Developer • Computer whisperer • All-around great guy
As a child, Pankaj liked detective stories and comic books. The love for comic books has stayed with him but the place of detective stories has been taken by constructing and debugging software systems. For those who are wondering about the link between software and detective stories we should point out that the detective work is primarily about making mental models, following leads, validating hypotheses and arriving at a conclusion. Building and operating large scale software is no different: you make elaborate models, validate what works and what does not, adjust as per changing use cases and troubleshoot when things don't go as expected.
After a childhood spent mostly with detective stories and comic books, Pankaj went to the then highly coveted Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, to study Computer Science and Engineering. Living with the best in the country for four years, goofing around, learning from them and occasionally competing towards academic excellence was richly rewarding for him, and at times, a humbling experience. It also taught Panjak the value of focus, perseverance and pursuit of an end goal, whatever that may be.
Pankaj's first job was writing a parallel file system software for India's first computer during the early nineties. Oddly enough, he'd return to a similar task twenty five years later at Yahoo, deploying open source cluster file system software Ceph on hundreds of servers to manage exabytes of data. In between, Pankaj got to develop card transaction switching and processing systems at Verifone, J2EE and XML middleware at HP and internal enterprise tools at Yahoo. Additionally, he also got to experience the evolution of computing platform from DEC-1090 to transputer based parallel machines to cluster of commodity CPUs to computing platform as a service.
Building Gravity Legal is like a dream come true for Pankaj, combining aspects of everything he has learned so far about specific technologies, software development methodologies, and team dynamics; trying out what has worked and avoiding what has not.