Building Search Features is Product Management

Kanishka Maheshwari, former Director of Product at Salesforce, shares how he applied machine learning and experimentation to build Salesforce’s most used feature, how he collaborates with engineers, and how company culture contributes to growth.

When I hear the term “search engine,” I immediately think of Google. However, there are countless products that have a search engine built into them. In fact, search is the most used feature within Salesforce, the leading customer relationship management software.

The search engine within Salesforce processes over 150 million queries each day and indexes billions of records. Kanishka led the team that reached this scale – but it wasn’t an easy mission. He had to build a feature that could deliver results in real-time with 100% uptime, and without the resources or customer data that larger search engines have.

Kanishka shares how machine learning, concept testing, and his leadership skills helped him overcome these challenges.

Kanishka’s career path is also unique in that he joined Salesforce right after graduating from college and stayed with the company for 11 years. When he joined Salesforce, the company had less than 1,000 employees. Salesforce now has over 25,000 employees and over $10 billion in revenue!

In that time, Kanishka climbed from engineer to Director of Product. He attributed his success to Salesforce’s company culture. The company encourages employees to raise their hand to work on the projects that they want to work on, and trusts them to deliver.

You’ll learn a lot from this episode about search, management, career planning, and company culture.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kanishka describes his experience climbing from engineer to Director of Product at Salesforce (2:30)
  • How Kanishka built and scaled a search engine within Salesforce (4:50)
  • How Kanishka used machine learning to improve customer experience (11:50)
  • Kanishka describes his approach to experimentation (14:15)
  • Kanishka’s advice for managing an engineering team (17:15)
  • The culture at Salesforce that enabled Kanishka to perform at a high level and grow as a product leader (21:45)

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