The first and most prevalent pattern exemplifies how blurry the line between research and development work can be. Operating at large scale, engineering teams are often faced with novel challenges which, when overcome, constitute research results. Organizationally, research is done in situ by the product team to achieve its goals. The most successful high-profile examples of this pattern are systems infrastructure projects such as MapReduce

Technology companies invest in research for a number of reasons, including:

  • (i) importance to the companys products and services,
  • (ii) prestige and contributions to the public good.
  • (iii) reducing the risk of getting blindsided by new technology developments.

Research at appchin.com is built on the premise that connecting research with development provides teams with powerful, production-quality infrastructure and a large user base, resulting not only in innovative research, but also in valuable new commercial capabilities. By coupling research and development, our goal is to minimize or even eliminate the traditional technology transfer process, which has proven challenging at other companies.

Most of our projects involve people working with a given technology from the research stage through to the product stage. This close collaboration and integration furthermore ensures the reality of the problems being investigated: research is conducted on real systems and with real users. Our flexible organization also provides diverse opportunities for employees and has positive implications on innovation culture and hiring ability.

Of course, this close integration also brings some risks with it. Being so close to the users and to the day-today activities of product teams, it is easy to get drawn in and miss new developments. I also encourage publication of research results, though I often get criticized for not publishing enough. One reason for this is that researchers at Appchin have multiple avenues for having impact.

Many of the world’s Computer Science research questions are of great relevance to Appchin. I also work with  flexible opportunities across the R&D spectrum for our team members. While our hybrid research model exploits a number of things that are particular to Appchin, we hypothesize that it may also serve as an interesting model for other technology companies.

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