Who am I?
My name is Aaron Batilo. I’m fascinated by the obscure and I invest time in what interests me. I’ve been a competitive yo-yoer. I’ve been internationally ranked in the top 2% of StarCraft 2 players as a Zerg main. I was a budding competitive pool player.
I got into computer science-y stuff first when I got really into MapleStory. Someone released an alternative backend for the game, known as a private server. I took the code and followed tutorials to run my own copy. I got really into it and started learning about code to figure out how all the pieces worked together. I went back to playing the main game but focused on hacking and automating the game. In high school I interned with Northrop Grumman for a few back to back years. I got a clearance and kept interning into college doing some Linux system administration work. I got really into AI and left Northrop Grumman to intern with Josh.ai. I dropped out of college and worked at Josh.ai full time doing our Android app, worked on our NLP, worked on the backend, and worked on device integrations. I left Josh.ai and worked for FullContact where I caught the operations bug. I helped migrate existing services to run on Kubernetes and I co-built ML capabilities into one of our offerings. I left FullContact to join Conga where I joined a greenfield team to build a new ML based contract analyzer. We built it on Kubernetes and I focused on CI/CD and automating data ingest and model building. When our lead left, I got promoted to run the team and we launched that product. After product launch, I helped other teams become cloud native. I left Conga to join iStreamPlanet. At iStreamPlanet, I owned and lead migrating two of our products off of an EOL platform as a service into Kubernetes as well as rearchitected these code bases to handle the load of some of the most recognizable live sporting events and live streaming services in the world. Concurrently, I co-built the shared tooling and workflows that every single engineering team used for managing their infrastructure. Utilization of this tooling and the opinionated patterns involved directly caused the reduction of our monthly cloud bill by over 6 figures.
I am operations focused. While my primary objective used to be to write code for solving product problems, I’ve learned over the years that you could write perfect code, but without a solid infrastructure behind it, you’ll never be able to scale out your system. After several years of leading product teams, I’ve made the transition to focusing more on infrastructure, tooling, productivity and enablement.
I am a life long learner. I’m always looking to figure out how to improve. I read a lot, listen to many podcasts and books, and experiment a lot. There’s always something new to try and I think that stretching myself in what I understand is a lot of fun. I encourage others to learn too. I’ve had many overwhelmingly generous mentors and would love to pay it forward.
I am focused on human sustainability. I keep human sustainable solutions in the front of my mind. This can mean linters, static analaysis, or other tooling to reduce mental burden. Sometimes this comes from encouraging a healthy culture on the team. You’ll always find me advocating for the long term.
I am not a hero. I don’t believe in heroics. I don’t believe in working crazy hours. I don’t believe in burning myself out. I’ve worked at the 5 person startup and been in that environment. I’m married and have a dog and cat. They’re my top priority. Sacrificing myself to their detriment is not something I’m willing to do at this point in my life.
I am data driven. I use both WakaTime and RescueTime to help me understand where my time is going. I believe in the quantified self movement and strive to quantify everything I do. Decisions should be data driven.
I am egoless. My concern is never that I am right. I have no problems admitting I am wrong. I do it openly and freely. My concern is that we’re making the right decisions as a team and the right decisions for the customer. If I’m passionate about a topic, you’ll know it, but I’m only trying to make sure that we’re considering everything that we can.
I am transparent. There are no secrets with me. I don’t want to spend my time dealing with that. I want to spend my time being engaged and thinking ahead. I am what you see, and you’ll always know exactly how I feel.