On “AresDB: Uber’s GPU-Powered Open Source, Real-Time Analytics Engine”



When I worked at Uber, this project was openly mocked. One of the CTO’s biggest failures was implementing a promotion scheme where you needed to create a new service in order to be considered “innovative”. This promotion scheme marked what I consider the end of Uber’s engineering excellence and the start of what made Uber turn into a bureaucratic mess. One of the VP’s of engineering called it “toil vs talent”. People who “toiled” at work, meaning doing good maintenance work, would be rewarded with good bonuses but those with “talent” would be rewarded with promotions. Of course this drove people to come up with fake new services so that they could demonstrate “talent”. This also lead to an explosion of new services that overlapped or did nothing useful. Instead of working together, groups would make new services instead of working with existing service-owners because they needed to justify writing a new service. It was sickeningly transparent. This project was one of those projects. It has no real use case because why the fuck would we want to use GPUs except to look cool on your resume. The sad thing is that the projects is overstating how well it’s being used internally. Internally people use Pinot instead of this. For all you future CTOs, consider your incentive schemes carefully and don’t be so far removed from the action that you can’t see when your org is rotting. This is what the CTO did, and like I said, it was one of his biggest failures because it gutted the engineering org. Instead of working together, every team was looking at get promotions at the expense of the company and it showed.