Isaac Su — exercising my powers of observation

Testimonials

Sun, 8th Apr 2018

I enjoyed the privilege of working with Isaac for over two years at Zendesk. In that time I watched him expand his horizons from that of software engineer to Team Lead and Engineering Manager. He was a thorough and precise engineer, the kind of person that needs to know how all the pieces work before designing and building something on top of them. This gave him an extraordinary insight into how a complex system would behave both when debugging and predicting future behaviour.

Even more impressive was his ability to let go of being an engineering subject matter expert and evolve into a first class people leader and product strategist. He took all the intelligence and meticulousness he had aimed at his coding career and turned it on learning about effective teams and how to make sensible product decisions. He was also able to look at his own preconceptions and biases in order to adjust his own leadership style to suit his teams, and not the other way around, a very rare ability.

I learned a lot from working with Isaac - his attention to detail and documentation, the thought and care he gave to problems technical, human and product, and his rigorousness in combination with being easygoing and calm were all aspects of his job performance I hope to emulate. We will miss his influence, and I strongly recommend him as part of a leadership team.

Adel S.
Engineering Manager at Zendesk
January 7, 2018, Adel worked with Isaac in the same group


I had the pleasure of working with Isaac for about 2 years at Zendesk. Isaac is an awesome engineering leader. He has invested heavily in self education around management and leadership. This shows itself in the intuitive manner that he leads and manages teams.

In my experience with him I found that he also has the confidence to experiment and learn.

Isaac also led a number of the leadership initiatives at Zendesk - for instance he organised the fortnightly demo day for all the engineers in the Melbourne office which was greatly appreciated by everyone.

Bob R.
Engineering Manager - Data at Zendesk
January 2, 2018, Bob worked with Isaac in different groups


I had the pleasure to work with Isaac on multiple projects over the years at Zendesk and on all of them, he excelled not only technically but also as a person.

Commited, business driven and most of all with a lot of empathy for his peers. With all these qualities every project turned into a pleasant and awesome experience.

He is the professional that will excel anywhere and at any position as he will look for solutions and give his best to succedd.

Cassiano A.
Senior Staff Engineer at Zendesk
November 21, 2017, Cassiano worked with Isaac in different groups


Isaac is an awesome guy. An incredibly engaged and passionate people leader, he placed huge emphasis and energy in every recruitment process I worked with him on. His insight and clear focus ensured we hired the most suitable candidates for his team - from both a technical and cultural standpoint.

He seems to possess that innate ability to balance team requirements with that of the wider Engineering environment. This was evident in the fact he successfully managed to motivate, direct and progress two high performing teams.

Over and above that, he's a really decent, down-to-earth guy who will destroy you at table tennis given half a chance! He's still missed at Zendesk, having been a big part of championing the great culture we have here.

I wouldn't hesitate to work with Isaac again and can't recommend him highly enough.

Matt W.
Senior Tech Recruiter at Zendesk
November 1, 2017, Matt worked with Isaac in different groups


Isaac is an incredibly thoughtful and talented team member. He has the capability to swing from writing code to inspiring a team around a long term vision. I especially enjoyed seeing his ability to coach and grow team members around him, especially junior team members. It would be a pleasure to work for Isaac one day.

Jason S.
VP Engineering - Platform & Reliability at Zendesk
October 29, 2017, Jason managed Isaac directly


I first met Isaac when I was an intern for Zendesk where he was my senior. After I left Zendesk and completed my bachelor study I returned as a junior engineer where he was my assigned engineering manager whom I reported directly for a year.

Through my observation he is a learned individual whom is skilled at programming and is a switched on person who brings his best when he comes to work everyday. When given the opportunity to code as a manager he would methodically plan out the approach to tackle a problem by diagnosing it then creating a hypothesis and after a series of experiments he would conclude with a theory to the problem. I was very impressed by the level of discipline he employs on the practice since it is very easy to forgo the procedure and evaluate the problem inside the mind. As a manager he was mindful of his position and would subtly provide opportunities to his juniors to champion projects and take responsibilities that would enable them to gain experience and fast track their career to higher levels.

Isaac has a cordial personality who could communicate with many individuals of various personalities. In my perspective it may have been difficult to manage the team I was on since it was composed of members who were gamers, naturally, they would converse about topics that is often of little interest or difficult to relate to people in a corporate environment. However one day he went out and bought a second hand Xbox along with a few games just so he could interact with us to which I was absolutely stunned by his action. Again reiterating on the previous paragraph that he is a very mindful individual and takes care individuals well where he would treat me without discrimination and mediates that appropriately across the team.

