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Meet Deen Aariff: The Fast Interview

Deen Aariff, Back-end Engineer at Fast

Deen Aariff

Role: Back-end Engineer

Team: Payments

What do you do at Fast?

I help build out our payments platform - accepting payments and getting money paid out to Fast’s sellers. We’re the layer that coordinates everything money-related, so we think a lot about how funds flow through the system and get accounted for. 

Describe your typical day at Fast.

Coding and strategizing how we want to build the system so it scales for various use cases. We collaborate a lot to keep things moving, and jump in to support where needed. Overall, I make sure the money is where it needs to be.

What food or drink is always at your desk?

Usually Marin kombucha at the office (San Francisco HQ). Phil (McDougall, Wellness Director at Fast) has it stocked, and I never had it before. At home, Oolong tea. 

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?

Santa Clara, California. I was pretty energetic and liked to move around a lot. I’d be curious to a fault, so teachers complained about how many questions I'd ask. As a kid I was largely interested in the visual arts and student government. It wasn’t until college that I realized programming and logic could also be used as an artistic medium, and I haven’t looked back.

Where were you before Fast?

I worked on the Checkout and Shopping Cart Experience at eBay.

Why did you say yes to Fast?

Fast has the opportunity to complete the future of what payment wallet (and the post-purchase experience can be. Beyond that, I saw the founders’ (Domm Holland, CEO of Fast, and Allison Barr Allen, COO of Fast) mission statement and all the possibilities in the payments and identity space.

What’s something you’ve found at Fast that really stands out?

Ownership of your work is a core element, and the opportunities to be cross-functional are abundant. I really appreciate the opportunities to work with other teams, listen in on customer support and operations, or learn about processes that tangentially touch each other but aren’t part of my immediate domain.

What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?

So many here are just really operating at the top of their field, between their tech stack, speed, or safety implementations. There’s some really cool foundational work happening here.

In general, people at Fast really care about doing their jobs well. Be it optimizing internal systems or processes, or the care they put into making sure everything is correctly named, their focus on the details is phenomenal.

What’s your proudest moment as an engineer?

At eBay, we were working on a machine learning project to reduce the latency with which users interact with the checkout flow. It was an open-ended and abstract problem, and I got to figure out all the components needed such as training machine learning models, developing data pipelines, and making our models executable as microservices. 

At Fast, my first project was dealing with our Australia and New Zealand expansions. We had to track the complexity of the data and make sure it was replicated to the right place at the right time. It tied together a lot of my payments domain experience with fundamental distributed systems work. It was an amazing experience all within my first two months. 

What's something you regularly do, but you know you shouldn't?

I drink too much caffeine. I’ll have an espresso shot at 6pm, knowing I'll be wired. 

Advice for engineers wondering what to do next?

Have a relationship with software outside your job. Work on a personal project to rediscover what you love about engineering. There’s a push and pull between technicality and creativity, and you need to be in touch with both sides. Being able to work on your own stuff brings everything together. Watch yourself work when you aren’t under pressure, and see where you gravitate. 

Your non-negotiables for life?

Get enough sleep, have a healthy body and mind, and movement. I have to move around.

One thing about you that is always and forever true.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m pretty open with people.

Where can we follow you?


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