My new job at Dropbox

Four weeks ago I started working at Dropbox as an Engineering Manager for Mobile. While this line of work isn’t that much of a departure from what I’ve been working on for the past 7 years, it is a big change for me because Dropbox is the largest and most established company I’ve ever worked for in my professional career.

Didn’t I just start a new job?

Before being at Dropbox, I was a Lead Engineer over at Jetblack, a smaller startup that had been spun out of Walmart’s incubator arm. I joined Jetblack with the hopes of having impact at a young company with ambitious goals that also had the backing of a larger organization. This backing, I believed, would enable the technology organization to avoid running into common issues that I’d seen so far with other startups (mainly a lack of funds that would prevent hiring). Instead, I found an entirely different beast.

I won’t go into too much detail about Jetblack, just that it wasn’t for me and I left after only being there for 7 months. What I do feel comfortable saying is I’ve developed an appreciation for constraints and the forcing function nature it imposes on organizations to make hard decisions. Without those constraints, and nearly unlimited funds, you end up setting your sights way too far into the future with no plan on how to actually get there.

One other note: the company ceased operations just this past week, two months after I left.

What was next?

When I decided I needed to move on from Jetblack, I knew I had to reevaluate what I was looking for in my next role and what it would provide for me. Since having graudated from college in 2011, I’d been working at startups. What I hadn’t experienced yet were two particular areas:

  1. Starting something from scratch or be the first engineer at a company
  2. Dealing with problems and systems at scale

This led me to start searching for opportunities at seed (or even pre-seed) startups while also evaluating larger, more established companies. While at that time I wasn’t interested in interviewing at some of the FAANGs, it wasn’t until a recruiter at Dropbox reached out to me and I realized I could still get a lot out of option #2, without getting “too big”. I was lucky enough to make it through the interview rounds, receive an offer that worked for me and here we are.

The first four weeks

My first week at Dropbox consisted of an organized onboarding out at its SF Headquarters (I’m working at the NYC office) where I was guided through everything I needed to know about working at Dropbox. My computer was set up on the first day, I had logins to all of the systems, I was already talking to my peers and teammates, and my benefits had already kicked in. Basically, the exact opposite of how most of my other experiences had been.

After the first week in SF, I’ve been working in the NYC office and loving it. I’m working with incredibly smart and talented engineers (not a first of course) who are all extremely motivated and want to make the product better for their customers. I’ve already been exposed to so many new processes and implementations that I can’t wait to dig deeper into and I have plenty of people to learn and grow from.

I was sad things didn’t work out at Jetblack. I had been at Plated for four and a half years before that and really wanted to find another company that I could spend the next significant part of my career (and life) at. While it didn’t work at Jetblack, I’m very optimistic so far about Dropbox and look forward to writing more as I get to experience it all.