face. And so in our case, for Castlight, the main office is in San Francisco, that remains the headquarters of the company. We also have a small engineering office in Sunny Ville. That is in the Bay Area, if you live in the Bay Area, you would know that San Francisco to Sunny Ville is not a short commute despite the distance being about 35-40 miles but it can take an hour and a half or more to get between them. And then the Jiff office, the main engineering office is in Mountain View, and there are smaller Finance and Sales and other groups in Auckland. So what we ended up doing is combining the Auckland and San Francisco office into San Francisco, and we merged the Sunny Ville office into Mountain View. But it’s not that close and getting face to face time it’s been a big challenge with the area commutes. And then when you’re in a remote office, when you use to fell like, “Oh, it’s the big office”, and I’ve gone through this exact the same experience with other companies. It’s a change that will end up impacting a lot of ways so what we’ve done is. Fortunately, some of the engineering leaders from Castlight live in the South Bay, so it actually ended up being good for them in that they now have a shorter commute and they are spent lot more time. And I drive down Oakland, drive down to Mountain View every week and spent a day there. So we’ve dedicated ourselves to doing that and it’s a great team there. It’s a great product that they are building and so it’s not been there is any kind of hardship to do that. That I would recommend to anybody kind of going through this. We just have to plan for that and upfront is to like really spend a lot of time and not just like the leaders too, so the people doing the work, the day to day work and getting them and going back and forth of both locations as much as possible
Carlos: Just to move on to the other subject which is the technology, one interesting and very interesting story in fact that you kind of mention in our previous call. And again I’m going to probably butcher this whole thing but you said something about at the beginning part of the complexity when thinking of the merger or the acquisition was that you have to let the other company see of what’s behind, or actually the other way, you have to be able to see what’s behind the curtain of the other company. But in the future maybe you could, that will limit you if you didn’t buy into that company. What was that about and how did you deal with that at a high level? I’m curious about that story and how some other people might not know about this like if you’re about to buy a company you have to do your due diligence and now you’re seeing some of the behind the scenes there are some consequences that could probably arise if you don’t buy them, right?
Robert: Yeah, thanks for bringing that up, so when you’re acquiring a company or merging with a company and you start to have these conversations you need to put up proper value on the company because it always comes down to that. What are we going to get out of this merger to offset all the cost of not just the financial cost but the amount of time that we will spend kind of bringing the people and the technology together, that if you were doing that you will be working on your product and you will be adding a lot more features. You have to balance that and get a feel for how much effort, how long will it take to do that, and so you need to ask some pretty detailed questions. And if the company that you’re looking at buying is there is pretty complementary it’s quite possible that there is some overlap and some of the questions you might ask will be pretty detailed and give you some private detailed understanding what they’re doing. And all these are under non-disclosure. But here’s the challenge though, like if you learn things, you learn that non-disclosure agreement and then if you decided, “Ok, well, this is not just going to work out with this other company but there is another similar company.” Now you have information about our competitors of theirs and if you go by this other company it’s like you have to make sure you don’t use that in some way. It violates the non-disclosure agreement. There are times at least you are maybe like, “Maybe we don’t want to know this just yet until we are a little more confident that this is actually going to happen. Because if we know this detailed private information it kind of restricts how we could use it if we then decided well we’re going to built something just like that.” It potentially opens you up to a law suit.
Carlos: That’s crazy because if you find out some other thing kind of deters you from the purchase just knowing that they are using this or building this feature, now you can’t implement it.
Robert: Yeah, and there is a little bit similarities. I mean, it isn’t just about financial property but also with patents. Sometimes lawyers will tell engineers like, “Don’t go look at patent applications” because in some cases like “Ignorance is bliss”. Like if you don’t actually know it then you can’t be accused. Of course you have to prove it that you didn’t read about it. But if they can prove that you did and you are aware of it then it just becomes a bigger challenge for you to say that you develop this idea independently and not through this private conversation.
Carlos: Wow that is a big can of worms. Alright, so this is very interesting we kind of explore the overarching the whole process of buying a company or merging. Now, kind of last question about this specific area and then we’ll have three last questions for you. But the last one before we jump into that, just a little bit of Math, what was your team size, the engineering team size before the acquisition and what is it now?
