Blog: A New Era for Pure

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A New Era for Pure - Friday, June 9, 2023
Wow. 10 years. That's how long I've been at Pure now. It's amazing how time just... flies by.

When I joined, engineering was maybe 35 people and we all fit on one floor. We occupied the 4th floor of Building 650, and everyone else was on the 5th floor. At that time, I knew everyone in engineering by name, and most by face.

We were small and scrappy but we got the job done. There were antics characteristic of a startup. Like a Nerf gun fight that broke out when the 5th floor came down and started shooting (with weapons having been distributed an hour before). There was a shrine that two HR people made to "worship" our CEO, and that became a meme with posters around the office and buttons that were passed out. And a gong that was rung every time we made a sale in the early days. The gong was on the 4th floor and some people tended to hit it pretty hard, and I had mixed feelings about it.

The first company meeting that I was a part of was held in the couch area on the 4th floor, and it was large enough for all the on-site employees to fit there. Then there was a ski trip the year I joined, and someone called it the annual ski trip even though it was the first one, so then it became an annual thing. And later that year, there was a boat trip to celebrate the company's fourth birthday, and I remember the CTO telling us to relish the moment, since we would probably be too big the following year for the whole company to all fit on a single boat again. That prediction definitely came true.

Over the years, the company grew steadily, eventually exponentially. At one point, I think we occupied 5 separate buildings on Castro Street. We had perhaps the most employees of any company along Castro. My team got moved around a few times, and my favorite location was Building 605 where it was just us and the lab team on the top floor. We were pretty isolated from the rest of engineering, which has its downsides but also upsides.

Fast forward to today, when we have over 5,000 employees and have outgrown our Mountain View home. The company has for several years wanted to have a campus where we can fit everyone, instead of having people be dispersed across multiple distant buildings. So for the last several months, the Facilities team has been working hard to renovate the two new buildings at Santa Clara Square that will be our new headquarters, and in the last few weeks, departments having been moving over. My department moved over this past week.

Compared to the old office, the new one feels more corporate. Everyone has a cubicle now and the desks are a little narrower. The free lunches are gone, replaced by a cafe where lunches are subsidized (but the quality isn't great and the price isn't that cheap). The canned drinks are gone, replaced by a touchscreen dispenser with soda and sparkling water. Parking needs to be validated daily, unless you're one of the few hundred or so employees lucky enough to have garage access via a parking app. There's a gym but it's not open weekends, and it's shared with other tenants and was fairly crowded when I visited. On the upside, my commute by car has gone from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. I plan to bike to work most days, and the ride is only 15 minutes. I just wish that the company would build another bike room, as the single bike room we have is already at capacity, and we still have employees who haven't moved here yet.

Pure is definitely not a small company anymore. Teams are more specialized, though a lot of process inefficiency and tech debt still remains. I've been feeling like a cog in a machine even before the move, but now even more so in the new office. The ski trips are gone, the holiday gift at Christmas is no more, and last year we almost didn't get to bring a +1 to the holiday party - no telling what will happen this year. I get that tech companies are scaling back in this economy and Pure is fortunate to have avoided the kind of widescale layoffs that some larger tech companies have had, but I think a lot of the changes are just due to how the company has grown. It's the end of an era, and the move to the new office cements it in stone.

So will I stick around? Another 10 years, or another 5, or 2? I do like my team and I generally like my work, and the work-life balance is still usually decent. So while I'm always open to new opportunities, I recognize that I still have a good thing here, even though it doesn't quite have the "it" factor that it did before.