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Abnormal Engineering Spotlight

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Web 03 10 22 Daniel Shiebler

Daniel Shiebler

Head of Machine Learning

“The Engineering team is closely keyed into customer success, and that translates into awesome products.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

The team. I had worked with many of the people at Abnormal in the past, and they are some of the best engineers and managers I have ever worked with, so it was an easy decision. During the interview, I was really impressed with everyone I connected with. The mission also speaks to me – cybercrime is one of the large existential challenges facing the world today, and I love the idea of having an impact in this area.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

The velocity with which the team launches system improvements is abnormal. Every engineer is growing extremely quickly, and the tech is improving at the same time. The team is closely keyed into customer success, and that translates into awesome products.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

As head of Machine Learning, I focus on improving the performance of ML systems and the effectiveness of ML teams. I'm really excited about the work we are doing to reduce the time between when a new ML engineer joins the team and when they start launching model improvements into production. Our objective is to scale the company while maintaining the same impact:engineer ratio, and that is only possible if we lay the right foundations.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

Outdoorsy stuff, mostly: biking, hiking, paddleboarding, and skiing. I also really love museums and concerts.

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Web 02 07 22 Spotlight Trishul N

Trishul Nagenalli

Software Engineer, Platform/Infrastructure

“The scope of my role at Abnormal feels much broader and more impactful than anywhere I’ve worked at before.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

A lot of things are important to consider when choosing a place, but I was really looking for a place to grow. To find that type of company, I knew I needed to find people who are very capable and who would be willing to help me. I think Abnormal has both of those components; it’s a place where I can learn by example, but it’s also a place that gives me the ownership to try new things out. Our VP of Engineering Kevin Wang asked me very thoughtful questions during my interview to get to know me, and also shared transparent information about how he thinks about professional and business growth; this made me feel like I was already getting the type of mentorship that I was looking for. And, he wasn’t the only one at Abnormal. During a different interview, one of the senior engineers asked very thoughtful questions about my previous project It felt much more like a conversation than an interview, yet I felt like I was learning a ton from his questions!

I also realized that the company’s market really matters a lot in terms of giving someone the opportunity to own things. When I joined, Abnormal was scaling a lot (and will be scaling even more this year!). As the company is scaling, so are the number of challenges that need to be solved, which in turn, presented me and others with more and more opportunities for ownership. A lot of companies say that they are scaling, but Kevin Wang actually walked me through the numbers on conversion ratios and revenue cycles, and it was hard to deny that there was massive traction for the product.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

As an engineer, I really appreciate the exposure and knowledge I can learn from the business side of the company. At our weekly Town Halls, company-wide meetings, we hear about customer stories–what they care about, and what their feedback is. It feels pretty great when most of those stories are emphatic recounts of how much people love the product we’re building. It feels like we’re always winning!

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

The scope of my role at Abnormal feels much broader and more impactful than anywhere I’ve worked at before. For example, I previously worked on writing my own service with deployment tools and well-defined TerraForm modules that the senior engineers had already built. At Abnormal, I’ve been able to build the tools and build a service on top of that, so I have a lot of exposure to more parts of the tech stack.

I also have the ability to work with many other engineering teams across the company, which I really enjoy. Because I am moving a lot of our services from one language to another, I get to speak to other engineering teams to learn what their needs and priorities are, so that I can build something that is helpful for teams outside of my own and get buy-in from them, too.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I’ve been biking a lot during the pandemic. I think I have found every bike trail within 5-10 miles of my house. I also try to be active in cultural organizations in my neighborhood. I’ve helped them build a website and I support their community activities. Watching the Washington Football Team has been grueling, but nonetheless, I am still a fan–hopefully we’ll have more wins next year!

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Web 01 21 22 Chau Nguyen

Chau Nguyen

Software Engineer, Platform/Infrastructure Team

“This is an exciting time to join Abnormal because there are so many decisions to be made about how to shape the future. Any new hire can truly come in and influence those decisions.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I wanted more growth opportunities since my previous work had been getting monotonous. At Abnormal, I could sense that there were still plenty of ways to define the future, which would be uncomfortable at times, but I know I grow best through those opportunities. From a technical standpoint, I think the most exponential growth is behind me. However, for non-technical growth, like collaborating with other teams and improving my own communications, I knew I still had plenty of room to grow. During my interview process, I spoke to various people and leaders at the company, and I could sense that I could learn a lot from them in these areas while still working on interesting technical problems.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

Transparency is a word that has been mentioned a lot. To put it in perspective, my interview conversations were more transparent than conversations I’ve had with some of my former managers. Individuals across all departments at Abnormal are great at explaining “why” things are done and helping everyone understand how their work is connected to the overall business.

