Revel’s “People POS” blog series returns with more great stories featuring colleagues from across our organization.
We recently featured David Gamber, a marketing operations lead who is responsible for the marketing technology stack at Revel.
Mac White, a director of software development, is responsible for a completely different technology stack at Revel, one that helps our clients successfully utilize the Revel point of sale (POS) platform at their businesses. Mac recently sat down with us to share more about his nearly three year tenure at Revel.
(Q): Let’s start with the basics. What is your title here at Revel?
(A): I’m the Director of Software Development and I've been at Revel since June 2019.
(Q): What did you study in college that helped you land your first role in the software development field?
(A): I went to Georgetown University and studied computer science, then proceeded to wait tables for two years in restaurants. I graduated at the end of the dot-com bubble, so it wasn’t an easy time to find an entry-level job.
I later went to graduate school at the Georgia Institute of Technology and got my second degree in computer science, as well as a specialization in artificial intelligence.
(Q): Can you tell our readers a bit more about your career journey leading up to joining the team here at Revel?
(A): After getting my masters degree, I started working for local Atlanta companies—mainly financial technology (Fintech) startups with fewer than 50 employees. I eventually wanted a change of pace from the Fintech industry, which can sometimes force you into not using the latest and greatest that technology has to offer.
I later joined a digital marketing company as their third or fourth developer on the team, so they were definitely in their startup phase as well. I ended up staying there through the sale of the company and I felt fortunate to begin my path into management there.
I eventually wanted to figure out if I could manage outside of my comfort zone, and that’s when an opportunity presented itself at Revel. I'm a former C# developer, and at Revel, we typically use Python and Amazon Web Services (AWS) languages that I was less familiar with. Part of my goal was to see how good I could actually be at managing and leading a team without an extensive knowledge of the technical details.
At a startup, this typically isn’t a problem because you are there from the early days onward and help grow the software from nothing. You know where all the bones are buried, so to speak.
Revel presented me with the opportunity to grow my management skills and challenge myself and I couldn’t pass that up.
(Q): That’s a great transition to your role today. What does it mean to be a director of software development at Revel?
(A): Being the director of software management at Revel means I focus on empowering our teams and empowering other managers of teams. We really want to create an atmosphere where they can make the best decisions possible for Revel and we trust that we hire very smart people.
A lot of the role itself is making sure I’m giving space to the smart people we hire, which in turn empowers them to be successful. I've always felt that a big part of my role is to help remove issues or obstacles for my team.
I also help define the vision of where we want to go technically. And from there, I work to make sure that we stay within our guardrails so that we remain aligned with the strategic direction of the business. It’s also important that I stay in close contact with the other development managers and the broader product engineering team so that I maintain an awareness of happenings beyond my team’s projects.
(Q): You mentioned that you spent many years at various startups in Atlanta. How does Revel compare to the startup environments you’ve been a part of in the past?
(A): You know, the things you remember are often the things that had a big impact on you at the time, and for me it was the long hours. It's a lot of hours over weekends, late nights, and all nighters. At startups, you also just throw everything up and see what sticks to the wall.
At Revel, we certainly have more processes and standard hours in place, and we're more profitable as a company. With that, we have a product that we can't just disrupt constantly. People love to use the word “disruptive” in the startup world, but in software, you don't really want to be disruptive. Or, rather, you want to be the good kind of disruptive, which can be challenging. And when you have a solid client base like we do here at Revel, you have to rely on, and continue building on, the processes that are in place.
When I worked at startups, I also had to wear all the hats. I was pushing code to production and there's a lot of trust that you're just doing it right. At Revel, processes and roles put appropriate guardrails in place for success.
(Q): What sticks out to you when you think about the culture and team dynamics within the product engineering organization at Revel?
(A): You know, some of the coolest things to me about the product engineering organization at Revel—and it sounds simple— are the freedom, space and empowerment that we offer to our teams. You're working on a team, and you’re not required as an individual to just sit and think by yourself. We focus on bringing really smart people together to think about problems.
We very much have a team culture. We're less interested in the individual who's just extremely smart and can solve everything on their own. When there are hard problems to tackle, we find it's just easier to have more than one mind on it and that's huge for us.
The truth is, we are going to make mistakes—it’s just inevitable because of the nature of software and people. I would rather see my team and I fail small and fast and learn from those mistakes. I think that mindset resonates with the team and allows us to focus on the major wins.
I also think it’s notable that once office restrictions lifted, product engineering team members were some of the first people to come back into the office at any level of consistency.
(Q): What has kept you at Revel for nearly three years?
(A): I really enjoy the people I get to work with day in and day out. Without them, it would be a lot harder to stay.
This role has also afforded me to learn the kind of skills I noticed I lacked, one of which is being able to convince others in a reasonable way. It’s just been an awesome journey and I’ve enjoyed the experience tremendously.
I interview a lot of people for our teams, and they often ask me a similar question. And I tell them that the technical challenges we have here keep me interested in my role. As Revel has pivoted up market, it’s been awesome to be a part of our technology transformation.
(Q): You mentioned you get to play a role in helping to hire for Revel’s open product engineering roles. What do you look for in an ideal candidate?
(A): In our job descriptions, we typically note that we’re looking for a full stack engineer. We are looking for people who are curious about their crafts and are problem solvers.
But what I always tell people during the interview process is that I want a willing participant. Someone who is willing to immerse themselves in our product, is willing to get engaged with the team, and is willing to step outside their comfort zone. There are going to be moments where it's not comfortable, and we just want someone who is comfortable being uncomfortable.
(Q): When you’re not developing the software strategy at Revel, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
(A): Outside of work, I'm a father to two boys who are ages nine and six, I’m a husband, and I’m an avid soccer fan. I’m an Atlanta United FC season ticket holder and love going to as many home games as I can.
I also grew up in Atlanta and outside of attending college in Washington, DC, I’ve never left. So I consider myself a rare breed in that way.
Revel’s product engineering organization remains in hyperdrive as the businesses we serve continue to evolve alongside the rise of off-premises and the need for greater flexibility.
Mac, his team, and the entire product engineering organization at Revel continue to deliver iterative, market-leading updates to help our clients win.