Robert: So before the acquisition we had about I think 80-90 engineers primarily in San Francisco and then we also have a team of contractors that are in India. I’m actually going there Friday of next week. I’ll be flying over there to spend a week with that team. It’s just a really great team of product development engineers that we work together. We’ve worked together for years. It’s my fourth trip over to meet with them and work really closely with them. So that brings kind of the Castlight Engineering team with them together, that’s about 200 engineers. And then the Jiff engineering team was about 50-60 engineers and there were some contractors in other locations as well but the majority of those engineers are in Mountain View. So a total of a team and it’s about the same size right now, so about 250 engineers.
Carlos: That’s really interesting because I’ve experienced and seen this in different of our clients where they are maybe, it’s a different scale of issues or of I want to say challenges is a better word than issues. When you’re 50, when you’re 60, they are completely different but when you’re 250 it’s like a different level and you’re going into thousands, right? That then you start having to have a lot more management overhead. I’m sure that this was something that you’ve gone through like because you have now more engineers there has to be some extra layers of management and process. Is that something a result or a byproduct of the merger.
Robert: Yeah, interesting question. Something we’ve been doing this for about one to two years now. We’ve done quarterly planning for a while but in the last year to two years within Castlight and now with Jiff combined with us we do very detailed quarterly planning. And that might seem strange if you’re doing SCRUM with two weeks like “Why do you this quarterly planning and annual planning?” Of course you need to do that kind of things you to communicate with customers about what you’re building and finance team of course is very interested in knowing like how many people do you need, what capacity? But the big benefit for us is around dependencies between the SCRUM teams because these 250 engineers at this point we’re kind of building one integrated platform. There’s going to be this one product so that is a lot of SCRUM teams, a lot of 250 engineers to be focused on one thing. And so that quarterly planning process allows us to, at least at a higher level, what are the teams doing over this coming quarter and expose that to each other this nice summarize view. So we got it down pretty well now how we do this and we do it in over a couple of weeks but it is really focused for the engineers over just a couple of days and then allow like all the teams to look at the upcoming plans for other teams and then negotiate together about these dependencies. Because it can all fine and good like you build out your feature. You get it done in your sprints but you can’t ship it because other teams by the time you get near the end then you talk the other teams well they have no time to do it. They’ve already planned out their next couple of sprints. So that’s something like over time we’ve had to get a lot more disciplined about kind of this quarterly planning process and mainly focused on this eliminating or at least identifying these dependencies across these teams. That’s the only way we could have scaled up to the level that we are right now.
Carlos: That’s very cool. I like that. Sometimes, to me personally these orchestrating challenges are probably the more interesting one. I myself consider where my experience has been more in the team building and kind of in that team building role. And it’s usually the orchestrating challenges that are the source of problems sometimes more than the problem itself. Like people think, “Oh, I have this problem”, and it’s usually a problem where something in the process is going astray. But it’s a fun challenge but I’m sure for you it’s a very challenging, a challenging challenge with 250 people. Alright, I have three last questions for you. This is part of question one, but remind me what was the date that you were notified of or do you learn of this merger and acquisition is happening, or they were thinking about it. When was the first time you heard of this?
Robert: So I got pulled into the technical due diligence I think around the end of November last year, so in 2016. Spend a bunch of time on it throughout all of December and then the acquisition was announced in January and we merged together as one company in the following April. So this is really quick, of course the SSC, they had very few questions for us and there was basically none. There is kind of no push back. It was the relatively small overlap, very complementary and very competitive areas that we’re in both very competitive markets. And so the merger actually moved through quite quick form the point that I first got involved in it.
Carlos: So the question is, it’s been a year now, so what would you go back and tell yourself right before this process started. What’s one thing you’ve learned through the process that you wish you would have known in the beginning?
Robert: You always tell yourself, you know, over communicate but you really you can’t do that too much. I know it’s like an over worn clichÃ© but it is true and it is tough to do. Early on you just want to start making progress and you want to get things working together and you’ve got kind of your daily stuff. You’ve been thinking about what you want your teams to do kind of before you can find out about this over like the next 6 months and so you made all these plans and you still want to make progress on those but it’s really hard to kind of keep stepping back from that frequently like really having these setbacks, have I made sure that the teams that we’re bringing in and combining with us that they really understand the direction we want to go in because like the teams that you currently work with it’s easy to forget that well you’ve been working together for a while, so you all have this past history. And with these other people you want to treat everybody the same but it’s not the same. They don’t have that back history and so you need to talk them a lot of things that it’s easy to take for granted what they might know. Seems obvious but when you’re in the heat of the battle of making this happen and getting things out the door and you have all these customer commitments. It is hard to remember day to day that you need to do that.
