Create the engineering profession you like at Pinterest | by Pinterest Engineering | Pinterest Engineering Weblog | Aug, 2023

An interview with Behnam Rezaei | Pinterest VP, Engineering

At Pinterest, we’re on a mission to carry everybody the inspiration to create a life they love. For our staff, this extends additional to creating the life and profession they love. The Pinterest Engineering Weblog group sat down with Behnam Rezaei to get an inside scoop into the Monetization Engineering group, what makes Pinterest completely different and why now is a superb time to affix our group.

Becoming a member of Pinterest in March 2023, Behnam Rezaei is Pinterest’s VP for Monetization — Machine Studying Engineering and Knowledge Science primarily based in San Francisco.

Are you able to share extra about your group at Pinterest?

What’s the purpose of the group? What are the largest alternatives you see? What are you most wanting ahead to?

Pinterest has three fundamental engineering organizations: infrastructure which is an enabler for varied groups, core engineering is targeted on constructing the core client expertise and the final one is said to all issues monetization. Monetization is the revenue-generating org for Pinterest.

I lead the Machine Studying (ML) and Knowledge Science groups inside the Monetization org. Our prospects are each Pinterest customers and our promoting companions. These days, a whole lot of the knowledge matching is completed utilizing machine studying, and our job is to grasp what customers and advertisers are searching for and do the matching. We do our job nicely once we match the perfect advertisements to the pursuits and intent of our customers.

Our work in Monetization ML is essential to supporting our customers, advertisers, and our enterprise. Related advertisements means a greater expertise for our customers, increased ROI for advertisers and extra money we are able to make investments into the enterprise to proceed this flywheel.

I’m actually excited in regards to the developments within the machine studying world and the way they are often utilized to our work at Pinterest. With massive fashions predicting outcomes a lot better, we see a whole lot of alternative in supporting customers’ management over what they see, respecting customers’ privateness decisions and serving to them by the journey from inspiration to realization (like connecting them with essentially the most related advertisements). On this evolving, privacy-centric world the place we have to thread collectively personalization in promoting and respect of person decisions, this space of creating and making use of machine studying fashions for promoting is admittedly difficult (and fulfilling).

What led you to becoming a member of Pinterest?

When reflecting on earlier roles and what led me to Pinterest, I really feel midsize corporations are in a novel spot to each be capable to transfer quick but in addition have appreciable impression on the planet. My dream job is all the time constructing a small agile group of prime technical expertise who tackle massive product issues, transfer quick and create worth for our customers — a startup expertise however massive scale product impression. Pinterest is a spot the place individuals can actually advance their careers by working with sensible individuals in a collaborative approach whereas studying so much and taking their careers to the subsequent stage.

Pinterest has a really distinctive tradition. Every time there’s an issue, you get a whole lot of openness from varied groups to work collectively and clear up these issues. At greater corporations or organizations, power is usually spent on creating alignment throughout orgs to unravel issues. At Pinterest, it occurs naturally. When a problem arises, cross-functional groups are very open and keen to assist the group that raises the difficulty. It makes you are feeling very supported. That is additionally a part of the key recipe of Pinterest having the ability to transfer quick.

For me, it was additionally essential to be taught that Pinterest prioritizes a various and inclusive tradition. I felt that our workforce is a job mannequin for the remainder of the business even earlier than I joined. Throughout my interview course of, I met with senior leaders throughout ML that emulated the kind of tradition Pinterest has, which was collaborative and inclusive by nature. A few of our most senior information scientists and ML engineers are unbelievable girls who I like and be taught a lot from every day. This is among the causes I used to be very impressed by Pinterest. I don’t assume that this stuff occur by luck; it reveals robust cultural values. I need to be aware, it’s not one thing I take credit score for as I solely lately joined, but it surely’s one thing I’m actually happy with.

What makes Pinterest Engineering completely different?

