Yesterday I stumbled on a Facebook post by SO, which quotes the new CEO:

If we did not not have our community, we would not exist. It's very much part of our DNA.

Further on the Facebook posts states:

Our new CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar discusses his vision for the growth of Stack Overflow and the importance of our community.

This looks very promising to me, and appears to be a very interesting read, especially for the subject of his interview. Us, the community.

Unfortunately this is an interview with Business Insider, which to me renders nothing but a paywall when clicking on it. Can we have that article shared with the community, for obvious reasons?

Link to the article: Stack Overflow helps millions of developers do their jobs every single day. Its new CEO says the next stage of its growth is selling to businesses.

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    I don't know whether that is illegal, but the whole paywalll can be circumvented when clicking "abort" in the browser before the page has fully rendered (still loading). Works at least in firefox. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:18
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    From the quoted parts of the article, it sounds like they anticipate that there’ll be plenty of sources of revenue or investment other than from the publicly visible Stack Exchange sites. That would explain a lot of what has gone on recently. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:48
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    @GDPR Or if you're blocking 3rd party resources via something like uMatrix. Paywall? What paywall? Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 8:21
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    Usually these kind of articles are just paid advertisement, disguised as a news article.
    – Lundin
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 11:52
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    For a group of developers...Thrre are so many ways around it. Inspect element and delete the paywall modal. Disable CSS, etc. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 15:36
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    @GDPR not illegal, because you control what is being sent to your machine from the server.
    – mike3996
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 7:11
  • Does anyone know if the new CEO will introduce himself on Meta at some point? It seems a little weird to give an interview to the media before even "officially" introducing himself to the community. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 21:18
  • According to facebook he also appeared on a tv show recently.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 21:22

5 Answers 5


This link seems to work:

Stack Overflow helps millions of developers do their jobs every single day. Its new CEO says the next stage of its growth is selling to businesses.

Rosalie Chan - October 14, 2019

  • In September, Stack Overflow, a popular website for developers to ask and answer questions, announced Prashanth Chandrasekar, who comes from cloud computing company Rackspace, as its new CEO.
  • Stack Overflow's previous CEO, cofounder Joel Spolsky, announced he was stepping down earlier this year.
  • Chandrasekar that while Stack Overflow is already on an $80 million annualized revenue run rate, with 50 million unique monthly visitors, there's a huge opportunity for growing its relatively little-known products for business.
  • Chandrasekar also says that Stack Overflow will likely raise another round of funding next year to fund this enterprise push.

Stack Overflow's new CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar says that most people know it as the mega-popular free website that software pros and amateurs alike use to get answers for even their trickiest questions about programming.

With over 50 million monthly unique visitors and over 255 million monthly visits, and 11 million registered users, it's practically ubiquitous — and lucrative, with the company claiming an annualized revenue run rate of $80 million, a measure of how much revenue it projects to generate in the next 12 months if current conditions hold.

What many people don't know is that Stack Overflow also has paid, premium products, like Teams, Talents, or Ads, meant for corporate buyers. Chandrasekar says that it's his immediate ambition to spread the word on that front — taking the success of the main site, and using it to build out its revenue-generating business products.

"The exciting part is that I feel like it's a diamond in the rough. We're only scratching the potential of the company," Chandrasekar told Business Insider. "There are only a few companies that are able to bring that level of the community together. It's clearly very prevalent."

Stack Overflow announced Chandrasekar as its new CEO on September 24th, six months after co-founder Joel Spolsky announced he was stepping down from the role and looking for a replacement. Spolsky remains on board as chairman.

With Stack Overflow so firmly established, Chandrasekar says that the company has already solved some of the hard parts with its renewed focus on its business products — the brand is well known, and users already love it. To Chandrasekar, it's the key to not only growing the company, but making its revenue more predictable.

"It's not any other company trying to make its way," Chandrasekar said. "It already has high impact. There's a tremendous amount of growth possibility."

The company has raised a total of $70 million to date, according to PitchBook, from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, and Bezos Expeditions (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' investment fund). To fuel its grand ambitions, Chandrasekar says that Stack Overflow will likely raise another round of funding next year.

