Scality Le Club 2018 Rached Ben Mustapha
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Rached Ben Mustapha: Working for his passion, always with precision
When I sat down to a long-distance conversation with Shivani Pradhan in San Francisco, she enthused, “Rached is awesome at what he does. Also, patient, very helpful, great listening skills, always available…” She smiled as she added, “He is very concise and to the point. Like if you ask him how to do something, he will give you the most succinct and shortest possible answer.” I knew what she meant. Rached Ben Mustapha, software engineer and tech lead in the San Francisco office, gives the impression of being rather reticent. Behind that unassuming exterior, however, is a man who clearly puts a lot of thought and intention into all that he does and yes, says. In speaking about his motivation, he prefaces his response with a disclaimer, “It’s not very original,” and then adds simply
“The pure technical aspect of it is satisfying to me. And that’s enough for me to go to work.”
Precision may very well be Rached’s mantra. Due to his long engineering experience and extensive knowledge, he is known for his accuracy and reliability. After praising his sound technical skills and experience with operations, code, support, and software, his manager adds, “He’s pretty well-researched on new technologies and very passionate about his work. He does very high quality programming.” In fact, Rached’s precision with code is such that the feedback he gives is practically legendary: “The team thinks that if you’ve got Rached’s feedback on your PR, it’ll be so thorough that if you actually follow it, your code will become the best code. It takes your code to the next level, in terms of optimization and performance.”
Rached’s precise and methodical mentality carries on into his personal life. While he enjoys a variety of activities—hiking, photography, and movies, to name a few—it’s food and cooking that have been lifelong passions. “My parents had a restaurant and I learned to cook with them,” he reminisces. Likening coding to cooking, he explains, “Writing software is like writing a recipe. It’s a series of steps that, if executed properly, will give you something good. If you want to experiment and improve, try and fail. Discover new ways of doing things. There are thousands of ways of getting something to cook.” His careful, analytical approach in the kitchen seems to describe his work as well. He explains, “Usually I go for the minimal set of things I know will work and then try variations one by one to see if it’s worth the change or not.”
Rached always knew that computer engineering was for him.
“At the time I chose computer science, there were unemployed engineers in France. Some of the teachers were saying, ‘Why are you interested in that? Don’t you want to be a mechanical engineer or something?’ So at the time it was not an obvious choice. It was a passion choice.” “Software is the most malleable sort of thing that you can work on. Everything you need is in your hands. And you can go from zero to facebook with just code.”
He seems especially pleased with what he’s currently doing at Scality: “We’re doing new things all the time that don’t exist yet. So we’re not following some competitor that we want to imitate. We actually create stuff. So that’s exciting.” In his new position as tech lead, Rached is enjoying the added responsibilities of making technical decisions, overseeing project implementation, and mentoring juniors. In highlighting Rached’s contributions to a positive team dynamic, Shivani states, “He gives a lot of autonomy to the team he manages and at the same time makes himself available.” She adds, “Once you get to know him, you realize that he has an amazing sense of humor. He won’t speak a lot, but he’ll have the perfect one-liners that’ll crack everybody up.” For Rached, one of his proudest achievements has been helping to create and maintain this fantastic team. “The team has become the most enjoyable team you can imagine. Everyone helps each other. On our HipChat channel, we joke all the time.”
For Rached, hard work is the key to everything. “I don’t expect anything to be easy,” he asserts. “Work, obviously, but also other things. Food. Entertainment. It won’t magically be as you want. You have to work for it, and not be impatient. You should put in the right amount of patience and work and it will turn out exactly as you want.” He adds, “When something motivates me, I won’t do it halfway.”
Hard work does not come without its pleasures, however. Having grown up in Normandy, Rached appreciates one very important thing about his life in San Francisco. “Now that I’m living by the ocean again, I’m grateful every day that I can look at it. It’s awesome.”