Connector Spotlight: Stephen Khuu
Wednesday November 7, 2018
Engineering Manager Stephen Khuu has deep roots in product. Plus he makes a great loaf of bread…
Tell us a little bit about the project you’re working on.
We’re helping one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers take the data and insights that are latent in their vehicles and deliver them to the car owners.
What’s your role on this project?
As an engineer, I’m looking into challenges with the current architecture underlying their data services and scaffolding new systems as needed. At the moment, we’re looking at how fleet customers can access those services as quickly and easily as possible.
What about your work life before joining Connected?
Before coming to Connected, I was a Team Lead at Flipp, a Software Engineer at EPAM Systems, an intern at IBM, and have for a few years now been a volunteer at Warm Hearts of Africa and Ladies Learning Code.
Any fun or challenging products you got to work on?
While at EPAM, I had the privilege of working on BMO Investorline, the Four Seasons Restaurants macrosite, and My CT (Canadian Tire), and at Flipp there was PC Plus and, well, Flipp. I was also one of the early contributors to Rypple, which was acquired by Salesforce.
Tell us about the early days of Rypple.
I actually had the privilege of building two startups: Rypple and Sweet Caesar. One succeeded, one failed. Big lessons from both. From Sweet Caesar, a content publishing platform for conferences, I learned how to build a mobile product from the ground up at a time when mobile development was relatively new. And from Rypple, I learned about the importance of marketing and of engaging customers through content and communication.
What hobbies or side projects do you have outside of work?
I mentor and provide coaching consultations, and have been thinking about writing a book about it for the longest time (here’s a blog post and podcast episode in the meantime!). I’m also a cooking fanatic: as a former chef, I find nothing more relaxing than putting on music and spending the weekend making food and presenting it—you know, for the ’gram.
What might most people not know about you?
Strange as it may sound, I’m a two-time Guinness World Record holder: once for participating in the most pinball games played at the same time (May 2013), and once for participating in the World’s largest game of Secret Santa (Dec 2013). 2013 was a good year for me!
Any weird talents?
Whether my fellow Connectors like it or not, I have a talent for puns. What started out as a little bit of humour has matured into something more full-groan. 0_o
What are some of your favourite dining spots in Toronto?
Off the top of my head, I’d say Bar Isabel, Via Mercanti, and Cho Sun Ok are my faves. That last one has some of the best Korean food in the city.
What other fun places do you love to visit in the city?
Boulderz Climbing Centre in Etobicoke. I go twice a week when I’m not on-site with one of our US clients. So fun.
Any other cool projects you’ve been involved with?
I built a fun bot for Connected’s Slack account called ThemeBot. It’s a plugin that allows you to easily save and share Slack sidebar theme colours. Written as a quick NodeJS app.
In terms of client work, I started off at Connected by helping develop microservices for one of our audio electronics clients, then worked briefly on a blockchain-based identity network. Now I’m on this automotive fleet project.
What advice would you give to someone just starting at Connected?
Part of being a consultant is that things aren’t handed to you: you have to go out and find the information you need. But whether it’s your first day at the office or your first day on a new project, remember that you have the right people around you to support you along the way. They just want to know how they can help.
This is the first entry in our Connector Spotlight series. Stay tuned for more profiles about the great people here at Connected.