What do you do at Dropbox Herzliya?
I am a QA engineer with the web previews team working on ways to improve user experience. Web previews are typically the first thing users see of Dropbox. When a new Dropbox user opens a link from a coworker or a friend, what they get is our preview experience. Many features are built on top of the preview experience, like commenting and the Open button. Together with these features and others, Dropbox previews provide a rich viewing experience as well as the ultimate productivity win.
What unique challenge or problem have you worked on here at Dropbox?
In 2015, we made a meaningful change in the doc preview pipeline, based on user feedback. Have you ever seen the little pop-up asking if your preview looks OK and allowing you to “donate” your file for inspection? All of your feedback has made its way to me. I then analyzed hundreds of these files and explored ways to improve user experience.
As a result of your feedback, we reworked the document preview pipeline, shifting from HTML-based to PDF-based previews. It felt great to have such a meaningful impact on millions of users around the world, and to be able to serve as our users’ voice within the company.
What do you like about QA?
Being a QA engineer is like being a film-noir detective. Finding traces, collecting evidence, locating suspects, crosschecking information and finally, deciding who has committed the mysterious crime. Like all detective work, QA is based on the art of elimination. As one of the great artists in this area, Sherlock Holmes, once said:
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.
What makes working at Dropbox different from your other experiences?
I joined Dropbox as a part of the CloudOn acquisition at the beginning of 2015. Before that, I came to CloudOn after about 10 years at the Academia. For the philosophers in the crowd, I’ve even given a lecture about demons and metaphors in philosophy…
My experience at Dropbox has been that’s it an exceptionally positive work environment. As I’ve become more immersed in the company culture, I’ve noticed a dedicated effort to recruit, develop, and promote diverse talent. The employee resource groups are also very active and organize interesting events, from career discussions to talks with senior leaders in tech and cultural events. And last but not least, one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had at Dropbox was definitely Hackweek!
Tell us more about Hackweek…
It’s sort of a carnival week, which happens twice a year. No matter what you do at Dropbox, Hackweek gives you the opportunity to be whatever you want to be and build anything you can dream up. It’s all about creativity, exploration, and fun. There are always lots of cool events going on: a painting workshop, a sushi making class, a VR gaming day, to name a few. On the more serious side, many great Dropbox products were born out of Hackweek. It’s quite amazing to note that many of our current company projects started as a Hackweek idea!
My first Hackweek project was a short presentation designed as a TED talk. Since I am fascinated by usage patterns and online behavior, I wanted to explore the similarities between the future of sharing and its remote past. The talk’s title, PRE-MODERN THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE, emphasizes the bridge over modern notions of unity and authorship, a bridge that has pre-modern collective creation of content on the one hand, and post-modern sharing and co-authoring on the other.
What are you excited about in the next year?
In my next project, we’ll continue to enhance the user’s experience with Excel files. Excel is one of the most widely used formats, crucial to the work of many: from accountants to gardeners; from brain researchers to rehearsal directors. We are exploring ways to improve the Excel user experience through refinements to the user interface and enhancements in rendering quality. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the team working on this major project and I’m curious to see how it will shape the ways people work with Excel files on the web.
The Dropbox engineering team is growing across Israel, San Francisco, Seattle, & New York. We’d love for you to join us.