An up-close look at some of the personalities found in our BitTorrent offices.
The BitTorrent offices are actually a pretty big place, with rows of desks housing different teams across a whole floor. But even though the place is expansive, it’s hard to go a day without running into Data Analyst Cory Cox. He not only seems to be practically everywhere in the office, but he also sports a very hard-to-miss a blonde mohawk.
I sat down with Cory to talk about what he does about BitTorrent, his ubiquitous presence, and his other love, Ultimate Frisbee.
So what do you do here?
I am a data analyst on the data science team, so my work revolves around reporting on several of our different products, some of our R&D stuff, some of our production products like BitTorrent and μTorrent. I end up report out numbers: anything from installs to revenues to downloads. Going into Google Analytics and checking out our web properties or mining our in-house data.
There are other times I get to work on research-based, asking bigger questions about what’s going on. That’s actually my favorite use of my time.
What brought you to BitTorrent?
I was working at a startup in San Mateo for about three years, and I hit a ceiling there. I started looking for a job, and got here on a cold interview with the manager at the time, Mike Sun. He was one of the people that sold me the most on the company, and the things he said to me were some of the things I find to still be most true today: I thoroughly enjoy coming to work every day, and a large part of it has to do with the people who work here. They’re buddies of mine.
The other thing I can’t stress enough is how freaking smart the people we work with are. It’s really cool to have a research topic I want to pursue, and they want to talk about it and they’re really excited about it.
I see you everywhere around the office. How do you do it?
I definitely get a lot of happiness out of interacting with people — that’s really what helps drive my day. When I have a question, I can very easily just email people, and there are a lot of times where I need to write something out and give specifics. But if I find a discrepancy or a bug, I like going over to someone and asking “How could this be the case? Did we expect to see this?”
I think a good portion of my day is tied to interacting face-to-face with those I work with, even if it’s no different than just interacting with email. I also find that, on very regular occasions, going to talk about a bug or something else actually helps me solve further issues. I get the most value out of that.
You have also developed a rep for hanging in the games room, shooting pool. What’s that like?
It’s interesting because, probably for the first six months I was here, I played hardly at all. As I’ve been here longer and met more people, I realized that when I run into something that I can’t figure out, it’s good for me to point my brain in a different direction.
That’s one reason I do it, another is because it’s a great way to interact with my coworkers. Again, going and interacting directly with a team is helpful because we can burn through questions really quickly, and you get secondary interaction. It happens all the time because all the products are built on the same infrastructure, and it’s all cross-functional. Talking to people help you surface these little details you can’t get otherwise.
Also, I really love geometry.
What do you do when you’re not in the office?
I’ve been playing Ultimate Frisbee for 11 years now, I started at college at UT Austin. Actually, my second year playing I blew my knee, so I didn’t get to play for two years, but there’s a tournament up in Seattle every year that I went to two years into my recovery that really brought me back to the sport.
One of the main reasons I play is because I believe the sport draws the very best people. Everything is self-officiated — there are no refs — and I honestly believe people who are really poorly spirited just aren’t welcomed back if they can’t find a way to have good sportsmanship. It’s the second rule in the book, it’s all about sportsmanship, and that tournament in Seattle, Potlatch, epitomizes that. There are fun games and you give gifts — everything is based around this giving and loving atmosphere. Going back and seeing that really tied me back in, and now I’ve been playing pretty much straight through, and it’s been really awesome. The community is really tightly-knit, despite it being international. I’ve been to China to play, to Amsterdam, to the Philippines, and I played in the Worlds Tournament in Lecco, Italy this past summer.