Head of Software Engineering

| Chicago
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PechaKucha (http://www.pechakucha.org) is a simple presentation format: 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds. Each slide is generally a single picture - something that’s easy to comprehend and not distracting. This format helps long-winded speakers engage audiences with a 6m 40s energetic short story on any topic. The format has spread globally through multi-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights.

Now in over 1,000 cities worldwide, across more than 120 countries, PechaKucha Nights provide a forum for people to share their creativity. These events are held monthly or quarterly and attract anywhere from 200 to 2,000 people to each event, depending on the city. We’ve recorded over 10,000 of these presentations and currently share a subset of those on our website (pechakucha.org) and mobile app (iOS only). We’re looking to expand this proven format to reach millions on a new technology platform. This is where you come in!

Our current website, mobile app, and pilot software make it easy to record PechaKucha presentations. It’s a good foundation, but those products are not ready to scale. We’re looking for you to come in and help us craft a better vision for tomorrow, and then execute on that vision.

While the format was originally founded in 2003, we’re at day 1 creating a new company to bring PechaKucha to the world. You’ll be our first full-time technical hire, and we’re expecting you to grow an awesome tech team. Moreover, we’re looking for you to partner with our CEO and help create a great culture for the company - one based on diverse individuals collaborating to solve hard problems, celebrating our wins (and learning from our misses) and having fun all along the way.

As for the work, we’re talking some diverse products - user-facing website and mobile apps, SaaS solution for enterprise, and APIs to match. We also need your help defining and implementing all of the tools/services necessary for global scale.


  • Take ownership of PK’s current product suite, getting in the trenches from Day 1, and maintain/advance the bar for shipping high-quality work.

  • Design and implement organizational structures to ensure optimal performance and resource allocation. Allocate team members and resources across different priorities as needed to meet our goals. Ensure that efforts and energy align with the goals of the company.

  • Build a team: recruit, interview, and align other stakeholders on the desired qualities of candidates (and how to evaluate). PechaKucha is focused on the rapid hiring of high-quality talent and high acceptance rate of offers.

  • Mentor and guide (as a player coach) the professional and technical development of the team. Tailor challenges to their skill levels, personalities, work styles, and professional goals. Grow the next set of leaders. Hold all team members accountable for results. Embrace difficult performance conversations with the goal of improving the overall team.

  • Guide technical vision and architecture decisions, set priorities and communicating necessary trade-offs. Take appropriate risks for technical debt and define a clear strategy for paying it down. Ensure teams ship on-time, high-quality products.

  • Collaborate across functions to set priorities, expectations and budgets. Balance user research and business  goals to build and prioritize a product roadmap.

  • Share best practices around methodology, documentation and technology decisions including: development, testing, and deployment of quality code. Encourage and enforce the right behaviors to ensure PechaKucha delivers real value.

  • Build culture of transparency to ensure smooth operation and clarity. Ensure all members of the team align with the “why” as well as the “what”. Represent the point of view of the technical organization with other stakeholders.


  • Love to code and view your tech as your art, a blend of hard engineering and genuine creativity.

  • Proven track record of success delivering Enterprise Software and applications at scale. Experience scaling teams and products.

  • Ability to operate and deliver results on time and on budget. Bias-to-action and data-supported results.

  • Experience and ability to thrive in fast-paced, high-growth and dynamic environments.

  • 8+ years of relevant engineering work experience and 4+ hands-on technical management experience.

  • Motivated, positive, and highly engaged hands-on leader. Experience leading managers and engineers at all levels, skilled at guiding them through their career development. Experience implementing organizational processes to ensure that the team delivers on their responsibilities.

  • Familiar with the PechaKucha tech stack (Ruby, AWS, React or AngularJS, Spark, Docker).

  • Experience creating organizational alignment around vision while still understanding each person’s unique role in delivery. Ability to think strategically and lead tactically, at times in ambiguous contexts.

  • Experience fostering collaborative, cross-functional environments. Very strong interpersonal and communication skills, backed by experience with both internal and external audiences.

We take equality seriously.

PechaKucha is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is committed to equal opportunity employment without regard to race, religion, color, gender (including gender identity, change of sex and transgender status), sexual orientation, age, disability, ancestry, national origin, military or veteran status, marital status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

This position and the tech team will be rooted in Chicago.


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