erman Gamboa, in a way, has a classic Wisely story. He started his career in restaurants as a General Manager at Zaxby’s (amazing chicken in a fun, offbeat atmosphere). He pivoted to a career in engineering to explore his passion for building things. But, like so many of us here at Wisely, he has come full circle to support the restaurant industry in a new way.
We recently chatted with German about his journey moving from working in restaurants to building the technology that powers restaurants.
Tell us about your journey to Wisely
I started out working in restaurants at Zaxby’s, but I wanted to move into tech. At first, I did data processing and Worldpay work in fintech. One day I saw an open role at Wisely and thought “Oh, interesting. I could merge my restaurant background with what I’m doing now.” I was really curious about how different it would feel as an engineer to work in a space that I know so well.
What’s unique about working in restaurant tech?
From my perspective as an engineer, I’m closer to the end user than I ever have been. In fintech I was very removed from the end user and rarely got to see how they interacted with what I built. In other roles I’ve held I was building marketing automation software, but still never got close to the end user because they were somewhere in a call center and features would roll out months after I worked on them. By the time I got live feedback on anything I had developed I felt divorced from the actual work.
At Wisely, for the first time in my engineering career, if I make a change, it immediately impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of users. We get to deploy and test our own code at Wisely and it adds to the excitement. If I deploy a feature that’s not working, I’ll know almost immediately—if I ship something that makes a positive impact in someone’s day-to-day, I’ll hear about it.
What Wisely solutions are you most excited about?
My focus is mostly in CDP and POS integrations, and a little in Host (Wisely’s flagship product), but recently, I got to play in Marketing Automation a bit while fixing a bug. The whole tool—what users can do with it and how it leverages all the data we collect across the whole restaurant customer journey—is game-changing.
When I was running restaurants, we had none of those capabilities and would have given anything to be able to connect with customers the way restaurants are able to with Marketing Automation.
I’m also excited about a Shift Notes project I’m working on for Host. The API work I do is really impactful, but more on the backend. With the Shift Notes project I’ll be building both the backend and frontend and it will be the first fully visible project I’ve built from the ground up.
What makes you happiest at Wisely?
In the past eight months I’ve really been impacted by the engineering team culture. We have a remote team here and I’ve worked remotely before. In my previous roles we didn’t really talk to each other—sometimes I’d go weeks where I didn’t connect with anyone outside of a weekly stand meeting. At Wisely, we actually have a structure for a remote team where there is a true team culture. Especially working with Ush—she has been the best engineering leader I have had.
Plus, the stuff we’re working on is really interesting. I made the move to Wisely, in the end, because I wanted the agency to get things done without a lot of handholding, and I wanted to have a direct impact on the product. It’s very exciting to be living that out every day.
Interested in working with us? We’re hiring on the Engineering team and beyond!
You can read more about Wisely’s approach to Engineering team culture in Ushashi Chakraborty's (Wisely's VP of Engineering) own words.