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Meet Gabe Cohen: The Fast Interview

Gabe Cohen, back-end engineer at Fast

Gabe Cohen

Role: Back-end Engineer

Team: Identity and Access Management

What do you do at Fast?

I think about how we can secure users’ access and information, and what identity means at Fast.

Describe your typical day here.

We set up features, ideate building and fixing, and document our current work and how it ties into the broader vision. Then, we divide and conquer, and analyze the solutions to see how what we’ve created is working.

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

Great Neck, New York. I was very adventurous, always building things. Which led me to building and tearing apart computers.

I started a computer repair business in high school. Everyone uses a computer, but their understanding is different, so I learned how to bridge the gap between people and computers to make them not angry at the machine.

Where were you before Fast?

Workday for five years. I worked on a distributed processing framework and workflow/orchestration microservice, and then the Workday Credentials platform, which dealt with back-end/blockchain and standards initiatives.

Why did you say yes to Fast?

I had a conversation with my now manager Dan (Carter, Engineering Manager at Fast) about identity and what Fast wants to build. I’m passionate about privacy and security. It’s up to us as technologists to make the management of data easy, so people can be less anxious online. We’re trying to make it simpler for people.

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

Asynchronous communication. At previous jobs, work required getting people into rooms all day. Here, we work across Slack, Notion, and Google Docs. I think it’s important to get your words on paper and share ideas that way, especially being remote-first and workforce-distributed.

What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?

It’s less about the code or software and more about how we engage with each other, come up with ideas and solve problems together. One of my favorite things is how in flux and open to change we are. You identify something that can be better and see it adopted pretty quickly. I think that’s a big strength of management - not being stuck and always on a path for improvement.

What food or drink is always at your desk?

I drink a lot of water. Also, Phil (Wellness Director at Fast) got me into kombucha.

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

Slouching. I’m in physical therapy for a back injury, so it’s important to be mindful of being too sedentary.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl. I’m trying to be a morning person but I hit the snooze button too much.

What’s your favorite thing about being an engineer?

Being able to think deeply to understand the problem. Who you’re helping, the depth of the problem, how it’s been handled in the past – all the things around getting something to actually work is fun and interesting. Getting it into the hands of customers and seeing it be used efficiently is amazing. If I can make the world 2% more efficient, I'll be a happy man. 

Your non-negotiables for life?

I will always be honest as much as possible. The way you communicate honesty needs to have some care, but it’s important to be genuine and share what you’re thinking.

One thing about you that is always and forever true.

I like to get below the surface and challenge my (and everyone else’s) assumptions.

Where can we follow you?

LinkedIn, Twitter