Kenny Sabir, our dedicated Head of Engineering, might just be the coolest person you’ll come across should you venture into the AgriWebb HQ. He is a man of many talents, including being an incredible musician, founder of the Elefant Traks record label, and an outstanding software engineer.
A Doctor of data
Kenny has dedicated his career to software product development. Prior to working at AgriWebb, Kenny worked at IBM, Bell Labs and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. He completed a PHD in how to visualise big data in relation to how we understand the millions of connections that form the structure of our chromosomes. The end goal of this research was to create an application that allowed biologists to further understand breast and prostate cancer. And he did all of this while running one of Sydney’s leading record labels on the side. Like I said, he’s a very cool guy.
Looking at the many fields that Kenny has worked in throughout his career, is it a surprise that he ended up in agriculture, a world away from where he started out? Like many of his colleagues in the engineering team, Kenny didn’t have much experience with agriculture before starting at AgriWebb. But he has always understood the importance of community within the industry thanks to his upbringing. “I grew up in the southern suburbs of Wollongong in the 70s and 80s. It was like a town with an identity crisis, being a cross between a city and a regional area,” Kenny says.
“I remember as a kid seeing cattle grazing in a paddock next to a wall with graffiti and thinking how strange it was. We then moved to the north-west suburbs of Sydney, where we had chickens on a measly half an acre, yet we always had enough eggs for our family and neighbours.”
Helping technology catch up with agriculture
Having worked at AgriWebb for six years, Kenny is one of our longest serving employees. When asked about what is most enjoyable in his day to day role, Kenny says it all comes down to his team. “I love our engineering team, and the wider AgriWebb team as well. When I was initially talking to the founders about starting at AgriWebb, we were all on the same page that we wanted to hit the ground running and develop a strong technical team.”
As you might expect, much of Kenny’s role consists of solving pain points that farmers might face when using AgriWebb. “I love the technical challenges that this domain can offer, and I spend a lot of my time thinking about solutions with our great engineering team, and working out how they can be implemented. For example, we wrote this software for Australian farms, understanding the problems of connectivity across our continent, but always keeping in mind that internet access for farmers is a global issue. Making our platform cloud-based yet with offline capabilities has become one of its defining features to farmers around the world who have struggled to find a farm management software that they could use when out of reception.”
“I got into this industry because technology had unfortunately left livestock farming behind. Farmers still had to copy data across using USB sticks, while no other industry used USB sticks anymore. This, with the boom in hardware devices across farms, made a gap for a strong software team to fill. We got to cherry pick the strongest engineers and best people we had worked with over our careers, and that’s how we’ve ended up with such high-calibre talent.”
The strength of the AgriWebb team
We asked Kenny what the greatest strengths of the AgriWebb team are, and it’s no surprise that he tied it back to the calibre of talent we have working on the product. “Our strength is that our smartest engineers are all focused on software product development. We are not doing hardware, so we can be fully focused on providing a good user experience for entering and understanding farm data. I see AgriWebb as the farmer-facing digital hub on the farm, which many other hardware and software providers can plug into.”
Some of Kenny’s greatest memories from his time working at AgriWebb include getting out to meet the customers. “I do love getting out and meeting and listening to our farmers. I have recently come back from a week at Beef Australia in Rockhampton where we launched our Individual Animal Management product for Australian farmers. All of the producers were friendly and thankful that we are helping out in their domain. We can get so many insights from spending face-to-face time with our customers. They can let us know about issues that affect them, such as measuring stocking rate by hectares/ animals instead of animals/ hectares. Being able to fix these pain points straight away is where the real satisfaction comes from.”
“Even though we have come a long way over the past 6 years, I love the potential of everything to come. We have built a solid foundation that will see many exciting and novel features over the coming years to help make farmers’ lives easier. I am excited for the future of agriculture, given that we have the power and capability to continue to improve the lives of farmers.”
If you’d like to follow Kenny’s journey at AgriWebb, you can do so via LinkedIn here.
*Hero image attributed to Michelle Grace Hunder