Lastly as part of his professional character he exhibits great passion to try to promote the place and people he works with, he would always be 'the guy' who takes photos of our company activities, arranging social and technical engineering events which subsequently makes the Melbourne Zendesk office more visible in the global view.

As closing, although our encounter was short I thoroughly enjoyed working under Isaac. If given the opportunity I would love to work under/along side him again.

Terence L.
Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 26, 2017, Terence reported directly to Isaac


Isaac is the bedrock that solid engineering is built on.

As a technical contributor he brings his formidable skills to bear on a problem with quiet dedication, digging in to find and address the root cause. His breadth of knowledge shines through when dealing with the tricky problems and when it's dealt with, you feel confident that it's sorted.

As a manager I have been really impressed by the way he finds the balance between letting people take ownership of a problem and grow, but still being available to step in and help whenever needed. He truely brings out the best in his teams and the people around him.

As a colleague he is a delight to work with and lifts the spirits of everyone nearby. He is friendly and respectful to all and genuinely cares about the wellbeing and growth of the people around him. His efforts to bring us all together were greatly appreciated and will be missed.

I have greatly enjoyed my time working along side Isaac and would welcome the chance to do so again. I would not hesitate to recommend him for any engineering leadership role and believe he would excel as he has done at Zendesk. I look forward to seeing his success in any future endeavours.

Nick D.
Versatile and experienced DevOps engineer
October 23, 2017, Nick worked with Isaac in different groups


I was lucky enough to work with Isaac in a newly created team at Zendesk. We were thrown together with two other recently hired engineers and tasked with reimagining how businesses could embed Zendesk customer service functionality on their website.

Fast forward three years and the Zendesk Web Widget we created, a small 'Help' button that allows people to quickly get help on a website, is now on 19,000 websites (and counting).

Isaac was integral to the success of the Zendesk Web Widget and the creation of the ‘embeddable’ platform it was built upon. One example of many was the ‘blip’ internal analytics tracking he devised. This data allowed me to constantly monitor and understand product usage and use that data to identify product development opportunities.

As a product manager, Isaac is everything I love in a software engineer. He is a systems thinker, able to take diverse inputs: customer needs, timeframe, future direction, user experience, dependencies, the goals of the company, and devise a solution that will work not just for today but for the long term.

An excellent collaborator and contributor, Isaac works well with both small and larger engineering teams - knowing when to push a point that others might have missed and when to coax and coach other team members to shine.

He was also comfortable with my random product thoughts and musings(!). Isaac was always able to quickly help me see when a possible direction was viable, or not, taking the time to explain why in terms that I could relate to.

I very much hope we get to work together again. If you're thinking of working Isaac on a project, do it, you'll be glad you did.

Aaron C.
Senior Product Manager at Zendesk
October 23, 2017, Isaac worked with Aaron in the same group


Isaac is a rock. During the time we spent together at Zendesk, he was always a calm and positive influence within the team, always willing to take a moment and work through things thoroughly. He was always happy to provide valuable insight in any discussion, including in areas outside of his normal responsibilities. I'd work with Isaac again in a heartbeat.

Mike J.
Senior Software Engineer in Test at Zendesk
October 22, 2017, Isaac worked with Mike in the same group


I've worked with Isaac for almost 3 years. First as a teammate and later as my manager. He has always been very patient and thoughtful and has been an amazing teacher for me.

As a developer he is very skilled, often he was the one to diagnose hard to find bugs or to solve hard problems when no one else could. It was always very reassuring when Isaac was on the case because he had such a good track record of solving problems through out of the box thinking and persistence. He always keeps a level head and I've never seen him get frustrated and give up on anything.

As a manager he did an amazing job of bringing out the teams strengths. Our team was considered a very high performing team and a good deal of that is due to Isaac. He allowed our team to develop in its own way and helped steer us rather than forcing a specific style onto us. He made sure to be highly available to us and would jump back into the code when he was needed.

As a person he is very friendly and approachable. He is always willing to put up his hand to help, often going above and beyond to help not only his own team, but the entire office and company. He is very respected by everyone in the office and I don't think there was a single person who wasn't saddened when they heard he was moving on.

I know Isaac will do great things in the future and I would love any opportunity to work with him again.

Briana C.
Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 20, 2017, Briana reported directly to Isaac


Working with Isaac was a pleasure. Always diligent and genuinely interested in the advancement, both personal and professional, of the people he managed, and incredibly capable at the technical level.

