Vijay: Staff Profile

Behind the scenes Rival IQ News & Events

We’re continuing getting to know the Rivalers behind the product. Today we talk to Vijay Chemburkar, one of our longest-tenured software engineers.

First things first. Tell me about what you do here at Rival.

I’m Vijay, and I’m a software developer. I’ve been here for…I think coming up on three years actually.

Vijay was very excited about this flank steak, marinated chicken, and pork ribs on a recent family vacation.

What kind of things do you work on?

We’re not particularly siloed for the most part, so I work on back end, front end, UI. I’ve been focusing on improving our search recently. And then I’ve been working on some data mining to beef up our boosted post detection feature, which has been fun.

When you’re not at work, what do you find yourself doing?

Well, I’ve got two young children, so that’s where all that time goes.

Vijay and his adorable daugther Leela on a trip to LA.

What do you like to do as a family?

My son is five and my daughter is three. We’ve been somewhat stuck in the house because three-year-olds aren’t very…

Mobile?

Yeah. No, they’re not. But recently we’ve gone on two hikes successfully the last two weekends. So, that’s possibly a thing we’re going to bring back in the mix. We’re doing what we can to get out on the weekend. Like take a ferry, go on a hike, go to a children’s museum.

Vijay and his family at the Kusama art exhibit.

Tell me about what you did before you came to Rival IQ.

Before Rival IQ, I was contracting in Oregon while my wife was finishing a Ph.D. program. Our son was one or two at that point. So, I was working part-time and watching him so she could finish up her dissertation and internship.

Nice. What makes you excited to work here?

The best part about working here is how easy and supportive it is for folks with families. Since two of the three founders have young children, it’s just understood in the culture that you’ve got to the doctor’s appointment, you’ve got to go to your kid’s thing. And they’re just like, “Yeah, of course. Go. And then you can get your work done when you get your work done.” And it’s just a base level of understanding, and there’s no guilt. The company culture is that we’re all adults, and we can get it done.

When you are in charge of Wednesday lunch, what are you likely to either order or reserve for us to go out?

The last few times I’ve had to do it we’ve had to go out. So, we often go to Von’s, which is like Rival IQ’s unofficial cafeteria.

Rivalers were challenged to the ultimate burger at Von’s: a sourdough bun with two 10-ounce patties, stacked with a grilled-cheese sandwich and topped with bacon, egg and cheddar, all the fixings and a secret sauce.

Can you talk about how you use data in your day-to-day?

As I mentioned, I’m working on this boosted post feature that looks at a bunch of posts to try to tell when somebody is actually putting money against it. Since social channels don’t tell us when they’re boosting a post, we’re trying to figure it out for ourselves. And otherwise, the other thing I’m working on is troubleshooting some performance issues we’re having with our search function. It’s not immediately obvious why we’re having these issues, so we’re trying to figure out the black box.

Beauty-Facebook-Boosted-Posts-1

Rival IQ’s machine learning can flag when a post likely has money behind it.

Do you have a favorite Rival IQ feature?

I like social posts. That was the first big feature I worked on while I was here, and I feel like that’s kind of become this core component where we use it to power all sorts of other stuff.

CPG-Dashboard

Rival IQ’s social posts in action.

Speaking of social posts and social media, how do you use social media?

I’ve started creating Instagram Stories, which has been nice because I can put pictures of my kids up which will autodestruct, so I don’t have to worry about those being out in the world. But then my parents, and my wife’s parents, and everyone can still see them.

And they’re really cute. I love your Instagram Stories. [Laughs] One final question: what do you want your legacy at Rival IQ to be?

Editor’s note: Vijay was too humble to think of a legacy, but this editor would like to nominate his legendary ninja copyediting skills for legacy status.

Blair Feehan

Blair is a content marketer based in Seattle who relishes helping companies large and small do one thing: tell their stories. She specializes in content creation, messaging, branding, and community engagement to get the word out. When she’s not writing, she can be found running a small arts and community nonprofit based in the Central District.

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