Hello, my name is Amol and I lead the engineering team at Life360. Welcome to the second in a series of posts that puts the spotlight on some of our engineers as they share what it is like to work at Life360. See the previous one here.
In this post, I want to introduce Ale Aranibar. Ale joined the platform team last year and has already made a huge impact here at Life360. She has already been in a few different teams contributing code but alongside taken on more leadership responsibilities and is now leading one of our core teams. She shares her experience building Life360.
How did you end up at Life360?
I’m a software engineer passionate about learning; I enjoy solving problems and overcoming challenges. That’s why I got interested in Life360. I met my friend for a casual lunch; he worked at Life360. He started talking about the company. Mentioned what they do, the amazingly talented people that work there, and two billion requests a day server traffic. When I heard about the traffic, I had to ask “did you say two billion?”. He confirmed, and that got me even more interested. Not long after that lunch, I interviewed and met all the amazing people that now I work with every day.
What do you do at Life360?
I’m an engineer team lead on the location team, one of the core teams at Life360. We are in charge of bringing accurate location positions to our users.
Since I started, teams within the company have been changing constantly to accommodate the growing needs and priorities of Life360; and I have been lucky to have the opportunity of working on different developing teams.
A few months back I was at a Leadership training, with mostly software engineers. The presenter asked us about our thoughts, fears, and challenges that we might encounter when transitioning from being an individual contributor to being in a leadership position. Many, including myself, expressed their worry about not having enough time to solve coding problems in this new position. Like all developers, I enjoy coding and finding solutions; but for me, I thought the biggest challenge would be to understand the problems, challenges, and even frustrations of each member of the team, and work together to find a solution.
Changes came soon at the company, and I moved from individual contributor to Location team lead. A lot to learn and lots of challenges behind and in front me. Now, in addition to coding and problem solving, I have a little more input on the teamwork and dynamic. It’s always a great satisfaction to see the team engaged, and watch them succeed. I am enjoying every minute of it.
What was the most interesting problem you have worked on at Life360 so far?
Every day, inside of work and outside of work we encounter problems or obstacles that need to solve. Some are small, and some are big; nevertheless, all are interesting.
Last Sunday, I looked at my closet door, which didn’t close. Someone installed it and didn’t even try to align the doorknob with the latch strike hole. I figured I could give it a try to fix it before my dog goes inside and chews everything in it. I grabbed the tools for the job and fixed the door, now it closes with no problems, and my shoes are safe from my dog. Next time I may dare to go and remodel the bathroom.
I feel that problems at work are similar in some way. At the beginning they seem too complicated for you, then you spend a little time analyzing them, plan a solution, select the tools, even if you are not familiar with them, and then go for it until you solve it in the best possible way.
Not long ago one DB table was failing on writing. While it was happening and the operations team was trying to find the cause, we had to find a way to reduce the errors shown to our users. At the same time, find a way not to lose the data and save it somewhere other than the DB. Not the same as fixing the door but a problem that required a solution.
I needed to get my software tools, to start working on it, and with the support from other engineers, we planned a solution to preserve the changes temporarily in memory. In addition, we decided to send the information to a queue, to later persist it onto the DB. I made the necessary changes, and when we were about to release the cause of the error was found and resolved. Even though we didn’t release the code, it was interesting and rewarding to think fast, find a feasible solution, and move forward with it.
You use Life360 with your own family. Tell us how you use it and how it helps you in work here?
I use the Life360 app with my family here in the US and overseas. The app is how I check on my family. I don’t have to call them to make sure they are ok, if they made it home or if they are on their way to pick me up.
Using the app makes me, even more, aware of the importance to get it working correctly. It is important to me, and our users to know that our loved ones are safe. This week, I got a message, from my children’s elementary school, saying “Explicit threats were made towards the school. In response, principal alerted the authorities, and police responded immediately”.
I panicked, and the only thoughts in my mind were “are my kids ok?” and “where are they right now?”. Luckily, nothing bad happened at the school, and my children were completely safe at their grandparent’s house, but I couldn’t stop thinking what if I didn’t know where they were. My kids are too young to have a cellphone; but the thought of duct taping one onto them, after that email, crossed my mind.
Life brings all kinds of family events, some good, others not so much, and Life360 app gives me a peace of mind at any time. Using the app helps me focus on all the things we can improve and make it even better.
Parting thoughts on how to thrive at Life360?
Working here has given me opportunities that I haven’t got before. I get to try new things and not be afraid of taking risks. The company recognizes that errors and mistakes can happen and that is very important to learn from them and move forward. Life360 has a very open welcoming environment. I think if you always bring up your ideas and aspirations, you will get the support to make them a reality.
Working with Us
Life360 is creating the largest membership service for families by developing technology that helps managing family life easier and safer. There is so much more to do as we get there and we’re looking for talented people to join the team: check out our jobs page.