Fibonacci Sequence Blog

Thoughts, opinions, and reviews by the FS team.

Self-Driving Ubers in the Next 10 Years

August 24, 2016 by Tilman Kneepkens

Uber just acquired a self-driving truck startup known as Otto. Maybe Uber Pools are scaling up and throwing everyone in an automated truck! Fortune magazine reported that the technology will likely belicensed out, and Uber hopes to replaces all of its human drivers with robot drivers, as quickly as possible. Quite the thank you to its drivers for making them such a profitable company!

Uber also has a deal in place with Volvo in efforts to get a self-driving car on the road by 2021. Modified Volvo XC90’s with fancy sensors, cameras, lasers, radars and GPS systems will be paired with passengers when they hail an Uber. Initially they will have a trained driver a co-pilot and the rides will be free. 

Game Changing Acquisitions and Restructuring

October 6, 2015 by Tilman Kneepkens

Yelp Acquires Eat24 - $134 million – February, 2015

In the last few months I’ve noticed my girlfriend and I have been ordering through Yelp far more than often Grubhub. It makes sense- we were already finding our takeout and delivery meals on there, so why not order from there as well?

I remember last Spring when I visited the owner of the Pizzeria where I worked in high school, he complained about how Grubhub took such a huge cut when someone ordered through their app. He started passing out coupons with every order to those who ordered directly from the pizzeria or through a cheaper site, and soon after had his own mobile app developed to facilitate the smartphone ordering process.

Zillow Acquires Trulia – $2.5 billion - February, 2015

In the search for my first home this summer Trulia and Zillow were my primary sourcing platforms. HotPads, apparently a subsidiary of Zillow since 2012, was one of my lady’s favorites. Trulia engineers have always been some of the most difficult to recruit, but the Zillow brand seems to be the one taking the brunt of the layoffs, and a much easier target for recruiters. 

Blackberry Acquires Good Technology - $425 million – September, 2015 (announced)

According to IDC, the International Data Corporation, Blackberry’s market share as a smartphone operating system was only 0.4% in 2014, a serious drop from the crackberry days of 2009 when they peaked at 20%. However, it’s Good Technology which has been posting losses of over $100 million the last few years. When will we find out if the acquisition can turn these numbers around? Considering the deal is expected to be finalized in Q3 of 2016, probably not anytime soon.

Google Becomes Alphabet – October, 2015

Oh, and Google, Inc. just became Alphabet. What? Google just announced that Alphabet will operate as the parent company for Google, Google Ventures, Google Capital, Life Sciences, etc. Google will continue on as the search and advertising division promoting Sundar Pichai to Google CEO, previously VP of Android, Chrome, and Apps.

5 of the Most Sought-After Software Engineering Skills in the Silicon Valley

August 17, 2015 by Dave Wiles

Node.js is an open-source platform built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript runtime. Some major companies who use Node.js include GroupOn, Uber, and Flickr. It is becoming extremely popular in the startup community; a couple startups that stood out to me include Bandpage (a networking site for musicians and their fans) and Even (a financial service that exists to escape poverty by building liquid assets). It’s popularity is largely due to the fact that developers can deliver projects faster using Node.js than with other languages as it is ideal for building scalable network applications. While it is not used by as many sites as other web servers such as Nginx and Apache according to Indeed.com, it is used exponentially more on high-traffic websites which is due to it’s single-thread operation as opposed to memory sapping multiple thread operations. A LinkedIn job search for positions that ask for Node.js yielded more than 2,000 results. There are proponents for making Node.js a bigger part of schools Computer Science curriculums due to its increasing popularity, “smooth learning curve,” and “transferrable skills.”

An open-source JavaScript library created by an engineer at Facebook, ReactJS is more under the radar than some of the other technologies mentioned in this article. React is not as heavily used as other JavaScript libraries (i.e. AngularJS, jQuery, and Bootstrap) but it is certainly on the rise. In a performance test done by Chris Harrington at Codementor, React outperformed AngularJS and KnockoutJS when rendering a list of 1000 items, excelling in handling large amounts of data. It is rapidly becoming a skill that sets developers apart from their peers. Select startups such as DataHero, Drive, and ZenPayroll all use React.

It’s no secret that Ruby on Rails, the open source web framework is widely regarded as the most productive way to build websites in many circles. It was created in 2003 by David Heinemeier Hansson and in the 12 years since Rails came into existence the open-source web application framework has become a staple in the engineering community. It is utilized by such companies as Twitter, Airbnb, Bleacher Report, Square and Hulu. Coincidentally, these are some of the most difficult companies to recruit out of which suggests high developer satisfaction. RubyonRails.org claims that RoR is “optimized for programmer happiness” which is certainly the case considering how many programmers enjoy working with Rails. It’s noticeably intuitive syntax lends itself to productivity which is attractive to developers and companies alike. RoR adoption by programming teams has been steady and only points towards more growth in the future as people who originally had their doubts about RoR’s all-around usability begin to come around.