Many interviewers at other companies ask interviewees a question, and then tick a box if the interviewee got the “right” or “wrong” answer. In contrast, the interviewers at Abnormal cared more about how I explained my decisions rather than the final answer; this made me feel confident that I would be heard and have the opportunity to influence as long as I was able to rationalize my decisions.

At a previous company, I had a more senior title, but felt less heard than at Abnormal. What matters is that people here are willing to listen because the way that decisions are made aren’t based on who shouts the loudest, but rather on how you backup your thought process with data.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I work on the platform infrastructure team. We are building the levers that enable all of the other engineering teams. This is an exciting time to join because there are so many decisions to be made about how to shape the future, so any new hire can truly come in and influence those decisions–as long as they can explain their logic!

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy watching light-hearted movies such as animation or comedies to laugh it out and release any unnecessary stress. I also picked up a thing or two about clay and ceramics after a few instructor-led sessions, but my skills are still a work in progress!

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Web 12 14 22 Saahil Agarwalk

Saahil Agarwal

Software Engineer

“Abnormal leaders are all invested in helping me achieve my life goals–not just company goals.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

During my research phase, I discovered that the founders had built a previous company together before and many of the people who they worked with at their first company were now working with them again, which I saw as a very positive sign. To know that they went through the ups and downs of building a company together and then were willing to do it again with many of the same people made me want to work with them because there must be something special with this team.

Additionally, there are engineers who have actually built systems from scratch and scaled them to 100s of millions of users. I was super-excited to be able to work with and learn from them. And while there are smart and talented engineers at larger companies, usually a lot of the tools are already built for them. For example, as an ML engineer at any of the larger companies, a lot of the data and feature pipelines will be abstracted out and you would have little opportunity to understand how and where your data is coming from. I liked that I could join Abnormal, learn how those systems work, and then get to build new systems from scratch.

Finally, as an ML engineer, it was important to me that ML is at the heart of the product and is not just a nice-to-have, but reflects the world of difference in terms of the impact I can have. It’s hard to find companies, especially startups, in which ML is the foundation of the product and not just a buzzword thrown around to attract talent and investors. In my opinion, it is also one of the few applications of ML where it is genuinely used to do good.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

There’s definitely more than one thing but the biggest one for me is ownership. People here don’t brush things under the carpet, so that’s what I mean when I say ownership. For example, when we are working on a project and realize there’s a bug or some unexpected behavior, none of us are hiding. If it’s a mistake I made, I will say, “Yeah, that was my mistake, I messed this up, and here’s how I think I could do this better.” So, that entire attitude of owning what you build, not just the good but also the bad, and carrying that attitude towards continuously improving your work makes Abnormal a fun place to work. In some of my other experiences, that’s my philosophy for why companies fail---not because they don’t have the right people or product, but because somewhere in their culture they don’t have the right elements, and I think ownership is a critical one.

The other one for me is the transparency in the culture and relationships. For me, I feel like my manager, director, and VP are all invested in helping me achieve my life goals and not just company goals. For example, I can talk to my manager about my five-year goal, including if I want to become a founder myself and what can I do here to be better prepared for that. And in doing so, I have the confidence that having these frank conversations will have no repercussions on my trajectory here at Abnormal.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I am a software engineer focusing on ML in the Message Detection team. Simply put, I focus on creating features, models, and capabilities within our system that allows us to one-up the cyber criminals and become better at detecting attacks. There are several different projects I am super excited about even though I am not directly working on all of them. One of the ones I’m most excited about is confidential, but I can attest that it requires significant thought from both a systems and ML perspective because we need to account for the speed and volume of attacks across millions and potentially billions of email accounts.

