As content delivery and media consumption continues to evolve, Mit Majithia is helping Discovery chart exciting frontiers in the space.
“In the simplest terms, we build content applications for web, mobile and connected devices,” Majithia said.
This is how Majithia succinctly describes his team’s role at entertainment company Discovery, home of the newly launched discovery+ steaming product.
But it oversimplifies the far-reaching impact of his day to day, across an expansive portfolio of applications, websites and other properties. The SVP of product engineering for Discovery’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings assumes a cornerstone role, informing how viewers ultimately engage with properties across a litany of platforms.
“Our work impacts all front-end applications that customers interact with,” Majithia said.
For the seasoned tech vet — who most recently served as a director of software development at Amazon — that means leading a self-described “scrappy” team in helping deliver and support quality experiences at speeds that keep up with the demand of content consumers.
Bringing Discovery’s impressive portfolio of brands and storytelling to life in the streaming space relies on sophisticated technological solutions. “As we evolve from a pure media organization to one where both tech and content are central to our success, my team is central to that shift,” Majithia said.
Below, Majithia shared why he joined the storytelling powerhouse, his engineering philosophy, and his leadership style which continues to inspire and engage his industry-leading team.
What is your role within Discovery?
I currently lead engineering for several existing and upcoming DTC products, namely Food Network Kitchen and Magnolia, as well as some confidential upcoming projects. I also own engineering for our 10 core websites, which include Food.com, HGTV.com and Discovery.com, among others. Additionally, my team is responsible for platform-level components that span the Discovery portfolio of products, such as search, data, content aggregation and e-commerce.
Prior to my time in Big Tech, much of my career was in startups, and I really enjoyed it. Here, I get to lay the foundation, set the vision and implement processes. That’s the fun part. I know what ‘good’ looks like in an established tech org, so I’m clear on the aim. This role is like coming home.
I get to lay the foundation, set the vision and implement processes. That’s the fun part.”
Why did you join Discovery?
First, there is a lot of new and exciting stuff happening. Second, the leadership: I worked with some of our leaders previously and know their work, which made it a relatively easy shift.
But, the biggest reason was how interesting the role was. It’s very exciting to build from the ground up. That includes everything from building the team to laying the foundation for the long-term org and helping drive the shift from traditional media to technology.
The Company's Reach, According to Discovery
- Brands include Discovery, Food Network, HGTV and MotorTrend.
- Total monthly video views tally nearly 7 billion.
- Cross-screen content reaches consumers in 220-plus countries and territories.
What is the most significant impact your team can make on the DTC business?
Discovery is uniquely positioned at the intersection of media and technology. As we evolve from a pure media organization to one where both tech and content are central to our success, my team is central to that shift. The projects we are working on are at the forefront of that change. We’re the tip of the spear for transitioning the company into a DTC content leader, which means our team is literally helping to build the future of the company.
What do you enjoy most about working within Discovery’s DTC org?
Growing teams, building software from the ground up, helping the company transition and laying the foundation for a good long-term organization — from improving how we recruit talent, to implementing processes for development and deployment. I really enjoy all those aspects.
I want everyone at all levels to have the ability to look at our data and be empowered to innovate.”
How would you describe the culture within your team?
Scrappy — in a good way. Our team is set up to get the job done. We are very responsive, fast and able to deliver copious amounts of quality experiences for customers. We want to retain that scrappiness.
This is something I’m conscious of now that we are scaling and the customer base is much bigger. We are starting to put processes in place to maintain this aspect of our culture as we become bigger. We don’t want to lose the speed and we want to ensure the bar for quality continues to increase.
- Around 150 engineers are primarily based out of New York City, Bellevue, Wash. and Knoxville, Tenn.
- Primary team tech: Swift, React JS, Java and AWS technologies.
- Optimal engineering team size: “My teams are typically between six to 10 people. Never smaller than six, and never bigger than 10 or 11. The ideal size is eight. That way, they can be effective, but quick and agile.”
What type of individuals thrive on your team?
Individuals who take ownership. I want everyone on my team to feel like they have ownership of the systems and products that we build. I want to know we are proactively trying to find improvements for customers. This is a key behavior across my team.
Next is curiosity. How is our system operating? I want my team to come up with ideas. Everyone needs to be very curious about how our customers are using our product. I want us to always retain that mindset. I want everyone at all levels to have the ability to look at our data and be empowered to innovate.
For those who will join your team, what kind of leader will they be working with?
Trust and transparency are both central to our culture. I give a lot of autonomy to leaders on my team, and I trust that they will do the right thing. My job is simply to verify that.
I lead with transparency. I am very transparent with my team, which allows them to feel empowered to make the best decisions for the business. My ultimate aim is to create a team so solid I work myself out of a job!