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How Tome's Head of Machine Learning, Sarah Sachs, Thinks About Generative AI and Eng Collaboration

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by Tome
Oct 23, 2023
Nov 8 7:05pm ET

Sarah Sachs is Tome's newest engineering leader who oversees our machine learning and infrastructure teams. Her focus is on building cutting-edge systems that provide high-quality AI experiences for millions of professionals.

We sat down with Sachs to learn more about how generative AI is core to Tome’s building principles and how the team plans to incorporate deeper personalization across enterprises.

Tome: When it comes to engineering and generative AI at Tome, what are you most excited about working on?

Sarah Sachs: From an engineering standpoint, I’m really excited that generative AI is a core principle of Tome. Generative AI is a tool that’s accessible to everyone, but engineering organizations are still working on how to build for that. LLMs (large language models) offer a new schema of speaking between systems and move so quickly. How do you build an engineering infrastructure that can keep up, maintain your product’s quality, and lets you quickly iterate?

We now have the technology to learn more and use it in a way that helps our users. Tome has a great opportunity to help people get started making work faster and communicating their ideas without getting too fixated on form.

Tome: What did you work on before joining us?

Sachs: I led the generative AI and natural language processing teams for the machine learning groups at Robinhood. As we were developing generative AI internally, I adhered to the principles of efficiency—there’s so much work to do in generative AI from that perspective, and figuring out how to help people get done what they actually want to get done.

Before Robinhood, I worked on personalization at Google. I learned many good lessons, including how to build robust pipelines that are safe and secure. I also learned how to extract beautiful insights in a way you can’t without the scale of a huge engineering enterprise. It’s something I’m excited to see Tome digging into as well.

Tome: Can you share what you find most impressive about the engineering work being done at Tome?

Sachs: From a technical viewpoint, I see such value in what the machine learning and infrastructure teams are building at Tome. There is so much green field from a development perspective when it comes to generative AI. When we say we’re an AI-native product, that’s not just a tagline. AI is integral in everything we do and how we develop. English is the new programming language.

Tome is a company that prioritizes generative AI as a core business value prop. As an engineering leader, that is a total gift, and also one of the most impressive things that you can work on in this industry right now.

Tome: How are you thinking about personalization in engineering from an enterprise perspective?

Sachs: Something I’m excited about here at Tome is thinking about how we can make a tool not just for individuals to share ideas, but for groups of people on a larger scale. How do we help teams work together and reduce the friction that can come from collaboration? Can we change the culture around how we share ideas? This is very rich ground to tap into on a deeper level.

When it comes to contextual understanding, we have so much power from which to build on. Generative AI is powerful because it takes general knowledge and applies it to a specific context. There are so many places in different enterprises and teams where that context is very specific.

I’m excited to figure out how we expand into helping enterprises use Tome and make it so teams can clearly, effectively, and beautifully share their ideas and collaborate.

Generative AI is a core principle of Tome and a fundamental tool that will shape how we communicate and work. It’s a new schema of speaking between systems and moves so quickly. We now have the technology to learn more and use generative AI in a way that helps our users.

Sarah SachsDirector of Machine Learning and Infrastructure, Tome

Tome: What is top of mind for you when it comes to building an effective engineering culture?

Sachs: Having a culture where everybody is able to bring their best selves to work and freely express their opinions is key. Being able to collaborate and learn from each other in a low-ego environment with the shared mission of doing what’s best for the company, the team, and doing what’s best for our customers are all factors I keep top of mind.

It’s easy to take that for granted, particularly at later stage companies where poor culture can be hard to reverse. I’m grateful that every day at Tome, in every meeting we have, we’re thoughtful about why and how we’re doing what we’re doing, and ensuring everyone in the room is aligned and supportive of one another.

Generative AI is a technology that I firmly believe will be used by everybody, it’s a fundamental tool. Tome is at the forefront of figuring out how we use it, make it accessible. It’s an exciting place to be right now.

Sarah SachsDirector of Machine Learning and Infrastructure, Tome

Meet Sarah below:

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