Meet Aaron Sarnoff, Head of Growth Engineering. Read more to learn about his time at Nextdoor.
Why did you join Nextdoor?
I joined Nextdoor because of the mission, opportunity, and the people. I’m a big believer in the power of communities. Nextdoor has a solid core product which people love, but there is still so much untapped potential both in getting it into more people’s hands as well as expanding out the ways in which people can interact with their communities. And I knew that place needed to be filled with smart, passionate people who felt the same way to be able to quickly build those products.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on?
I feel like this is like asking a parent which child is their favorite! There are so many projects that have been a blast to work on. A few of them would be:
- Re-introducing content sharing. It was a multi-team effort including feed, notifications, and acquisition. I have a distinct memory of the team waking up every day and looking at the daily number of registrations that were driven by the new sharing feature — and working to make sure that number went up on a daily basis throughout the end of the year.
- Coming up with the plan on how we would approach International Expansion in the future. It touched so many systems and core components of Nextdoor. I left with a really strong understanding of the core primitives of Nextdoor and proud that we left with a viable plan that would mean that we don’t have to spend months preparing for each country we launched to. I think the pattern across them is that I like working on hard, important problems, with lots of people with different skills who need to work together towards a shared set of goals. I love getting the wins and shipping the impact, but I also learned so much in each of these efforts.
I love getting the wins and shipping the impact, but I also learned so much in each of these efforts.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Food and friends are key loves outside of work. San Francisco is filled with great food. I just as frequently go out of my way to try a unique restaurant as I do head to the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh ingredients to cook. Coffee is a requirement for my mornings, so over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at making lattes, though I am still not able to make real latte art. You’ll probably find me with friends at a bar on Tuesdays — we’ve been trying different bars in the Bay Area, weekly, for almost a decade now. It’s a warm, welcoming group so reach out to me if you want to come join. I travel frequently visiting friends, seeing new places, and of course, eating great food. And my partner brings a lot of books, musicals, and plays into my life, but I repay the favor with movies and music.
Most memorable moment at Nextdoor?
Probably the first Growth and Engagement Engineering Manager offsite we did as the world started opening again after the pandemic. It was people I worked closely with, all of whom I either hadn’t seen in person in a very long time or hadn’t ever met. I remember talking about Nextdoor engineering culture, areas of technical investment for 2022, and some good old-fashioned team bonding – including making some great steaks for dinner.
A close second for me is the first time making it to the new office, for many of the same reasons. Sitting down to lunch with the team, having a whiteboard to talk through a problem during a 1:1, and just bumping into people that I didn’t have specific time with that day were all things that I missed.
Best career advice?
I got advice in one of my first internships that has always stuck with me. Sande, who was in charge of the internship program, said: “Figuring out what you want to do is not just about knowing what you love, but also figuring out what you can’t stand so you can stop doing it. And you need to try more things to figure that out.” Since then, I’ve been lucky to get the opportunity to try and develop a lot of new skills, many of which I’ve loved and I’ve been intentional about reducing my time on things I don’t.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Where friends and family are.