May 1, 2020
At its heart, GK is a natural language processing (NLP) company. But while our data science team is busy building tools to better understand the complicated way people communicate, our platform team is making sure all the pieces work together properly in any environment. They keep the ship running and our customers happy. I sat down with Patrick Mahoney to learn more about his role as a Senior Engineer on our platform team.
Hi Patrick, thanks for the interview. What’s something you are very good at?
“Stubbornly chipping away at a problem until progress is made.”
Can you tell me more? What’s an example of a difficult problem you’ve had at GK and how you solved it?
“Sure. We needed a way for scribetrain [GK’s on-premise automated model-training service] to seamlessly update which model our human language decoders were using, and without any interruption in service.
“There were many possible solutions. I opted for one that exposed only the relevant Kubernetes functionality to scribetrain. It now updates everything without any knowledge of the complex Kubernetes API while still allowing us to re-use Kubernetes’ functionality to restart the system after training.
“The challenge there is limiting complexity– making things as simple as possible, while still getting all the functionality you need.”
Thanks. That makes great sense. What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your role?
“Being able to see the entire system and how it works together. And also, surfacing insights to the other developers working on individual components of the system.”
Ah, it sounds like communication with your team is really important as well. Do you have a favorite mantra or quote?
“ABC”: Always Be Cleaning (your codebase).
Who do you most admire at GreenKey?
“I admire Andrew’s customer-focused approach to problems. I tend to spend too much time on the technical side of things, so it’s nice to have a counterpart remind me that good-enough today is better than perfect tomorrow.”