Meet a Dragon: Joe Ferraro
In Komodo Health’s "Meet a Dragon" series, Joe Ferraro talks about his role as VP of Engineering, what he learned in his 10 years as CTO of Mavens, and what he looks for when hiring new talent.
Q: You’ve been working with us since 2021, when Komodo acquired Mavens, where you were the CTO. What has that cultural transition been like for you?
Every acquisition poses its own unique set of challenges, and cultural alignment was something that we took very seriously at Mavens. So when Komodo approached us, we spent several months getting to know each other—how our respective organizations thought, how we worked, what we valued—and in the end it was obvious that we shared two overarching goals: to build software that would reduce the burden of disease, and to provide a supportive, positive workplace environment for our employees to grow and thrive.
Once the acquisition was complete and the real work started, it was evident that we had made the right choice. The Dragons I work with every day have been wonderful; so welcoming and open to new ideas and perspectives. And it’s been thrilling to learn so much about Komodo’s customers and products in such a short amount of time. I am extremely excited about this next chapter as we continue to leverage the strengths of each of our organizations in building One Komodo.
Q: You’re now the VP of Engineering for our healthcare analytics platform. What excites you the most about the Komodo platform?
Healthcare data is staggeringly complex and hard to navigate for customers trying to make decisions about their businesses. Historically, it’s been the role of expensive consultancies to analyze troves of data in search of insights. The legacy model is to simply deliver the data to customers, shifting the burden when it comes to aggregation, curation, and analysis. What excites me most about Komodo is that we are completely disrupting that model with the world’s first full-stack enterprise healthcare analytics platform. It starts with our Healthcare Map, comprised of over 330 million de-identified patients, and powers everything we do at Komodo. We provide a unified platform for analysts, data scientists, and software engineers to perform research and build applications directly on our Healthcare Map.
We have over 40 customers building their own solutions on our platform right now. What’s most striking to me is the diversity of applications our customers are building on Komodo. We have customers building healthcare marketplaces with the aim of simplifying the cost of care for patients, customers building digital marketing platforms, customers building applications for designing clinical studies—it’s so satisfying to see our platform being used to positively impact the lives of millions of patients.
Q: You’ve developed some highly acclaimed open source tools, including MavensMate, an open source tool for Salesforce applications that’s been used by hundreds of thousands of developers across the globe. What excites you about open source?
Open source is probably my favorite aspect of the software industry: Communities made up of incredibly smart and passionate individuals from every background coming together to produce something that is free to use, free to modify, and free to distribute. It’s a concept so unique to our industry, and it makes me especially proud to be a contributor and supporter of open source software.
Q: As a technologist and software architect, what are some of the key skills you recommend for someone looking to get into this field today?
When I’m interviewing candidates, whether they’re engineers or product managers or data scientists, I’m looking for individuals who have a passion for using software to solve really difficult problems.
New technologies offer so many tools to solve complex problems in business, in governments, and in society. What makes it so exciting to be in this field (and so challenging) is that the target is always moving, so being adaptable to change—whether it’s organizational change or technological change—correlates very strongly with an individual’s ability to learn quickly, manage uncertainty, and thrive in their career.
What's next for KH's platform and technology?
When I think about what’s next, I’m singularly focused on what capabilities we can unlock for developers building on Komodo. We want our platform to be tailor-made for analysts, data scientists, and software developers alike, so a lot of user research is being done behind the scenes so that we can intimately understand how to optimize the experiences of each of these personas. For analysts, we are investing in low-code/no-code features, and for data scientists and software developers, we are delivering a rich set of APIs and tooling to enable lower-level access to our data and analytic products.
Our Dragons are a diverse bunch! Coworkers hail from places as far-flung as Belfast and Mumbai to the American heartland. The uniqueness and diversity reflected in our people make Komodo a stronger team, and we are all united around one common mission: to reduce the global burden of disease. Interested in joining the Komodo Health team?
Read more about life as a Dragon in our Culture series, and to learn more about Komodo, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.