Member spotlight | January 8, 2020

Mike Lattanzio

Senior Engineering Manager, Bluescape

Mike is Buescape’s first employee in Kitchener office and has been instrumental in spearheading the team’s growth from one employee in March 2019 to 32 in January 2020. Outside of work, Mike enjoys spending time with his family exploring all the local community has to offer, while also making time for his numerous hobbies.

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About Bluescape

Bluescape is a cloud-based platform for real-time collaboration, making it easy for individuals and teams to create, interact with and share content. Bluescape’s visual platform streamlines communication across teams, facilitates efficient meetings, and helps reduce business travel.

Terminal: Tell us about your career so far, and walk us through your journey to joining Bluescape.

My career began as a university student at the University of Waterloo. My father wisely encouraged me to study there, and it led to a series of memorable student opportunities at startups and large corporations. My last student positions were at BlackBerry where I got to build and maintain pieces of the BlackBerry Internet Service – a C++ server that’s possibly still running somewhere!

After graduating I bounced around BlackBerry full time for 10 years, working on the BlackBerry Web Browser for BB5, 6, 7, the PlayBook, and BB10 phones. I then moved into the Enterprise organization and worked on a few security products over the last few years.

Finally an opportunity too exciting to pass up emerged, and after a decade I left BlackBerry to open a new Bluescape development office here at Terminal KW!

Terminal: What is one thing you think the Bluescape team does really well and drew you to working with them?

The Bluescape team is incredibly passionate about pushing the envelope and changing the way knowledge workers in all fields can work together. That’s an ambitious goal, and one that requires a degree of optimism, foresight, and the guts to try and change the way people think about working together. Everybody at Bluescape is invested in this goal and their passion comes through in the product.

Terminal: What’s a win you’ve celebrated recently (work related or otherwise) that we can share with the community and can you explain it?

My biggest win has been the opportunity and mandate to build an effective engineering team quickly. When I started in March 2019, I was the sole employee in the Kitchener office. Today our local team is comprised of 28 full-time employees and 4 co-op’s.

The first group of folks hired were professional connections who came onboard early and helped me establish a solid culture. Next came my wider network, and referrals from the initial group of hires. We’re now bringing in excellent young talent from the University of Waterloo with no connections to any of us. These students are joining us because they value our team and product and recognize the opportunity to contribute, learn, and grow. It’s all incredibly humbling and watching the team come to life is far beyond anything I could have expected.

Terminal: The Bluescape team in Kitchener has witnessed explosive growth beginning in March 2019 when you were the sole hire. How has Terminal helped accelerate the hiring process and integration of your new colleagues and what has the growth meant for both the team and product development?

Working remotely for a company headquartered in Silicon Valley has been made possible with the instrumental support provided by Terminal. The Terminal team has enabled us to get offers out the door quickly, allowing us to bring talented people in as fast as we could find them. Beyond hiring, Terminal has excellent IT support, access control, and all creature comforts we need. The support and environment has allowed us to keep up a rapid pace of product development and refinement.

Terminal: What’s it like to work in the Kitchener Terminal Space and what makes it different from other places you have worked in?

Terminal gets it. Knowledge work is hard and challenging, but the office itself needn’t be! The space is fun and inspiring, and the Terminal team always strives to accommodate my requests. The Bluescape team in Kitchener wouldn’t exist as it is without them.

Terminal: The Bluescape team at Terminal is spread across two offices, not to mention your Bay Area-based HQ – what helps the engineering org work most effectively with each other across multiple locations?

We practice what we preach. Bluescape’s product is a visual collaboration platform specifically built to enable remote work so it’s part of our DNA and really enables us to work in real time with one another, regardless of location. We’re proud of what we build, you should check it out!

Terminal: Why did you choose a startup? What about it do you enjoy?

I wanted more excitement, challenge, and a wider mandate to get things done – I think those are the biggies for anybody looking at a startup. Yes, they can ask more of their employees, and you may sometimes put in extra hours but the payoff is huge. You become a bigger fish in a smaller pond, making your effort and impact exponentially more important to your employer which is a great feeling.

Terminal: What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?

I have altogether far too many hobbies for somebody with little kids, but in general I like the following things:

  • Classic video games, and modern cooperative ones like Diablo, Terraria, etc.
  • Billiards
  • Reading Sci Fi and classic Murder Mysteries
  • Playing with the sweet toys we get our children like building magnets and Litebrite
  • Competitive winemaking

Terminal: What is your favourite board game or video game?

The Final Fantasy Series in general. I’m also into trying a lot of modern board games like Catan but I’m not an expert in any of them.

Terminal: Are you a morning bird or a night owl?

Like most gamers I tend to stay up late. Like most parents I tend to wake up early. I’m more zombie than man, really.

Terminal: Hypothetically, if you couldn’t work in tech and money weren’t an object, what’s another business you would launch?

A generalized eSports league designed to get more people playing and watching. I’d love to see a focus on regular league events streaming through primetime for less cost than mainstream media entertainment.

Terminal: What is the show you last binge watched on Netflix and what drew you to it?

The Witcher, based on name recognition though I haven’t played any of the games. Very entertaining and I enjoyed the post-modern style timeline shifting (which is hilariously out of fashion despite its name).

Terminal: Who would you most like to swap places with for a day and why?

Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers Quarterback – if he makes it to the show. Taking the 49ers to the Superbowl was kind of a childhood dream; I grew up cheering for Joe Montana. There can’t be anything like being a QB on Superbowl Sunday.

Terminal: Which historical figure would you want to meet and why?

I’d love to meet Ada Lovelace and tell her what her dreams of software became, that history remembers her as the first developer, and that there is yet such optimism for the future!

Terminal: If you could have one superpower, which one would you choose?

Doesn’t everyone want to fly?

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