Quixey - startup applying LW-style rationality - hiring engineers

by Liron2 min read28th Sep 201125 comments

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Quixey is a 2-year-old startup with a lot of ties to the rationalist community. Our product is an all-platform "functional search" engine for apps. Our main engineering task is to build the most accurate possible map of all software on all platforms (the "functional web"), and write search algorithms that let users find apps to do what they need.

We're hiring top-notch engineers for full time positions in our Palo Alto, CA office. If your overall engineering skill level is "Google+", we have a lot to offer:

 

  • Team
    • Everyone is shockingly good at their job.
    • Our CEO, Tomer Kagan, is the best strategist ever (source: anyone who has met him).

  • Personal growth
    • You'll tackle huge engineering challenges.
    • You'll learn how to be more like a goal-driven agent and not get sidetracked by non-essential priorities.
    • You'll be given a lot of freedom and trust. You can set up new infrastructure and tools, expense business products and services, and even subcontract some of your tasks if you think it's a good idea.
    • You'll watch the business team negotiate deals way more awesome than what seems possible.
    • You'll participate in conferences, retreats, and other cool startup stuff.

  • Success
    • We're at the point where our value proposition has been validated many times over on the business development side, and we're focused on rapid engineering execution. We know we're making a product that people will use.
    • We're building one of the biggest companies in the software industry. If you work here, you're doing something great.

  • Quality of life
    • We use a bunch of great tools like Python 3, MongoDB, Amazon AWS, nginx, Git and jQuery.
    • We do everything we can to create an environment where engineers can do their best work. That means private cubicles with doors made out of sliding whiteboards, standard-issue Macbook/Thinkpad laptops and 30" monitors, good chairs, and any other tools you need to do your best work.
    • We don't have gratuitously extravagant perks, but we do have a health and wellness package: 3 healthy catered meals a day, fridges stocked with high-quality snacks and drinks, a free membership to Equinox gym (located across the street), great medical/dental/vision, and cryonics or life insurance.
    • Seriously, working here is awesome.

To apply, email some Bayesian evidence that you're a good match to  jobs@quixey.com.
 

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Quixey might be a great place to work for, but their site certainly does not make it clear how they intend to beat Google in the app search area (presumably that is what they are trying to do?). And their "About" section is a hodge-podge of buzzwords and slogans like " forms partnerships", "invented a new type of search" and "is the future".

I have tried searching for a couple of apps for different platforms, and Google search shows what I wanted in the top 5, whereas Quixey found nothing of relevance at all. Seems like a Yet Another Inferior Search Engine. Then again, it gets some positive reviews, so I might have been unlucky.

Just beware that your career with Quixey might well be, while fulfilling, likely not a very long one.

Quixey.com doesn't compete with Google.com as a destination for users. We're successfully monetizing our technology by powering custom app search for business partners who already have major distribution.

http://www.uquery.com/ would probably be closer to home. I'm a bit curious about "powering custom app search" model - is there anyone well-known you're powering you're willing to mention?

Unfortunately, I can't talk about any partnership deals yet.

I interned at Quixey as an engineer a couple years ago when they were first getting off the ground, and I can personally testify to Liron's commitment to keeping a clean and well engineered code base – great for job satisfaction.

In retrospect, working at Quixey was an obviously good idea. I'd seriously recommend it for anyone here who is a solid engineer and isn't doing something else unusually valuable.

[-][anonymous]10y 7

I interned at Quixey this summer (though not as an engineer) and found some of the most skilled rationalists I'd ever met there. It was an excellent experience and comes highly recommended.

They wouldn't be open to this currently, would they?

Unfortunately we only have engineering positions open at the moment, but if you email jobs@quixey.com, we'll keep your info on file.

In what sense are you using the term "engineering" here? I work as an engineer, though almost certainly of a different kind (mechanical/structural/aerospace). Edit: Reading your history (or just the context of the accouncement), it's clear you mean, "software" engineer. What I mean is, do you regard anyone in engineering as potentially having the skillset you want, even if it's not specifically software? I also see your previous test although surely you'd want to use a different one that hasn't been out for a year.

This is definitely somewhere I'd want to work, but I don't think I have as much software experience as would be wanted right off the bat. I've downloaded the LW site hacking package and am still getting accustomed to git and Python, though I write code as part of my everyday work.

Oops, I should have been clear we're only talking about Software Engineering. Please excuse my distorted Silicon Valley perspective :)

This sounds extremely cool. I won't be leaving my current job anytime soon (hopefully), but the list of people involved is impressive! Just curious, why did Marcello and Paul leave your company?

Quixey is a great place to work, and I learned a lot working there. My main reason for leaving was that I wanted to be able to devote more time and mental energy to some of my own thoughts and projects.

Is this code for "burnt out from 80 hour weeks" ?

I didn't leave due to burn-out.

Marcello left to pursue other things, and Paul was a summer intern.

The Quixey guys are very cool.

(Another strong vote of support and positive affect toward the Quixey guys from me.)

I live in New Jersey. Would it be worth moving across the country to work there?

It might be. I suggest you go ahead and apply.

/me looks up the job description on the website

I suspect I'm not qualified. I don't know Python (the only languages I'd consider myself competent in are C++ and Perl) and am basically at the "fresh out of college" level of competency at programming.

On the other hand... I think I can solve those screening questions!

A client connects to a server which will stream it N 32-bit integers and then disconnect, where N is a-priori unknown to the client. Describe an O(log N)-space algorithm you could run on the client that would return any of the N integers with probability 1/N. (The algorithm only gets run once.)

I think you can do this in O(1) space, actually. Would it be inappropriate to post a solution here?

Edit: Actually, I guess my solution does technically use O(log(n)) space, because it takes O(log(n)) space to store an unsigned integer that can grow arbitrarily large...

Write a (stateless) function nextPermutation that takes a permutation (as a list) on the elements of the set {1, …, n} and returns the “next” permutation, so that chaining n! calls to nextPermutation([1, …, n]) results in the generation of every permutation on the set {1, …, n}.

I'm not sure I understand the question properly. Is the list you're given as input literally a permutation of the first N integers, or is it an arbitrary list of N things? If you're not allowed to "look at" the N items in the list and have to use an implementation that always performs the same transformation of the input, this is impossible. If N equals 3, there are six possible output cycles you can produce...

{a,b,c} -> {a,b,c} {a,b,c} -> {a,c,b} -> {a,b,c} {a,b,c} -> {b,a,c} -> {a,b,c} {a,b,c} -> {b,c,a} -> {c,a,b} -> {a,b,c} {a,b,c} -> {c,a,b} -> {b,c,a} -> {a,b,c} {a,b,c} -> {c,b,a} -> {a,b,c}

none of which include all 3! permutations of {a,b,c}. So you have to "cheat"... which should be possible, because everything is stored as just bits (integers) anyway...

When you guys say "Extraordinary software engineering talent", are you talking someone whose level is 1 out of 10 developers or more like 1 out of 100?

"1 out of 100" wouldn't tell me much because I have no idea what a representative sample of developers looks like. Maybe it would be more clear to anchor to some skill level that people can roughly understand, e.g. "ThoughtWorks", "Google" or "quant finance". Such a scale also has the bonus of setting salary expectations appropriately :-)

We're looking for software engineering skills that would place in the top quartile of MIT CS students or Google employees.