Given the growth we are seeing, I am looking forward to continuously revamping our system to prove the value of our products to our customers. This one is unique, since within six months I get to go back and look at the system I built and redesign it for the next 10X growth cycle, which is something you don’t get to do that often. It’s a truly humbling experience which allows me to grow as an engineer. The third one is internationalization. As we are expanding into new geographies, we need to build capabilities to understand different languages in the context of business communication and it’s amazing how little research is available in the email content understanding domain of NLP.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I like board games a lot, and we play like crazy until we figure out the optimal strategy, and then we move on to the next. I’m also a very outdoors-y person, so I like getting away from my house over the weekends. With the right group of people, I love to discuss geopolitics, technology, and financial markets.

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Web 12 20 21 Yongxin Xi 1

Yongxin Xi

Engineering Manager, Message Detection team

“Abnormal really fosters a symbiotic and collaborative environment.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I have spent a majority of my professional career working in the security industry, and continue to be fascinated by the problems that we have to solve as new technologies are developed and rolled out. When you work in cybersecurity, you always have to be aware of how cyber attackers are going to evolve and need to be ahead of the game by deploying new algorithms, models, and stronger defense mechanisms. I was excited to bring my affinity for the cybersecurity space to help achieve Abnormal’s mission.

Another motivating factor for me was the professional growth opportunity. Over the past few years I have developed a strong interest in people leadership. I knew that I would need to join a fast-growing startup to have the opportunity to grow as a manager and to mature into a leader who can coach and develop future managers and leaders. However, leadership at Abnormal is not limited to management; we value and offer terrific growth opportunities for individuals who want to develop in the individual contributor track, too.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

The product and demand for the product is set up for us to scale. When I went through the interview process, I asked someone, “how quickly can you do the Proof of Value for a customer to demonstrate the value of the product and what level of engagement do you need from engineers?” What I learned was that the setup for a Proof of Value takes 30 seconds and the involvement needed from the engineering team is very limited. As an engineer, this is exciting because it allows us to focus our time on improving the overall machine learning engine.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I am the Engineering Manager for the Message Detection Team. Our company’s number one value proposition is blocking email attacks. The message detection team is vital to the company’s overall success. We build the decision logic, models, rules, and entire decision flow process to stop these email attacks.

There are many interesting projects going on within our team and across other teams. As I mentioned before, cybersecurity is an incredibly dynamic problem because we need to anticipate how future attackers behave, while building systems, and testing and incorporating new technologies in a data-driven approach. We are constantly working with the First Responder team and the Data team to figure out what are the major trends and where there is misclassified data so that we can extract insights and continue to build better algorithms and models. We partner closely with the DSS (Detection Signals and Systems) team on big system development projects, too. Teams here work closely and often give feedback to each other. Others rely on us to explain some of the higher-level logic of the models, and we act as shepherds on new initiatives our partner teams are taking on. This really fosters a symbiotic and collaborative environment.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to bake, and before the pandemic, I baked a lot and brought extras to the office, but I have held back on baking too much since WFH, otherwise my kids would only eat sweets! I am also learning piano. My son and I are learning from the same teacher!

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Web 01 07 22 Spotlight David S

David Situ

Software Engineer

“I think our culture stands out. Everyone knows and uses our core values in everything we do."

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I felt heard during the interview process. I could tell that the people who were interviewing me cared about getting to know me as a person and engineer by the way that they weaved in comments that I had made in a previous interview.

One interview stood out in particular in which someone asked about work I had done in the past. Typically, an interviewer is expecting an answer related to my professional accomplishments, but in this case, the interviewer prodded me to share more about a personal example of something I had touched upon in a previous interview.

This level of attention indicated to me that the team was collaborative throughout the interview process and thoroughly tried to understand my strengths and areas that I wanted to grow in. So, naturally I thought, “Well, if this is how much work they put into the interview process, I can imagine that they are hard-working engineers who I can learn from technically, too.”

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

I think our culture is what stands out the most. Everyone actually knows and uses our core values, VOICE, in everything we do. This speaks to the consistency of how decisions are made and how work and people are recognized. For example, VOICE stands for velocity, ownership, intellectual honesty, customer obsession, and excellence. Anyone can share an example that is sent in a daily CEO email to the company on how someone has embodied one of those values.

