Stories of Sweet Social Impact Vol. 1

Arnie Bhadury

Photography by Deanna Cheng (2016).
Stories of Sweet Social Impact is our monthly member series. Each month we sit down with a HiVE member or alumni to learn more about what makes them tick, and the work that they’re doing to change the world.

Name: Arnab “Arnie” Bhadury
Organization: Flipboard
Job Title: Data Scientist
HiVE Member Since: September 2015

What brought you to HiVE?
Joining Flipboard. I love it here; it’s a good space for talking and collaboration. Our team of 5 basically has our own office within HiVE. Plus, we get all the perks of meeting new people.

What does social impact mean to you?
It means to make a positive impact on society; trying to improve the society around you. That’s why HiVE has so many diverse people. There are multiple ways of making an impact, and everybody is trying to make things better. HiVE is something every city needs; the world needs more HiVE. Members here are talking about problems that you don’t usually think of. There are so many different people solving so many different problems.

“HiVE is something every city needs; the world needs more HiVE. Members here are talking about problems that you don’t usually think of. There are so many different people solving so many different problems.”

What children’s character do you relate with most? Why?
I can only think of very nerdy people. Dexter’s lab. Maybe because I’m short? I have always enjoyed doing nerdy things, even though it was kind of taboo because I was also good at sports. I also had a secret lab, and loved doing weird hacks in my “secret place”.

When you graduated high school what did you want to do?
I was more into sports then. I always knew I wanted to do a bit more of science and engineering, but thought sports would play a bigger role — currently I can’t do much. I was injured pretty badly in high school, so I foresaw science and engineering playing a bigger role after that. I’ve always done a bit of tech development. Although, I didn’t see myself changing roles so many times; starting at Google, then computer visioning, creating drones, and now as a data scientist at Flipboard. All four jobs have been so different.

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t yet?
I really want to own a project and be proud of it. I’ve started two companies, but both failed, and I’ve joined big corporations where nothing I do matters. Some people at HiVE are creating their own events, projects and organizations, and well, it’s theirs. I want something to point to and say “that was my impact.” And at Flipboard, I finally have an opportunity where I can do that.

Before working at Flipboard, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
My own start-up Flexbot, it was a 3D printed drone, and went to market very early. It was exactly like the sitcom Silicon Valley. I was literally working from a dorm with 7 people in a tiny little apartment… I even had to share a bed for seven months. The whole experience was odd, lots of friends and colleagues mixing. It was really weird, I would work for 20 hours a day, then would go to bed, and I was always surrounded by my colleagues.

What are your hopes for your industry?
Flipboard is a slightly atypical tech company because unlike Facebook and Twitter, we don’t aim to provide great “snacking” content. People need time to sit down and read. It is used more for education; to learn more, to understand the world better.

I also hope that in the future the success metrics of tech companies don’t solely depend on “snacking” content production, but also providing some meaningful contributions to society. My work focuses on getting the right articles to the right people, so I often question how much personalization is good. If people only read what they like is that good? Nobody really knows what the right answer is. Personalization is important for people and industries, but it’s also vital to provide readers a variety of perspectives and stories. You can’t cater to what people like too much.

“Personalization is important for people and industries, but it’s also vital to provide readers a variety of perspectives and stories.”

What do you love about being a HiVE member?
My first impression of HiVE was that it looked just like any other hackerspace I’d been to. I’m happy that I wasn’t completely right. There is such a wide demographic and so much diversity, which I didn’t expect. At HiVE I talk to artists, writers, activists… all different people from different industries. I never expected that working in a niche topic, I would meet so many different people at work.

Also, getting 10% off at Noodle Box.

If you think Arnie is as cool as we do, you can connect with him here, or meet him in person on July 14th at our panel discussion and screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, held in partnership with Lighthouse Labs.
Inspired to join the HiVE tribe? Learn more about our membership options here.
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