TITLE: Pizza, memes, and super teams: engineering at Unroll.Me
INTRO: Processing 100 million emails a day requires some serious engineering chops, but Unroll.Me engineer Steve Sozniack is always up for the challenge of making big, ugly data run smoothly.
When he first joined Unroll.Me x years ago, Steve was, in his words, "a Java developer with no cloud experience whatsoever." Today, Steve is one of Unroll.Me's technical leaders whose skills expand cloud services, serverless, devops, big data, management, and leadership. We interviewed him about what it's like working in DevOps at Unroll.Me.
JULIA: I know you’re busy, so I really appreciate you chatting! I’ll be asking a bunch of engineering questions, but before we get to that, here’s a good, easy one: if your team was a group of animals, what would they be?
STEVE: That’s a dangerous question. Dragons. Because we make magic happen.
JULIA: Well done, sir. Moving on. What’s the most fun part of working at Unroll.Me?
STEVE: Hmm. The most fun. We had to totally overhaul our CI/CD process and it's cool.
TITLE: A product manager’s open-grazing philosophy – a zoo of a team.
INTRO: Leading a product team takes a wide array of skills. It’s a balancing act, and one that takes a lot of flexibility. Michelle Robinson, product leader for Rakuten Intelligence’s consumer brands, knows how to walk the line and keep her ever-growing team thriving. “My team’s a whole zoo,” Michelle says, “or maybe a jungle. It’s kind of like open grazing.” Marketing and Communications Manager Julia Handel interviewed her about her role, her journey, and the ins-and-outs of working product for a huge, global company like Rakuten Intelligence.
JULIA: Hi there! Appreciate you sitting down with me, and at the Nutella Cafe? I’ll take it. Speaking of, what’s the office location like?
MICHELLE: I think this is actually one of the best locations you can work in in New York City. Being so close to so many different things - Union Square, the subway - it’s not Midtown and it’s really convenient. Having the farmers market right next door three times a week is the best.
TITLE: Communication is key – machine learning at Rakuten Intelligence
INTRO: Joshua Borden started as an intern at Rakuten Intelligence and worked his way up to machine learning engineer. So what does it take to be successful? “Having technical people to be able to translate to non-technical people in the office is extremely vital to doing a good job,” he says.
We interviewed him about his path from college to today, and learned about what it’s like working as a machine learning engineer at Rakuten Intelligence.
JULIA: Thanks for taking time out of your day to chat! Let’s begin with your start at Rakuten Intelligence. How did you get introduced to the company?
JOSHUA: It starts from a while back for me. Three and a half years ago, actually, when the company was pretty small; 60-70 employees at a small office in Palo Alto, across from the Apple store. How I actually met them was: two of Slice’s (Rakuten Intelligence’s old name) senior employees were sent to a Hackathon at my school (The University of Washington). It was one of the first Hackathons they put on.
TITLE: From biologist to data scientist - the unconventional path of a data scientist.
INTRO: To create algorithms that help turn online data into insights for million-dollar budget clients, a background in data science sounds like a must. Guido Nunez-Mujica, a biologist-turned-data-scientist at Rakuten Intelligence, disagrees. “As long as you’re curious, you like solving problems, and solving puzzles you’re going do well,” he says.
Beginning as an intern and growing into his current position, Guido did not take a conventional path. Marketing and Communications Manager Julia Handel interviewed him about the ins and outs of becoming a data scientist, and what it’s like working at Rakuten Intelligence.
JULIA: Thanks for chatting with me! I’ll start off with a fun question: If your team was a group of animals, what would they be?
GUIDO: That’s a very interesting question. We would be a pack of wolves - bc you can do your own thing and you can be isolated but you’re still in the pack and acting in a coordinated way to reach a common goal.