"A lot of the growth that the company has generated so far, a lot of that work has been on the hard work and hustle of the team," Chandrasekar said. "That needs to be evolved into a lot more of a machine, a go-to-market engine that's predictable. You need an approach to product market fit."

'All my engineering teams were using it'

Chandrasekar's own roots in technology go back to childhood. He grew up in Bangalore, which is known as the Silicon Valley of India. He says he was always surrounded by developers, and he was introduced to computers early on.

When he was 17, Chandrasekar decided he wanted to study in another country. He ended up going to the University of Maine, moving from one of the largest cities in India to a town with a population of 10,000. He then worked in consulting before studying management at Harvard Business School and working on merger and acquisition deals at Barclays.

Directly before Stack Overflow, Chandrasekar spent seven years at Rackspace, a cloud computing company based in Texas, where he held several roles and led the group focusing on Amazon Web Services consulting services. During this time, he was first exposed to Stack Overflow, where his teams often used it.

"All my engineering teams were using it as the default place for answers to questions," Chandrasekar said. "I looked at it as such a compelling mission and such a high impact mission. The mission and the scope and the scale were what drove me to the company."

Chandrasekar heard about the opportunity to lead Stack Overflow through his network. Now, as CEO, Chandrasekar says his goal is to meet all 300 of Stack Overflow employees, known as Stackers, and talk to them about their thoughts on the future of the business.

As for Stack Overflow itself, he says his favorite questions are the ones where the community shares their thoughts on the best way to tackle thorny issues like cybersecurity. He also enjoys perusing the Space Exploration page on Stack Exchange, the site's extended network of non-programming-related Q&A sites.

"There are fascinating questions about what are the limitations of physics that keep us from going to certain parts of the universe," Chandrasekar said. "You'd be surprised about the level of knowledge our user base carries."

Community is 'very much part of our DNA'

Chandrasekar joined Stack Overflow to scale the business — not just as a forum for developers to ask and answer questions, but also as a serious enterprise services company. Chandrasekar says that while most companies he talks to have "tremendous amount of awareness" of Stack Overflow, they are not aware of Teams, Talents, or Ads.

He sees big opportunity for Stack Overflow Talent, which helps companies recruit and hire developers, and Ads, which is its relatively traditional advertising business. He also singles out Teams, which allows companies to functionally build their own versions of Stack Overflow for internal use and share knowledge, as a particularly big opportunity.

"The opportunity around Teams is very, very important," Chandrasekar said. "Currently we have literally thousands of companies using this product. Each has tens of thousands of developers using this product. The product market fit seems to be really really high."

At the same time, Chandrasekar said, Stack Overflow doesn't plan to take away any resources from the core site, so beloved by its large community of developers.

Read more: These are the top 25 people who will have the most influence in tech this year, according to a survey of over 30,000 developers

"The main thing I will tell you, ultimately this company is all about the community we have," Chandrasekar said. "If we did not have our community, we would not exist. It's very much part of our DNA."

Disclaimer: I found the link in the Teachers' Lounge, which means I'm not supposed to share it, but I don't see the harm in this particular instance.

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    "The company has raised a total of $70 million to date, according to PitchBook, from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, and Bezos Expeditions (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' investment fund). To fuel its grand ambitions, Chandrasekar says that Stack Overflow will likely raise another round of funding next year." - Might (or not) explain some things. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:31
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    There it is said: "We're only scratching the potential [the community] of the company", very soon they're hitting hard with a stick ...
    – Teemu
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:08
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    Calling it: "This answer requires a Stack Overflow Gold™ account, please sign up using your email, password, dob, hobby's, facebook account & social security number"
    – roberrrt-s
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:08
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    @roberrrt-s how about a credit card to go with that?
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:36
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    This seems oddly relevant... Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 13:59
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    "There are only a few companies that are able to bring that level of the community together. It's clearly very prevalent." - that's the opposite of prevalent surely?
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 14:06
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    "You need an approach to product market fit. ... The product market fit seems to be really really high." Could someone translate that to understandable English for me, please? Does he mean that Teams is something that people buy or is there more to it? Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 14:33
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    @Trilarion basically yes, "product market fit" means people are buying it. "need an approach" probably means "need a different approach now when we have product market fit", judging by the previous sentence - old approach was "hard work and hustle of the team", now the new CEO announces that it's time to build a sales machine.
    – artem
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:41
  • @artem Thanks for the explanation. I guess details about what it really means are just not deducible from the text. Basically something is not right yet and he wants to fix it. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 7:17
  • Are there really thousands of companies that each have tens of thousands of developers?
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 12:27
  • @DavidGrinberg Thank you so very much...NOT! I got 21 hits in my top SO answer! I'm even more frustrated now! ... OTH, zero in my top question and zero in the answer that took me the longest time to develop, about half a day. Statistically speaking I'm forced to tend to agree by 66.6‾ %. ;D Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 1:24
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    @GeroldBroser I have no idea what you are talking about Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 2:08
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    @DavidGrinberg I'm talking about the page you linked here four days ago. Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 2:26

