How I Work: OrderUp's Kyle Fritz - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 11, 2014 11:27 am

How I Work: OrderUp’s Kyle Fritz

We talk with OrderUp's vice president of engineering about working out, writing code and the pros and cons of Burning Man.
Kyle Fritz is always thinking about work. Even when he’s at the gym.

Kyle Fritz is always thinking about work. Even when he's at the gym.

(Photo courtesy of OrderUp)

Disclosure: OrderUp is a sponsor of Dev Day at Baltimore Innovation Week 2014.
Clarification: The original transcription of this interview was incomplete and contained some transcription errors.

Kyle Fritz is VP of engineering at OrderUp, the Canton startup that facilitates food delivery in roughly three-dozen markets nationwide.

In August, OrderUp wrapped a $7 million round of Series A financing led by Revolution Ventures and LivingSocial founder Tim O’Shaughnessy.

“It doesn’t really change our status. We knew we wanted to get big,” Fritz said, adding that growth plans had been in the works “since March or April.”

“Now with that cash infusion, we’re going to really going to build our engineering team,” he said.

On Saturday, Fritz will be speaking at Dev Day during Technical.ly’s Baltimore Innovation Week. Check out the full lineup of Dev Day workshops, and use the discount code “BIWDEV” when you register.

But, before all that, read about how Fritz works.

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What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any startup-related work?

Honestly, I skim my email as soon as I get up. This gives me a heads-up on things that happened with work overnight and helps me figure out what I need to do that day. Then I have coffee with my girlfriend; then I go to the gym–the whole time I’m thinking in the back of my mind about anything that jumped out at me in my inbox. By the time I get to the office: I have my day planned out.

How often do you check your e-mail, and do you use any program to get to ‘Inbox Zero’?

I’m pretty big on Google priority inbox. I try to keep the “priority” part pretty lean; I’m never afraid to mark something or someone as unimportant. And that does a pretty nice job. I also use VIP contacts on iOS. The thing is, we use HipChat for most of our day to day communication. The OrderUp product puts updates in there and when things are going right or wrong, people talk about it in HipChat. We try to reserve email for analysis; not chatter.

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How do you keep track of your revenues and expenses?

The nice thing about our business is that because it’s digital commerce, more traffic means more revenue–which is good. We use server technology that has auto-scaling baked in. When our [application] scales out to 15, 20 boxes, there’s going to be revenue behind that.

When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?

I work all the time. It’s just a fact of life. I love work. It’s my favorite job ever and I’m always thinking about it. Even when I’m doing leisure stuff, I think about work.

I go to the gym. I really, really like that. It just gets me feeling good about my body and makes me feel like I’ve done something good for the day. I like to bike a lot of places. I bike to work.

My work friends are my friends. So everybody I work with, I go out with and we get booze, go to happy hour.

Where do you turn to for founder’s inspiration when you’re feeling low?

After a summer packed with a lot of hard work and the funding raise, I was ready to get away. I went out to Burning Man which was held north of Reno.

That trip really recharged my batteries. There were plenty of big ups and downs but the experience definitely helped me get a different perspective. At the event, you’re really building a utopian society in the desert for a week. And lots of things are way different than you’d expect.

What’s your gear?

I have a 13-inch MacBook Air that I use at home and on site visits; at the office I have a 27-inch iMac. I keep them synced with Dropbox and GitHub.

What’s one time-saving tip you have?

When it comes to writing software: keep stuff that’s related together and keep stuff that’s different apart.

OrderUp is getting bigger and bigger; we’re hiring more people and building new products. Rather than get caught up in lots of different software patterns, I try to keep it simple. Is this related to the code around it? Does this design help the important things stand out? These are the most important engineering metrics for me. Designing in that sort of minimal way helps us stay really productive.

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