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How culture & creativity drive engineering at AddThis

This week’s guest blog is contributed by Gennady Nurik, Sr. Director of Engineering at AddThis.

AddThis has always believed in hiring the best and brightest engineers. Engineers with great software fundamentals, curiosity and creativity to explore beyond the status quo and modesty that allows for teamwork and continuous learning.

We consciously foster a culture where people own their work by having them be part of the entire life cycle of the products they touch, including design, development, testing, releases and even on-call support.

Why? Because the quality of a product is greatly improved when engineers have context into how the customer uses it and how it behaves at scale.

All product teams practice the on-call rotation, so that engineers get to experience problems in production and thus naturally take better care of the product going out the door.

We encourage curiosity and creativity by hosting hackathons a few times a year, and openly embrace failed projects because of the learning that is achieved.

In fact, many parts of our current offerings started originally as hackathon projects. We also contribute to the engineering community with our homegrown open-sourced projects and by hosting various local meet-ups.

Meeting Challenges with Creativity

Our tools sit on 15M domains across the web, we see around 2B unique Internet browsers monthly, and we process on the order of 5B events daily.

It’s no easy feat to build and operate such a product, especially a product that has such high visibility around the world. A few key architectural decisions early on, however, have allowed us to excel.

To solve high-throughput event ingestion, we added Apache Kafka as a data bus. To solve serving page tool configurations using a low latency service, we backed it with Apache Cassandra.

To run analytics and build audiences from huge datasets in human-time, we built a distributed stream processing and query system called Hydra, which natively supports probabilistic data structures.

To continue to maximize adoption and use of our tools, we made UX a top-tier discipline within the company. Every individual within the organization is given an opportunity to learn these parts and make them better.

Integrating with Oracle Data Cloud

Great engineers typically love two things: solving hard problems and working with other great engineers.

Integrating and extracting value from some of the largest datasets in the world is an exciting opportunity, and we looking forward to working with the talented Oracle Data Cloud product and engineering teams to meet these challenges.

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