Getting to Know Anthony Duerr
June 9, 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.
Anthony Duerr landed in the Bay Area in 2007 where he started working for Care2, a community focused on social issues. After a brief stint at Zynga, he went on to co-found Bright.com, a website that analyzed resumes and job descriptions to match quality applicants to their most qualified positions. Bright was acquired by LinkedIn in February 2014.
What is your role at LinkedIn and what does your team do?
I’m the Director of Engineering for the Careers team at LinkedIn. Our vision is to transform the career of every member of the global workforce. We want to help people find, assess, and get their dream job opportunity. LinkedIn has put an incredible investment into building what we call the economic graph, which is a representation of all the entities of the economic world and their relationship to one another. This includes knowledge about companies, locations, people, jobs, skills, populations and cultures, competitive dynamics, demand trends, and other metadata, all of which represent a complete picture of the economic landscape.
LinkedIn is in a unique position to be able to tap into the power of this data to help our members understand where they have an edge over others for a certain opportunity. We understand the connections between people of similar backgrounds and how each individual's growth might be applicable to others. We also understand companies' hiring process, the economic climate of regions around the world, the skills required to be successful in a role, and a host of other data points that we can use to help you uncover your best opportunities.
My team helps build the tools to expose relevant opportunities not only to our members, but also to guests who are just learning about LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s rich trove of structured information adds a layer of career insights and depth to job seeking.
What is something about you not found on your LinkedIn profile?
I was adopted, which has very much shaped my perspective on the world. As individuals, we are not all merely the product of our surroundings. A lot of very intelligent and capable people can get caught in circumstances beyond their control and struggle to find a path forward. I have found that the hiring process in many companies is one where the opportunity is ripe to make snap judgements on people with little additional context because of the short amount of time we have in an interview room. I hope that my background can inspire good people in tough circumstances to maintain hope that there is more out there and to keep striving for more; and that as a team and an organization, we can help provide the tools to help people realize their potential along the way.
What are some of the coolest projects that you and your team have been working on?
Job seeking initiatives have only recently become a focus at LinkedIn, and we have a plethora of ideas to explore to better empower job seekers. While some of our most exciting ideas that are on the horizon are going to have to wait for their own announcement, there are already several projects that I'm proud of that have been helping job seekers on LinkedIn.
One project I’ve particularly enjoyed working on is what we call the Flavors Engine. LinkedIn can identify and leverage insights from the economic graph to provide a deeper understanding to individuals regarding job opportunities for which they have the best “edge.” For example, we can highlight to you if a company has demonstrated a preference for hiring talent from your school or from competitors in your industry.
I've also enjoyed working on the Job Search app, our native job seeker application, which is a great way for us to provide a dedicated job seeking experience to LinkedIn members. As the world continues to move towards mobile, we want to be at the forefront of technology and mobile innovation for job seekers from wherever you are operating.
Another project I'm working on is on highlighting the power of LinkedIn to non-members. A lot of people don’t fully understand how LinkedIn can empower and benefit them, so we are building tools and features to demonstrate how, why, and what makes LinkedIn such a powerful and valuable tool in the digital landscape even before you have fully engaged with the platform.
Why are you so passionate about LinkedIn Jobs?
As a co-founder of Bright.com, I have been thinking about job seeking, organizational hiring practices, and the world we are living in for years. When I get up in the morning, I am inspired by working for organization with such a huge platform to influence change in the world.
We are at the forefront of technological innovation in the professional workspace, and I'm excited to shepherd the career advancement value on our platform because what we are doing is helping to put food in the mouths of families around the world. To me, success can be framed as leaving my mark on the world in the form of positive change by helping people understand, grow, and advance in their careers. I believe we are in the position to be able to help guide people towards managing their careers and obtaining the skills and knowledge that they need in order to be successful as we march towards the future. And it is my responsibility and passion to do my part to empower people to find that success.
How would you describe the engineering culture at LinkedIn?
One of the things I love most about LinkedIn is the expertise, camaraderie, friendliness, and helpfulness of the people that work here. From the day we started at LinkedIn, it was clear to me that the caliber of engineer combined with the friendliness and helpfulness all around us was a unique trait of this organization. We make an effort to hire people that are capable, knowledgeable in their domains, and great executors. When that is combined with the compassionate management style of our leadership team that is focused on solving a problem, we have a unique, vibrant, and positive culture here that is incredibly hard to replicate. It starts from the top-down. And speaking of starting from the top, our collaborative culture isn’t just reflected in engineering. Jeff Weiner is probably the most inspiring, detail oriented, thoughtful, insightful, focused, and in-tune leader I have ever met. I could keep going all day with adjectives to describe Jeff. His presence really helps to ensure that we maintain the culture that has set us apart across all roles in the company.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at the office?
I have a 15-month-old at home, so if you were watching me from afar you might think my favorite things to do outside the office involve changing diapers and singing Old MacDonald while our son sings along with a chorus of “E-I-E-I-O." I’m still an engineer at heart and love to play around with my electronics, our home network, and how I can make our home and lives more “technologically self-sustainable.” Since I’m busy during the day working to help to connect the brilliant minds around the world to the available opportunities aimed at solving these world problems at scale, I also want to do my part on an individual level to help make sure our planet is in a good place for the next generation.