Inside Evernote: Ziru Zhu


Inside Evernote: Ziru Zhu

Posted by on 29 Jul 2015

Posted by on 29 Jul 2015

What is your role at Evernote?

I am a Senior Software Engineer on the Augmented Intelligence Team.

How did you get there? i.e. What is your background?

I have been using Evernote since early 2008. The product helped me a lot to save personal information and work notes. When I was considering for a career change in 2012, Evernote became my top option. Fortunately, I joined the Augmented Intelligence team at Evernote soon after.

I graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Master degree in Computer Science. Before joining Evernote, I also worked in large companies as Oracle Corp, and Yahoo Inc, on instant messaging client, audio conferencing technology, Ads account management and pricing systems.

Who has been your biggest mentor?

I wouldn’t say I’ve had a single “biggest” mentor at Evernote. I have been fortunate to learn a lot from many smart and motivated people, including engineers, designers, data analysts, and project/product managers.

Can you describe a few of the Evernote features you are working on now and/or you have helped build in the past?

I started my work at Evernote to implement the recipe search feature which gives users easy access to a wide range of recipes from within the Evernote Food app. Soon after that, I helped build and maintain the scalable commerce infrastructure (i.e. shopping cart management, order management, etc) that supports millions of Evernote users shopping on a variety of different client platforms. I also worked with international teams to tailor the Evernote Market to different countries, taking into consideration regional differences in languages, currencies, and shopping habits.

Earlier last year, I implemented the search by relevance feature on Evernote client for Mac, to sort search results by relevance rather than the date the note was updated. The feature has helped millions of users to find their information faster.

My biggest work since then has been building the Evernote’s “Context” feature, with the goal to help the users find information before they search, from the the user’s personal notes or notes shared by others, to news and persons from trusted sources, including The Wall Street Journal and LinkedIn.

What are the big challenges?

So while many other services talk about having a ‘Big Data’ problem, Evernote has millions and millions of ‘Small Data’ problems. Every data set is every user and every user is unique in its own way. The biggest challenge is to develop solutions which can create best personalized experience for those unique users, without sacrificing their privacy concern.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Our team vision is simple: we believe that Evernote should make you smarter. I like the flexibility to implement different initiatives to realize that vision.

What is your favorite Evernote feature? How do you use Evernote?

My favorite Evernote feature is search which allows me to quickly retrieve the relevant information from the many notes in my account. Also, I like the the APIs Evernote exposes for third-party developers, which open more opportunities to make advanced use of the product.

We use Evernote constantly at work to collaborate with coworkers. I also use it for everything, code snippets, photos of my son, to-do lists, scanned copies of paper mails, and recipes.

If you could only use 3 adjectives to describe Evernote’s culture what would they be?

Passionate, open, and fun.

What is the best part about working for Evernote?

It is good to work in the area that you are good at and is better to work on things which can benefit millions of users. It is the best if you also happen to be one of those joyful fans.

Why did you choose to work for Evernote?

As many others at Evernote, I have been an active Evernote user for years before I joined the company. I really loved the product, and decided to join the company in hope to make it even better so that more people can benefit from using it.

Evernote Developer Ziru Zhu

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