The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 117

Increasing capacity to win in an economic downturn, cultivating a founder’s mindset & product ownership in engineering

with Shadi Rostami

Feb 14, 2023
Shadi Rostami, SVP of Engineering @ Amplitude, joins us to discuss key insights and strategies to increase your engineering orgs capacity to win in an economic downturn. We cover cultivating a founder’s mindset and increasing product ownership in engineering. Plus prioritization strategies, determining where to invest resources, and shifting your team’s perspective from skepticism to optimism.
Listen On
Apple PodcastSpotifyBreakerGoogle PodcastOvercastRadio Public
supported by
Translate and maximize the business impact of engineering!


Shadi Rostami is SVP of engineering at Amplitude. She is a passionate, seasoned technology leader and architect experienced in building and managing highly proficient engineering teams. Prior to Amplitude, she was VP of Engineering at Palo Alto Networks. She has innovated and delivered several product lines and services specializing in distributed systems, cloud computing, big data, machine learning, and security. She has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc. from Sharif University of Technology. Shadi has published several peer-reviewed conference articles and journals as well as several patents.

"Many, many years ago, I went to my VP and I asked him, ‘Rajiv, I don't know, shall I do A or B?’ And he told me, ‘if it was your own money and your own company, which decision you would've made?’ I said, ‘I'll do A,’ he says, ‘then you know the answer. You don't need to come and ask me. Right? Put your founder hat on and tell me what decision we should be making.’ Shall we do A or shall we do B? That is the ultimate sense of ownership.”

- Shadi Rostami  

Check out our friends and sponsor, Jellyfish

To learn more about Jellyfish and how they can help you increase engineering satisfaction and create happier, higher-performing engineering teams.

Learn more at

Join us for one of our in-person community events!

That's right! We're hosting in-person community events in San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, and Chicago! Break out of your comfort zone and join us in a casual environment to connect, problem-solve, and support each other in our engineering leadership journeys.

Don't see your city on the list? No problem!

Reach out to Tim at [email protected] and let's bring ELC to you - and make it happen!

To get involved email our Head of Community Tim at [email protected]


  • Examples of how engineering increases an org’s capacity for winning (1:54)
  • Strategies to drive product-led growth (4:58)
  • Why product-led prioritization is key during an economic downturn (6:56)
  • Balancing quantitative vs. qualitative data when determining where to invest resources in (9:12)
  • Set the same goal for your eng team & the product (12:44)
  • The importance of weekly learning users & other valuable metrics (15:58)
  • How a founder mindset fosters a product ownership mentality in engineers (18:47)
  • Practices to help cultivate a founder mentality (23:10)
  • Shadi’s advice for better translation between the business & engineering (27:16)
  • Tactics for reframing a conversation from skepticism to perpetual optimism (29:43)
  • Owning the product experience within the restraints of an economic downturn (33:29)
  • Signals to watch for that it’s time to pivot (36:17)
  • How to increase opportunities for your team to find luck (41:46)
  • Rapid fire questions (43:41)


  • Fresh Air - Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
  • All Things Considered - NPR’s flagship evening newsmagazine, delivering in-depth reporting that transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world.
  • All-In - Industry veterans, degenerate gamblers & besties Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks & David Friedberg cover all things economic, tech, political, social & poker.

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer -

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at

more to listen

Get social

Copyright © 2022 ELC. All Rights Reserved. / Privacy Policy / Code Of Conduct
ELC logo
Home for engineering leaders