Ask Smart Questions!

Source: Business Insider, Jul 2015

Yash Nelapati never would have been hired as Pinterest’s founding engineer if it weren’t for a meet-up and Ben Silbermann’s dogged persistence.

Back in late 2009, Nelapati worked as a developer at a 60-person marketing startup in Silicon Valley. His job wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was stable and left him time to work on open source projects on the side.

Nelapati decided to attend a Meet-up where FriendFeed’s cofounder, Bret Taylor, would talk about the web server. He found himself enthralled by the talk, and asked a lot of questions about Tornado.

After the talk, Silbermann approached Nelapati about an idea he had for a new way to let people collect stuff on the web that used “boards” as the motif for their accumulations. He was looking to hire smart engineers to help turn this glimmer of an idea into a reality.

“Once way later, I asked again ‘Dude why did you pursue me so hard?’” Nelapati says.

“There were only two people who I felt like asked a lot of smart questions, Silbermann responded. One was a Facebook guy that I didn’t think I could recruit, and the other was you. I had a better chance with you so I pursued you like crazy,” Nelapati recounts.


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