90 Day Check-In: Meet the New VP of Engineering at Invaluable

We met with Quentin Schmick to learn about his vision for automation, innovation and more at Invaluable, the online marketplace for auctions of fine art and collectibles.

Written by Eva Roethler
Published on Feb. 03, 2023
90 Day Check-In: Meet the New VP of Engineering at Invaluable
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Much significance is given to the first 90 days at a new job. Those three months help set the tone for the rest of the tenure — it’s one reason why so many onboarding programs incorporate a 90-day check-in. 

That importance is increased when the new hire is an executive helping lead strategic initiatives and deliver on big goals. 

To get a taste of what those first 90 days have been like for Quentin Schmick, Built In sat down with the vice president of engineering, who started at Invaluable in November 2022. 

His first impression: “I felt fortunate and excited to join a small company that is established and well positioned in an ever-changing and fascinating market,” Schmick said. “Going in I knew there was potential for growth, but now, as I see it from the inside, I am more excited than ever at the opportunity we have for my team to be a key driver behind that growth!” 

Scaling is an important aspect of one of Schmick’s early goals for his team — which means automation: “Where can we automate more?” he asked. “We are focused on building great technology, and I believe adding even more automation to our processes will accelerate our growth. 

 

“I felt fortunate and excited to join a small company that is established and well positioned in an ever-changing and fascinating market.”

 

“We are working towards becoming the most trusted auction marketplace online,” he continued. “As we build trust, we gain market share. We also want to create an evermore fun and easy user experience so people can easily discover their treasures, whatever they are. Automation will help get us new, innovative experiences for our bidders out faster, so we can test and learn.”

In addition to automating, Schmick’s focus is on supporting and coaching the team members building these products. Fanning the flames of a culture of innovation and ownership that drives the company forward is key from his perspective.

 

WHAT INVALUABLE DOES

Headquartered in Boston with a fully remote team located in the United States, U.K., Europe and Australia, Invaluable is the world’s leading online marketplace for estate, fine art, antiques and collectibles auctions. Invaluable enables more than 4 million collectors around the globe to discover and acquire one-of-a-kind works with confidence and convenience from over 5,000 of the world’s premier traditional auction houses.  

 

 

Tell us about your role at Invaluable.  

As the VP of Engineering at Invaluable, I am focused on growth and scaling, which means building out our technology stack and hiring more engineers (check out our open roles on Built In). I’m also focused on building the skills within the team to empower team members to act autonomously and more like owners, so we can scale faster and more effectively. 

I am currently recruiting for engineering managers who are looking for their next big challenge in e-commerce and discovery. I am also looking for skilled software engineers who want to work collaboratively to tackle and solve interesting technical problems in ecommerce and auction automation. The online auction space is everchanging and is ripe for technological innovation! 

 

What was the onboarding process like for you? 

The onboarding process at Invaluable was fast-paced and a smooth transition. The team was very welcoming and provided plenty of support through documentation and guidance to help me get up to speed on all the different projects. The team is very supportive and open, which is a great foundation for me to build upon as I continue to learn and grow within the company.

 

How have you hit the ground running since you joined and what are you most excited to accomplish over the next quarter or year?

One of my first priorities besides hiring was to understand Invaluable’s mission of becoming the most trusted auction marketplace and how we plan to foster the collection of art through customer-centric solutions via our technology. But most importantly, I spent time getting to know the team and learning what is important to each member from a career and development perspective. Very quickly we hope to hire more engineers, build world-class products, and automate everywhere we can so we can focus on solving the challenging and rewarding technical problems which will naturally result in career growth for the team.

 

“Very quickly we hope to hire more engineers, build world-class products, and automate everywhere we can, which will naturally result in career growth for the team.” 

 

What aspect of your professional growth are you most excited to evolve?

As the VP of engineering, I am most excited to continue learning, building an amazing team, and growing in my leadership skills. Hiring, leading and mentoring a team of software engineers and other technical staff is a complex and challenging responsibility, and I am always looking for ways to improve my ability to attract, motivate and inspire my team, set clear goals and priorities, and create a positive and productive work environment.

I am also excited to stay up to date with the latest auction industry trends and best practices and to work closely with the product and business teams to identify opportunities for the company to innovate and differentiate itself from competitors. This will involve exploring new technologies, adopting new development methodologies, and finding creative ways to solve complex technical challenges to meet the needs of our customers.

Ultimately, my goal is to contribute to the success and growth of the company by building a technology team that delivers high-quality products and services to our buyers and auction houses. 

 

What has pleasantly surprised you since joining Invaluable?

It has been very easy to collaborate with the team and make decisions. In the past, I have worked at companies where it was a struggle to get everyone aligned and working together and where it was difficult to move forward, so Invaluable has been a refreshing change for me. At Invaluable, we have a clear set of strategies and quarterly objectives and key results we want to achieve, which quickly aligns us toward common goals. The team is very dedicated, enjoys working with each other and everyone is open to new ways of thinking, which allows us to make progress very quickly.

 

Group photo of Invaluable employees.
INVALUABLE

 

When did you know you made the right choice in joining your company?

It’s difficult to identify a specific moment, but I felt confident about joining the company even before I had a full understanding of what it was like behind the scenes. During the interview process, everyone I met with was very transparent about the company priorities, projects, teams and goals. This confidence was reinforced during my first few days on the job, as I met the rest of the team and began learning about the company. Throughout this process, I was consistently met with openness and support from my colleagues.

 

What does hiring in 2023 look like for Invaluable? 

We have a hiring plan for 2023 that will allow us to bring on skilled engineering and product leaders as well as software engineers to take advantage of the many opportunities we have at Invaluable. We are excited to grow the team in 2023, which in turn is exciting for the current team and the potential candidates!

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photos courtesy of Invaluable.

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