"The main thing I will tell you, ultimately this company is all about the community we have," Chandrasekar said. "If we did not have our community, we would not exist. It's very much part of our DNA."

Nice. If you now please consider acting like you really meant that, please, maybe?

Okay, seriously: I see nothing in that article that would actually matter to "us". Because nothing in that article really affects "us". I don't mind the CEO giving a business-like interview to a business magazine. But as to be expected: nothing (significant) of value is in there (maybe besides the numbers on revenue, and such!)

We have heard the words repeatedly by now. We need the company to walk the talk.

Meaning: I don't need great words, like "the community is in our DNA". I need to see actions that match that attitude!

Honestly, I am sick of great words, but that interview was for sure not intended to talk to the community. And note: I even don't mind that he didn't use the opportunity to address the current crisis, as said: this is a business piece, and most managers consider it "smart" to ignore "issues" when talking in public.


We didn't solicit feedback from the wider community on this change. We have a robust roadmap and we are selective in asking the community for feedback on specific releases.

That is the exact attitude everybody here is complaining about, see here for the context of that quote.

You really still didn't get it.

Because, according to the director of Public Q&A, how SE Inc. went about changing the question weights is ...

an exciting start to working hand in hand with the community to build a better Stack Overflow.

No. It isn't.

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    For me, the article was an eye-opener, actually. I guess I was slow to catch on -- but now the financial part of the picture is so much clearer for me. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:28
  • Sorry, I don't think I made it clear what I was responding to. It was this: I see nothing in that article that would actually matter to "us". I was explaining that it mattered to me. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:32
  • @aparente001 I got that. I just invite you to turn those thoughts of yours into an answer, so that we can participate ;-) ... and I updated the answer to address "there are things that might matter".
    – GhostCat
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:35
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    Ah. Well, here's what I've been working on today: meta.stackexchange.com/a/335627/287826 Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:37
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    The same thing happened with David's apology, when people realised nothing had changed vis-a-vis their next steps people went from dewy eyed to angry, I'm guessing the same thing will happen here. Words are easy, action is hard.
    – Script47
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 8:40
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    Well one thing that does stand out by its absence - there's no mention of inclusiveness. The current push is not seen by the CEO as a part of a vision worth mentioning to potential investors.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:03
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    "honestly, I am sick of great words" yep. :(
    – user310756
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 5:52
  • @ColleenV Investors only care about welcoming revenue and profit. The exact details to get there ain't that important when the big guys do the talking ...
    – GhostCat
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 7:05
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    @GhostCat while the exact details aren't important to the big guys, public scandal is something they'd like to avoid. Who wants to be publicly known as shareholder for a company with dubious practices? What surprised me most is that they are heading for another round of VC funding, while there were rumours about an IPO. So probably the company isn't profitable enough yet, to give VC a good return on investment when doing an IPO now. That makes me somewhat worried.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 7:42
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    @GhostCat When the CEO mentions the community, but doesn't mention inclusion that says something about its priority. Not that it's unimportant, but it's not a key focus for the company. Compare to Diversity and Inclusion Are at the Heart of Our Business, Says Ikea India CEO.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 11:03
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    @ColleenV Probably true. On the other, my main point is: I really stopped caring what some CEO or other executive or director of SE Inc. says. I am awaiting there action. Well, not true. I gave up expecting anything meaningful from that side. I am here to help people, and I will completely ignore the company from now on.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 11:06
  • @Luuklag: In what way are you worried? They need a 10x in revenue before the IPO. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:12

It's a "Business Insider" article from a business executive to be read by other business executives and people that think they are.

