The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 123

Rippling's Response to the SVB Collapse: A Story of Leadership, Crisis Management, Clarity and Communication

with Albert Strasheim

Mar 28, 2023
Albert Strasheim, CTO & SVP of Engineering @ Rippling, joins us to share the riveting story of how Rippling’s leadership navigated the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. He reveals what was at stake for his company & the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for customers & their employees, how Rippling’s core values influenced their critical decision-making, tips for communicating with clarity both internally & externally, and tactics that allowed the team to respond with precision during crisis. Additionally, Albert shares the pre-crisis strategies, habits & systems he is most thankful for that helped Rippling leadership respond successfully throughout this critical period.
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Albert Strasheim is Rippling's CTO and SVP, Engineering. Albert leads the global engineering team as it continues to expand the capabilities of Rippling’s products and the platform itself. Prior to Rippling, Albert served as VP of Engineering at Segment, where he spent more than five years building and leading the infrastructure and product teams responsible for creating Segment’s market-leading Customer Data Platform product. He was born and raised in South Africa and earned a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering from Stellenbosch University. Albert lives in the Bay Area and is an avid skier and surfer.

"I think we had about $130 million on the way to employees of our clients. This was more than 50,000 people. They are not like rich Silicon Valley tech workers. It's everyday Americans making less than $55,000 a year. Some of them are living paycheck to paycheck and so missing a paycheck can have devastating consequences. We had to move really quickly to make sure these folks got paid. Basically, no matter what happened with SVB, those were the stakes. It's like people that critically needed money just wouldn't get it otherwise.”

- Albert Strasheim   

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  • How Albert’s team @ Rippling responded to the Silicon Valley Bank collapse (2:56)
  • Rippling’s SVB story & how payroll was impacted by its collapse (6:24)
  • Identifying who was needed to coordinate Rippling’s response / decision making (9:49)
  • Albert discusses the millions of dollars of payroll at stake on Thursday (11:47)
  • How the SVB issue progressed into Thursday / Friday (13:07)
  • Communicating with customers during crisis & how Rippling ultimately made the payments (15:47)
  • Tactics that allow eng teams to respond with precision during crisis (19:57)
  • How leadership determined the right step in the right order to achieve the intended outcome (21:56)
  • Communicating context on how to think about a problem (23:21)
  • What the weekend looked like & the half a billion dollars of payroll at stake (24:39)
  • Internal communication systems that lead to Rippling’s success (26:34)
  • Tips for communicating with absolute clarity (28:40)
  • Albert’s SVB story: picking back up on Sunday going into the week (31:24)
  • Implementing an external communication strategy (33:07)
  • Pre-crisis habits & leadership systems that played a significant role in successfully navigating this issue (35:12)
  • Reflecting on the impact of this effort externally & internally one week out (38:17)
  • Rapid fire questions (40:27)


  • Scaling People: Tactics for Management and Company Building - Scaling People is a practical and empathetic guide to company building and scaling the most important resource a company has: its people. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a Google and Stripe executive, Claire Hughes Johnson offers actionable insights and tactical guidance on everything from crafting foundational documents to hiring and team development to feedback and performance mechanisms.
  • An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management - Will Larson’s explores the specific challenges of engineering management—from sizing teams to handling technical debt to developing succession planning—and provides a guide to solving complex managerial problems.

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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