Staff engineers may not get much time to code anymore, but this does not mean problem-solving and system design is not an integral part of their day-to-day. Today’s guest is Bryan Berg, Staff Engineer at Stripe, and he joins us to talk about the nuances of his position and his unique approach to the many challenges it entails. As a Staff Engineer, Bryan acts as Tech Lead of the Traffic team, and we begin our conversation by hearing about how he landed in this role. Bryan describes the ambiguous challenges he faced during earlier days at Stripe, and the knack he had for finding and working on processes and systems that were previously underinvested in. We then jump forward to the present and dig into what Bryan’s current role entails, hearing him describe a wide range of tasks from reviewing documentation, communicating between teams, writing vision documents, and ensuring the work he directs falls into the company and stakeholder requirements. We also explore the interesting concept of when to draw on past experience versus keeping an open mind when facing new challenges. On top of all this, our conversation covers how Bryan judges the success of his work, sustains faith in his ideas, pitches to colleagues, debugs difficult pieces of code, and finds inspiration to be a great technical leader.