It's an article written for people in suits that wouldn't know the internet existed if not for their fancy stock trading app.

That article has zero relevant information. It's phrases to get people to know the brand name.

It boils down to


You can insert any brand name and any CEO name and it will fit their corporate agenda.

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    True, but you would need to read the article to be able to derive this conclusion.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 10:06
  • But why would other business insiders like to waste time and read more or less superficial phrases. Is there really nothing interesting in this article? Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:32
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    True, and the actual quotes from the CEO are just a few lines. They contain maybe a few hints but we are still stuck in tea-leaf reading mode until and unless the company shares more relevant information. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:52
  • @Trilarion I guess that is what Business Insider is like...
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 7:39

"The main thing I will tell you, ultimately this company is all about the community we have," Chandrasekar said. "If we did not have our community, we would not exist. It's very much part of our DNA." (source)

Those are the words we like to hear.

Now it's time to act on them.

  • @JJJ: As long as they don't take resources away from SO, I'm fine with more projects / funding... (I can dream, right?)
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:24
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    The fact that this was said to the press rather then to us doesn't fill me with confidence in leadership, exactly.
    – Magisch
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 7:31
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    @Magisch If you consider it from a communication point of view it makes perfect sense. We are not the intended audience for this message, as we are already aware of the paid products SO offers. Also it very unlikely that we would be a party to partake in the next round of VC funding.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:01
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    Pretty sure the upper echelons' bet is they can afford to drive away the vocal highly engaged members (current status: mostly enraged) from the "community" without business taking a serious hit. Which might be true to some extent - it's a big world out there. Or it might not. Only one way to find out!
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 10:14
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    If I would have got a dollar every time I heard somebody say that the community is the heart/soul/DNA of everything... Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:30
  • Those are the words we like to hear. yes, and they know that...that’s why they are telling you....
    – user455318
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 13:46
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    The absence of any effort to actually interact with the community is what speaks volumes here.
    – tripleee
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 2:19

As others have noted, this was an interview in a magazine that's not particularly programmer-focused, much less one aimed at the majority of folks using these sites. The quotes they chose to publish are helpful, I think, but if you want a better idea of how Prashanth views the communities here then the latest podcast is probably a better choice - there's a roughly 15-minute interview with him contained therein, starting at 10:23 and ending at 25:45.

To aid accessibility, I've taken the liberty of producing a rough transcription of this section of the podcast and including it below (corrective edits welcome!)

Prashanth Chandrasekar: This is Prashanth Chandrasekar, I am very very happy happy to be here and excited to join the Stack Overflow family. A quick introduction about myself, I grew up in Bangalore India until I was about 17 years old, I grew up in a very very I would say blessed situation with my mom who was a medical doctor and my dad who was originally an engineer and became an academic over time, and I'm very grateful that they exposed me to technology over time, not only through them by by virtue of living in Bangalore because Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India, and so technology has been part of my DNA for the longest time. When I was about 17, I really felt this yearning to explore my horizons and my perspective and I decided that I wanted to go abroad and continue my learning and my education and just my life in general, and so very very fortunately I received a scholarship to study in the United States as otherwise I would not have been able to make the move, and I ended up at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine which is a very small town and very different from Bangalore to say the least.

Paul Ford: what time of the year did you land?

Prashanth Chandrasekar: I landed - luckily, I would say - in the August time-frame, so it was beautiful New England fall weather, but only a couple months away from, you know, real apocalyptic type winter scenes.

Paul Ford: Prashanth tells me he did not bring a jacket but acquired one quickly.

Prashanth Chandrasekar: Well, my parents did give me a jacket but it was clearly not sufficient for the brutal winters of Maine so my friends whisked me away to get a decent jacket.

