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Tracy Chou, Nadine Harik, and Jennifer Tsai

For pinning down global mobile design.

Tracy Chou, Nadine Harik, and Jennifer Tsai

More than three-quarters of Pinterest’s traffic from its 70 million monthly users comes via mobile devices–and not usually through its app. As Pinterest’s user base becomes increasingly international, more people arrive through links on low-end feature phones that open in a web browser. Tracy Chou, Nadine Harik, and Jennifer Tsai have worked to ensure that Pinterest on your phone browser looks and works like Pinterest everywhere else. “The whole point of the redesign is to make it easier to evolve quicker–to write features and have feature parity,” says Harik. Since it was implemented last year, monthly active users outside the U.S. have grown 150%.

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Bonus Round: Tracy Chou

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

How much time I spend thinking about people. Although engineers write code that is executed by machines, that code is ultimately a shared, working document of sorts, and it’s read, edited, rewritten by other people.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

InfoSec Taylor Swift: I love the snark.

National Geographic’s Instagram: The diversity of places and people around the world is beautiful.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

Ambassador Susan Rice. She is impossibly impressive; previously as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and currently as the president’s national security advisor, she is a critical figure in the international arena in politics, economics, security, human rights, environmental issues, the list goes on. She is piercingly intelligent, competent, driven, and also warm, funny, and just a great human being.


Bonus Round: Nadine Harik

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Honestly, right now I have an 8-month-old, so the first thing I do is wish I could sleep in more. I guess after that, I tend to think about what I’d like to accomplish during the day. I feel like I have a limited amount of time now, especially with so many other constraints with my family life. I make sure I accomplish three or four things on my list. During my commute to work is oftentimes the only time I have to do more personal things, I tend to read a bit.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Often when I feel I’m in a rut, I notice I’m focusing too much on the details of a problem and not enough on the bigger picture. I usually stop what I’m doing and do something completely different. It could be going for a long walk or working on a different project.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

I have a hard time answering this question because I get inspired by too many things. I never know how to quantify by what’s ‘most.’ I have a few examples: Every morning I’m inspired by my son because he has a view of life with no preconceptions. He finds new ways to react with simple objects, so that reminds me to think outside the box. I was recently inspired by Malala [Yousafzai]. Nothing that I do every day compares to the courage that she has. Also, kind of Mark Bittman, for his ability to make a lot out of a small amount of ingredients.


Bonus Round: Jennifer Tsai

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration. Sometimes if I want to do something crafty, I will go and find pins that satisfy that. For my sister’s bridal shower, I figured out how to make tissue paper pom-poms. I have a coworker who pins technical articles to a board he has, and I can find new ways of solving problems and new technologies through that board.

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

The amount of creativity involved in coding would probably be pretty surprising. There’s also a misconception that there is a single approach and a right answer for every problem. It’s a really creative process that is based on your experience, what you have been exposed to. It all ties into how you would end up approaching a problem. One solution might be different, but valid to your cohort sitting next to you. In the end, the product is unique to who you are as a person.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

For Twitter I follow Tracy [Chou]. She has a lot of good insights and good tweets and articles across a general broad spectrum. I like to follow her account. For Instagram, sometimes it gets really frustrating at work or you just want something to pick you up, and I follow Bunny Mama, and I get some quick happiness in a cute bunny photo.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Lately when I’ve been getting into a rut, I will go for a long run, and that usually helps make me see things clearer. Endorphins.

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About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news

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