Box is geeking out

I’ve been to many, many Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, but not often do I feel the need to write about them either because the event content was so-so or I just didn’t have the time.  In this case, Box had some blog-worthy content worth sharing.

Let’s look at Box’s tech stack and stats (at one point in time)

  • Mostly PHP (1M+ lines), some Ruby, some Scala
  • Mostly MySQL, some NoSQL (HBase)
  • MySQL sharded based on user ID and files and folders
  • Over 1B+ queries a day
  • Millions of users
  • Tens of millions of folders
  • Hundreds of millions of files

The talk that I most enjoyed was given by the Director of Engineering, Kimber Lockhart, on ways to become an engineering leader.  She offered some tips that anyone could take away whether engineering or not.

My favorite takeaways

  • Set a target or goal no matter what.  Kimber puts pictures of her 2012 goals in frames in her living room.  Her boyfriend puts his goals on his desktop image background.  It’s one thing to have goals and another to have it in your face everyday.  I have to try this.
  • Read the top 20 books in your field.  I completely agree.  I’d like to extend this and say either read books or do hands-on learning like coding or writing business cases for your field and/or job type.
  • Identify blockers and attack.  If there’s something that you really want, find out why you aren’t getting it.  In my opinion, no one is going to hand you things just because.
  • Do the work of the job that you want.  Key piece of information, don’t forget to outperform at your real job too.  I tell others that doing stuff outside of your core job is just icing on the cake.  No matter how good the icing is, the cake still has to taste good.  Dominate your core job while building skills for the job that you want.