Meet the Team – Daryl Karan, Pre-Sales Engineer
Posted September 30, 2020 in Comalatech
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In this series we’re spotlighting our team of Comalatechies, the developers, leaders and creatives who build our products and make things happen. We sat down to chat with Daryl Karan, pre-sales engineer and coach to the stars.
You’ve been with Comalatech for about 5 years now (with a little break which we’ll talk about later). What first brought you to Comalatech?
I was introduced by Simon (COO), back in 2015. We had worked together for many years at a different company. He thought Comalatech would be a great spot for me to work and learn some new things. The Atlassian ecosystem was really exploding at that time, and Comalatech was also growing very fast. It’s was a small company – it still is – so you could wear different hats, and get your hands dirty. You don’t have to do the same mundane things you’d do at a bigger company. That’s really what lured me over.
You’re at the Vancouver, Canada office – what’s it like working there?
It’s great. Everyone is really welcoming. Early on we didn’t have an office per se, everyone worked from home, but we talked a lot online, and met at different houses. Now we work from home most days, and go to the office one or two times a week, but we still have the same small company mentality of ‘get shit done’, no matter what your title. There’s a lot of flexibility, and everyone trusts each other – if you need to step away for an hour, that’s OK, people trust you to make that time up.
I know you once left Comalatech and then returned later. Why did you leave and what brought you back?
I left to grow – at that point I was in more of a support role. I was helping customers, but also saw a need for a sales engineer at Comalatech. I talked to the team and we had come up with the role, but it was something on the back burner because of our size at the time. In 2017 I was offered a position to head up pre-sales engineering for another company, so I went for it, and learned a lot in that role. I still talked to Simon and others in Comalatech, since we’re good friends outside of work. Simon approached me one day and said we’re at the point of looking for a pre-sales engineer, are you interested in coming back? I jumped all over it, because I love working for the team.
It’s really about the fun we have here. It’s not all work, we talk like friends, we can air our grievances and people laugh about it. We can handle some uncertainty. Uncertain things can have benefits, and negatives obviously, but we’re always here for each other, talking and being open. It’s more of a family environment, and you don’t find that too often at other companies.
As our Pre-Sales Engineer, you build relationships with many of our customers. What are some of your favourite companies you’ve been able support?
There’s a lot of cool companies we work with. I’ve worked with Tesla – that was a big undertaking. They had very specific requirements they needed, and it was very cool to see that our solution could provide exactly what they required. We always focus on how the customer is using Confluence, what are the gaps and how can we fill them. It’s not just me, it’s the whole company – sales, marketing, product development – we have a team that has gotten the product to where it is, so when we provide the customer with that “Aha!” moment, it’s an awesome feeling.
When you’re not driving growth at Comalatech, what are you up to?
With three kids, I don’t have too many hobbies. Usually I’m busy taking them to activities, and pre-COVID, I coached soccer and hockey as well. In our downtime, my wife and I watch TV shows like Umbrella Academy, Suits, Game of Thrones, and try to make some time for ourselves!