Spotlight: Paul Sri

paul-sriRole: Director of Search and Personalization

Hire Date: May 2012

Fun Fact: Paul loves to travel and has been all over the world including a trip to Bora Bora.

“I felt all this energy, commitment, and excitement when I started and I thought it was all just because I was in a honeymoon phase, but it hasn’t gone away…”

What does your team do?

We treat my team as two separate areas right now (search and personalization) but we hope that in the future there’s going to be many connections between the two teams and we will perhaps be able to combine them.

On the search side, we are discussing and brainstorming about the future of search for Chegg and seeing how we can take it to the next level. That could mean any number of things – maybe there’s a more integrated search experience or we have a single search box – there’s a lot we are exploring. The main goal is to improve search across all the different types of content we have – whether you’re searching for books, questions, courses and more.

On the personalization side, we’re building a platform, framework and other pieces of infrastructure to support the personalization efforts at Chegg. We already invested in a recommendation platform that we released towards the end of last year and we’re iterating on that now — making it more robust and continuing to explore other paths for investment.

We’ve spent time during the past few months doing a lot of thinking as well as hiring in order to meet our goals. This is a new team – I’m new, most of my team is new and the desire to do all of these things is also relatively new. So Chegg is really looking to add a layer of intelligence on top of our current experience and make the experience very personalized for students.

How would you describe your first year?

It’s gone by very fast — I feel like I just got here! There’s so much to do on the road ahead but it’s a lot of fun. I also moved up here from Southern California so that was a big change as well. I’ve met a ton of great people here and everyone is so smart that it makes working here really fun.

What’s been your favorite thing about living in Northern California?

I like that it’s not blisteringly hot. No 100-degree days where the air conditioning can’t even keep up.

Why did you choose Chegg?

For a number of reasons, but mostly because of the people. I was very impressed by all the people I met and talked to during my interview process. Everyone seemed to be very much on the same page as far as the way of thinking and working together. Everyone was really smart and super nice and very encouraging. Most of all, everyone was extremely excited about Chegg.

How has working here been different from other companies you’ve worked for?

There is a very small family feel to it. Part of it is that Chegg is small and people are very optimistic about the future so everyone is working very hard and treating it like their own company.

Has anything surprised you about working here?

I felt all this energy, commitment and excitement when I started and I thought it was all just because I was in a honeymoon phase, but it hasn’t gone away, which is a nice surprise.

What excites you most about Chegg’s future?

What’s exciting to me is the way it’s positioning itself as a leader in education technology.  This relates to not only aggregation of educational resources, but also creating a community and services that foster that community. All of these things will help students save time, save money and get smarter. It’s awesome to be part of something this big!

How did you get into being an engineer?

It started in college – so I would be considered a late bloomer by today’s standards. I was sort of pre-med and considering a major in biology, psychology, or chemistry. Then I saw my friend doing something cool on the computer and asked what he was doing. He said he was connecting to a network in the engineering school and I thought that was pretty neat so we talked more about it. I asked him what his major was and he said Computer Science and then I went for it.

Do you remember what your first computer science project was?

Yes – it was in an Intro to Programming class and I had to write a pretty standard program about racecars and keeping track of their lap times.

And then a career was born.

Yes — I took off on the computer science racecar and never looked back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s