Visualizing Code Is the Key With Shanea Leven, Co-Founder and CEO, CodeSee

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“So really we have this saying, which is a little silly, but I think it’s cute: A picture is worth a thousand lines of code.” 


Any industry can get into a routine that works to a degree but ends up being inefficient. It’s no different with development — there are the ways coding has historically been done and then there are new possibilities on how the process might change. Shanea Leven, the Co-Founder and CEO of CodeSee, suggests that a visual coding tool can revolutionize development for engineers but also be useful across other areas of a business where people can use a better understanding of what’s being coded. 


Key Insights


How Can a Work Problem Lead To Creating a New Company? (05:56) 

Leven describes an experience earlier in her career where a problematic bug caused a huge issue in a product. This frustrating event led to the eventual creation of CodeSee. 

I’ve talked to hundreds if not thousands of developers. It’s not a unique experience. [It] happens all the time. It happened to me at least four or five times. The most manual way of understanding our code is to read it line by line. That’s the only way that we have at this point. When I started digging into, like, ‘Okay, why do we not understand our code and why don’t we have these summaries of how things work?’ That’s kind of how CodeSee was born.”

How Can We Push Beyond Assumptions? (16:48)

 “We naturally assume that there’s some unknown, unknown that’s going to come up and we just don’t know. And that’s just kind of part of the game, but it doesn’t have to be.”

In the quote above, Leven speaks to assumptions that are made in the current coding process as to the inevitably of certain outcomes because of typical practices. But, undeniably, it’s the case that assumptions are made in every field. Just because something has been done a particular way does not make that way inevitable in perpetuity. Someone can shed a light on a new possibility and the entire world can change.

Can Creating More Time Change the World? (21:33)

“There are so many parts of the code base that we can visualize. And I think that if we do our jobs right, the things that we want to build we will be able to build because we can just move that much faster. We won’t spend 60% of our time understanding our code. Maybe it goes down to 30%. And what do you do when you’ve got an increase of every engineer with an extra 30% capacity, but they don’t have to work any harder, right? I think our world will change if we do our jobs right.” 

Leven believes that a tool to increase efficiency for engineers can be an absolute game-changer. It seems she’s suggesting that more time equals greater creativity. Imagine if all the creatives in the world had more time, and energy, to do what they are best at? The world would definitely be a different place and likely a much more beautiful one. 

About the Guest:

BiO: Silicon Valley Product Manager with a specialization in cutting edge consumer technology products and developer product platforms. Over 10 years of experience of leading teams and delivering high quality and innovative features for consumers and developers at successful companies such as Google, eBay, and Cloudflare. Proven leadership in understanding markets, customer needs and customer empathy while delivering features to profitably meet those needs. Experience delivering strategies in multiple domains such as machine learning, payments, APIs and user experience. I’ve championed products across a variety of form factors: from web, to video, to mobile, to conversational home assistants. I believe strongly in being customer guided, data-driven and flawless execution in order to achieve results.”

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Episode 364