Why Imperfect?

Because most tech leaders are. We’re usually promoted to leadership roles without much training or mentoring. There’s no Tech Lead University, and few workplaces invest in proper training for their new leads.

So here we are. Imperfect leaders, doing the best we can. This newsletter is about the journey of figuring things out and getting better every day.

Each edition, I’ll be sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences, along with a curated selection of content like articles and books that I’ve found useful in my 20+ year career. I hope they’re useful to you too.

About me

Hi, I’m Pedro. I’m a new father, and I’ve been a programmer for a couple decades. For the last half dozen years I’ve been a tech leader and manager too.

Fresh code

I had lead roles here and there, especially when selling my own software. But I really cut my teeth in 2015 as Head of Platform Engineering at HelloFresh’s Berlin headquarters.

Me and my peers grew IT/Engineering from 10 to 100 people in under two years - evolving everything from the hiring process to the onboarding experience, from the team make-up to the technology stack. We wrote a lot of code, drank a lot of mate, and just never seemed to have enough desks. I developed my habit of coding on the couch there.

Through it all we delivered the software services that saw HelloFresh to its fantastic $2B IPO and beyond, serving customers in over a dozen territories worldwide. It was an amazing ride.

Contentfulero-as-a-Service

Then I went to Contentful, where instead of managing double digit developers I collaborated and enabled double digit software development teams. Traveling all through Europe and North America, I had the opportunity to teach and learn, in person, with software teams of all shapes and sizes. Microservices, monoliths, agile, waterfall, scrum, kanban, cloud-based, on-prem, I dove deep into all kinds of stacks, architectures, organizations, processes and degrees of digital transformation. I worked with small, lightning fast startups, with leading sports car manufacturers, pharma, banking and Bay Area tech companies. I managed Contentful’s European Sales Architecture team and helped recruit and mentor the North American team, all the while teaming up with Sales to close deals and Customer Success to expand them. I can’t wait to share what I learned about SaaS, Product Management, Enterprise Software and, of course, about all the different kinds of software development practices I encountered and partook in during my time at this fearless $3B unicorn.

Machine Head

Now I’m Head of Engineering at Lengoo, where we apply Machine Learning and human creativity to make professional translations faster and more accessible than ever before. In our quest to disrupt the translations market and make information accessible to more people, software engineering, machine learning research, data science and design all have to go hand in hand to deliver a great service. Once again it’s a high growth challenge, more than doubling the Engineer count in a year, reorganizing the teams and evolving the software development practices to keep supporting Lengoo’s amazing growth.


Every day I learn something new. This newsletter is a way to organize and share my learnings. I hope you find it useful.

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Pedro Gil Carvalho

I help startups grow better teams and build better products. Led engineering teams and departments at unicorns like Hellofresh, Contentful and Getir. Autonomy, psychological safety and a high technical bar can solve any problem.