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The man behind the headphones

Employee Spotlight: Bob Buffone, CTO and Co-founder

Meet Bob Buffone, CTO and co-founder of YOTTAA. As an industry thought leader in web performance, Bob brings over 20 years of experience working in SaaS, technology, and engineering leadership roles and is responsible for the company’s overall product strategy and direction. We interviewed Bob to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes (and under his headphones!):

Why did you create YOTTAA? What did you do before YOTTAA that led you to create YOTTAA?

Before YOTTAA, my co-founder and I worked at a company called Nexaweb, where we were building large scale AJAX

Bob Buffone

Bob and his daughter during a road trip.

applications. Together we worked on a challenging task that dealt with a patchy Javascript framework that had 700 Javascript files within it. We figured out how to make that framework fast, performant, and usable by end-users. Then, we built the best practices around how to optimize web applications and spoke at many conferences about optimization.

It was at this time that we realized the applications people were using to make websites faster, like CDNs, didn’t actually help the newer style web applications. CDN’s and the technologies that were around before YOTTAA are still necessary, but they are insufficient technology for accelerating your application. In other words, a website needs to have a CDN, but it’s not enough to make your website faster.

So, what we tried to do with YOTTAA was build a sufficient set of technology or tools that you can use to optimize your website fully. We wanted to have it so that there were no code changes involved and for it to be indistinguishably better than the original website. If anyone went to the website that used a YOTTAA product, we wanted them to think, “Oh my God, this website is awesome!” Our goal was for visitors to notice that the website was performing better, but not notice any physical differences from the original website, and I believe that YOTTAA has achieved that.

What do you like most about your job at YOTTAA?

I’m the boss! There are multiple parts of the job that are enjoyable. Still, for me as the founder of the company, I enjoy seeing people come in and gain a lot of experience. Whether they’re new to the workforce, like some of our BDRs, or they’re looking to move up to the next level, or they’re senior people moving on to even bigger things, I think what I enjoy most is seeing them achieve success. I love watching people grow and accomplish bigger and better things.

Another thing I like about YOTTAA is we have had a lot of people that worked here attain a level of understanding about technology and high-performance computing that they didn’t have before.

I wanted to do two things: build great technology and sell that technology. Working with others and helping them achieve their goals is an intrinsic aspect that I wanted present in my day-to-day life. While extrinsically I just wanted to build a great product and be able to sell it.

What is your favorite part about working with YOTTAA customers?

The great thing about working with YOTTAA customers is that they see the value that we provide. It’s fascinating to work with customers and help them solve their problems and make a generally more awesome website. We reduce the time it takes them to find issues with their site, help them fix those issues, and achieve their goals.

We’re a major part of all our customers’ organizations, and we help them achieve far more from our partnership than just the use of our products. With great support and great services, we always put our customers first and do everything in our power to ensure their success. If our customers don’t succeed, then they won’t be our customers anymore — whether they want to be or not!

What makes YOTTAA a great place to work? What’s your hope for YOTTAA employees?

The great thing about working at YOTTAA is that you learn a lot, and all the information you learn here will help you become more successful in your overall career. First and foremost, I want people to come here and be able to say, “I worked at YOTTAA, and it was the best place I’ve worked in a long time, or ever,” and I think that’s the culture that we’ve built.

I’m a pretty laid back person, so I think the organization overall follows that, but it doesn’t mean we don’t do anything — we’re all driven to achieve our goals. That’s how we become better: we bring people into our organization that are willing to work hard and add value to our team. But first and foremost, I want people to come here and be better off, learn more, get opportunities, and go on to do bigger and better things.

What’s your vision for YOTTAA moving forward?

As I said earlier, there are two things I want to do, and that’s to build a great product and be able to sell it. Scaling those two things is super essential, and obviously making more products and generating more sales is always great.

Internally though, I’d like to build a company that people know and want to work at. It would be awesome if people generally knew about YOTTAA and they were like “Oh, I would love to work there, they have a great culture, and they solve awesome problems. I could do a bunch of great things there.” That would really benefit me in general and benefit the whole company.

What are you always listening to and what are the best headphones?

V Modo are the best headphones. I’ve had these for five years, and they’re customized with my name on it. I also have the V Modo wireless ones because these are old and hard to carry around.

I’m always listening to Spotify. I have Jimmy Buffett, Rage Against The Machine, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Noel Gallagher was one of the brothers in Oasis. I listen to a lot of Avicii, Johnny Cash, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ll listen to classical music on a Spotify playlist if I really want to churn out code, so I don’t have to hear too many words that will distract from the words on the screen. If I’m trying to sleep on a plane, I’ll play the Joanne album by Lady Gaga; I find that to be one of the most peaceful albums of all time.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

Most of the fun things I like to do revolve around making YOTTAA more successful. Outside of work, I enjoy watching tv, movies, or sports. I’m a big fan of the Celtics, and I also watch a lot of European soccer. I’m more of a movie guy than a tv guy — I’ve watched the hangover movies about a thousand times.