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Why I Joined Scale

by Yuting Duan on September 15, 2023

As I've been chatting with candidates lately, one question keeps popping up: "Why did you join Scale?" After being asked so many times, I took a step back and decided to shared the story of my journey with Scale.

Let's travel back a bit.

Back in 2014, I joined Google as a mobile engineer working on Google Maps - a thrilling time for me since Maps was my all-time favorite product. I got to brainstorm cool ideas and turn them into prototypes. Sometimes I would even do this myself and then show them to the product and design teams. From there, we'd turn those ideas into real features and eventually launch them to billions of users.  Next, I took on new challenges: I became the founding member of a new team and eventually led that team. Later on, I switched to a backend-focused role under Google Search. I made this pivot because I knew very little about the backend and this was a great learning opportunity. From there, I went on a quest to identify a new vertical: building for Reserve with Google - which was my first taste of diving into business opportunities and market landscapes.

Looking back now, my time at Google was filled with "intrapreneurship" experiences – pursuing new experiments, projects, and initiatives within the large organization. Whether it was founding a fresh team or charting a course into a new business vertical, I was always up for a challenge. This thirst for innovation ultimately led me to explore opportunities at Scale. I was chatting with a lot of team members, both current and former; and a few things become apparent to me: 


In every conversation I had at Scale, one thing shone brightly – the people. Everyone radiated authentic excitement about the company, the team, and the mission. Most importantly, people weren't just working hard but having an absolute blast along the way. The atmosphere seemed to be filled with the kind of energy that makes work feel less like a chore and more like a grand adventure. I also chatted with a few former Scaliens who left Scale to start their own startups - that is inspiring!


Scale’s mission is to accelerate the development of AI applications, which deeply resonated with me. I had the privilege to work on Google’s Duplex, and I remember when I saw the Duplex demo for the first time: a Google Assistant that can call a restaurant to make a reservation for you, effortlessly. It was a moment that left me in awe, realizing that AI could genuinely be life-changing in the most remarkable ways, and it was a calling I couldn't ignore - I need to be a part of accelerating AI development!


The role I was interviewing for was called Product Incubation Lead. I was tasked with figuring out Scale's next big business line. I was asking a lot of questions about what this looks like and was not confident if I can actually do this. But all of a sudden, I realized I didn’t need the answers upfront, I just needed to join and figure it out. The prospect of tackling such open-ended challenges was irresistibly appealing. The fact that I had no idea if I would succeed is exactly why this felt like the right opportunity– a golden chance  for me to learn more about B2B, AI, and stretch myself in ways I had yet to imagine to just “figure things out”. 

Fast forward almost 2 years, I am deeply grateful to have joined Scale, to work with a remarkable team, and to learn as much as I have learned. Oh, and if you're curious about the product I ended up incubating, the story goes like this: I began my explorations in the broad space of NLP and built a new business unit from the ground up in 6 months. One thing led to another, this transformed into the Generative AI Data Engine where we help top foundation model builders and AI research companies train Large Language Models. Not too shabby, right? 😛


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