Process Street was born from the collaboration between two backpackers who crossed paths in Buenos Aires. While both of them contributed to its success, Vinay Patankar, the CEO, has always been in the public eye. Whereas, Cameron McKay, the other half of the dynamic duo, has remained behind the scenes, truly known only to those who work closely with him.
Fortunately, Process Street’s Employee Spotlight series has given us the opportunity to showcase Cameron’s remarkable talents. Cameron’s story is one that inspires and motivates. He is a highly skilled and dedicated individual who works tirelessly to ensure that Process Street remains at the forefront of its industry. His contributions to the company are immeasurable, and his work ethic is second to none.
Despite his achievements, Cameron remains humble and focused on the task at hand. He is always looking for ways to improve himself and his team. His passion for technology and innovation is contagious, and it is clear that he truly cares about the success of Process Street and its employees.
Cameron McKay is a talented individual who has played an undeniably vital role in the success of Process Street. His story is one that deserves to be shared and celebrated. So, here it is from the horse’s mouth.
- Introducing our co-founder and CTO: Cameron McKay
- Cameron’s professional world before Process Street
- Cameron: The co-founder who stays behind the screen
- Today in Process Street
Introducing our co-founder and CTO: Cameron McKay
Q: What are three words that describe you?
Curious, focused, and adaptable
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
What spare time? 😆 Almost all my spare time is spent with my daughter and my wife. We either explore Barcelona or take day trips to many of the wonderful places near the city. Outside of that, I take care of the garden on our terrace, read (I’m a big fan of sci-fi), and do recreational (non-work) coding.
Besides everything he has contributed to making Process Street what it has become, I really appreciate Cameron as a person. He is kind and socially conscious, which is really important in a leader. He’s also a lot of fun! In fact, I’ve never known someone with such a spot-on octopus impression 😉– Anne Perry, Director of Solutions Consulting at Process Street
Q: How do you start your morning?
I wake up at 6 am and make my daughter’s breakfast. Then I make a cortado and read the news. After that, I walk my daughter to daycare and go to the office I have at a co-working space in the old city of Barcelona and start working.
Q: What is an interesting/fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
In the last ten years I’ve lived in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, New York, San Francisco, Cancún, Vancouver and Barcelona. I also know how to Swing dance.
Cameron’s professional world before Process Street
Q: Important moments, catalysts, or turning points in your career?
- Deciding to buy a programming book.
- Deciding to backpack in Buenos Aires for a month (that’s where I ran into Vinay!).
- Closing our seed round and having to learn how to hire and be a manager.
Cameron is one of the most approachable and supportive people on the team. His openness and willingness to share his knowledge has been invaluable to me.– Giacomo Maire, Web Developer at Process Street
Q: Could you give us a breakdown of your professional background before Process Street?
I was always fascinated by computers from the moment I first knew what they were. I self-taught myself to program when I was 14 using an O’Reilly Perl book (I think it was called Learning Perl). I started doing websites for small businesses soon after that.
I went to Queen’s University near Toronto for mathematics and computer engineering, and then a Masters in unconventional computing (specifically DNA computing). After I graduated, I started looking for an entry-level job and did freelance work on the side.
Pretty quickly I realized that I was making way more doing freelance work than I would in an entry-level job and so I stopped looking for a job. After freelancing for around 6 years, I decided that I would like to work on a product, and that’s when I met Vinay.
Q: You had already co-founded a video games startup Couchware before Process Street – was this different from your work at Process Street? And how?
It was way different. My co-founder and I at Couchware were both engineers and neither of us really understood the business side well. Video games are an extremely competitive industry and not one I was that familiar with or had many contacts in.
It was a great experience to understand that the product is just one part of the equation. You could have the greatest product in the world, but without a way for people to know about it (i.e. marketing), it might never get used.
Q: Did you have another career prospect in mind before you started working on Process Street?
I didn’t have plans to start a startup at that time. My plan was to work at a startup and see how I liked it. It was just fortunate that I ran into Vinay at a time in my life that I was open to taking a big risk.
