Seth Falcon

IC to VP: An Experience Report on Becoming a Manager

How do you stay at your job for six years and maintain the feeling of I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing (and I’m going to do it anyway)? This is my story of joining a company as an individual contributor (IC), working across the code base, leading a scaling project, growing a team to launch a new product, and ending up as VP of Engineering. My aim is to share things I’ve learned on this journey and highlight specific things that can help ICs and managers be more effective.

Who should come to this talk? Engineers interested in engineering management will get to hear a first-hand account of becoming a manager. Engineering managers who are interested in becoming Directors will get to hear about my transition from managing ICs to managing managers. The management lessons are not engineering specific — though that is my context — and I expect are relevant elsewhere. More experienced leaders and executives should come and tell me all the parts I’ve got wrong.


Seth Falcon

Seth Falcon


A product focused engineering leader who builds teams that consistently deliver valuable, high quality software at velocity.

Seth believes the essential elements for a high performing team are trust, commitment to learning and experimentation, mechanisms for measuring outcomes, and clear communication. He’s helped teams increase their effectiveness as an individual contributor, an engineering manager, and as a leader of managers.