Howdy, Eric Levine! Eric is an engineering manager on our Trust and Safety team. Eric tells us about keeping bad guys at bay and going for swims in a Turkish bay (okay, just a pool, but sounded better to say bay).

How did you get started in Computer Science?

My path toward computer science started when my brother and mentor Matthew came home from university and decided that he wanted to teach his kid brother how to write some code. He taught me the basics and helped me pick out a book to continue my development. I just ran with it from there, and by the time I finished high school I was running an online game with about a dozen regular users.

What was your path to Airbnb?

My path to Airbnb was a long one, starting in 2008. I received an email from a recruiter who worked at YouTube at the time who asked if I was interested in an internship. That internship definitely changed the course of my professional career in a very positive way. Fast forward four years, and that same recruiter from my YouTube days, reached out to me about a position at Airbnb. Due to the previous encounter, I knew I could trust her, and Airbnb seemed pretty amazing from the outside. I was working at Google at the time and decided that I didn’t think the skills I was accruing were as portable as I was hoping they’d be. You don’t take a lot of Google’s infrastructure with you when you leave and I wanted to be more versatile in my skill set. Airbnb was the perfect fit and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

What’s the most interesting technical challenge you’ve worked on since joining?

The most interesting technical challenge that I’ve worked on since joining has definitely been our machine learning-based risk detection systems. My colleagues Naseem Hakim and Aaron Keys wrote up a great blog post describing some of the systems that I’ve worked on, and the next iterations are definitely taking it to the next level.

What do you want to work on next?

We’re hoping to start thinking more about Verified ID and how we can do even more with that. While it’s been a great start, we can start to apply our learnings from other areas and try to apply it to identity to better understand the users of the platform. Further, we have a ton of awesome work planned to improve our systems to further help protect the community.

What is your favorite core value, and how do you live it?

My favorite core value is Embrace the Adventure. The way I interpret this core value is a recognition that perfection is an impossible ideal and that one should try to “roll with the punches” when faced with undefined situations. We try to apply that in our engineering culture by encouraging people to fix things that are broken and to really take ownership of our product. It’s this core value and the way we apply it that makes Airbnb so unique.

What’s your favorite Airbnb experience?

My favorite Airbnb experience was with a couple in a Kirazli, a small village in Turkey. The space itself was absolutely stunning, beautifully designed and the perfect fit for our stay. Every morning I’d wake up to the village’s morning call to prayer. After lazily awakening, I’d go for a quick swim before the hosts would treat me to a traditional Turkish breakfast. The hosts would then take me for a walk through the hills to pick fresh figs off the trees. The whole experience was just extraordinarily pleasant and inspiring.

 

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