[Flávio Ribeiro] Working at the Video Team of The New York Times

So, after more than 3 years of the publication of this post and almost 9 months working here, I’ll give my two cents and elaborate a bit about my experience on the day-to-day work at the video team of The New York Times.

the new york times

Environment

The technology of the video team is split into three teams: Video Players (VHS), Times Video and the brand new Video Publishing API team. We are growing really fast and things are changing in every direction; it’s clear to me that everyone is excited and committed to our upcoming challenges.

We work in a fast-paced environment and always adapting our agile processes. However, I never feel rushed and everyone is committed to do deliveries with meaningful impact. The engineers have the freedom to give input on process, features and backlog. For example, after this quizz I was able to implement and send the thumbs on seekbar feature to production (http://nyti.ms/1jaFlVK).

We have frequent 1:1’s and occasional brainstorm meetings. Our daily meeting is around 11 AM and takes no longer than 10 minutes, we usually have people working from home and the meeting always happens on Google Hangouts.

video team at nytimes

one of our daily meetings some time ago

Our team consists of people from all around the world such as U.S., China, Brazil, Canada among others. Our cultural differences are always the subject during lunch.

Speaking of lunches, while we don’t have free food we do have a restaurant inside the building that serves typical food from a different country every day (somedays the food is awesome, sometimes not much).

Generally, a new hire rotates between all projects during the first month. This helps with understanding the whole video platform and familiarize with both team members and the codebase.

The Times also hosts a tech blog, 100% days (two days to do whatever you want) and hackweeks. There’s also some events open to the public, you can find the schedule of events here.

Technology

We use JIRA to track our projects, milestones and sprints. I personally don’t like it — it’s too slow, hard to glue with the code and full of buttons. We use Github for code and Slack for communication throughout the entire company. Some of my favorite channels include #coffee for caffeine addicts, #conferences-events for events and #snacks for free goodies around the building.

The VHS team uses plain JavaScript for the players. We use Grunt for tasks and Karma + Chai + Mocha + Sinon for tests. One of our targets this year was to get rid of Flash so we needed to integrate the player with VPAID for ads and use hls.js for live streams. This whole journey deserves it’s own post, we’re planning to do that on our tech blog.

The Times Video team is responsible for Times Video product. We are using ES6 with Babel and moving from Backbone to React. The back-end is made with Node + Express + Memcached. For testing, we’re using the same stack as VHS.

The Video Publishing API is still being assembled and will support our encoding pipeline, including the production & editing integration, security, encoding profiles, and syndication among others. The company is in an adoption movement of the Go language and we are willing to use it to build the API’s.

Me

I was hired in April 2015 as a contractor and waited until October for the H1B visa, when I started working as a full-time employee. During this time I went to New York twice to get to know the team. I also used those trips to pick out apartments in different neighborhoods to get a better idea of where I would live.

It was my first experience working remotely and it was tough, I was living in Rio de Janeiro at the time and decided to spend some time with my parents and friends in Campina Grande, where I grew up. My life became a whirlwind during those months and my productivity was well below normal.

flavioribeiro github streak

my github streak proving I’m going back to a good shape

Since I arrived in New York, I feel much better. I have a routine, the commute works and the city surprises me everyday. As a natural Brazilian accustomed to a hot weather, I’m afraid of the upcoming winter. However, I’m lucky the cold is slow to arrive this year.

At the building, every engineer has it’s own cube and it’s huge. More than twice as size as my last table. It fits some books, figure toys, a small whiteboard and sometimes another coworker when pairing. You get a little isolated and is quite different from how are the open tables in startups, but I personally like the privacy that the cube give to me. The office is calm and quiet, I never turned on the noise cancellation of my headphone.

I’m very happy and hope to contribute even more on next year. If you want to be part of this amazing team, we are hiring.

video team

united colors of video team!

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