Paul Buchheit on joining Google, how to become a great engineer, and happiness

Paul Buchheit, an engineer and partner at Y Combinator, sat down with Harj Taggar, the co-founder and CEO of Triplebyte, to discuss his journey from programming to joining Google and becoming a successful engineer. Buchheit initially became interested in programming while playing a video game and realizing he could manipulate the game’s data file. He began programming on a 386 computer and eventually joined Intel in hopes of finding a startup in Silicon Valley. However, he ended up at Google after hearing about their work on Linux machines. Buchheit played a crucial role in creating Gmail during his time at the company. He believes that great engineers are those who have a deep understanding of computers at various levels of abstraction. To become a better engineer, he suggests simply showing up and doing a lot of programming. Buchheit also highlights some of the exceptional engineers he worked with at Google, like Bret Taylor and Craig Silverstein. He left Google after realizing he didn’t want to become a “big company person” and wanted to do something else. Buchheit emphasizes that not every good engineer should leave Google or other big companies to join a startup. It depends on individual preferences and ambitions. He advises thinking of working at a startup as an investment in personal growth

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