looking for software engineer

Posted by | September 2, 2010 | Web Pro Job Tips


Location: San Francisco, CA


About helps academics follow the latest research in
their field. On, academics follow other academics in their field,
and they get a Twitter/Facebook-style News Feed that contains the latest
research from people in their field on – the latest papers, talks,
status updates, and blog posts.
Our vision is to dramatically speed up the rate at which
research spreads through the world. We want research to spread around the world
at Twitter/Facebook speed. Currently it takes weeks/months and sometimes more
than a year for a paper to hit the desks of everyone in the world who should
hear about it. Our vision is for all research to be channeled to the people who are interested in it in a matter of hours, rather than weeks or months. 
We believe that there is an opportunity to make a big impact
on the rate at which research is shared.
We launched in September 2008, and now have 190,000
academics on the site, and are growing by 10-15,000 academics a month. Users of include some of the most famous academics in the world, including Stephen HawkingRichard DawkinsNoam ChomskyPaul Krugman, and Steven Pinker.
We recently raised our series A from Spark Ventures, and a
number of angels including Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu and Thawte), Rupert
Pennant- Rea (Chairman of The Economist), and Thomas Lehrman (founder of Gerson
Lehrman Group).
We are a team of 6 based in downtown San Francisco (Kearny
and Bush). More info about the team is here: http://academia/about.
What we are looking
We are looking for an exceptional software engineer to join
our team. has a very engineer-driven culture. We describe below
how we think about our culture, and also the qualities of the people we want to
join us.
What professional qualities do we admire?
  • Exceptional
    : innovation at the cutting edge of web development to
    overcome the complex challenges that can arise.
  • Obsession
    with product and user experience
    : obsession with creating a great
    product, and a great user experience. Feeling anguish and pain when the
    site is slow, or when a user interface or feature is bad, and pleasure
    when the site is fast and intuitive.
  • Problem-solving:
    intellectual satisfaction from solving problems. Finding the best and
    quickest solution to the problem the team is currently working on.
  • Technical
    : pushing the boundaries of the technologies we work with. For
    example, when thinking about the best UI for a feature, having no fear in
    considering creating a new JavaScript framework, if that is what is
    required to make it work right.
  • Finishing:
    finishing products and deploying code. Believing that exceptional
    engineering, combined with exceptional creativity, are what makes a
    startup succeed.
  • Versatility:
    comfort with tweaking a CSS style or optimizing a SQL query all in the
    same morning
  • Ability
    to prioritize features
    : being able to look at a ton of possible
    features on a whiteboard, add more to the mix, and then choose which one
    has the highest priority
  • Being
    thoughtful about productivity
    : thinking about what working
    environments and structures ensure optimal productivity. Ensuring that the
    right environment and structures are in place for everyone.
  • Dedication:
    willingness to get up at 4am to restart the servers, and then build
    something the next day so the servers don’t go down again
  • Personal
    investment in what we work on
    : caring personally about the impact of
    our work on people around the world
What personal qualities do we admire?
  • Independent
    : being able to learn from people around us when we need to,
    and also challenge them when they need to be challenged
  • Being
    : thinking of ways of improving things that we interact
  • Creativity:
    being able to develop new ideas for the product and enhance the vision of
    the company
  • Passion
    for the vision
    : passion for building a platform that
    could change the way that research is shared and discovered
  • Keenness
    to have an impact on the world around you
    : keenness to be the one to
    build the platform behind The possibility of positively
    improving the lives of millions of people via what we build is very
    exciting for us.
  • Being
    : thinking ‘What will the world look like in 10 years’ time,
    and how can we build that now?

What is most important, by far, is that you are a quick
learner who can discover and pick up new techniques fast.
  • Web
    : you have 2+ years of web development experience
  • Full
    : you have experience designing and implementing the full
    stack of a web application: sysadmin, database implementation and optimization,
    application development, front-end CSS, HTML and JavaScript.
  • Scaling: ideally
    you have some experience scaling an application to deal with an increasing
    user base. This is not essential though.
Here are some of the technologies that we work with:
You should be comfortable finding the right tools for the
job while becoming great at whatever tool you’re using. Experience with Rails
is a plus, but far more important is your ability to pick up new technologies
What are we offering?
  • The
    chance to build an awesome product that could
    revolutionize research
  • The
    chance to work in a fun and intellectually inquisitive team
We also offer some nice benefits! You will get a market
salary and stock options. We want to hire someone exceptional, and we want to
be generous with stock options to make this happen.
In addition, you will also get:
  • health
  • any
    ergonomic chair of your choosing
  • a
    laptop with two huge monitors
  • a
    smartphone (iPhone/BlackBerry/Nexus One)
Where is the job based?
The job is based in San Francisco. We will help with visas
and other issues relating to re-location.
How do I apply?
If you are interested to learn more, please email Richard
Price at richard–at–
To make your application stand out, please sign up to, and let us know what you think of the site:
  • what
    is good about the user experience, and what is bad
  • what
    features we have that you think are good, and which are bad, or which are
If you are not affiliated with a university, you can sign up as an independent
researcher. Please be as detailed as possible in your comments on the site.

To apply: If you are interested to learn more, please email Richard Price at richard—at—

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