Matt Greenwood, Two Sigma’s Chief Innovation Officer & Head of Investment Management Engineering, appeared as a guest on the Engineering Leadership Podcast, hosted by Daniel Bashir. Over the course of the episode, Greenwood discusses his career journey over his 20+ years at Two Sigma, key lessons learned, and some of the things that make Two Sigma’s engineering culture unique.
From building systems to leading engineering teams
Matt describes the early days of Two Sigma, when he was focused on data engineering—before data engineering was a well-defined specialization. He then tells how, after a brief stint in alpha modeling with unstructured text, he turned his focus to human problems.
We believe in investing in people and having that investment pay off in exponential terms over the years.
“We don’t think about the lifetime of a developer as two to three years,” Greenwood emphasizes. “We believe in investing in people and having that investment pay off in exponential terms over the years. And if you do that, if you really buy into that philosophy, then you have to think really hard about those humans about how you are challenging them.”
Finding that, like programs, humans are “incredibly fun to debug,” Greenwood has spent most of his career at Two Sigma working to help create a culture of investing in employees’ growth over long timelines. These investments have paid off as the company’s headcount has grown tenfold, he says, despite the emergence of challenges that come with the growth of an organization into one with more than 2,000 employees.
Full-bodied problem solving
Among the other concepts Matt and Bashir explore is that of “full-bodied problem solving”: the acknowledgement that, visibly or otherwise, employees bring their entire selves, including their outside lives, to work with them every day. This, according to Greenwood, should be seen as a feature, not a bug. “I think that if you do that, if you bring your whole body to bear on problems,” he says, “you’ve got a better chance of solving them.” Consequently, he argues, helping colleagues thrive holistically is one the best things a manager—and a company—can do.
Tune in to the podcast
To hear the entire conversation, listen to this episode of the Engineering Leadership Podcast here.