His actions-speak-louder-than-words approach was always appreciated and I will surely miss working with him. Any company would be lucky to have him in its ranks.

Daniel B.
Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 20, 2017, Daniel reported directly to Isaac


Isaac is the quiet storm, thoughtfully watching, organising and guiding everything behind the scenes while holding the chaos at bay - though you'd never know it. What chaos?

A great, level-headed human leader who is happy to roll up his sleeves and dive deep into the codes, and also, your good friend.

Daniel B.
Senior Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Daniel reported directly to Isaac


Isaac is a natural-born leader, bright individual and outstanding communicator. I’ve always been looking forward to our 1-on-1 catch-ups by knowing the conversations are always inspirational and helpful. Isaac brings in a unique level of leadership, that allowed him to play a rather instrumental role in leading multiple engineering teams and growing Zendesk’s Melbourne office. I recommend him as an invaluable asset and respectful leader to any organisation.

Tao G.
Senior Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Tao reported directly to Isaac


It has been a great pleasure working with Isaac, who has been a great mentor. As my manager in Zendesk Isaac has always shown passionate in assisting fellow engineers achieving their goals, clearing road blocks for them and also a very good listener. He will be a great asset to any team.

Tony X.
Senior Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Tony Yiliang reported directly to Isaac


Isaac is a thoughtful and inspiring leader, as well as a technical wiz! He is considered in his contributions and his opinions are sought-after and valued by his colleagues.

Nicky U.
HR Manager, Aust/NZ at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Isaac was a client of Nicky’s


I really looked up to Isaac as I transitioned from individual contributor to people leader. His guidance was immensely helpful in my transition and helped me recognize the skills I needed to improve to be able to lead teams better.

He was also one I looked to for advice for almost anything I was facing.

Mio G.
Engineering Team Lead at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Isaac was senior to Mio Miguel but didn’t manage directly


Isaac has been my direct manager since the beginning of my career at Zendesk. His mentorship has been one of the most significant factors for my growth into a productive and confident software engineer. His impressive technical expertise and hands-on managerial skills were not only of benefit to myself and our team but the entire Zendesk organisation as a whole. Isaac is a friend, colleague and mentor in which I feel extremely privileged to have had the chance to work with for so long.

Anthony D.
Software Engineer at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Anthony reported directly to Isaac


I've joined Zendesk 2.5 years ago as Operations manager. I met Isaac here at Zendesk while he was still a developer in one of the engineering teams. Isaac did a remarkable job, part of a development team responsible on delivering one of Zendesk's Key products.

It was obvious and natural that Isaac will lead and manage the team so it was not long till Isaac was offered with the role of managing the development team and led the team to be more productive and efficient then he already was.

Isaac likes to learn, read a lot of books and takes pictures of everything (hobby).

Isaac is a true technical professional, takes time to learn the relevant subjects, plans carefully and executes professionally .

A great people leader, knows how to motivate his direct reports and knows how to influence and steer peers when needed.

Was an honour and privilege working together, i have learned a lot from you Isaac.

We will all miss you here at Zendesk but wishing you success in your next adventure, which we have no doubts you will succeed as you are always striving for the best!

Adi G.
Senior Operations Manager, APAC at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Adi worked with Isaac in different groups


Isaac was always a pleasure to partner with when searching for a new engineer to join his team. His approachable, thoughtful, and quietly influencing style made him clearly respected by his team members and a person people wanted as their manager.

Caitlin F.
Technical Recruiter on contract at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Caitlin worked with Isaac in different groups


I had the pleasure of working alongside Isaac on the inception of the Zendesk Web Widget, a completely new initiative for Zendesk at the time. Isaac is a deep thinker and his comprehensive approach to software development ensured that we had all bases covered as we created and iterated. I'd more than happily work with Isaac in the future.

Nick T.
Product Design Lead at Zendesk
October 19, 2017, Isaac worked with Nick in the same group


I started working at Zendesk around two years ago, and Isaac was one of the engineers that interviewed me. Understandably, interviews are a nervous affair for the applicant. However, the time I spent pairing with Isaac was calm, clear and focused. He has a very settling, honest and genuine energy that he brings with him into any room.

Over the course of the next two or so years the time I spent with Isaac was always a joy. While out paths split at some point and we worked in different teams, I took any excuse to work with Isaac and the fantastic teams he nurtured within Zendesk.

Adam B.
Software Engineer
October 18, 2017, Isaac worked with Adam in the same group