Introduce us to your team
Hey there! We are the design team at Tailscale: Ross, Alessandro, Danny, Christine, and Blake, working from Toronto, Oakland, Tucson, San Francisco, and Marin County.
As a company, we are a small (70 people), intentional, remote-only series B startup with infinite runway and a company culture that values diversity, inclusion, and autonomy. Read more about Tailscale and our values.
What is the product you’re building?
Tailscale is a tool for creating private networks between devices. No matter where they are, no matter if there are firewalls or layers of containerization between them, devices in a tailnet can connect peer-to-peer.
For companies, Tailscale reduces setup time by orders of magnitude, from weeks to minutes, and lets admins secure their infrastructure so it’s never exposed to the public internet. This way, analysts can connect to their company’s databases, and developers can share code and connect to their testing environments, all without having to worry about security and authentication, which is being handled at the network level.
For individuals, Tailscale makes it easy to access their Raspberry Pi, NAS, and home lab from anywhere in the world. People host private Minecraft servers for their kids, share media servers with friends, or code from their iPad. Our free tier is generous and critical to our success.
Our long-term mission is to build the new internet: an internet made of small, trusted, human-scale networks.
How does your team maintain a high bar for quality?
We seek feedback early and often, both internally and externally. We track metrics, run user research studies, user test our prototypes, and iterate. This takes time, but we are not in a rush. We balance speed and quality by shipping small features that are useful and usable right away, then growing them over time. That’s critical for us, because our main differentiator is that our product is easy to set up and a pleasure to use.
Does your team contribute to any open source projects?
Yep! We’re heavily involved in open-source. Tailscale itself is open-source, which means we build in the open and get tons of feedback from our community. We also contribute to wireguard-go, which we use for our peer-to-peer connections, and regularly contribute improvements to the Go language (such as the new net/netip package).
What advice would you give to people who want to join your team?
As a designer, you might not be familiar with networking, and you are not expected to be. A beginner’s mind can help us empathize with our users because, despite Tailscale being a technical product, we want to make reliable, fast, and secure mesh networks effortless for anyone.
At the same time, in order to do that, we must be the ones solving hard technical problems. This means you don’t have to be a networking expert to join, but you are expected to gain some domain expertise over time. You will learn more about how computers actually work, and everyone in the company will be learning alongside you!
What type of music does your team listen to?
Alessandro listens mostly to instrumental music. Everything from funky jazz and hard bop to post rock. His recent obsession with stoner and psychedelic rock brought him to buy a beautiful white and natural wood electric guitar he has yet to learn how to play.
Ross is also an instrumental music fan. His Hinoki playlist has a collection of favorites, but some Ólafur Arnalds, Gigi Masin, CFCF, Monolithic, and Jim-E Stack are always in regular rotation.
Danny's music taste tends to change throughout the year, in summer there's more electronic and synths, in winter things trend back towards psych rock, instrumental and heavier sounds. Four Tet, Kikagaku Moyo, Nils Frahm, Black Marble and Clubroot are all in heavy rotation lately.
Christine is a fan of many genres, so her playlists are quite chaotic. When she hits “shuffle”, Spotify will play everything from chill pop to Kpop, reggaeton to R&B, and whatever song is trending on TikTok.
Blake likes to listen to a fairly eclectic range of diverse styles and genres. He’s a fan of melodic electronica, funk & soul, psych-rock, folk, metal and getting introduced to new styles and artists via human-curated streams like dublab.com & KALX.