From a personal standpoint, there are many opportunities to learn from my fellow engineers which has allowed me to grow at a faster pace than at previous jobs. I get to participate in many opportunities from design sessions to project discussions, even though I am a new engineer. For those who are willing to step up, Abnormal is a great opportunity.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I am working on the first responders team within the detection team, which is a new vertical that was formed in June 2021. On our team, we are responsible for responding to customer escalations as quickly as possible. The most interesting part of being on first responders is the fact that we are a new team. I get to build new systems from scratch and am involved in the planning from the ground up. For engineers who are interested in working speedily while building new systems from scratch, this is a great opportunity.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I coach a high school canoeing team in San Francisco. We paddle on Lake Merced near the San Francisco Zoo. I paddled when I was in high school and the team was fundamental to my growth, so I wanted to spend time giving back to the same community. In particular, this team helped me raise my self esteem and gave me the confidence to tackle any problem and I’d like to think that I am now helping coach the younger kids, 60+ of them, to feel more confident. I really enjoy seeing the kids grow up throughout the years. They start as unconfident high schoolers but when they leave, they are able to handle any issues life throws at them.

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Web 12 20 21 Dee Tan

Dee Tan

Engineering Manager

I wanted to join a company in which I can be close to the customers and build products and solutions for them.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I wanted to join a company in which I can be close to the customers and build products and solutions for them. When I joined, I was surprised that customers were willing to work with us to build solutions at such an early stage. Today, we are still fortunate to have customers working closely with us to iterate on our upcoming products and feature improvements – I feel like this is how we have stayed focused on building the right solutions. Internally, we have many ways to participate and obtain customer learnings from our product and design teams, which I think reemphasizes one of our core values: customer obsession.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

One of the frameworks that our CTO, Sanjay Jeyakumar, introduced in the earlier years of Abnormal is how to think about what's in scope for shipping products and features: "crawl, walk, run." With the ideal "run" state in mind, we’re challenged in each of our individual projects to scope things and determine how to get to the “crawl” state to quickly deliver value to our customers. This guidance is still used today in our development work here, and you will see and hear it in our design documents and conversations.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I'm an engineering manager for two teams, the Growth GTM (go-to-market) engineering team, and the Frontend Product Platform team. Our teams are now focusing on making our platforms reliable and scalable, building frameworks and internal tools to scale and support more customers, products, and engineers.

Before, we were focusing on building new features. Now, we're shifting our mindset to think about scale and thinking about building systems to support our growing customer base. It's a great time to join if you want to be a part of this growth.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

When I'm not at my desk, I like spending time outdoors with my family, including taking short hikes, going on picnics, visiting farms, cycling, and discovering unique train rides all around the Bay Area.

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Web 12 20 21 Tejas Khotk

Tejas Khot

Software Engineer

“We’re able to design, build, and iterate on large, complex systems at a very high pace.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I was introduced to Abnormal by someone from my university’s alumni network. I had an introductory call with them and was left thinking “Damn, I have never come across anyone who speaks so positively about their company and work!” I had to check it out. I spoke with several people at the company throughout the interview process and observed similar levels of excitement. The people at Abnormal really set it apart from other companies.

At Abnormal, machine learning (ML), my area of expertise, is a first-class citizen. There are lots of challenging problems to be solved and ML is at the heart of it. I thought this would be a fun opportunity to build large-scale, real-time ML systems and take my engineering skills to the next level. The company’s hyper-growth trajectory meant that I can learn, grow, and build a lot fairly quickly.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

Transparency: Abnormal is incredibly transparent. We invite potential candidates to attend our weekly town-hall meetings where all sorts of company information is freely shared be it new customers, sales figures, or future strategy. I was really impressed with that, especially given how secretive startups typically tend to be with potential hires.

Values: The company’s VOICE cultural values are taken quite seriously. The Velocity value, for instance, meant that I was shipping production code and giving demos in my first week of joining. We’re able to design, build, and iterate on large, complex systems at a very high pace by reducing organizational friction. The processes keep evolving and improving as new folks join and bring in best practices from across the industry. Everyone strives to improve all aspects of day-to-day life in the company.

Leadership: The leadership at Abnormal is very accessible. You can send messages on Slack or set up meetings with all the leaders and they’re always happy to answer your questions. It is also easy to reach out to non-engineering teams and learn more about sales, marketing and business aspects of the company that interact with our customers via different interfaces. Personal ambitions are celebrated at Abnormal and managers are incentivized to support you in reaching your goals. This is great for people like me who want to start a company in the future.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I work on the Account Takeover Team(ATO) team where I am responsible for building our machine learning systems that can detect and prevent instances of compromised accounts. Due to the adversarial nature of this space, we have to constantly keep improving our systems. From an ML standpoint, I get to solve challenging problems that require not only sophisticated models but also modern MLOps technologies like feature stores.

