Alright! We might as well chit chat

Aakash Mandhar
5 min readDec 27, 2021
Photo by Paweł Furman on Unsplash

One last recruiting story for 2021. We did do a lot of hiring in 2016, and this time we talk about a New College Graduate Hire.

The name of the candidate was Adam Snyder and he had a degree from Northwestern University in Radio/TV/Film and Computer Science, with a minor in Sound Design. One in particular named Fiber Optic Ocean caught my eye. The description of which is as follows.

Fiber Optic Ocean is an interactive art installation, created by Özge Samanci, about the impact of technology on marine habitats. It gathers data on human Internet activity and shark activity in realtime and uses the data to drive a procedural music engine with accompanying fiber optic lights, which weave through life-size sculptures of shark skeletons.

I was really curious about the project and was looking forward to the interview.

I started the interview by asking Adam about the Fiber Optic Ocean project. He explained sharks are attracted to under sea fiber optics and are known to chomp on them (Ref). His Associate Professor Özge Samanci had the idea of depicting it via an artwork, with the cables going through the shark skeleton sculpture and also have visual and audio effects based on the real-time internet traffic. This led into deeper discussions around the technology, troubleshooting and even determining how he would get a representative measure of internet traffic. His answer was simple and frugal, they used twitter developer API and monitored certain hashtags and used them as a representation for the internet traffic. In order to not pay for the service, he ensured that they limited the rate at which they polled the API to not get throttled by Twitter. That gave me the first glimpses of how creative and entrepreneurial Adam could get to solve the problems at hand.

We then jumped into problem solving and coding questions. Back then for new college graduates I had two problems I used to cycle between and each problem had increasing levels of difficulty to see how far the candidate could go and how they approached the problem if it got too hard. Do they give up or do they get excited by the problem and work with me to solve the problem. I did not know it back then, but I was sort of trying to figure out it they at the moment had the fixed mindset or the growth mindset.

Aakash Mandhar

I am a seasoned leader, experienced engineer and an avid gamer with a passion for solving complex problems, delivering results and continuous learning.