Sportskeeda promotes Sankalp Sharma to Chief Technology Officer
Sharma shares his odyssey with Sportskeeda, the challenges that lie ahead, and his plans for the new role for the company
Sportskeeda, one of India’s top Multisport platforms, recently elevated Sankalp Sharma from VP, Technology to Chief Technology Officer. Sankalp, who has been with Sportskeeda for over 7 years now, has been a pillar in driving growth within the company’s technology and engineering verticals.
In an interview, Sankalp shares with us his odyssey with Sportskeeda, the challenges that lie ahead, and his plans in the new role for the company.
Q1. Congratulations Sankalp, This is quite an achievement! When did the company break the good news to you?
A. A couple of months back ! We were poised to end the year, reporting record growth, and I was looking forward to a short vacation (smiles). Quite honestly, we didn't foresee this state of business in March 2020 because of all the uncertainty as a consequence of the lockdowns and deep impacts across businesses and the world of sports. We've got an amazing team though! Their collective grit and commitment to deliver the best sports content possible, along with the rise in digital consumption since the advent of the pandemic, have turned it around for us despite an iffy first quarter.
Q2. You have been with Sportskeeda for almost 7 years now. You must have seen a lot of ups and downs, challenges, etc. Can you please take us through your journey?
A. We have had really humble beginnings and I have had the good fortune of being a part of the team and seeing the company blossom from Porush’s (Sportskeeda's CEO & Founder) passion project to one of the best multi-sports platforms in the industry. We've come a long way since, but our core philosophy has stood the same – Deliver comprehensive content for the hardcore sports fans and prioritizing the user at every facet. When I joined Sportskeeda about 7 years ago, we inherited a lot of legacy technology. So my first order of business was to bring order from chaos. Streamlining how we analyze, build, ship products is what I've focussed on since then. We now use state-of-the-art tools and processes, and our early investments in good engineering practices have paid off compounding with time, giving us the ability to ship new versions of our services across geographies, within a few minutes instead of a few weeks, if need be.
Q3. How large is the tech team at this time? Are you expanding?
A. At this point in time, we have an immensely capable tech team and are on the lookout for a few more senior techies and product managers who share our passion. Sports and tech are both equally exciting disciplines. Combining them is way more exciting than the sum of its parts. Keeping our team lean has helped us focus on automating as much as we can, and build systems that are self-sufficient and that heal themselves – anti-fragile as Taleb would term them. We have an excellent culture of constant learning, testing, and feedback. It’s unheard of a system of this scale having multiple deployments each day. But we manage to do it through a systemic approach. Having sufficient unit tests and integration tests in place help us ensure what is deployed with such rapid speed, is also stable and battle-tested.
Q4. What is your vision for Sportskeeda’s approach to technology and engineering in the next few years?
A. The framework is set, and we've proven time and again, that it is a robust and resilient one. We internally believe we have only reached about 2% of our potential. Content, collaboration, and community are going to be the cornerstone of the remaining 98%. Sports has this uncanny ability to unite people across boundaries, which, as we've seen this year, is the need of the hour. By making large leaps in technology, rapid A/B tests, data analysis, and design iterations, we intend to build products and tools which can help this global community across all sporting verticals to connect, engage, and celebrate the spirit that sports represents!
Q5. Why should someone join Sportskeeda’s Tech Team?
SK Tech has risen on the shoulders of the giant – Open Source Software. As for why someone should join us, not only do we plan to scale our engineering to the next level, but also intend to open source a bunch of the systems which we have developed and perfected in-house. We have barely scratched the surface of core engineering if you consider what lies ahead of us. We never do grunt work. Not even the junior-most folks who join our work on grunt. We simply automate the boring and cancel the non-consequential work. So the folks who are really hungry to get quality engineering instead of boring regressive grunt work, which unfortunately is seen a lot in the industry, should really consider joining us. Great engineers who believe in moving fast at scale, should reach out to us, or even to me personally via Twitter DM (https://twitter.com/sankalp_sans/) or Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sankalpsans/).
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