We are in an exciting phase right now where I am getting to chart out the system architecture designs such that they hold up as we scale over the next few years. I am really energized by seeing the direct impact of my work on the future of the company.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

Ever since moving to the Pacific NorthWest region, I have really gotten into outdoor activities. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, climbing and skiing. I love reading and listening to podcasts and audiobooks, particularly contrarian opinions and non-fiction.

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Brad Whitlock

Software Engineer

“My role combines a layer of business strategy and engineering, which aligns with my interest to grow into a management role in the future.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

There was really only one thing: the people. During my internship at Abnormal, I worked under two senior engineers who were among the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. I learned so much during those four months and I wanted to continue learning more from them. There are many smart people elsewhere, but I appreciated how personable the Abnormal team was. No matter how busy they were, they still took the time to invest in my growth, whether that be by taking time to review my code each day by the end of the day, spending time giving me feedback, or answering ad-hoc questions, I felt I had the support that I needed to be successful.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

I truly believe that I have ownership and pride in the work that I do, which is a testament that my personal interests and strengths are being accounted for as the company grows. There’s commitment from the whole organization to enable each other, so when someone is stuck, leadership is driven to enable you with the people and resources you need to unblock yourself. This gives further incentive to show ownership and expand your own capabilities because you know you’ll be supported and mature as an Engineer.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

My team is the First Responders. We are building and then using the tools needed to proactively react to the newest emerging attack trends. Our team has to deeply understand the technique of attackers to build and deploy specific solutions. It’s exciting because I am getting to learn more about the email security landscape, and work with some experts in the space. My role combines a layer of business strategy and engineering, which aligns with my interest to grow into a management role in the future.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy exploring, so I lived in a bunch of different cities during the pandemic this past year. I was in Canada and then San Francisco. I love skiing, so I went to Tahoe for the winter. As a Canadian, Whistler still wins as my favorite mountain. When ski season ended, I wanted to continue living near mountains, so I moved beside Zion National Park for a while. And then my girlfriend loves the warm weather and the beach, so we then spent time in San Diego.


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Web 12 14 21 Spotlight Tanooj P

Tanooj Parekh

Software Engineer

“Abnormal offers an opportunity to work on very impactful, and challenging technical problems.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

The three main reasons I wanted to join Abnormal were the people, the technological problems we need to solve, and the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a fast-growing company -- one that includes an amazing network of engineers, leaders, and external investors.

Some of the folks who I knew at Abnormal, prior to me joining the company, are people who I’ve respected working with during my career. And, it’s not just that the people are smart; they are super-kind as well. There are times when we are all working really hard, but during those times we still have fun, crack jokes, and have each others’ backs.

Abnormal is currently in a hyper-growth phase, with technology that works very well for its use cases, and is scaling and evolving very quickly as we add more customers, and build new features at a rapid pace. So, this is an opportunity to work on very impactful, and challenging technical problems.

I also have an interest in early-stage startups and company building, so I thought that joining such a company where I’d get exposure to both strong founders and the venture capital community would be beneficial. Abnormal organizes an “Abnormal Security Business School” curriculum which includes various speakers, so as employees, we can engage with investors, executive coaches, and other successful company builders.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

What I think is absolutely great about Abnormal is the quality of the engineering team. The company’s business fundamentals, unique interview process and strong cultural values, help keep our hiring bar high. I also think that the leadership team does a great job of distilling the vision into a business strategy and roadmap, which allows me to align myself and my work with what the company is doing.

At Abnormal, I’m learning how to build things from the ground up, and make choices that allow us to grow very rapidly -- and these skill sets are different. Both are fun for me, because I feel like I get to learn as a new engineer all over again! So, I try to encourage candidates to think about what kind of learnings they want to optimize for at this point in their career, and if it's the earlier-stage scaling, Abnormal is a great place to do that.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I’m on the MailFlow vertical of the Platform and Infrastructure team, so we own the services that run the main email detection workflow. These services form the central operating system for Abnormal. For example, we receive incoming email messages, process and transform them to collect relevant information, and eventually call the Email Detection systems which run machine learning algorithms to figure out if the message is an attack. If it is flagged as an attack, there are also a bunch of actions that need to be taken, like flagging it to the customer and moving it to specific folders, and we own the infrastructure for doing that as well.

