It was the middle of COVID summer when, via Zoom, Tony Cebzanov–native Philadelphian, electric vehicle driver, baseball aficionado–officially joined the BlastPoint team as Principal Software Engineer. A pandemic is a stressful time for anyone to start a new job, let alone contribute to the design of a new software product and simultaneously take on leadership responsibilities.
Despite the challenges, however, Tony assumed the role seamlessly and spectacularly, without missing a beat, and we are utterly thrilled to have him on board. Please join us in welcoming him!
With BlastPoint serving new verticals, growing in size and building a more powerful version of its customer intelligence platform, the executive team knew it was time to bring on someone with more experience and expertise to lead the company’s software engineering operations into the future.
Expertise and experience, among other qualities, were apparent in Tony immediately, and ever since, he’s proved to possess plenty more talents and knowledge.
When asked about Tony’s contributions since starting with the company in July, BlastPoint CTO Tomer Borenstein replied, emphatically, “Where do I start!?”
A fitting response with regard to this conscientious, kind-hearted professional who spent 15 years honing an impressive list of technical skills at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. It was through his work there and at The Vanguard Group that he developed what BlastPoint CEO Alison Alvarez describes as a “deep well of knowledge that really fills some of our gaps and has extended our internal knowledge sources.”
Tony says that while taking the leap from working at a large institution to a small startup wasn’t insignificant, it’s brought him a lot of professional satisfaction and allowed him to put his skills to work for the greater good.
“Some people hold the belief that technology will solve everything,” he says, “but I try to limit my adherence to that. It’s just a tool to get things done, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Coming here, I could tell BlastPoint shared that perspective, especially given the way Alison runs the company, which is, responsibly.”
As Tony’s career evolved over the years and he took on more managerial responsibilities, his philosophy on effective leadership crystalized.
“One of the things I always try to do is let people know that their work is valued,” he explains. “It’s important to give people a ‘good job’ or a ‘thanks’ when they’ve earned it. I appreciate hearing that, myself. Speaking as a software engineer, I know this work is tough. It’s challenging. And when someone puts in extra time and effort, I want them to know they’re valued.”
It’s this kind of conscientious approach that’s made all of us here at BlastPoint admire Tony.
Borenstein says that, because of his leadership, “We are operating much more efficiently and accelerating our product development. And his cybersecurity experience allows us to build software with security and privacy at its core, which is extremely important to our clients.”
Alvarez adds, “I love that he’s interested in parts of the business outside of his expertise. For instance, it’s great to have him listening in to marketing meetings.”
Expressing an interest in understanding the big picture just comes naturally to Tony. “One thing that’s cool here is to follow and participate in the activity of sales, marketing, customer support and other teams,” he says, “because that gives me great context about the company. In a lot of large organizations, those departments would not have the opportunity to work with the engineering team. There’s sometimes this feeling that we have to ‘stay in our lanes.’ But at BlastPoint, we can have a conversation and help each other out without administrative interference.”
So, what’s on the horizon for the next iteration of the BlastPoint platform?
According to Tony, “The focus of V2 is providing ways to deliver insights that we currently deliver but in a way that gives users more control and ability to find their own insights. There will , of course, continue to be the manual magic that our data scientists do to build models and run the numbers. But once we have that, we want people to be able to use the software to target customers or do whatever they want to do, independently.”
The self-serve aspect of V2 is a feature Tony believes our customers will appreciate using and which ought to provide a lot more insights to their work.
When Tony isn’t busy leading BlastPoint’s software engineers, he’s enjoying day trips to nearby parks with his wife, Erica, taking his rescue dog, Kona, for long walks, or watching Phillies games at home while his cat, Pearl, naps next to him.
Welcome to BlastPoint, Tony!
Want to work for BlastPoint? We’re hiring! Check out our current posting for a qualified Data Scientist here. And stay tuned for more exciting news and announcements about BlastPoint V2, coming soon. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook!