The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 127

Navigating the Acquisition Journey: Insights on Transparent Communication, Team Integration, and Strategic / Operational Shifts

with Johnny Ray Austin

Apr 25, 2023
Johnny Ray Austin, Head of Technology, Flexible Rent @ Best Egg, joins us to discuss Best Egg’s recent acquisition of Till and some of the strategic & operational shifts that happen post-acquisition. He shares reflections on integrating the team within the new company, communicating both within the leadership team and within the overall team, how product launch / development changes throughout the acquisition process, shifts in the org’s distribution model & its impact on eng functions, and what it’s like relearning your role in the scope of an acquisition. Additionally, Johnny reveals some of his greatest paradigm shifts throughout this period & how the acquisition is better supporting the flexible rent model.
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Johnny (@recursivefunk) is an experienced award-winning engineering executive focused on shipping world-class products while building high-performing engineering teams. He is also an international public speaker, speaking on engineering leadership, system design, and the JavaScript programming language. Johnny is the former Chief Technology Officer for Till, a company that built financial products to help renters pay, stay and thrive in their homes. After Best Egg acquired Till in late 2022, he transitioned to Best Egg's Head of Technology for Flexible Rent, where he continues to scale the flexible rent platform to service millions of units.

"At the time, we were thinking about raising money and also in acquisition and we didn't really know exactly which route we were gonna go down. We shared that with the team. You know, we said, 'Hey, this is path number one. This is path two. Path three is a shutdown.' We were very open in talking about, 'This is a path. It's very unlikely, but this is a thing that could happen.' And so we chose transparency from the very beginning because one, we thought it was the right thing to do. Two, we knew the team could handle it, and three, it was really just one of those things where it was gonna make the process easier.”

- Johnny Ray Austin   

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  • Johnny’s pop culture reflections & tips for protecting your energy (2:42)
  • An inside look at Best Egg’s recent acquisition of Till (6:42)
  • What it’s been like post-acquisition to integrate the team (10:12)
  • How leadership communicated with their team throughout the acquisition (12:25)
  • Lessons learned about communicating during early exploratory phase (15:54)
  • Strategies for minimizing distractions resulting from uncertainty (18:08)
  • Helpful conversations to host between leadership for effective coordination (19:18)
  • Questions to help gain personal alignment (21:03)
  • How product launch / development changed mid- and post-acquisition (23:11)
  • Introducing a new methodology to the team (26:14)
  • The new distribution model & its impact on eng functions (28:46)
  • Differences between BNPL & Best Egg’s rent payment model (31:31)
  • What it’s been like for Johnny to relearn his role as part of a broader eng org (34:56)
  • Frameworks for navigating new dependencies (37:05)
  • Johnny’s paradigm shift around planning for scale (39:21)
  • Rapid fire questions (41:50)


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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

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