Employee Spotlight: Venu Chilukuri, Engineering Manager by Day and Ping Pong Champion by Night

Delaney Werner
By Delaney Werner

Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 29 seconds

FastSpring’s Employee Spotlight is a Q&A series that features the hardworking, intelligent, and fun people that make FastSpring great. Get to know the fantastic team behind the ecommerce platform!

In this post, we’re featuring our Engineering Manager, Venu Chilukuri:

Q: What is your role at FastSpring?

A: I serve as a manager in the Engineering department. I am responsible for working with and managing part of the engineering team to develop new features and solutions for FastSpring’s full-service ecommerce platform.

Q: When did your passion for engineering first begin?

A: My engineering career path first started when I was young in school. My dad brought home a computer for me. He told me to explore the machine myself, understand it, and see how it can be useful. At first, it was just fun. I enjoyed playing video games but then slowly became interested in figuring out how the machine works and understanding what program allowed it to operate.

I started studying computer science in school because I knew others who had coded. I was curious about how they solved problems, so I started solving coding problems on my own. Coding is something that once you start doing, you can easily get addicted to. Choosing Computer Science and Engineering as my Majors for my BA was a result of my passion for the two. I then went on to receive my masters in Computer Science and Engineering.

Q: What inspired you to join FastSpring?

A: Before FastSpring, I worked as a senior software engineer in Los Angeles. Most of my previous experience had been working at large companies. As one of the thousands of employees at these large companies, I realized that my contributions were becoming less and less significant. I was not making as big of an impact as I wanted to. So, I started to look for a company where I could make an impact and learn more as well.

When I was looking to move companies, I had an offer from both Disney and FastSpring. My family and friends encouraged me to work at Disney because it was considered a larger and more well-known company. When I said I was choosing FastSpring, they questioned me because it was a smaller startup company. I explained to them that I wanted to go to a smaller company where I had the potential to learn a lot and make a direct impact. These were my two driving forces. I’m happy to say that I’ve had the opportunity to do exactly this at FastSpring. Not only have I have learned a tremendous amount, but I also feel I’ve made sizeable contributions as well. FastSpring is a company where if you dedicate yourself, you will get recognized for your work.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you at FastSpring?

A: Very busy.

I work a lot on solving the problems that the engineering team is facing. It is a lot of processing problems, solving technical problems, solving employee-related problems, and more. So the typical day for me is quite busy with problem-solving.

Although it is very busy, I have a love for taking on challenges so it is never a boring day at FastSpring. New things are going on all the time and new opportunities where I can push myself and constantly improve.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment while working at FastSpring?

A: As a manager in the engineering department, the success of our engineers is my success. I always want to make sure they succeed and that they have a sense of accomplishment. So, their successes are my proudest moments.

Q: What is some advice you can give to other engineers who want to pursue the same path or a similar one?

A: My biggest advice is that you need to be very comfortable with problem-solving to be successful in the engineering field. Working at a dynamic and prosperous company is similar to playing a video game. You will constantly run into roadblocks and you constantly have to make an effort to clear these roadblocks to make progress in the game. Working in the engineering field, you will face new challenges every day so it is very important that you are very comfortable with the whole process of problem-solving.

Q: Tell us more about your leadership Program at Cornell. What was a main take away and how have you applied what you learned to your work at FastSpring?

A: The Cornell Leadership Program has been a very useful tool in my work. There are a few skills that I have been constantly and consciously trying to apply in my day-to-day life. These skills include interpersonal skills, communication, and motivating others.

Q: I know you are the reigning FastSpring ping pong champion. Is this something you have always been into and how did you get so good?

A: Growing up, my friends and I lived near a college that had a sports department. I was about 12 years old when I picked up ping pong. My friends and I would play for hours and hours while our parents worked. It was my favorite thing to do.

When we moved to this new office, I saw that there was a ping pong table. So, there was no stopping me. I try to play whenever I get a chance. It’s a great way to give my brain a break from the day-to-day engineering tasks and connect with my coworkers.

Q: Can you share a story that most people may not know about you?

A: When I was moving to California from Illinois, I missed my flight because I wanted to get ice cream from a specific chain in Illinois one last time before I left. This chain has my favorite flavors, and no one makes them better. I knew I was going to be late for the flight but I still made the conscious decision to stop and get the ice cream before the airport. I had to get my two favorite flavors—chocolate and vanilla. It was the last flight to California so I had to carry all my luggage around and stay another night in Illinois. But the ice cream was worth it.

 

We’re so thrilled to have Venu on the team, and we’re proud of all he has accomplished during his time at FastSpring—especially the ping pong championship win!

Are you interested in joining Venu and the rest of the FastSpring team? We’re hiring! Visit our careers page to see our open positions.

Delaney Werner

As FastSpring’s Marketing and Human Resource Intern, Delaney works closely with both the Marketing and People & Culture team to strategize creative ways to grow FastSpring’s brand. An avid team player, she assists the team on a variety of projects including social media, designing display advertisements, content writing, and employer branding. Delaney is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, you can find her at the beach or hiking in the Santa Barbara Mountains.
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