Apache Solr, the Java-based open-source search platform is taking off. Ironically, Allforgood.org, a Google “20% project”, adopted Solr over Google Base which points not only to its legitimacy but also towards the niche that it fills in an industry full of powerful search platforms. Solr is “blazing-fast” and has “near real-time” indexing. Add to that the benefits of being open source and it is no wonder why Solr experience is becoming a very hot commodity. It is very versatile, highly scalable and optimized for high volume traffic. LinkedIn has over 800 jobs listed that ask for Solr experience and that number is sure to grow. Companies such as eBay, Ticketmaster, Netflix, and AT&T have already realized the many benefits of the enterprise search platform.

While job trends (via indeed.com) for the popular configuration management tools salt and Chef have fluctuated over the years, Puppet has maintained a steady upwards trajectory. The steadily increasing demand for deep experience with Puppet is catching the attention of many Systems/DevOps Engineers. Different configuration management utilities are better suited to different tasks, and Puppet’s focus is to “get more done in less time.” Puppet, yet another open source technology, is catching on in an environment where companies put a premium on software deployment and migrations times. Job opportunities for those skilled in Puppet are higher than any of the other technologies explored here; a job search on LinkedIn turned up close to 2,500 positions. Puppet has clients in many different industries; some companies of note using Puppet are Square, Hotwire.com, Spotify, and Nasa.

Why The Hell Would I Use Node.js? A Case-by-Case Tutorial. toptal.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015.

Frees, Scott. A Place for Node.js in the Computer Science Curriculum. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges. Volume 30 Issue 3. January 1, 2015. Pages 84-91. 

React (JS Library): How was the idea to develop React conceived and how many people worked on developing it and implementing it at Facebook?. quora.com. February 11, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.

React vs AngularJS vs KnockoutJS: a Performance Comparison. codementor.com. January 12, 2015. Retrieved August 11, 2015.

rubyonrails.org. Retrieved August 12, 2015.

Why would a Googler use Solr for search?. cnet.com. August 31, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2015.

lucene.apache.org. Retrieved August 12, 2015.

puppetlabs.com. Retrieved August 12, 2015.

Growing Drone Industry in High Demand for Engineers

March 11, 2015 - Christine Kline

Engineers with knowledge of drone technology are going to be in high demand in the upcoming years. As soon as the FAA approves commercial drones in the US, it is predicted that over 70,000 drone related jobs will be created in just three years.  According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the global market of drones will also climb at least 1 billion dollars in the same times period.

All of the new job opportunities will not be in the commonly known military and surveillance industry, but there will many less obvious industries looking to hire engineers with drone development skills and experience.

One industry is the delivery industry – where there are endless opportunities to deliver various types of products. Amazon is planning to have a fleet of delivery drones, which would operate under a service called Amazon Prime Air. Their drones will deliver any merchandise that is sold on their website that is under five pounds in minutes. Also, Domino’s has been testing pizza delivery drones and already made a working test model.

Another unexpected industry that is predicted to greatly benefit from the approval of commercial drones is the journalism industry. The New York Times, The Washington Post and eight other media outlets are currently lobbying for the approval of drone usage. They are arguing that the restriction of drones is violating the first amendment. These news outlets are looking to use drones to report on dangerous situations, such as wildfires and hurricanes using drones to keep their employees out of danger. Also, drones would not only increase the safety of their employees, but also would be a more cost-efficient way of gathering news footage.

Drones are also expected to break into the tourism industry - as personal tour guides. A company named SkyCall has been developing drones with sensor technology that can be used to give tours along preset routes and requested locations. In SkyCall’s prototype video, a drone that is summoned by a lost MIT student (using a drone connected campus app) helps him navigate through campus. By expanding on SkyCall’s drone video, one can see that drones can potentially give tours of cities, museums, buildings, and more.

As you can see, there will be an abundance of opportunities in the upcoming years within the booming drone industry.

The Clandestine Power of the Background Check

December 19, 2014 - Tilman Kneepkens 

There are several assumptions which are commonly made about the background check process, and what exactly a background check consists of. At a previous employer, we did our background checks through ADP. They consisted of civil court records, criminal court records, a sex offender registry search, and identity tools (addresses matched to name and social security number verification). They did not include degree verification, any kind of verification of dates of employment, proof of salary history, and arrests that did not result in a charge. It was also limited by a certain time period during which the records were searched, and the locations records were searched within. Most people believe that the background check could include some of these details. Therein lies the power of the background check- the intimidation factor.

Even when a record came up for the candidate’s name, it was difficult to prove that this candidate was actually the person charged. We had to count on the candidate’s honesty to verify that these charges were theirs. Since the records were simply searched by names, which were often very common names, the charges often brought up incidents in which the candidate was not involved. After asking if the charges that came up were his or hers, we asked the candidate to elaborate on those charges which they had admitted to. Then we would ask if there was anything else we should know about that did not come up on the background check.

