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Lob Culture
September 15, 2022

Humans of Lob: Eddie Flaisler

by 
Dolly Slinker

Humans of Lob is a project dedicated to getting to know our Lobsters on an individual level. We sat down with our Senior Director of Engineering, Products, Eddie Flaisler.

Let's start with your childhood. Tell us about where you call home?

I grew up in Israel, but I was actually born in Romania. My parents were Jewish immigrants to Israel; they moved from Romania when I was eight months old. It was more of an escape, really, they suffered a lot of antisemitism before moving. Our starting point in Israel was very difficult. We were very, very poor. We reached Israel without anything and Israel wasn't even that developed in the '80s. It was me, my parents, and my grandma.

I'm an only child, and my mom and I have this really weird relationship. She always said she wanted a boy, but I don’t think that’s true. I think she wanted a girl because she’s always treated me as her bestie. She tells me whatever she has to say with no filter, including a lot of TMI. She would call me in the middle of a work meeting, to tell me about something she's watching on TV, and would get really angry if I tell her I’m busy. My father passed two years ago and then she and I became even closer. Now I am her everything, which is more responsibility than I would like to handle. I still love her a lot. She's a very funny person. She doesn't realize she's funny, which makes her really funny. 

What is an important moment in your life that made you you?

It would have to be when I accepted the offer to relocate to the United States. Israel is my home. It's my country. I'm very thankful for it, but it's not an easy place. You’re constantly competing for a limited set of opportunities and resources; it’s a very small country. You’re so busy surviving that it leaves very little room for personal growth. That was my experience, anyhow.

Coming to the Bay Area, suddenly I found myself with nothing but time, because I was alone here. Also the US is a very convenient place; it’s much easier and quicker to get things done than in Israel. That left me a lot of time to introspect and learn who I am as a human, and where I want to go personally and professionally. I don’t think it always shows, but I spent so much time on myself since I came here. I read books and I went to workshops, and I got different types of therapy and coaching. I am always very curious about myself and in my time here I have tried focusing on actively growing in areas where I felt I could do better.

In Israel, I never had the bandwidth. I never felt like I had the time to stop for a minute and say, ‘are you just gonna stay in this predictable mediocre trajectory, or are going to stop for a second, and think if you can do this better?’. The US gave me the space to do this. So I would say that moving here was the defining moment of who I am today.

What is your go-to guilty pleasure right now? 

My entire life is one big guilty pleasure. I love cooking. I used to be an aficionado of restaurants. I have spreadsheets with lists for every major city in the world, because I travel a lot, mostly with my husband. I used to know the restaurants and all the best places.

Then, during the pandemic, everything shut down. I was hungry and I discovered cooking. Now when I say discovered, I could barely make more than a salad before the pandemic started. You should see my cookbook shelf now, it's not even a shelf anymore. I don't think there are many cuisines that I haven’t tried. I've hosted dinner parties for like 15 people with entrees and appetizers and desserts.

I cook and I bake, and that has become not only a guilty pleasure but also an escape. It’s an escape because on the one hand it's a lot of work with your hands and on the other it's very scientific so you also get to focus. It is not uncommon to see me sitting there with a thermometer and a calculator for very basic recipes. It's a lot of fun, because then the result is very predictable. When something annoys me or when I have a bad day, I cook. 

What do you do here at Lob?

I am the Senior Director of Engineering, Products. I support all the engineering teams that deliver customer-facing or partner-facing software. This includes the underlying API, rendering, and billing mechanisms. 

What made you choose Lob? 

I think what is very unique about where Lob is right now, is that the company is small and nimble enough for people like myself, the engineers and the managers to have true impact, but big enough to offer stability, maturity of process, maturity of leadership, and an overall healthy and balanced work environment.

When I was interviewing here, one thing that stood out to me was that it's a real company. What do I mean by real? I think the tech field is a field of dreams. There are a lot of narratives, storytelling and a lot of valuations that are not actually based on anything. From the beginning with Lob, it was so impressive to me how everyone had clear goals, milestones, KPIs and revenue targets. That clarity, that specificity, gave me a lot of confidence in the leadership team and in the business. Joining this team, and being able to have so much impact on the product that is the direct revenue driver of the company, was something that I could just have hoped for. 

Is there something about yourself that you think someone new would be surprised to learn?

Yes. I'm an introvert. Very few people in my personal or professional life realize this because I’m very talkative, but if you look at my calendar you will find a lot of “Do Not Schedule” blocks. I need a lot of time for my brain to settle after talking to people, for me to be able to produce anything meaningful. It’s more than just context switching.

The funny thing is that I myself didn’t know I was introverted until a few years ago. I went to this executive training at Stanford, and there was a Psychology professor who was teaching there. She told me, "You know, you're introverted," and I was like, "Excuse me, I'm extroverted. Look at me." She said, “No, the way you approach communication is, ‘this needs to get done so let's do this!’ It's not that you’re not authentic, but I could tell you're making an effort when putting yourself out there." I can see that. I always feel like it’s my responsibility to lead the conversation, but that doesn’t actually mean I want to.

What's the best advice you were ever given? And who was it from? 

I have had a therapist for many years. She's a very special person. Even though she has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a really fancy academic background, when you meet her, you would not believe she even graduated from high school. She is so out there and extra and crazy, and charmingly not articulate. She speaks with a lot of slang and yells!

When I first met her, the first 10 minutes into the session I was like “Oh, God, what, like, why did I waste money on this? I should have gotten a serious person." 20 minutes later I realized I found my person. She is fantastic. She is so smart, and sharp, and she has helped me so much over the years.

The biggest thing I learned from her without her actually saying it was to bring my whole self to work. When you do, you don't spend mental and emotional bandwidth on a charade, on impersonation, or trying to someone else. The anecdotes and jokes I share at work are identical to what I tell my best friends and my husband, because there are no different Eddies. The reason this is such great unspoken advice is because it really allows me a lot of peace of mind. I can focus on what’s important to me because I don't spend mental bandwidth on trying to be something, or someone that I am not. Observing that in her was very inspirational. 

If you weren't doing this job, what would you do?

I'd be a teacher. I went into tech not because I like computers, but because I wanted money. I think teaching was always the thing I've not only wanted to do but also enjoyed doing. I taught high school and college. I love teaching math, and I love teaching grammar.

I taught Hebrew  grammar for college entry exams for many years, because Hebrew is very mathematical. It's not like English, where everything is an exception. You have a formula, and you stick to it. The mathematical approach was something I brought into the way I taught language. That was effective. When I see kids starting to talk properly, just because they understand why they need to use this conjugation or whatnot, that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

I think I bring a little bit of that into my role as a manager. I don't believe it's my job to just come here and tell someone they're not doing their job and let them go. It doesn't work like that, because then I'm not adding value. I want to teach, I want to mentor, and I want to coach. When I get to do that and have successful journeys with people it makes me very happy. That's probably the most fun part of my job. 

What is your favorite act of self care?

Dinner date with my husband. That makes me happy. I know you said "self-care," but I get bored after 20 seconds of things like taking a bubble bath or listening to music with a glass of wine. I need interaction, and I love experiencing fun things with another person, particularly my husband, because we're very similar in how we experience things and what we like. I make a point for us to go on a bi-weekly date. We have a date night and it always has a cultural activity, and probably some dinner. We dress up, you know, shower, shave, and  cologne which makes me feel special. That is my favorite self-care.

Eddie with his mom and husband on their wedding day.

Curious what it's like to work alongside people like Eddie Flaisler? Learn more about life at Lob by visiting our careers page.

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