What I like about our team and my role is that it is a very strategic team in the company and within engineering. We are building some of the largest services at Abnormal that are crucial to our core functionality. That aligns very well with my interests as a platform/infrastructure engineer. This also means our work has very high leverage. For example, a performance optimization we make could result in detecting harmful mail faster, so we can protect customers better. And that in turn has a very direct positive impact on our business. We also have a lot of collaboration between machine learning and product teams at Abnormal, which leads to interesting cross-functional projects around building better API’s between the core platform and other systems.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I am a massive soccer fan, and I try to watch every single one of my team’s games, even if they are at 4am on a Sunday.. I also enjoy exploring cities, and discovering new coffee shops and viewpoints.

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Nirmal Balachundhar

Software Engineer

“The team’s emphasis on mentorship, learning, and personal growth stood out.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I joined as a new grad because I thought Abnormal offered the perfect environment to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. Since joining, I’ve been able to work on applied ML systems with a significant amount of responsibility, shore up my technical skills, learn from extremely talented people, and prevent cybercrime. I also wanted the ability to wear multiple hats at a high-growth startup and understand how all the pieces fit together, end-to-end. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to develop those skill sets from people who are always willing to help out.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

The team’s emphasis on mentorship, learning, and personal growth stood out to me almost immediately after joining. The people at Abnormal are ready to help you through almost any problem at any time of day and take a vested interest in your growth. Before I worked a full time job, I never understood the importance of having a core values system and thought it was just another gimmick, but I’ve seen everyone at Abnormal act on VOICE, our internal values acronym, countless times and it’s personally moved mountains in the way that I think about work, ownership, and company culture.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I’m a software engineer on the Account Takeover team. Our team specializes in detecting suspicious activity in user accounts, whether it’s due to suspicious sign-ins or an attacker demonstrating abnormal behavior within the account. I build tools and products across our infrastructure and detection stack to support scaling our product to millions of more mailboxes while ensuring that our detection stays world-class. I really enjoy the real-time adversarial nature of the space, since the attack landscape is constantly changing. For instance, I had to understand how an attacker used a sequence of moves to break into an account and I got to immediately ship out system improvements to deter such attacks in the future.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy playing basketball, working out, listening to music and podcasts, and hanging out with friends in my spare time. As someone who is generally pretty curious about the world, I try to read about new technologies and trends whenever I can. I’m also an avid Boston sports fan so I try to catch Celtics and Patriots games throughout the course of the year.

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Fang Shuo Deng

Software Engineer

Abnormal is abnormally engaging. It manages to be intense without being toxic. When I was looking for my next role, I was ready to put a lot of myself into the work that I did. I wanted to find a team that could harness that intensity.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

My opinion is there were some skills that were so generalizable and useful that they were tools that could be repeatedly applied to a variety of different domains and problem spaces. For example, the ability to build a web app over a persistent database was a tool that was wielded to build a variety of companies starting in the early 2000s, and we saw a similar thing but with mobile apps in the 2010s. My thesis is that applied ML is that tool for the 2020s, given the huge reservoirs of data far outstripping human attention. I saw an abnormal opportunity to learn the ins and outs of what it meant to apply ML to a business problem at the company. This was the main reason I joined Abnormal.

There were a host of other reasons, as well, including: outsized growth opportunities, senior technical folks that I saw myself learning from, and the idea that rising tides lift all boats.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

Abnormal is abnormally engaging. Abnormal manages to be intense without being toxic. When I was looking for my next role, I was ready to put a lot of myself into the work that I did. I wanted to find a team that could harness that intensity. Abnormal provided that in a high-velocity hyper-growth environment, but there was never any expectation to pull ridiculous hours or work beyond what was required of you. I’ve also really enjoyed working with the people I’ve met at Abnormal. People are incredibly capable yet also chill and down-to-earth.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

My team is pioneering how Abnormal is creating and monitoring signals ingested by our ML models. I think that is a really interesting problem because it resides at the intersection of ML and systems, which I really enjoy.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to hang out with friends, work out, read, and play basketball. More generally, I like trying out new things and learning, so a significant part of my free time is spent exploring something new or tinkering with stuff. For instance, most recently, I’ve been thinking about how to make an intuitive UI for Spotify playlists, as I have a lot of them.

