Employee Spotlight: André Herculano
April 29, 2021
What is your role at Sourcepoint?
I am the Mobile Engineering Manager. I started out as a contractor with Sourcepoint and I actually had fairly little mobile experience prior to joining the team. To see how my experience with mobile has developed, to see our mobile projects evolve–that’s one of the things that has made me the proudest to work here. Prior to Sourcepoint, I worked mainly with web technologies, both on the front-end and back-end.
What does your day-to-day look like?
My first goal is to make sure that our engineers have everything they need to accomplish their goals and to make sure they’re aligned on stakeholder goals. That is the more abstract description.
This is usually how my day goes: I wake up, I check Slack to make sure nothing is on fire. If nothing is on fire, I check emails. If nothing is on fire there, I go to Jira to make sure everything is up to date. I will also check in with all my colleagues to see if they have any problems. Carmelo, our Mobile Engineer has been the mastermind behind the Android SDK since he joined. If the day is not over, I will work on the iOS SDK.
What’s the most challenging part of working on mobile solutions?
Working on iOS and Android is way more complex than working with the web. On the web, the main complexity lies in differences between browsers. There are so many more levels of complexity on mobile; between browser versions, different manufacturers, different iOS, different versions of web-view, it is very challenging to pinpoint the specific combination that will work. Our final product needs to integrate with the client’s product (without breaking it) so that adds another level of responsibility.
On one hand, we work with a lot of premium publishers who are investing a lot of resources in creating high quality content and need to maximize their revenue. On the other hand, there are users that aren’t aware of the extent to which advertising supports free content and tools. Our goal is to build solutions that facilitate this dialogue.
What is interesting about privacy from a developer perspective?
We’re trying to help companies monetize while protecting consumer privacy. On one hand, we work with a lot of premium publishers who are investing a lot of resources in creating high quality content and need to maximize their revenue. On the other hand, there are users that aren’t aware of the extent to which advertising supports free content and tools. They’re used to not paying for everything. Our goal is to build solutions that facilitate this dialogue between users and publishers with the takeaway that nothing is free. I do think more people understand that nothing is free and that, though they have not spent a dollar as a user, they are paying for their services with their data and attention.
The subject of privacy is becoming so important because we are all becoming heavy users of the internet and users are becoming more aware of the economic tradeoff between data and service. I myself didn’t realize the extent that most internet business models rely on accessing our data. Not to say that it’s always underhanded, but there needs to be much more transparency. Users deserve to be able to consider how we’re paying for things–with our wallets or otherwise.
What has your career path looked like so far?
When I went to school, I was positive that I wanted to do something with mechanics and nothing to do with computers. However, one very small course in high school about programming changed everything. I could make the computer do stuff for me, which was awesome! I studied computer engineering at university, during which I also spent time in India and Germany. After graduating, I worked as an engineer for Babbel, a subscription-based language learning app and e-learning platform, and then an American consulting firm called ThoughtWorks. Throughout, I was always kind of drawn to adtech, even though I didn’t understand it at all [laughs]. Eventually, I became self-employed and started doing projects for Sourcepoint.
My experience at Sourcepoint has been great. I’ve never been in a position like this anywhere else. There’s never a feeling of “Oh that isn’t my job, so I don’t have to care about it.” Everyone gets exposure to a lot of different things. It’s a culture that pushes you to care about your work and your team. And because everything changes so fast and so quickly, I am gaining a lot of personal skills, as well as technical. From a technical perspective, the work is not always the most complicated. However, navigating legislation in an industry that is changing every single day, while being part of user experience on some of the world’s most visited websites and apps— well, that is the most challenging and the most fun.
What has been your favorite project? What are you most proud of?
SDKs are my favorite projects for several reasons. The structure of an SDK is quite solid considering the amount of changes that we see everyday. I get the chance to talk to very smart developers on our clients’ teams. I love talking to client-side developers to discuss different strategies and get insights that I would not typically get from normal end-users.
Communicating well can be really hard and is just as important as the technical skills of a software engineer.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
Communication. Modestly, I consider myself an “okay” developer. But I think communication is so important in my role. The work that I do at Sourcepoint is not always rocket science, but I have honed my ability to communicate really well with a variety of stakeholders. I have to speak not only with other developers but with the executive team, customers, marketing, technical and non-technical people. Communicating well can be really hard and is just as important as the technical skills of a software engineer.
How do you view Sourcepoint’s role in the privacy space?
I see Sourcepoint as a mediator between end users, publishers, intermediaries, and advertisers. We help publishers understand how to navigate privacy regulations and implement their own data ethics, to be transparent about their data usage.
I don’t know for sure where the industry is going, but I’d like us to reach a common ground between users, publishers and advertisers. Sourcepoint is helping companies monetize while keeping people’s privacy intact, and keeping the open web alive. I don’t know how soon we’re going to get to the perfect balance, but people care a lot about finding it, and things change so quickly every day. It’s very complex.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our Careers page for openings.
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