This quarter has been utterly insane.
My interest in entrepreneurship, along with my job search, has made 2011 by far the most epic year of my life, and it’s only March. I will never regret my choice of Stanford. I co-founded Dormlink, met the founders of Courserank and Palantir, and had coffee with the founder of BASES, the largest student organisation at Stanford. I’ve also learnt to snowboard, discovered club (and/or partner) juggling and somewhat reinvented my life philosophy (1, 2).
But I learnt from every dead end, requesting feedback and looking up the things I didn’t know afterwards, and ultimately ended up with several offers: Google Associate Technology Manager, Facebook Software Engineer, Addepar (a truly awesome startup created by a co-founder of Palantir) Software Engineer and Ning Software Engineer. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
So the hard question was which one to go for. I ultimately chose Facebook. I didn’t really have a particularly rational reason for this, but the closest I could get was:
1. I plan to work on the Stanford Solar Car this summer and Facebook is right next to campus
2. The sheer impact I’d be having on the world at Facebook is ridiculous. The user to engineer ratio is something like 1.2M and I’ll be pushing code to 600M people within weeks of starting. This definitely satisfies my epicness criterion.
Throughout all this I’ve become increasingly disillusioned by Google. The more I read about the company, the more I realise that it’s no longer the promised land. It’s become too big and has no choice but to give in to shareholders who are in it just for the business, and whenever engineers cede power to businessmen, bad things happen. Software engineers (and even chefs!) leave for other companies and startups like Facebook (the usual reasons cited are better pay and bigger impact). The recruitment process is revealingly slow, indicative of bureaucracy – to illustrate, I’ve included an approximate chronology (see below). The Google process took almost half a year.
Everything culminated today, Mar 14 (Pi day). I called up the recruiter at Facebook, cycled over and signed the documents. This summer is going to be amazing.
Oct 2010 – Submitted application via website for their Software Engineer summer internship
Nov 2010 – Received email saying they want to interview me for an Associate Technology Manager internship.
Dec 2010 – Interview #1. Went terribly.
Jan 2011 – Still no response. Sent follow-up email. Received an email saying they want to go through to a second interview. The recruiter called to give me some advice (Google Voice dropped the call half way through). Interview #2 was scheduled but they didn’t call. I scheduled another interview.
Feb 2011 – Interview #2. Went OK, not brilliantly. Asked some business (i.e. not technical) questions which really threw me.
Mar 2011 – Received email saying I passed the interviews and they’re trying to match me with a project. They sent me an acceptance email soon after.
Feb 2011 – Applied via the CDC Website. Interview #1 and #2 on Mon and Fri of the same week. Quote of interview #2: “[tersely] Doesn’t work. Try ‘[some input]‘. Oh wait. [pause] Actually, I think it works.” At the end I asked my interviewer what the next stages are. He said he’ll submit feedback and “to be honest it’s going to be very positive” – AWESOMEZORZ!!!!!!111one. At the end I asked him facetiously about The Social Network. He said Zuckerberg is really a normal guy, the film is completely factually incorrect, but it’s cool that there’s a film about his company :) Days later I was accepted. They called me to tell me about the offer.
Mar 2011 – Intern Day. Went to Facebook HQ (a 5 min bike ride from the Stanford campus). Very cool. A few weeks later I accepted the offer.
Feb 2011 – A friend suggested I apply. I sent the CEO my resume + cover letter. Interview #1 and #2 happened. I also had lunch with the team at the HQ in Mountain View. They showed me the product and I got to know the team. I’m really excited about this – I think it’s going to be really big. I emailed them saying I have an offer from Facebook and that I will probably not be doing their on-site interview. They emailed back and persuaded me to do the on-site anyways.
Mar 2011 – Addepar on-site. Got interviewed in turn by several of their engineers. Got accepted.
Feb 2011 – Two interviews. A couple of weeks later, within the same 5 minutes, I got an acceptance email from Ning and a rejection email from Dropbox. Ning called, telling me about their programme.