Ben Popper: I'm going to kick things off here 'cause I know a little bit of this backstory, but let's talk about that first computer that your dad brought home, he went on a trip to Hong Kong, and he brought back a 486

Prashanth Chandrasekar: actually it was not a 486, I think it was a 286 - I clarified that with him, so it was a very very old computer but he lugged that thing all the way from Hong Kong and brought a bunch of 5.25" floppy disks with business software along with obviously what would get us going which were video games - Defender was my first exposure to a computer game, and I was completely hooked; this was before I even knew what an Atari, it was actually on this computer -

Sara Chipps: was there a big CRT monitor, did he bring that -

Prashanth Chandrasekar: yes, big big, and it took a long time to run things, but it was very eye-opening. And then very early on - the great thing about Indian education is that they expose you to fairly technical topics early on, calculus in middle school, or if it's computer science they started teaching Logo - and that's when I got exposed to, the first programming language that I ever knew, and I had fond memories of how that looked when I first started and quickly moved on to BASIC and for my 10th grade high school project so to speak, I remember my mom - obviously as a doctor she had a private practice, she had patients, etc. - and I had the opportunity to build a computer program application and I choose to go to the hospital management system -

Paul Ford: that's fun, that's a cool kid thing to do

Prashanth Chandrasekar: yeah! Well, there's something addictive about building something that actually delivers a very specific outcome with a customer that is going to benefit from it and that was very joyous to see.

Ben Popper: tell Prashanth about what you built for your dad

Sara Chipps: yeah so my dad my dad's a year away from retirement and I went to visit him at his office. He's an awesome, awesome guy, and he's been an architect for many years, and what he showed me is every day he prints out on the printer the number of days until his retirement, the number of days until he starts collecting Social Security, and the number of weeks... And every morning he goes to the printer and prints those out and puts those on his desk, which I think is fascinating, though must also be really interesting sitting next to the person doing that everyday. So, I was like "Dad this is a website". So now if you go to wacretiring.com, you can see the countdown for my dad to retire. My big question for you is what kind of product manager was your mom? Like how how was she as a client?

Prashanth Chandrasekar: she's very driven, so knows exactly what she wants, so she's not shy about sharing requirements. So back then I was very clear on exactly what the specs were, and what I needed to be build and how I needed to architect this thing, what would be useful. So no, it's great having clear direction from customers, right?

Paul Ford: no scope creep in this house!

Prashanth Chandrasekar: That was a great great introduction to computer programming, somewhat early in my life and that obviously continued heavily into college when I studied computer engineering and got up to C, C++, Perl and all the other languages.

Ben Popper: Paul loves Perl, right Paul?

Paul Ford: naw, you had to know Perl 20 years ago. So here we are talking to the Stack audience, what they're gonna want to know things. What can we tell them? What can you tell them? You've been here what, two days?

Prashanth Chandrasekar: two days! Two days! Exactly, two whole days!

Paul Ford: so lay out the plan for the next five years!

Prashanth Chandrasekar: yes no thank you for that. In all seriousness, I've had the privilege of learning about this company for almost since its exception, since it started, because all the teams that I have led, especially in my time at Rackspace have always used Stack Overflow. It's always the default place for the smartest people in fact, or any engineers on our team to get their answers very very quickly, so if they want to understand something about Kubernetes, but they expect the answer to come from Stack Overflow. So they all know it, they've always talked about it in a very positive and grateful sense, and so I've followed the company very closely by the impact that it has very broadly for a long time, the tremendous impact that it has. Additionally in the past two days I've spoken to now close to 130 Stackers either in one on one scenarios or in team settings, and it's just been a phenomenal kind of eye-opening and learning experience, to say "what makes this place tick?" - and clearly it's the team that's here, that cares about this community so much and wants to do the right thing. There are probably a handful of companies in the world, that have such a large impact around the world. With 50 million developers coming here to seek answers to their most technical questions, there is no way that you could can replicate that magic, and so we're really really blessed to have a phenomenal community of people that are willing to share so much and be open about the knowledge that there is resident in their heads, and ready to promote a truly border-less sharing of information around these topics. And then to make sure that people actually know about us holistically, in a 360 sense, because I think people identify us as a community, and I think that is the heartbeat of the company - we are community first, that's why we exist in many ways because of our community. However, I don't know if many people understand that we actually do so much more than provide what we do in our community, so there's so many products that hopefully our customer base and our community can leverage to make their lives better and to accelerate what they want to accomplish.

