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Ganesh Ramanarayanan


During his six years at Pure Storage, Ganesh Ramanarayanan has served in many capacities and worked on dozens of challenges. We spoke with Ganesh about Pure’s unique culture and why learning how someone thinks is much more valuable than words on a résumé.

"It’s exciting to see people find new opportunities. And it’s been a great opportunity for me to grow."

Why did you join the team?

Ganesh: I was coming out of a crazy startup experience and wanted to join a company with a lot of maturity in leadership and vision. A former Google colleague had joined Pure and recommended it. Pure had everything I was looking for: a promising trajectory, positive buzz from venture capitalists, and a different level of maturity and quality of people.

Tell us about your path since joining Pure.

Ganesh: I started as an engineer and spent the first year or so learning. Then I had a chance to work on the customer escalations team, which is like a combination of CSI and SWAT. You have to go deep into a sophisticated system and make difficult decisions quickly. I saw areas of the product that I thought could be improved and I asked to work on them. I’d learned a lot about the customer side and saw an opportunity to add value. That’s how I got into management. It’s exciting to see people find new opportunities. And it’s been a great opportunity for me to grow.

What are the challenges you are running toward?

Ganesh: As a team, there are lots of interesting technical problems to solve. A lot of what we do is look for ways to reduce space usage to save customers money. I’m personally focused on growing the team, including how to ramp up new leaders—especially if they aren’t coming from within Pure. I think a lot about how to balance technical strength on a given team, so newer people always have someone to learn from.

How does Engineering approach interviews and hiring?

Ganesh: Diversity matters a lot to us. We have a careful process that we’ve documented thoroughly. If you go into an interview without a plan, you often end up relying too heavily on the résumé. We care less about specific schools or companies. Instead, we try to learn as much as we can about how a candidate thinks and communicates.

For example, our technical interviews focus on discussion. My advice to candidates is always to ask questions and be open about your thought process. If you get stuck, you’re much better off saying something so we can help you get unblocked, rather than just trying to power through. We also try to present real problems—but ones that don’t require specific domain knowledge. We’ve found people who don’t know much about this industry often find it really interesting.

What are opportunities for growth like at Pure?

Ganesh: The leadership team understands that if you want someone to grow, you have to keep stretching them. I’ve experienced that firsthand. Leadership not only had faith that I could operate effectively as a manager; they made sure I had the opportunity to tackle challenges I’d never faced before. There’s a lot of trust. It’s very much a meritocratic culture.

Share an example of how you’ve had an impact at Pure.

Ganesh: I helped launch our new replication product, which syncs data at two remote sites within a minute of each other. It taught me a lot about how to build morale. I did as much technical blocking and tackling as I could, but I also came up with ways the team could have fun together. We did something called “Lunch Verticals,” where we’d go to multiple restaurants in a given cuisine, like Mexican or hamburgers, and then debate and rate them. The project ended up being massive, and the team camaraderie was critical to our success.

Why is this an exciting time to join Pure?

Ganesh: In terms of market, there’s a lot of headroom right now. Our addressable market has doubled in just a couple of years. For data to live both on-premises and in the cloud, and move seamlessly and affordably between the two, we need to solve some software problems that are pretty interesting—especially at this scale.

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