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All of our engineers share a common trait: the consistency of fearlessness.

Engineers have played a major role in the Rubicon Project since the beginning. We’ve been trusted with constructing the pillars and foundation of the technology that essentially fuels our business.  Technology stack aside, I knew we had to foster a culture of creativity and empowerment if we were to achieve the very ambitious vision that we had.  With a lot of work we’ve been able to build just that: an environment that allows us free reign to utilize any technologies to accomplish our tasks and not be afraid to fail.

Some engineers have chosen to stay on the steady path of development with languages and technologies they have mastered;  others have taken leaps of faith, experimenting with newer technologies they had to learn.  But all of our engineers share a common trait: the consistency of fearlessness.  By that, I mean they were never afraid to attempt the impossible.  They boldly tackled sizeable problems and learned that if the first iteration didn’t succeed a second, third and so forth would follow until the objective was met.  We had numerous implementation debates driven by experience and many times, differences in philosophies.  Some debates ended quickly, while others continued for years, if not to this day.

For instance, when we designed our core ad serving system we had heated debates about our metadata: should we store it in flat files so the operating system could cache it, or in memory for quicker access?  Ultimately, flat files won out for ease of management and flexibility.  I remember imagining that such a design would be slow as mud, but the data was in — and I was proven wrong.  In fact, the core code of our initial ad serving system is still in production and processes billions of ad transactions every day.  It is quickly approaching the two trillion mark of total ads served since our first ad on October 2007.  For version two, we’re using all our lessons learned to make it more flexible and manageable with a larger team of developers.  This is indeed an exciting undertaking!

As engineers, we all take different paths in our careers just as we take different paths to solve problems.  Our individual ingenuity is exactly what makes us diverse while bringing us together.  This blog will document the road less traveled, the road frequently traveled,  and all the fun that the Engineering team will come across on the journey of the Rubicon Project.