For Shuveb Hussain, a happy work environment foments creativity and leadership at Freshworks
[ Note: This blog post is part of our Freshworks Friday Series. Why ‘Friday’? Well, let’s just say building great software comes easy as Fridays to us. Read on and you might discover more than that. :)]
Shuveb Hussain is a man of many talents. He is an avid blogger, who loves to work with computers. If you want to have a deep conversation about Cloud technologies, he is your go-to guy. He is always ready to share his knowledge with the younger generation, and constantly thinking of new ways to make things not just better, but world-class. He is the Senior Director of Engineering for Foundation Services at Freshworks.
Shuveb is passionate about building products while also building scalable services that go with them. He started his career working on embedded Linux but switched to the nimble world of Cloud later on. He also likes cats.
In an email exchange, Shuveb opens up about not just his role in leading the Foundation Services team but also about what inspires him at Freshworks and in life.
How long have you been with Freshworks? How would you summarize what you do?
I’ve been with Freshworks for more than a year and a half now, and I lead the Foundation Services, which are a set of highly scalable building blocks that Freshworks products are built on. We deal with billions of requests per month. Examples of Foundation Services are Search, Email, and Logging. But there are more not-so-easily explainable ones like the API Gateway, Data Sync platform, Audit logging system or Formserv. Let’s just say that these are services that are better run centrally at scale so that products don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I work with an awesome team and love every moment of working with them.
What motivates you to go above and beyond at work?
There is a color to every company, a kind of a feel. I like to think Freshworks’ “feel” is happy. But mind you, not contended. This happy work environment allows our engineers to go beyond what one would call the definition of ‘done’. A happy work environment has a tremendous fomenting effect on the overall productivity of any function. For me the goal of a billion-dollar product company started out of Chennai is a tremendous tag to yearn for. So that’s there, too.
How does a leader influence others?
A man who may not be that well known named Steven P. Jobs once compared hiring with opening the door of your house to people. You need to care about who you let in. I think that is a great comparison. This may sound elitist, but when you’re building a team you can’t take this seriously enough. What I mean by that is that the leader has two main responsibilities: hire great folks and enable them to do their job. And like in parenting, the team will follow your example, not your advice.
How would you define Freshworks’ culture? What is your take on our culture codes and values?
If you come to think of it, very few things we do in life are actually related to our shelter, clothing or food. We can survive on very little. We do many things because of the simple reason that they make us happy. To that end, when I was introduced to Freshworks’ culture codes, I was thrilled that “Happy Work Environment” was one of them. This is kind of a meta code, really. It encompasses so many things. In that way, it’s a very clever code to have. At the very least, it’s telling you “Hey, don’t disturb the peace.”. It’s telling you to provide a strong base on which the rest of your strategy can be built. It’s telling you to take care of your customers. It’s telling you to think long- term. It’s telling you to invest in your people more than anything else to keep going.
A code like “Practice Craftsmanship” is telling you to improve your craft, to invest in yourself. To build things that you can be proud of. A code like “Take smart risks” is telling you that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s pushing you to be creative.
We all know that delicious food and filter coffee is unlimited at our Chennai offices. What’s your favorite ‘food-day’ of the week?
I have a propensity to put on a lot of weight fairly easily. So, I stay away from all the awesome food that’s served at our Chennai offices. I stick to Choix meals, mostly proteins. I am thankful that this option is available. Kudos to the facilities team for this. I know a “tasty healthy” meal sounds like an oxymoron, but I don’t know how these folks actually make it both ways. While the other choices of meals are easy for me to resist, the Biryani on Wednesdays isn’t. I happily abandon potential mass-related concerns and give in to it. This is a fairly infectious problem. It is fair to say that the crowds in the healthy meals section are a bit lean on Wednesdays.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
There is no dearth of folks to draw inspiration from—from family to teammates to my friends etc. But I particularly draw inspiration from three kinds of people: those who can tell a story and bring context, those who can convert constraints into opportunities and those who are so creative that there’s only one copy of them in time-space. So, you have Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, Alan Kay, Douglas Engelbart, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Linus Torvalds, Bill Gates, Robert Noyce, Andy Grove, Albert Einstein, David Attenborough, Ken Burns, and many others. I can’t think of all the names right now and I’ll regret later I did not put them on this list.
In three words describe Freshworks to someone who doesn’t know who we are?
“Just three words?” 🙂
Why should someone join your team?
Anyone who is looking to do work that is impactful (almost all Freshworks products use services developed by Foundation Services), operate at scale (we deal with billions of requests every month), deal with challenges on a daily basis, work with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the company all while having fun, Foundation Services will be the place for you.
Cover imaging & design: Deepak Kumar J
Feeling inspired by Shuveb’s story? Freshworks invites passionate candidates to explore working with the various leaders and team members in our engineering and other functions. Do read more about our culture code and check out our careers page: https://www.freshworks.com/company/careers/
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