Ben Popper: Prashanth, let's talk about predictability and pace - so if you haven't taken 130 employee meetings in the last two days -

Sara Chipps: yeah you're falling short!

Sara Chipps: I know I do public talks a lot and people come up to me afterwards and I'm expecting like a technical question or something like that. And what they say is, oh my gosh I didn't even know we could have our own Stack Overflow! D'you know how many times I'm on a team with someone, they've asked me the same question like 50 times from the last year. I thought if only I had a place to point them, and people get really excited when they hear that that's something that we are doing.

Ben Popper: yeah, it's cool, and if you wear a Stack Overflow T-shirt with the logo out - which I started doing now that I work here - and random people will start to approach you for a hug

Paul Ford: actual hugs?

Ben Popper: actual high fives and hugs do occur; but since I'm a New Yorker I'm usually, "stranger don't touch me", but they just want to express their gratitude.

Prashanth Chandrasekar: I gotta share this. When my appointment went public last week, thousands of people reached out to me either commenting on the appointment or direct-messaging me or emailing me, and these are not only people that I've known or who've worked for me, but a bulk of them were people from the community that were so grateful for what Stack Overflow has been, and I was blown away by how much it has made a difference for them in their life and their families, and you know these are folks from all around the world, right? I remembered this chart that that made me fall in love with the company when I first saw it which is the the chart about the R community across the world. 50 million users, 50 million community members that come every month. And they're literally all around the world. That chart was so high impact. Anyway I just totally agree with you, I think we make a huge difference in people's lives and it's not to be underestimated.

Sara Chipps: when you were using Logo, what were you using it for?

Prashanth Chandrasekar: it was completely for drawing really, that's all it was. I think it was just to kind of say, how do you actually control movement of the turtle

Paul Ford: well it gives kids a reaction, you get to see the computer doing something.

Prashanth Chandrasekar: this is that addictive part, it gives you this sense of control, of creative control, to say I'm actually controlling this thing, in a very very binary 0/1 kind of way. Hey, move forward by 50 steps - OK here you go, it actually moves forward by 50 steps. Turn right - OK. And that in itself gets you going, and I see a similar look in my kids' eyes now, when they are actually learning to code. My daughter's 9 years old my son is 6 years old, and they're big code.org fans. So you can see the reaction in her face when she's able to come do that.

Paul Ford: I remember this experience very clearly, when you have control over something for the first time in your life. Kids don't have control over their own lives, we're always shuttling them somewhere, you have to get to school, wear your pants... And suddenly they're in this environment where they say, all right it might just be a turtle, but it's mine. I get to do anything I want with it. And I think for me what I remember is that screens had always been... I remember being 4 and being asked, "do the people on the screen know that you're here?" And I was like, "maybe?" And they're like, "no, under no circumstances" - they wanted to get that across to me. And then the computer shows up and you go, actually it knows I'm here. I exist for the turtle. The turtle knows that I'm in charge. And it's a good feeling when you're 6-7-8 years old.

Prashanth Chandrasekar: that reminds me a little bit about the creative control that comes wiht it, but also I think it teaches you to be somewhat of a perfectionist and to be kind of detail-oriented, and kids can also kind of like gain from, I think, by being exposed early on because, if you are frustrated by the fact that your command actually didn't result in the outcome that you hoped for, then you are going to keep pursuing until you actually get to the end zone, until you actually are perfect in the outcome. Also it's very easy to get stuff wrong in computer programming as we all know, so it's very frustrating but it also teaches you to have a inner exceptional amount of detail orientation, which I think has served me in my life very well.

Sara Chipps: researchers call the phenomena that you're talking about, they call it eustress, which is like euphoric stress, they call it that when it comes to gaming as well. It's the idea of stress where you know there's a solution and you know you can find it. So it's not distress, which is something where you easily get discouraged; it's euphoric stress that gets you more excited until you solve that problem and then you're like, "yes" and you get all this dopamine just flooding in, of like "yes, I did it!"