One time I had a candidate disqualify himself because he told me about several charges that didn’t show up on the background check. I was hoping our VP of HR would reward his honesty, but instead it was interpreted as a pattern of behavior which couldn’t be ignored. Sometimes candidates would admit their charges during the first contact, just to avoid wasting anyone’s time. I had a candidate with two DUI’s get shot down by doing this during my first phone screen. Another candidate let me in on her charge regarding intent to sell some sort of narcotics. She apparently responded to someone’s craigslist add, who ended up being an undercover police officer. She tried to convince me it was a joke, and that there was actually no drugs involved. Admittedly, one of the most interesting areas of recruiting is navigating the private information which is uncovered by a background check, or simply the mention of the background check.

Review of The Non-Technical Guide to Web Technologies

September 13, 2014 - Cornell Bang

After reading Tommy Chheng’s book The Non-Technical Guide to Web Technologies, I felt much more enlightened from where I had previously started. Tommy Chheng is a Lead Backend Engineer at Quiki, a division of Yahoo. He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science with emphasis on Machine Learning and Search, from the University of California at Irvine.

It’s important to note that Tommy Chheng’s book is an introductory book and its purpose serves to give the reader a glimpse or a slice of what people in technology, Internet, and web companies do. That being said, the book is extremely helpful because Tommy laces his chapters with diagrams and simple analogies. For example, in Chapter 5 of his book, Tommy compares the human speaking language of vocabulary and grammar to programming languages. He then takes this analogy further and says that the way we understand a human speaking language through the processes in our brains is comparable to how a program runs on a computer, also known as runtime.

Tommy’s book also breaks into the modern day companies and technologies by listing programming languages and which websites/applications use what. I personally found this chapter the most helpful because it helped me to more accurately specify and identify what my clients do and who they need to develop and advance their products. The entirety of Chapter 5, probably his most important chapter, lists a plethora of important coding languages with their history, usage, importance, and functions.

Coming from a recruitment standpoint, I hoped to see Tommy expand more on the chapter called Job Titles. Only a few pages were reserved for this section, but in his defense, a scan and a few clicks on a recruitment forum could be why Tommy reserves the bulk of his work on Chapter 5. With any technical book, the reader should be aware that rereading the book will be most helpful and constant exposure to Tommy’s effective diagrams will behoove the reader tenfold. This book is highly recommended!

10 Reasons to Use a Recruiting Agency

September 3rd, 2013 - Tilman Kneepkens

1. Discover opportunities you didn’t know were out there

2. Make sure you get what you’re worth

3. Interview preparation

4. Better chance of receiving interview feedback

5. Have a middle man to ask the questions you don’t feel comfortable asking directly

6. No need to apply – a recruiter will find you!

7. Get multiple interviews/offers through one recruiter

8. Passively looking for something specific? Let an agency recruiter get to work while you worry about your current job

9. Know if you should counter-offer when the time comes

10. Avoid completing long applications – just send a resume!

Mobile App Economy Meetup

September 30th, 2013 - Tilman Kneepkens

I went to a really cool meetup tonight with a “CTO roundtable.” The Mobile App Economy meetup had an executive panel from Google, Microsoft, Green Dot, and Intuit- all big tech companies in LA and SF. It was held at the impressive new Microsoft office in Playa Vista.

Simon Barere, Director of Technology at SOA Software, started things off with a great presentation. He mentioned an interesting mobile project SOA had completed for a large university. The app utilizes various sources of the university’s data so intricate that a user could even find out exactly how many Snickers bars are available in a prospective vending machine.

Stoyan Kenderov, Head of Mobile at Intuit, explained that the most important metric to measure an app’s success is its net promoter score.  Basically this is a measure of how likely one is to recommend the app to someone else. Stoyan said this is more important than the app’s number of downloads, unique visitors, total revenue, or anything else.

Green Dot’s Tom Seago, VP of Engineering, predicted that in the near future logins will be replaced with high-tech identification technologies which would grant a user access to all of their accounts with just a swipe, fingerprint or even a pulse.

Value of a Thank You Letter

January 15th, 2013 - Tilman Kneepkens

I learned how valuable a thank you letter can be last year after interviewing with Facebook. I was so thrilled to be contacted for the interview that I prepped as much as I could. I read up on company history, wrote out responses to every interview question I could find on Glassdoor, and tried to imagine any possible question or concern they could have for me. My phone interview was about thirty minutes, during which I killed every question my recruiter threw at me– or so I thought. She was nice enough to give me instant feedback and said she thought I did not have enough high-volume recruiting experience.

I tailored my thank you letter around this feedback, providing a few strong arguments with numbers to back them up. Meanwhile, I made sure to include the necessary thank you’s and kept my rebuttals very polite. She was impressed with my thank you letter and decided to give me another shot with a different recruiter. Although I ultimately didn’t have the sourcing experience they were looking for, I was able to successfully overturn a “no,” enough to get another interview.