Ritu Vincent on being a team player
Getting out of her comfort zone has allowed Dropbox Engineer Ritu Vincent to grow both personally and professionally
What unique challenge or problem have you worked on here at Dropbox?
I’m on the team responsible for the Dropbox apps for Windows and Mac. The work my team does is used by millions of people — for all kinds of uses — every day. We have to constantly maintain a balance between maintaining a folder that works its magic quietly and unobtrusively, and providing elegant, visible features that improve user workflows.
I worked on the Dropbox badge, which required several iterations of early prototypes with beta testers. We even had to switch to an entirely new UI framework on Windows clients along the way. It was hard work getting to where we felt we were adding value to Microsoft Office documents in Dropbox without being annoying or clunky.
Share a story of when you or a teammate embodied a Dropbox value.
I have stories about pretty much everyone I’ve worked with, but I think the one team that consistently hits high points on every single one of our Dropbox values is our recruiting team. Our recruiting experience is multiple orders of magnitude better than any other that I’ve seen.
I was pretty much blown away from my very first interaction as a candidate, from initial scheduling to getting an offer. They even sent a gift package to me the next day, along with a card signed by everyone who interviewed me! I’ve been consistently astounded at how much work goes into making sure that thousands of candidates have a similarly great experience. Regardless of which team or position it is, all interviewers are carefully calibrated and trained, and missteps are tracked and analyzed in order to improve.
I’ve never had an interaction with recruiting that didn’t leave me hugely impressed with the amount of thoughtfulness and empathy on the team. I’m actually a little suspicious that some of our recruiters might have clones running around the office. There’s no other way they could manage and remember quite so much so effortlessly!
What advice would you give to someone to be successful in your role?
Get out of your comfort zone and do things that you’re intimidated by. Dropbox is always pushing all of us who work here to be and do more than we currently are. To quote one of our company values, we “aim higher.”
To give an example, I’m not a naturally outgoing person. Left to myself, I would probably spend my day working on technical problems in a quiet corner. But at Dropbox, I find myself doing a lot of things that push me outside of my introvert zone. I’m involved in a lot of recruiting, I’ve been mentoring a bunch of new engineers, and I helped organize the intern program this summer. All of that has been really fun and rewarding, and has had a huge impact on my personal growth and confidence.
What has pleasantly surprised you the most about your team since joining Dropbox?
I love my team. Seriously. It’s the best. We have a ClientTeam4Lyf hashtag that gets tossed around frequently because people love being on this team so much.
As the “original” Dropbox team — with a bunch of early engineers — it would have been so easy for it to have gotten cliquey and unwelcoming to new people. But it’s exactly the opposite.
It’s obvious that everyone cares a bunch about everyone else on the team. When I became a US citizen a couple years ago, people hung banners and balloons all over my desk — and glitter, lots of glitter that I’m still cleaning out. So coming into the office after my oath ceremony was pretty awesome.
A few weeks ago, we threw a baby shower for one of our engineers before she went on maternity leave, complete with “Hello World” onesies — but no glitter this time. Milestones and successes are always noticed and celebrated. At the end of the day, my coworkers aren’t just coworkers, but friends, and I love that.
What about the product most excites you or makes you proud to work here?
I’m excited that Dropbox is at a point where we have a ton of hard problems ahead of us. We have worthy competitors with significant resources who have begun to notice the space we’re in. We’re absolutely aware of the fact that we can’t afford to get complacent.
I love how that means we have to push ourselves to build products that people love so much they can’t be lured away. And it’s extremely satisfying to know that we’re small enough as a company that individuals like me can have a very tangible impact on our success.
The Dropbox product team is growing. We’d love for you to join us.