Have you ever had the feeling that everything you have done in your career was leading you to one pivotal moment? A challenge that would leverage all of your experience, test what you’ve learned, and push you further than you have ever been pushed before? I’ve often thought Olympic athletes must feel this way right before they compete. They have trained their entire lives for this opportunity. They have won and lost countless times, but the lessons they have learned have prepared them for this moment. What an exciting, exhilarating, and hair-raising feeling!
Let me be clear. I’m in no way comparing myself to the likes of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles or Usain Bolt. They are the best in the world. But, there is a parallel. These world class athletes face challenges requiring them to deliver at their peak performance level again and again. In my line of work, challenges are about solving complex technical problems. The infrastructure systems my peers and I create must also deliver peak performance again and again. The difference is we are racing to keep up with the insatiable appetite of the digital age. Essentially, we compete in our own Olympic race where the lanes and the grade on the track double every 6 months. Today’s peak is tomorrow’s second place.
My pivotal moment is today. I’m starting the most exciting job of my career as the Head of Uber Compute. I heard about this opportunity through a member of Infrastructure Masons (IM), the industry group I started six months ago (networking at its finest!). IM is a group of industry professionals representing over $100B in infrastructure in over 100 countries. I was intrigued when I read the job description, but after spending time with the leaders and hearing their strategy and ambitions, I was blown away! Uber already dominates the ride sharing business, but continues to expand with UberRush, UberChopper, UberPool, UberEats and even UberBoat. As if to surpass itself, last month they made two new announcements: the acquisition of Otto, a self-driving truck startup company, and their first self-driving car service in Pittsburg. Let that sink in for a second. While the world talks about the future of self-driving vehicles, Uber launches it as part of their core business. No speculation, actual rides!
Last week, Uber let some of their most loyal riders in Philadelphia and a group of reporters experience it first hand. Matter of fact, Raffi Krikorian, the leader of the SDV engineering team, tests the code his engineers write by taking an Uber self driving car to work every day. Now that is commitment.
Uber’s self driving cars are coming to a city near you, but let’s not forget the core business that created their $69B evaluation. Every year since it’s inception in 2009, Uber has more than doubled ridership, reaching its 2 billionth ride in July, only six months after it had reached its billionth. They are now in more than 400 cities with plans to rapidly grow that base. Couple that with incoming self-driving vehicles and the continuous expansion of new Uber services, and a very compelling technology challenge emerges: What kind of compute engine will enable Uber services in every major city in the world while ensuring:
“A transportation service that is as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone“. –Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO
Needless to say, this position peaked my interest. Uber city expansion is a challenge in and of itself, but imagine the amount of data being generated from these self driving cars. That data needs to be collected, ingested, analyzed and acted upon rapidly. This is Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning on a grand scale.
Uber Compute is where Hyperscale meets Supercomputing.
Today I’m poised at the starting line of this technology race. I’m honored to join the team and innovate like crazy!
To my partners, gear up, we have a marathon to run together.
To my industry peers, I have one question. Anyone interested in joining me?
Yes, we’re hiring. 🙂