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Meet Archana Sankar: Product Engineering Leader at Tome

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by Tome
Oct 10, 2023
Nov 8 7:01pm ET

Meet Archana Sankaranarayanan, who joined Tome to lead product engineering. Archana leads our growing team of world-class product engineers who are focused on exploring new ways to use AI for idea creation, and building polished narrative-centered content for work.

We sat down with Archana to hear why she’s excited about Tome, where she thinks generative AI is headed, and what helps foster innovative, strong engineering teams.

Tome: Tell us more about what brought you to Tome?

Archana Sankaranarayanan: It's an exciting time to work with this incredible team. When I used Tome for the very first time, I was thoroughly impressed by the UX, the polish, and fit and finish that you got right off the bat using the product.

As I started using Tome more and more, I realized that I was focusing less on the medium itself, and more on the content that I was creating, and on the ideas I was trying to express. That was absolutely fascinating to me, and from there, I was fully on board.

Tome: Can you share more about your work previous to Tome?

Sankaranarayanan: I led the engineering team responsible for Google Assistant, an AI-powered virtual assistant. I got to work specifically on the human-bot interaction aspects of Google Assistant—defining the tone, character and personality of the assistant.

Prior to that, I built content discovery and tagging software at Netflix, and scaled the engineering team at Open Sea, the world’s first and largest web3 marketplace for NFTs.

Tome: Generative AI continues to be an evolving topic of conversation. What are your thoughts on the future of AI as a whole?

Sankaranarayanan: Generative AI allows for a new computing paradigm so to speak. The possibilities are limitless. We can automate ways of doing things that previously only humans could do. That said, automation is still rough around the edges and there are definitely issues when it comes to quality.

I think one compelling question is, How can we get to a place where the tech can resemble a human being generating versus an AI generating? To me, that's what's absolutely fascinating to sink our teeth into in terms of engineering.

Tome: Where do you think we are today when it comes to AI specifically with regards to the user experience and user interfaces?

Sankaranarayanan: When it comes to both UX and UI today, we interact with chatbots, and that’s just the beginning. The interplay between generative AI and what's possible with UX patterns is enormous.

Getting to be a part of that, particularly right now, is very, very intriguing to me. You know, I hope it intrigues a lot of engineers out there, and that it also gets design and product folks excited.

Why? Because collectively, we get to shape this vision of how we can create and enable many interaction patterns. How humans interact with computers is going to fundamentally change, and go well beyond the chatbot UI of today.

There's so much room for us to explore and push the boundaries on what we can do with engineering. The opportunity is incredibly expansive. There's a place for literally every discipline within the product engineering and design communities to come and shape, and make meaningful contributions.

We get to shape a vision of how to create and enable many interaction patterns. How humans interact with computers is going to fundamentally change. There's so much to explore and push the boundaries with engineering.

Archana SankarDirector of Product Engineering, Tome

Tome: What is your outlook on building strong engineering teams?

Sankaranarayanan: First, I've been so impressed with the engineering quality here at Tome—it's top notch. Secondly, it’s refreshing to see how the engineers are hyper-focused on the user experience. Engineers are also super passionate about having AI be an abstraction layer where it's more natively enabling the product experience, rather than it being a wrapper on top. I think it’s quite inspiring.

The blistering pace at which this industry is moving and advancements to generative AI makes it critical for engineers to keep abreast of what the community is up to. Participating in regular hackathons and conducting quick demos regularly that bring people together is crucial. Sharing our experiences and what we’re learning is a huge part of building and maintaining a strong engineering culture.

Meet Archana below:

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