Meet the Team! (Part 4)

Hi everyone! This edition of ‘Meet the Team’ introduces you to Rajiv Eranki. Rajiv grew up in Buffalo and, no surprise here– graduated from MIT before moving out to San Francisco. Rajiv currently devotes his time to making sure Dropbox’s servers run as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Tell us about your programming background– how’d you get into it?

I loved computer games as a kid, so I learned programming as a way to try to build them. I used to build a lot of stupid little games in Apple’s HyperCard, like “Slay the Peasant,” which involved killing the same little sprite over and over with an arsenal of weapons by clicking on the screen.

In high school I learned Perl and C so I could explore other things, like building websites and 3D programming. The nice thing about programming as a hobby is that it doesn’t cost anything to explore new things.

How’d you join dropbox and why’d you choose it over finishing your masters?

I really wasn’t enjoying doing a Masters, and I’m amazed that it took me so long to figure it out. I guess I just figured that misery was part of the austere life an academic is supposed to lead.

I knew Aston and Arash from school, and they had showed me this cool project called Dropbox that they were working on when visiting Boston. A few months later when I finally realized that the academic life just wasn’t for me, I sent an IM to Aston asking if they were hiring, and they flew me out. It took me a couple agonizing weeks to decide that I actually wanted to drop everything I had in Boston to do this, but I haven’t looked back since.

Which OS do you prefer?

Mac OS X. I’ve always been a huge Mac fanboy. I tried to switch to Linux in high school for street cred, but it was too much of a pain.

What’s the nastiest problem you’ve run into while here?

It’s hard to describe specifics, but the nastiest problems always involve bugs that pop up very infrequently, and for a very small percentage of users, but are still important to solve. In these cases you have to make educated guesses about what might be wrong and then come up with ways of testing the idea.

In a few sentences, what does your job at dropbox entail?

My job here is mostly to make sure that Dropbox continues to run smoothly as we’ve gone from thousands to millions of users and beyond. This basically involves figuring out how we can efficiently use hundreds of computers to spread out the work.

Most people at dropbox have their single ‘claim to fame’. What’s yours?

Before I started working on the server more full-time, I was helping with the code injection/reverse engineering stuff that we do on the Mac to be well-integrated with the Finder. Since then I guess it’s mostly been helping to scale the site.

What kind of music do you listen to? Favorite artists?

I mostly listen to classic rock, Motown, and pop, with occasional detours into classical and jazz, and my favorite artist of all time is Jimi Hendrix (he’s the most frequent on my “Top 25 Most Played” list, anyway). The one song I have on repeat right now is “Africa” by Toto.

Favorite sports teams?

Go Sharks!! They did great last season. It’ll be interesting to see what their roster looks like next.

What do you do in your freetime?

Hang out with friends, play guitar, ride my motorcycle, play golf (horribly), ski, and generally get involved in new things. My current project is learning to play ice hockey.

What are you working on right now?/What cool things does the server team have planned?

“Cool” for the server team is mostly “it still works?!” :) In some sense the server team is at it’s best when nobody notices it.