Prashanth Chandrasekar: Sara, you taught me something new! That's amazing, I've never heard of that but there's a scientific term for it.

Ben Popper: and yet the three of you gave up being individual contributors where you have that control and can execute... To be managers of people - which is the worst, people, come on!

Sara Chipps: turns out, you make a bigger impact as a coder... You know, by myself I'm not the best coder, but being able to enable millions of coders, what a better impact!

Paul Ford: I like seeing what people are up to too, I like the knowledge part probably even more than the execution part. You can only execute so much, you can learn a ton.

Prashanth Chandrasekar: for me I think very early I started realizing that, even though coding was very enjoyable - and frustrating at the same time as we've talked about, but - still enjoyable. At the end of the day I felt that I'm like a big impact guy and along the way I discovered that my passion was more about leading larger organizations, or leading teams toward big outcomes.

Paul Ford: how do people give you feedback now? You're the CEO of Stack; you've got lots of users, lots of employees. What is the channel?

Prashanth Chandrasekar: Let's talk internal and external. I think that from an internal at Stack Overflow, feedback shouldn't just be a very discrete kind of like, every 6 months we're going to get & talk about stuff. It should literally be on a daily basis - the world is moving way too fast. For us to say how do we react, how do we get ahead in many ways of certain things are coming down the pike, and how do we need to flex our style to be able be appropriate for the moment. So I'm constantly - you know the 130 meetings that I mentioned to you - they're all bi-directional in many ways, they're saying, what what do I need to do to make our Stackers successful? And if I'm not wired a certain way, what do I need to consider as I think about my own style so that I can actually be helpful to this organization. How do I make sure that people are aware of my own weaknesses so that they know there are blind spots, and how do I surround myself with leaders on my team that will bring that perspective so we don't just have a singular view in the room versus having the right view, ultimately having all the right discussions. Also really make sure the team is taking time out on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, on a quarterly basis, on a daily basis to make sure that we're constantly treading towards our mission but doing it collectively and makes sure we're holding each other accountable towards that and and not taking anything personally. My approach is that we have to adopt a growth mindset, if you don't adopt a growth mindset we are not going to be able to achieve the full potential of what we are meant to do. The key feedback from the community and the community is as we said a phenomenally passionate group of individuals that have been there for the past 10 years. Like with anything else, there will be a diversity of thought and opinion, which I think is very important; you have to take all that into account. And then we want to make sure that we stay true to our mission and our core beliefs and our core principles. And make sure that we deliver on that, with spirit of taking that feedback from the community and making sure that it reflects much of what they care about.

Excerpt above is taken from The Stack Overflow Podcast is Back!, published October 15, 2019 on the Stack Overflow blog.

  • 38
    Nothing like seeing a bunch of corporate growth speak, combined with the person who gaslit Monica and put her on blast to the media, to make us feel like this makes anything feel more humanized. I don't think the community here gives one single iota of a care about an enormous wall of text about corporate growth and products right now. There was an illegal retroactive relicensing that went against the Creative Commons license, an unfair, one-sided characterization of a private user to the media and in copied posts, and 62 moderators who left. Fix that first, and then maybe people will care. Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 22:59
  • 6
    '... it's just been a phenomenal kind of eye-opening and learning experience, to say "what makes this place tick?" - and clearly it's the team that's here, that cares about this community so much and wants to do the right thing.' Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 3:51
  • 6
    Thank you @Shog9, an interesting read!
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 6:46
  • Eustress, great. Now I have a term for when the CEO pitches for a project that normally takes 6 months and hands it to me to do in 1. What pride that I'm entrusted more than the others!
    – John
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 0:07
  • Perhaps break down the many walls of text (into several paragraphs)? Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:15
  • 2
    If we want a better view of "how Prashanth views the communities here" why wouldn't we judge him by his (in)actions towards the community so far. Either he's responsible for the current, ludicrous state of affairs or he's unable to control rogue employees. Pick one.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 13:10

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