The future of developers and why I’ve chosen to bet my future on it

The future of developers and why I’ve chosen to bet my future on it
Written by
Natasha Shine-Zirkel
September 19, 2022
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When I left Kin for Fiverr three and a half years ago, I told myself and everyone around me that I would not work for startups anymore. Nor would I again work in Marketing. As the new Chief Business Officer (in charge of, among other things, Marketing) at Wilco — which is, to the best of my knowledge, a startup — I think I owe people (and myself) an explanation. 

But first, let me introduce myself. I was born in London, raised in California, and have spent most of my adult life in Tel Aviv. I have a Brazilian mum and a British dad, and yes, I have a Russian name — though I don’t speak a word of Russian. In short, I have British mannerisms, an American mentality, and some Israeli chutzpah.

As the CMO of Rounds, a social communications company, I oversaw all the marketing activities, closed deals with record labels and video game creators, and managed operations as the interim COO. It was a great ride, growing to over 40M users worldwide, launching multiple products and platforms, and raising more than $24M from top-tier investors such as Sequoia, Samsung, Verizon, DFJ’s Tim Draper, and more. When Kik acquired Rounds, I built the product marketing division there. When Kik became Kin, I launched a $5M developer program that had applicants from all over the world. 

It was fun and hectic, but after my tenure there I wanted to focus on the business aspects of the tech world and running a business. For the past three years I’ve been working at Fiverr, first as the Digital Marketing vertical manager and then as the Business Verticals group manager — overseeing 5 of the 9 verticals and many strategic initiatives. I really connected to Fiverr’s mission of the future of work and making it accessible to everyone, everywhere.

During my time at Fiverr, I saw how the future of work is impacted by not just the raw talent a freelancer has but their ability to provide a well-rounded service. A developer who’s been at it for decades doesn’t necessarily have the skill to make them a great freelancer or employee. Just because one is a good coder doesn’t mean they have the aptitude for working in today’s competitive and complex work environment. 

Today’s workforce, especially developers, are expected to have an array of skills — from good communication and the ability to handle crises to working in a remote or distributed team. The expectations we have of them might be reasonable—these aren’t whims, but skills that are truly important today—but often unrealistic. The ways in which developers gain experience and become great engineers with a “senior mindset” often don’t enable sustainable upskilling.

For the past 15 years, I’ve been working alongside as well as living alongside developers (my husband is a CTO & senior software engineer). That, as well as working at Fiverr, showed me how the future of work is changing the programming & tech space and how there’s an ever-growing need to help developers realize their potential. 

And that’s why, even though many startups have approached me over the past few years, Wilco has been the only one to really get my attention. It balances a very talented team whom I feel excited to work alongside, a mission that I truly believe in, and a product that’s both fun and impactful to people’s future.

As for the role itself, I will be responsible for all facets of Wilco's commercialization — from Marketing and Dev Rel, to Sales and Customer Success, to partnerships. I will be able to utilize everything I’ve learned so far, while (as is very fitting) continuing my own professional development. After all, that’s what we’re all here for.

In this new role, I too, plan to #NeverStopDeveloping