For corporations of our dimension (mid-size corporations), we now have among the finest ML infrastructure within the business and among the most superior ML methods. Corporations that do the kind of ML we do are often a lot bigger than Pinterest. Large corporations are working at this stage, however they’ve a whole lot of 1000’s of engineers. Whereas at Pinterest, everybody right here has an enormous scope and creates a excessive impression inside our product and throughout our firm. What actually units us aside is each the superior methods and applied sciences and being a midsize firm the place everybody has a huge impact.

What would you say to somebody who’s contemplating becoming a member of the Pinterest group?


The primary purpose why I be a part of any group is the individuals. Our group has among the smartest engineers and prime business consultants within the subject of ML, recommender programs, and product information science. Nonetheless, we now have additionally managed to maintain a collaborative tradition, and everybody you encounter may be very good and welcoming. Oftentimes, while you function at this stage or peak of tech, it may be aggressive. The sort of collaboration and real connection is uncommon to seek out, however you’ll instantly spot it while you be a part of Pinterest. We lately interviewed a senior ML chief for a job at Pinterest. They emailed me afterwards that their interview at Pinterest was essentially the most technically difficult interview they’ve accomplished but in addition essentially the most welcoming. It put a smile on my face. That’s who we’re.


What units us aside from our friends is the optimistic impression of Pinterest on individuals. Each minute spent on Pinterest is in service of that second of inspiration for our customers. You may see the continuation of that dedication in our latest announcement to help the Impressed Web Pledge.


You need to be someplace you may have a whole lot of impression. There’s a whole lot of headspace and greenfield to do excessive impression work right here. The scale of the group may be very small, so each particular person and their work makes a big distinction to our product. On account of our dimension, there’s a whole lot of velocity in our org, and we transfer quick.

Tech and Science

We’re within the ML house. Individuals need to work on essentially the most modern tech. We’re one of many few mid-size corporations with a great basis and superior ML applied sciences. We even have a really engineer-driven tradition. Engineers have a whole lot of house to innovate and lead tasks. Right here, you may be taught and apply the newest methods throughout massive fashions, Bolstered Studying, person representations and embeddings, person sequence modeling, privateness ML, and market design. On the information science aspect, we’re shaping the way forward for our product by taking over difficult person/product understanding work, causal inference by experimentation and different non experimental methods and two sided market evaluation.

When you concentrate on present engineering tendencies, which of them are you most enthusiastic about?

Massive fashions in person understanding and recommender programs

There have been many advances in massive language fashions leading to a wide range of methods to coach and serve these fashions. These methods and advances are actually making their approach into recommender programs and personalization of client merchandise, so it’s thrilling to see how this can translate to raised personalization of advertisements, client merchandise and evolution of recommender programs sooner or later.

Multi Job fashions and their extensions to massive lattice fashions

Within the outdated ML world, you’ll design a mannequin for every particular person activity. A few of these technological advances permit us to mix fashions and have these greater fashions tackle a number of duties resulting in extra effectivity and generalization of person conduct.

ML and scaling processes throughout the corporate

Corporations like Pinterest sometimes use a mixture of human opinions and automatic programs to (1) proactively establish policy-violating content material, and (2) overview/take away content material that was flagged by customers (for instance, an advert that violates insurance policies). With latest advances in ML, expertise will be capable to do extra — scaling duties and creating efficiencies — which in the end helps liberate human overview to focus extra on advanced, strategic points.

Generative AI

I’m wanting ahead to Generative AI tendencies — how GenAI can be utilized for engineering productiveness and the way it can improve the person expertise.

Anything you’d wish to share?

One factor I’d like so as to add is in regards to the uniqueness of Pinterest’s product. Pinterest is a full funnel product. We take Pinterest customers from the second of inspiration by the second of execution by purchasing. Promoting and purchasing is an intrinsic a part of the core product. With different platforms, it doesn’t all the time really feel as genuine. At Pinterest, the advert is in service of what the person is got down to do. That’s why at Pinterest, advertisements are in service of the person expertise.

To be taught extra about engineering at Pinterest, try the remainder of our Engineering Weblog and go to our Pinterest Labs web site. To discover and apply to open roles, go to our Careers web page.

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