Leading Through
Hyper-Growth
Cuong Do
Head of NYC Engineering, Dropbox
Cuong in a Nutshell
CS @ Carnegie Mellon
Engineer at Inktomi (ent. network s/w)
Engineer, Eng Manager at PayPal
Founding e...
Structure
Technology
Recruiting
Team Structure
Product Development Process
Leadership
Handling Hyper-Growth
while hyper_growth():
identify_and_fix_bottlenecks()
drink_preferred_beverage()
sleep()
notice_new_b...
Infrastructure Growth
metadata server
50,000 Users!
file data server
Separate
MySQL
machine!
S3
AWSManaged hosting
Early 20...
Backend Stack
1.5 years ago:
nginx
haproxy
memcache
C++
Python
RabbitMQ
MySQL
Now includes:
Go
Hadoop
LevelDB
Redis
Tornado
Recruiting - foundation
First 6-10 engineers must be unicorns
Exceptional generalists
Cultural standard bearers
Interviews...
Recruiting - scaling
Originally: all generalists
Specialized over time 
Mobile programmers
Product engineers
Recruiting is...
Team Structure
First engineer on any team is the founder
Teams fluid
Keep teams small
Average is 6-12 people
Lots of parall...
The Mobile Team
Beginning: The Mobile Team
Problems
Moving to a mobile-centric world
Central bottleneck for mobile work
Mobile Now
Mobile centric world => mobile engineers
on every product team
Mobile training for all interested engineers
Ori...
Product development
Early: no process
Current
3-5 year vision
6 month goals
6 week sprints
Process lags current needs
Org Structure - Beginning
Founders
Everyone Else
Org Structure (early 2013)
Founders
Eng
Eng Lead
Eng Eng Eng
Eng Lead
Eng Eng
….
Lots of Leads (2013)
VP Eng
Eng
Lead
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng
Lead
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng
Lead
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng
Lea...
Infrastructure - 2013
Eng
Lead
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng Eng Eng...
Infrastructure - Now
Group
Mgr
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng Eng Eng
Eng
Eng Eng Eng
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng...
Leadership Pitfalls
Strongest engineers != strongest managers
Leading team of 4 vs 12
Leading in a 50- vs 600-person compa...
Bonus Section: Values
Write them down. Here’s ours:
Relentlessly focus on impact
Own It
Write and maintain great code
Purs...
Values
Early: Reinforced informally through tireless
founders and early team members
Now: Written and constantly reinforce...
Themes
Stretch, break, fix, repeat
Avoid over-engineering
Build foundation, build on it, repeat
source: flic.kr/p/7QyDJe
Thank you!
I’ll be around for questions
Email me at cdo@dropbox.com
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Cuong Do on Hypergrowth

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Cuong Do on Hypergrowth

  1. 1. Leading Through Hyper-Growth Cuong Do Head of NYC Engineering, Dropbox
  2. 2. Cuong in a Nutshell CS @ Carnegie Mellon Engineer at Inktomi (ent. network s/w) Engineer, Eng Manager at PayPal Founding engineer at YouTube Led product development at YouTube Leading NYC Engineering for Dropbox
  3. 3. Structure Technology Recruiting Team Structure Product Development Process Leadership
  4. 4. Handling Hyper-Growth while hyper_growth(): identify_and_fix_bottlenecks() drink_preferred_beverage() sleep() notice_new_bottleneck() Works for scaling systems and teams!
  5. 5. Infrastructure Growth metadata server 50,000 Users! file data server Separate MySQL machine! S3 AWSManaged hosting Early 2008 (beta, 50k users) THE SERVER Dropbox User 2007: The Beginning metadata servers memcache databases ZooKeeper analytics haproxy nginx core services hbase SNT datacenter AWS file data servers S3 livefill offline jobs Today (300 mil users, 4 mil biz)
  6. 6. Backend Stack 1.5 years ago: nginx haproxy memcache C++ Python RabbitMQ MySQL Now includes: Go Hadoop LevelDB Redis Tornado
  7. 7. Recruiting - foundation First 6-10 engineers must be unicorns Exceptional generalists Cultural standard bearers Interviews are inherently noisy Iterate Identify biases
  8. 8. Recruiting - scaling Originally: all generalists Specialized over time Mobile programmers Product engineers Recruiting is everyone’s job source: flic.kr/p/968txx
  9. 9. Team Structure First engineer on any team is the founder Teams fluid Keep teams small Average is 6-12 people Lots of parallel efforts 70/20/10
  10. 10. The Mobile Team Beginning: The Mobile Team Problems Moving to a mobile-centric world Central bottleneck for mobile work
  11. 11. Mobile Now Mobile centric world => mobile engineers on every product team Mobile training for all interested engineers Original mobile team morphed into Dropbox App iOS & Android teams Mix generalists with mobile specialists
  12. 12. Product development Early: no process Current 3-5 year vision 6 month goals 6 week sprints Process lags current needs
  13. 13. Org Structure - Beginning Founders Everyone Else
  14. 14. Org Structure (early 2013) Founders Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng ….
  15. 15. Lots of Leads (2013) VP Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
  16. 16. Infrastructure - 2013 Eng Lead Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
  17. 17. Infrastructure - Now Group Mgr Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Mgr Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Mgr Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng Eng
  18. 18. Leadership Pitfalls Strongest engineers != strongest managers Leading team of 4 vs 12 Leading in a 50- vs 600-person company source: flic.kr/p/dkbbGy
  19. 19. Bonus Section: Values Write them down. Here’s ours: Relentlessly focus on impact Own It Write and maintain great code Pursue simplicity and sweat the details Build a culture that you want to be a part of ten years from now Create your own values!
  20. 20. Values Early: Reinforced informally through tireless founders and early team members Now: Written and constantly reinforced Non-technical interview Candidate evaluation Manager feedback Career tracks
  21. 21. Themes Stretch, break, fix, repeat Avoid over-engineering Build foundation, build on it, repeat source: flic.kr/p/7QyDJe
  22. 22. Thank you! I’ll be around for questions Email me at cdo@dropbox.com

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