Engineering Spotlight - Ethan Le (Web Team)

Ethan Le

Say hello to Ethan Le, a javascript jedi and ruby wrangler from Ho Chi Minh City. Ethan was one of the first engineers at Viki, and the only engineer ever to switch teams - from web to mobile and back again. Not surprisingly, one of his favorite shows on Viki is Ghost, a Korean drama about a notorious hacker who switches teams to join the good guys and fight crime in cyberspace. When he's not hacking, he enjoys taking photos and was even a freelance professional for a time - see for yourself, the beautiful photos on this site are his work!

Despite his obvious programming and photographic skills, Ethan's educational background is actually in Electrical Engineering. However, early in his career he decided he preferred building software to hardware (good choice, Ethan!) and has been in the IT industry ever since. It wasn't always easy going though, the first company he joined didn't survive, but it taught him valuable start-up survival skills which came in handy when he helped Viki through its first round of funding to its successful exit. His other gig before Viki was at a local startup consulting firm where he worked on the redesign of the now infamous Singapore gossip site STOMP. That's not you taking photos of people sitting in the reserved seats on the MRT, is it Ethan?

Photo Credit: Stomp

Ethan arrived at Viki by way of a birthday party where he met engineers from Pivotal Labs who were working as consultants for Viki at the time. He was lured in by their sweet talk of pair programming, test-driven development and daily deployment, and soon he was hooked by the engineering culture and the impressive community-driven product. In his own words: "Joining Viki is one of the best decisions I have ever made." He joined Viki at a time when it only had the vision of being a major global video site, and thanks to his engineering acumen he helped to see this vision become a reality by leading the Android development team from no product to more than 5 million downloads and a rating of 4.5/5.0. In addition to his work on the Android app, he worked on the first revamp of the Viki website which helped it reach 10 million viewers and he represented Viki on the winning team at the Silicon Valley Google TV Hackathon. Currently he's working on providing backend support for mobile "In App" purchase to unlock Viki Pass to millions of users on their smart phones.

Winning

Outside of work Ethan has a number of side projects including DigiReview, an Android app that provides technical information, reviews and sample images from hundreds of lenses and cameras. The app helps photographers to research equipment before they make big investments in bodies and lenses. Surprisingly, the biggest users of the app are camera store owners who say that the app has increased their productivity and sales. Due to its wide popularity it has been translated into Russian, French and German - and despite a $0 marketing budget it has been downloaded over 100,000 times in less than 10 months with an average rating of 4.3/5.0. Way to go Ethan!

As you can see, Ethan is a very busy guy, but despite all his activities and accolades, he's surprisingly down-to-earth and good-natured. Some have described him as warm, positive and rebellious, but mostly around the office he's known as the guy to call when you need a man to round out your foosball team.

Ethaaaaaaaaaan!

Foosball


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