The year was 2014. I was doing research and development of optimization techniques for one of Cisco’s marquee networking products. While it was great working at a big company, I was itching to do more. This is when I reached out to Abhinav for some career guidance. I remember him as this cool geeky guy who’d come to college, BITS Pilani, to address students on technology and innovation. When we connected, I found out that he was working on his newest venture called Petasense. Founded with a vision of making industrial machines smarter, Petasense is an Industrial IoT startup that predicts machine health by listening to machine vibrations. I found that extremely fascinating from an engineering standpoint.
When Abhinav offered me “the first full time employee” position at his machine learning startup, I didn’t even think twice. I knew that it was not going to be easy but I was ready for the adventure.
Four years, 50 billion vibration readings and one kid later, I can say with confidence that joining Petasense was one of best decisions I have made in my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride; there is never a dull moment here. I was fortunate to build the technology stack from ground up, hire and train the best in the industry and see our tech being deployed at some of the world’s leading industrial facilities. To me, the most fulfilling experience is witnessing firsthand how our technology – the tech that WE built – is helping our clients improve their operations, save a lot of money and sleep better at night 🙂
My moment of truth was when Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the municipal electric utility owned and operated by the city of Santa Clara, California, decided to shut down its unit on our recommendation. Our software alerted their maintenance engineers of a critical generator fan, powering a turbine, showing abnormally high levels of vibration. A similar problem that went undetected in the past (before they used Petasense) had cost the facility four weeks in lost production and unplanned downtime.
Such was the power of technology that I was building. Wow!
An important tenet of our engineering philosophy is to deeply focus on user needs. I had the opportunity to visit several plants, meet their engineers and learn about user needs and challenges. Not only did that make me a better engineer and architect but also changed my approach. Now whenever I build a new feature or a product, I let the customer experience guide and drive it.
Also, as AI pioneer, Andrew Ng, points out, companies with the data advantage are going to be the winners. At Petasense, we have designed our own vibration sensor to get clean data to power our analytics efforts. Having direct control of the sensor, the data source, gives us our competitive advantage. The hardware and software elements of our technology are beautifully aligned. Together, they are able to predict machine health at speed and scale.
On the software stack, we are brave to adopt new technology. Our culture of quickly iterating and rapidly rewriting code helps us stay nimble as an engineering culture. I have been living an engineer’s dream for nearly four years now. I’ve had the privilege to work on some really deep technologies all the way from understanding the physics of machinery vibration, signal processing, data science and embedded programming to building our microservices based architecture and adopting the latest and greatest frontend technologies. And that’s not just me; it’s also the case with the fresh engineering graduate who I hired on my team only three months ago. He oversees everything including designing, testing, implementing, automating and scaling the feature that he’s working on. Though we are extremely collaborative, we encourage full ownership. Very few organizations place that kind of trust on its team members.
We also get to rotate our roles and wear many different hats. As a result, we get to learn, grow and gain practical experience of working on several technologies. The format also works for the company as there isn’t a single point of failure. And, as part of our culture, we always remember to have fun along the way whether it’s exchanging notes over Friday lunches and company socials or celebrating our wins and employee birthdays.
Petasense is headquartered in Silicon Valley with most of our engineering team based out of Bangalore. We have best of both the worlds: While I’m in Bangalore, I’m constantly engaging with my counterparts in the Valley. Our founders do a phenomenal job of cross site collaboration and keeping the team together.
We are actively hiring for several engineering roles. If you’re technical, curious, open minded and want to make an impact while working on cutting edge of technology, we invite you for the challenge!