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Sharon Lin

Software Engineer

"I feel like I'm part of a bigger mission, solving problems that make a real impact in the world."

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I joined Abnormal out of college, so it was a rare opportunity for me to work on real-world ML systems as a new grad. Since onboarding, I've had the chance to apply my skills in ML engineering and grow my technical and leadership abilities as a software engineer. The people are really what makes Abnormal special. I'm so grateful for such supportive mentors and teammates, and to be able to feel like I'm part of a bigger mission, solving problems that make a real impact in the world.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

It's interesting that for a security company, most of our engineers actually come from a non-security-focused background. A lot of the time, this actually contributes to the strength of our team: the combined experience ends up allowing us to use techniques from different domains, helping us build a better and more robust system.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I'm a software engineer on the Message Detection team, working on building data pipelines, training models, and attack featurization for our detection engine. It's so cool to be at the cutting-edge of ML threat intelligence. For instance, one project I've been working on is improving our malware detectors—investigating trends from malicious actors, strategizing features to extract from inbound messages, and experimenting with ways to improve accuracy in our automated malware analysis. It's really exciting to be working on completely new problems in this space, and to have first-hand experience with handling new kinds of attacks.

What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?

I recently got into climbing, so I've been spending a lot of time at Brooklyn Boulders after work. I also like to hike, travel, cook, and read. There's so many great venues in New York City where you can listen to local writers give readings of their work, so I've been trying to bring my friends along whenever I go!

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John Rak

Software Engineer

“Everyone at Abnormal displays a genuine interest in helping both you and the company succeed and have fun, while producing a level of quality in their own work that inspires everyone around them to do the same.”

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

My biggest draws that influenced my decision to join were the people at Abnormal and the engineering challenge that the Abnormal platform presented. Everyone at Abnormal displays a genuine interest in helping both you and the company succeed and have fun, while producing a level of quality in their own work that inspires everyone around them to do the same. The ML-driven threat prevention system that Abnormal is building to prevent fraud and a variety of other attacks presents a unique engineering opportunity that is two-fold: real-time threat detection systems require a world-class ML platform to be effective, and they solve real problems that have significant impacts on people’s lives.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

The collective, bottom-up drive for excellence along with a shared-growth mindset throughout all levels of Abnormal motivates everyone to get incrementally better each and every day. This, combined with a palpable energy that resonates throughout the company, full top-down transparency from leadership, and a set of core company values that have held strong throughout the company’s rapid growth, create a unique and exciting workplace.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I’m a software engineer working on the data and ML platform that the Abnormal detection systems run on. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work on scaling the ML platform to handle the growth we have seen and expect to continue in the coming years. The opportunity to scale an already world-class ML platform from one to 10 while maintaining the required level of excellence is a unique and inspiring challenge.

What do you enjoy doing during your free time?

I like to spend my free time doing anything that gives me the opportunity to get outside: running, cycling, skiing, mountain biking, surfing, hiking, rock climbing, and team sports. I also enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with my dogs.


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Swee Tat Lim

Software Engineer

"Abnormal folks are abnormally customer-obsessed about delivering excellence through intellectual honesty."

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What made you want to join Abnormal?

I'm excited about Abormal’s mission and purpose. Most of the companies I’ve worked with didn’t have the clarity of mission and purpose that Abnormal has. We are saving the world from bad email actors, and that’s a good mission to get behind.

What’s abnormal about Abnormal?

In the space of cyber security where fear, uncertainty and doubt is used to pitch sales, Abnormal folks are abnormally customer-obsessed about delivering excellence through intellectual honesty. This has clearly translated, and I am humbled by how much our customers see immediate value once they try our product.

Tell us about your role and the Abnormal projects that most excite you.

I'm scaling and supporting Abnormal Security’s rapidly expanding sales and marketing initiatives by building and using Abnormal’s data engineering pipelines and microservices.

Prior to Abnormal, I was leading the implementation of Kakfa- and Cassandra-based time series DBs at Singapore’s leading energy and banking entities, as well as architected event-driven microservices at fast growing startups.

What do you enjoy doing during your free time?

I love watching anime, reading light novels and Japanese manga, after spending quality time with the family. I jog and cycle regularly to keep fit.


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