Right out of college, Prabhdeep Gill started off his career as a software engineer in a great position, joining some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies. After a stint at Google, he decided to pursue the startup dream, launching Umano, which provided voice-actor services for apps and Websites.
Dropbox acquired Umano in May 2015. Gill subsequently went through Dropbox’s engineering interview process, in which he demonstrated his mobile and web development expertise, and landed a position on Dropbox Paper, the company’s collaboration product.
Now a “unicorn” (i.e., a startup that has surpassed a billion-dollar valuation), Dropbox has expanded rapidly since its founding as a file-sharing company a decade ago. Co-founder Drew Houston claims that he first came up with the idea for the company after becoming frustrated with porting files on thumb drives.
“I was so frustrated—really with myself, because this kept happening,” Houston said on a podcast this year. “And I’m like, my God, I never want to have this problem again. And I opened up the editor and started writing some code.” That bit of code—and the cloud storage behind it—eventually grew into an enterprise that produces over a billion dollars in annualized revenue, and boasts some 500 million users.
But other companies soon moved into the cloud-storage game, including Google and Apple. Faced with the need to evolve, Dropbox has focused on the collaboration space. Functionally, Dropbox Paper is similar to Google Docs in that workers can write text, embed photos, paste in video links, and leave comments within a shared document. However, Paper’s features boast a clean and minimalist design (similar to the blogging platform Medium). For example, Paper allows workers to embed actual videos, making a shared Paper document look like a blog post with rich media.
As an engineering manager, Gill now leads the growth team at Dropbox Paper. In the video above, he explained the ins and outs of the interview process at Dropbox. While technical knowledge is important (particularly certain programming languages and techniques), culture fit is also crucial to successfully joining the team.