Cameron’s brilliance as a 10x engineer is matched only by his unwavering dedication to innovation and excellence as the CTO of Process Street. His technical expertise and visionary leadership have been integral to the success of our company, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have him as my co-founder and partner.– Vinay Patankar, CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street
Cameron: The co-founder who stays behind the screen
Q: You and Vinay worked together to create Process Street. What did you first think when Vinay approached you about the idea?
You have to understand that as a software engineer, you are constantly approached by people asking you to work for free 😉. When I met Vinay and he said he had an idea for a startup, I was pretty skeptical. But when he gave his vision and described how he was going to accomplish it, I was impressed. Vinay is also a pretty persuasive person, so that helped.
Q: What made you believe that Process Street could be something?
It was something that I wish I had had when I was a freelancer, so I could immediately see the use case.
Q: Vinay is more so the face of Process Street whereas you take a more behind-the-scenes role as the co-founder. Why is that? Was this a conscious decision or something that just happened as Process Street grew?
I’m not the kind of person that likes to be the center of attention if I can avoid it. Vinay is also a much better public speaker, and since we decided he would be CEO, it was natural for him to be much more visible in the company.
Today in Process Street
Q: What do you think are the best skills that you bring to this company?
I’ve been here since the beginning, so I understand why all technical decisions were made, what all the different systems are, and how they all work together.
Q: What is your role as CTO and co-founder? What does a typical day look like?
The CTO is probably one of the squishiest roles at a startup because what a CTO does really depends on their background and what stage the company is in. At Process Street, the CTO is the head of the Engineering and Product & Design departments. I’m fortunate that both of these departments have incredibly talented directors that I can work with and rely on.
Since my background is technical, I spend a lot of time in the principal engineer/architect role. Since I’ve spent a lot of my time working on the product, I’m also deeply involved in product decisions as well. I also try to find time to stay connected with the code, so I spend a fair amount of time reviewing and writing code.
My typical day starts with catching up with email and Slack. If we’re in the middle of a Shape Up cycle, it’ll also likely be reviewing all the decisions the teams have made and adding context/course-correcting if needed. Otherwise, there are often various projects that need to get done and I’ll work on whatever is the highest priority.
Cameron has been the ideal technical leader to work with. He’s always ready to jump into any deal at any time, which has made him a great collaborator to the Sales team. He’s been a huge help with closing our biggest deals.– John Cunningham, Director of Sales at Process Street
Q: What’s your secret to achieving success in your role?
Be humble. Never think you have it all figured out. I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years and I’m always learning new things.
Speak to everyone you can, read everything you can, and learn from the experiences of others. You’re rarely the first person to do anything, so there’s no reason to have to figure it all out on your own.
Q: What are you working on that you are most excited about?
There are so many exciting things. We’re about to release our Data Sets feature, which adds the ability to create reusable data stores within Process Street. We’re also about to release the first version of Forms, which features our next-generation editor that will eventually make its way into Workflows. Finally, there are our upcoming Process AI features, which just seem like magic.
Q: What do you like most about working at Process Street?
The culture and the people. I love the flexibility of all-remote, and the fact that it’s company-wide, so everyone is in the same boat and understands the advantages and difficulties of it.
The team is patient, understanding, and encouraging, especially to new team members, and that really makes a difference in the general feeling at work. Process Street is a pretty flat company and we do retrospectives on nearly every aspect of how we work.
While sometimes difficult to hear about things that aren’t working, it’s rewarding to work with the team to figure out different ways we can address and improve all aspects of how we work.
Cameron is an incredible person to work with. Even as the team has grown, it’s often Cameron who is first in line to come to the rescue in times of need. He’s the kind of guy who can both figure out complex architectures, and laugh like a small child at the name “Cockburn’s”, the Port distillery we toured in Porto.– Blake Bailey, Director of Customer Success at Process Street
Q: What career advice would you give to your younger self when you were starting out in your career?
When you’re starting out, your biggest issue will be lack of experience. I think open source is a great way to contribute to the community while also building up a body of work that you can use to demonstrate your abilities.
Try to speak to whoever you can, especially people more senior than yourself. I’ve almost never had a conversation with another engineer or manager where I didn’t learn something new.
Enjoyed reading the interview and learnt a few things about Cameron as a person and as a CTO.
The questions were very well worded and they allowed Cameron to talk about his personality and his work ethics.
Great job, keep up the good work.