Carlos: Interesting. Alright, so do you have any resources or any, this is probably one of the best question to ask because I know you have this experience from the past. But I’m just curious, let’s say somebody wants to read a little but more about some of the stuff we talked about today. Do you have any resources? You can send me some later. I’d be happy to share them on the episode but if you have any books or any resources you can point us to?
Robert: I have to think about that and I’ll send you something. But I would say that things that I found useful in the past like Eric Ries “Lean Startup”, that was a pretty interesting read for me long time ago and then again interesting books lately I would say one that I’m really enjoying right now, it’s a little bit related to this but it’s kind of a lose tie, but is Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andy McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. It’s a really good book. It talks about kind of machine learning and maybe this is the middle part like building a platform and that is because kind of specifically at least what Castlight-Jiff coming together and try to do is built this health benefits platform like how do you that? And there is some really interesting insights in there for me about how to build a platform that other partners want to fit in to. And the Jiff team had done I think a really good job on this in the past and so I learned a lot. If that’s kind of what you’re trying to accomplish through bringing a couple of companies together, develop this bigger platform, I would definitely recommend reading Machine, Platform, Crowd.
Carlos: Alright, also how and this is basically the last question, how can people find you, find your work and if you guys are hiring. What’s one way to get your attention if they want to apply and get hired by you?
Robert: Sure, you can definitely find me on LinkedIn, if you search for Robert Stewart and Castlight, that will find me. I’m also on Twitter @wombatnation. It’s a long reason why wombatnation. I’m not actually from Australia but I have a friend from Australia who like the name and so that’s what I am, and in a lot of places that will be my alias or handle. We do, we’re definitely hiring. We have about 40 or so positions open I think within the company, maybe a bit more than that. Within engineering it’s around 12 or 15 positions that I think we have opened right now in San Francisco and Mountain View. And so at jobs.castlighthealth.com you can find it there. But you can also, you are welcome to reach out to me and I can tell you more about positions. Anybody out there who would be interested in working at Castlight and making a difference in people’s lives to better understand how they get healthcare and how they stay healthy.
Carlos: So a bonus answers for everybody who is listening to this point. It’s been about 40 something minutes. If you are listening to this now you’re going to get an insight to how to get Robert’s attention. So Robert, what’s one way does somebody make your attention if they are applying? What’s the one thing you’re looking for? One thing that we look for a lot and it matters to me. I mean, the kind of work that we do. The mission that we have at Castlight is incredibly important to me and there are a lot of personal reasons for that and then social reasons for that. So people who have done work or suits some strong interest in that, and if it’s a project that you’ve worked for that’s maybe associated with Code for America or some other organization like that, whether it’s a GitHub repo or some open source code or project that you have deployed somewhere, that would definitely get my attention. I have done some of that work myself and the people that I’ve worked with in the government and healthcare space kind of building things to make better for a lot of people. They are some of the most motivating, interesting people that I worked with in that.
Carlos: Ok, that’s an excellent answer. I’m hoping people like that there is this bonus. I think this is an interesting one. Well, now you guys know that’s one way to get Robert’s attention. I actually have been looking into Code for America for a while but I haven’t volunteered. I’ve been interested in it. I think it’s something that we all should be doing a bit more. How can we build more technology to help one another like the society, so why not? Alright, well Robert, thank you so much once again for being in the show sharing your experiences with us with this whole merger. Not a lot of people have experience with this so listening to your story firsthand is really interesting, so thank you so much for coming.
Robert: Yeah, thank you so much, Carlos. It’s an honor to be on your podcast. I’ve been really looking forward to it for quite a while, and fantastic set of questions so I hope it provides some value to people and then that the information be useful to them.
Carlos: Thank you so much Robert and I hope to meet you out in San Francisco soon once more.
Robert: Ok great.
Carlos: Thank you so much.