Friday, August 26, 2011
In this month’s Faces of Gmail we’ll introduce you to Brandon Long, a parent, ice-hockey player and science fiction fan who makes sure your emails get sent and received.
What do you do on the Gmail team?
I’m the Tech Lead Manager of the Gmail delivery team. Our team is responsible for sending and receiving email for Gmail and many other Google projects. We’re also responsible for the IMAP & POP support for Gmail, which is the most popular way to access Gmail on mobile devices.
What did you do before joining Google?
I founded Neotonic Software which wrote a web application for email customer support. Before that, I worked at eGroups, which was acquired by Yahoo! and is now Yahoo!Groups.
What’s your typical day like?
My typical day involves catching up on email from our teams in other timezones (Google Engineering never sleeps). I also stay on top of escalations from our support team, keep abreast of the running service with our SREs (Site Reliability Engineers), and make sure my team doesn’t have any blockages. Finally, I still manage to keep my hands in the codebase, working as part of the team. When I have some extra time, I take a peek in the Gmail help forum to see if there’s anything brewing or any help I can offer.
What do you like most about what you do?
Scale and ubiquity. Everyone knows about Gmail, many people I know use it. The volume of messages we deal with on a daily basis is pretty staggering, and it’s pretty complicated to keep the whole thing working and continuing to scale.
What are the three Gmail features you wouldn’t be able to live without?
SMTP, IMAP, and keyboard shortcuts. I get thousands of messages a day to my work account, and keyboard shortcuts make all of the difference in handling the volume.
What’s your favorite lab?
Green Robot. I’m an Android fan, and I like to see which of my friends are fans as well.
What do you do when you’re not working on Gmail?
I’m a father of two young children, and I play ice hockey in the local beer league.
Any favorite TV shows?
Burn Notice, The Daily Show, Top Chef, Top Gear
What’s on your reading list?
Switching to the Kindle for reading has allowed me to subscribe to magazines I gave up reading a long time ago. For example, after 15 years I’m back to reading Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. I find it very convenient to read the short stories during my commute.
What would your last meal be?
Does one go with comfort food or with amazing? For comfort, nothing beats Chicago-style Pizza. In SF, that means Patxi’s. In Chicago, that means Lou Malnati’s or Gino’s East. For amazing, I’m not a foodie myself, but I have enough foodie friends to have been introduced to some meals both amazing and ridiculous. And besides, if it’s going to be my last meal, why not a 25 course gastronomic event taking six hours or more? The last place we tried was e by José Andrés, and it was fabulous.
Photos by Cody Bratt, Google Talk team