Getting to Know Greg Arnold
May 31, 2016
LinkedIn wouldn't be the company it is today without the engineers who built it. We have no shortage of talented individuals in technical roles across the company. They are the ones who create, build, and maintain our platform, tools, and features—as well as write posts for this blog. In this series, we feature some of the people and personalities that make LinkedIn great.
Greg Arnold is LinkedIn’s Engineering Vice President responsible for Premium Products and Platforms, including workplace and subscription products, and platforms for commerce, enterprise, and partner integration. He has over 25 years of experience leading technology organizations.
Greg joined LinkedIn from Yahoo!, where he served as Vice President of Engineering of Premium Services Infrastructure. Prior to Yahoo!, Greg held engineering leadership positions at various Silicon Valley companies. He’s the only person on Earth who has worked with both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but never at Apple...with Jobs at NeXT, and with Woz at Wheels of Zeus. Greg holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from Stanford University, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
What is your role at LinkedIn, and what does the engineering team you lead do?
With more than 400 million members, you can imagine that LinkedIn is the natural place to connect talent with opportunity. We’re also the natural place for marketers and salespeople to generate leads and navigate to decision-makers. And now, we're the natural place to discover and connect with coworkers inside your own company. I’m leading an initiative to help every employee work smarter and leverage their network to help their company recruit and sell. This is the connected enterprise team, where I’m honored to lead the most amazing group of engineers who build products and platforms to help employees and companies be successful.
What is something about you not found on your LinkedIn profile?
My favorite car is a motorcycle (a BMW R1200RT). I must admit that I’m a bit impatient and would rather risk my life splitting lanes than sitting in traffic.
Compared to other places you've worked, how do you like LinkedIn?
After grad school at Stanford, I started working at Steve Jobs’s NeXT Computer, with an amazing collection of top-tier engineers. Ever since I left in 1992, I’ve been looking for a company with equally amazing talent and a noble cause. I finally found it at LinkedIn. This is the prime of Silicon Valley, with amazing people working with purpose and alignment. The company is very selective in hiring, and I feel fortunate to be in this exclusive club.
What are some of the coolest projects that you and your team have been working on?
You know that LinkedIn connects talent to opportunity. Well, sometimes you’re not looking for a full-time employee, but rather help from a freelance professional, such as a designer, copywriter, lawyer, or tax accountant. We wanted to build a marketplace, called ProFinder, to connect members with independent professionals looking for new leads. It’s been amazing to see the impact of our early launches in 22 US cities. It feels great to create economic opportunity for everyone, not just those seeking full-time work.
And it’s exciting to engineer solutions that scale to the entire planet. When every additional millisecond of page load impacts thousands of users, or every minute of downtime creates large monetary losses, you have to design systems for speed and resiliency in light of unknowns. This is more challenging than you might think.
What do you love most about software engineering at LinkedIn?
I love working with engineers who are committed to the craft. Software engineering involves so much more than programming. I love that engineers own everything end-to-end, from conceiving solutions, spec’ing designs, and testing, to releasing, monitoring production, and tracking metrics. I really love that we dream big and we get shit done. I love that we are evolving a noble cause, not just punching a time clock for cash.
How would you describe the engineering culture at LinkedIn?
This is a company that fuels personal transformation. Our CEO, Jeff Weiner, sets the example of compassionate leadership that seeks to understand, rather than to blame. When you join LinkedIn, we make a commitment to help you acquire skills and experiences to accelerate your career. We encourage internal mobility and create space for people to step into and grow their leadership, execution, and craftsmanship.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at the office?
I like to build things and fix things. On weekends, I’m often working on the house or maintaining a car or motorcycle. I don’t spend much time watching TV, as I prefer to be engaged in a project with my wife. And when my boys are home from college, we enjoy playing rollerblade hockey.