CTO Sessions: Yoav Landman, JFrog

Which emerging technology are you most excited about the prospect of? “Everything that has to do with edge computing.”

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JFrog

Name: Yoav Landman

Company: JFrog

Job title: Co-founder and CTO

Date started current role: July 2008

Location: Israel

Yoav Landman, co-founder and CTO of JFrog, created Artifactory as an open source software project. Prior to JFrog, Yoav was a software architect and recognised consultant in the fields of Continuous Integration and Distributed Systems and has held several senior technical roles with Attunity (Qlik), Versata and Sausage Software. Yoav holds a Masters of Computing degree from RMIT University and a BA in Law (LLB) from Haifa University.

What was your first job? I started my professional career as a graphics designer, my first real "tech" job was a multimedia developer using Lingo in then Macromedia Director.

Did you always want to work in IT? I was always drawn to computers and wrote computer games when I was 12, but I didn't see myself working in IT because I thought it'd be too boring, unless I'd be working for a game company.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I have a Law degree from Haifa University in Israel and a Masters in Computing from RMIT University in Australia.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. After programming for many years, including in my army service, I left computers for a few good years to work as a designer for print and digital media, then I turned to interactive multimedia (what was then the hottest field), and created titles for companies such as Honda and Telstra. I fully "rediscovered" my passion for computers after creating the first dynamic website (for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), which sparked my "serious" IT career. Since then, I carried several technical leadership roles in various companies, and later on created Artifactory as an open source project which led to the creation of JFrog.

What type of CTO are you? I'm very technical and very involved in the direction of the products of JFrog. JFrog is a technical company selling a very technical platform to DevOps. To be able to innovate and solve the market pains it is extremely important for me to keep our technical teams closely connected to customers and understand how what they build impacts the quality, trust and speed of what customers are able to achieve when creating their own software with our products.

Which emerging technology are you most excited about the prospect of? Everything that has to do with edge computing. I think that there's going to be convergence around the world of software distribution. I believe we will start seeing distribution of software releases to the edge, to iot devices and to datacenters, all under a unified umbrella where connectivity to the software release lifecycle, security and monitoring are globally applied.

Are there any technologies which you think are overhyped? Why? The domain of applying AI to software release life cycle - I think this domain is still too young and occupies many solutions that are not yet solving real pain for developers. It will get there but it needs some time to mature before AI is trusted in the pipelines.

What is one unique initiative that you’ve employed over the last 12 months that you’re really proud of? Bringing in all JFrog products under a unified technical platform, and aligning the technical foundation and agile methodologies of all teams to release this platform.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? JFrog is about enabling agile transformation to customers, so we are eating our own dogfood when it comes to applying digital transformation. One of our main balancing efforts while doing that is pushing cloud customer growth while keeping efficient hosting costs and we have dedicated teams of production and devops architects that are assigned to constantly optimise around this challenge.

What is the biggest issue that you’re helping customers with at the moment? Maintaining confidence in releasing and updating software with ever growing speed and scale.

How do you align your technology use to meet business goals? The best way for us to do this is mandate dog-fooding - usage of our own products in-house. This creates a culture where our developers and devops experience any pains or deficiencies with our products and report it internally. This internal feedback loop leads not only to fixing bugs early, but also to better products, innovation and best practices that customers directly benefit from.

Do you have any trouble matching product/service strategy with tech strategy? Great question - keeping the balance between satisfying the demand from the existing customer base and bringing on new innovation is always challenging. I solve this by working closely with Product to plan the roadmap and maintain this balance.

What makes an effective tech strategy? One that is clear enough to resonate with the newest developer onboard, so that everyone has a broad understanding of the main technical goals we are after and how it relates to business.

What predictions do you have for the role of the CTO in the future? The amount of technologies a typical CTO has to have under his radar has grown significantly over the last few years, and I think this trend is going to boom even further, especially in the domain of Continuous Software Release Management. The challenge for tomorrow's CTO is to identify and mark the main "paths" and see through the weeds of competing and often overlapping technologies, in order to lead the future direction and make the right bets.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Creating JFrog, of course, and bringing it to a public company together with my co-founders.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I don't believe in changing the past, but if anything, I'd ignore any predictions that try to forecast the future and focus on the short term operations right from the start.

What are you reading now? I'm currently listening to "Platform Revolution" and have a collection of a dozen of technology articles in my "to read" browser tabs.

Most people don't know that I… Am a sucker for stupid, hyper-casual mobile games.

In my spare time, I like to…Listen to music, do handyman jobs and travel with my family.

Ask me to do anything but… Going over expense reports :)