Jonathan, Site Reliability Engineer: Tales from the Trenches

Posted on:
January 5, 2023
For those who have been on the #TinderTeam for 5+ years, we asked them: what keeps the spark alive? Here's what Jonathan, Site Reliability Engineer III, Cloud Infrastructure, said.

What do you remember about your first few months at Tinder?

We were a much smaller company back then. I think we had maybe 50 people. We were all just looking to make Tinder the best it could be. We worked long hours and everyone, every team, really interacted with each other. That was a different experience than what I’d had before, and I think we still do that. It was fun and often chaotic, but it was a very rewarding time. 

What is the most interesting professional experience you’ve gotten to have at Tinder?

I’ve been here for about 7.5 years. I think being at any company that’s grown as quickly as Tinder is going to offer a lot of interesting professional experiences. We’ve put features out there, we’ve experimented with things, some have worked well and some haven’t, and we kept moving and rolling with the punches. That’s a lesson at Tinder, you have to be innovative and keep moving forward. 

How would you describe how the company and the product have evolved throughout your time at Tinder?

When I first got here, we championed simplicity and ease of registering new accounts. Now we’ve definitely added on more features that are more intelligent. Back then it was, whoever is on there, you just see them. Now we have all this machine learning and logical programmatic ways to determine who you might like and ways to get you to interact with them better. I imagine it wasn’t as good of an experience as we are able to give to people now.

How have you yourself evolved throughout your time at Tinder?

Professionally, I’ve learned a lot about how companies work. If you zoom out, you realize that the company has its own needs and is trying to provide value to the users. That sometimes brings other things in focus that you weren’t thinking of. I’ve learned to use that zoom out approach a lot while working here. Personally, Tinder has been my favorite job I've ever had. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve worked with at Tinder. That’s been incredibly rewarding and enriching. I still talk to people who haven’t worked at Tinder for five years or longer. The relationships built by being in the trenches of building this great product are priceless. 

How do you hope to continue your career at Tinder?

To keep contributing and adding value. The day that stops, I might be worried. The goal is to keep contributing and making Tinder the best it can be, offering feedback when needed or when asked. Just being the best I can be in the position I’m in is overall the goal. I believe in Tinder. 

What makes you proud to work at Tinder, and what does it mean to you to be able to say you’ve worked for the same company for so long?

Typically, I think people leave after a couple of years at a tech job, and I think that speaks for itself. It’s been an accelerated job experience, because we have kept that startup mindset even today. The reason I’m most proud to work at Tinder is because I just fully believe in the product. I use it, my friends use it, and I love talking to people about their experiences. On my Tinder profile it says “Tell me what you think we could be doing better.” I’m trying to get feedback and trying to get dates! The thing that makes me most proud is seeing success stories. I have friends who met on Tinder who are married and have a 3-year-old. You also hear about people who have met best friends on Tinder, even if that’s not what they were looking for. 

What would you say to the version of yourself that just started working at Tinder?

You made the right choice! It’s been such a fun experience that I don’t know if I would say to do anything differently. Just enjoy it. Work hard but enjoy it. 

What advice do you have for the newest members of the Tinder Team?

I don’t think Tinder is a normal job, it’s one that invokes a lot of passion from people who work here. Take advantage of that passion and your motivation right in the beginning to make a difference. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to make that difference. Tinder has a pretty open environment where people can suggest things and those can actually be implemented. The proof is in our hackathon weeks where we have people come up with ideas and make rough implementations of them, and sometimes we put them into the actual Tinder product. It’s a great opportunity for people to make an impact. 

Finish this sentence: “Remember that time when…”

…we took two hoverboards and had races around the office, like an actual competition? I think those might have been recalled, actually.

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