Robert Slifka

Robert Slifka

VP of Engineering at Sharethrough

LinkedIn profile
My next available slot is
  • Tuesday 4th Apr6:00 PM

My name is Rob Slifka, I'm the VP of Engineering at Sharethrough, an advertising technology company in San Francisco. My experience is in backend engineering for ten years, followed by a transition to management for the past ten. Mentoring and coaching new engineering managers has been an incredibly rewarding part of my career and is something I've made core to my focus as a leader. In 2015, I founded the Calibrate Conference here in San Francisco - - a conference specifically for new engineering managers. After five terrific years we held our farewell event in 2019. It will then come as no surprise that I very much support the problem Plato is addressing and am happy to contribute 😉 I enjoy meeting other managers, and learning about themselves, their teams and how I can be of service. If you're in San Francisco, I'm always up for a coffee and a chat!

About me

Key stats


10 Years




Marketing & Advertising
Computer Software

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Creating and utilizing an engineering career path

8 March

As Sharethrough’s engineering team scaled, ad hoc conversations about current role expectations and career growth no longer sufficed. Managers required a clear and consistent way to discuss growth and growth opportunities with their teams and conversely, engineers required the same to understand their expectations and growth opportunities. Robert and his team created a career path to better communicate expectations to current and inbound engineers, to foster more focused career conversations and to ensure managers and engineers could work together from a common starting point on professional growth.

Stakeholder Management
Building and Scaling Teams
Career Growth
Communication and Collaboration
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Calibrate Conference

May 2015 - Aug 2019

Sept. 2019 Update - Calibrate is wrapped up! As fast as we're growing our engineering teams, we're also creating engineering leaders and it's often learn-as-you-go. Engineering leadership has a specific set of challenges with respect to the intersection of people, technology and process, and almost no reference material or developmental community surrounding it. Let’s change that. Calibrate brings together accomplished engineering veterans to address the unique needs of newly minted engineering leaders. We’ll share what it’s like to grow from an IC to a leader, and offer advice on what to learn in your first few years of leadership. You’ll take away tactics and frameworks for decision making you can put to work immediately. For more background on the event, please see the 2015 opener:

VP of Engineering


Feb 2013 - current


Director of Engineering


Jul 2011 - Jan 2013


Software Engineer


Jun 2010 - Jun 2011

Brought Test-Driven Development and Continuous Integration to Sharethrough, writing our first test (we're well beyond 4000 now, with a 56s runtime) and automating multi-browser/platform testing. Increased quality of our output and velocity of our development process. Implemented automatic provisioning and configuration of Sharethrough's ad serving and tracking infrastructure on Amazon EC2 via a combination of Rake, Capistrano and Chef Solo. Executed a zero-downtime move between hosting providers from a hybrid provider to fully virtualized at Amazon. Designed and implemented two major revisions of Sharethrough's tracking infrastructure: from node.js and MongoDB to nginx log file aggregation via Flume, now redundant across multiple data centers having withstood multiple AWS outages with zero downtime. Conducted trial implementations of log processing using Apache Hive and Apache Pig on Amazon's Elastic Map Reduce service, leading to the creation of an open source project automating EMR job flows (Elasticity - > Ruby, RSpec, Ruby on Rails, Git, GitHub, node.js, MongoDB, MySQL, AWS, EC2, EMR, Flume, Chef, Hive, Pig

Engineering Manager

Voltage Security

Mar 2007 - Jun 2009

Led an eight-person team, delivering five consecutive on-time releases (two early) of SecureMail, the company’s flagship product. SecureMail is a secure email suite used by over 850 enterprise customers (Wells Fargo, CA DMV, Kaiser Permanente, etc.) and nearly 5 million users. Championed Agile (Scrum) development. Served as both Scrum Master and Product Owner, responsible for sprint maintenance and release planning, accelerating release delivery by 50%. Coached other Scrum teams in the organization. Successfully proposed contemporary redesign of the core messaging interfaces to engineering and executive leadership, to better incorporate current and scheduled features. Implemented using server-side Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and FreeMarker. Designed and architected administrative and end-user facing features, balancing ease of use, functionality and security. Customers report a 90% reduction in support incidents, and users have a 99% success rate encrypting and decrypting secure messages. Redesigned operating system and application installation process to minimize complexity and duration, reducing setup time by 90% and garnering positive reviews (Computerworld, June 2009). Customers rarely require setup assistance, reducing Voltage’s initial support costs by approximately $1000 per deployment. Initiated and conducted usability testing. The first test resulted in over 30 immediate improvements. (Voltage was later acquired by HP in 2015) > Java (J2SE), HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, Agile (SCRUM), FreeMarker, Subversion

Software Engineering, Interaction Design

Magma Design Automation (acquired by Synopsys)

Jun 2002 - Feb 2007

Designed and implemented products within Magma’s CAD suite for integrated circuit design used by companies like Apple, Sony and Samsung. Initiated, championed and implemented a shift in product development strategy, utilizing goal-directed design and usability testing, creating more useful and usable solutions. Experience through all phases of design and development: conducting stakeholder and subject matter expert interviews, creating paper prototypes, performing cognitive walkthroughs, implementation and testing. Advanced Java SE and Java Swing event-driven development: custom components and themes, Quest JChart APIs, multithreading. (Magma Design Automation was later acquired by Synopsys in 2012) > Java (J2SE), Swing, XML, XSL, Tcl, Linux, Solaris, ClearCase

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