A Scientist? At a Start-Up? Meet Nitronaut Alexy Khrabrov

Meet Alexy Khrabrov: Inspiring innovation via research. Lead developer evangelist. Top tinkerer on skunkworks projects. In other, shorter, words, Nitro’s new Chief Scientist. We’re excited to bring Alexy onboard, so we did what any excited people would do: pepper him with questions about his role!


How do you see the role of the Chief Scientist at Nitro?

Creating even more convenient and efficient workflows for customers requires scalable technology on the cloud backend, reactive apps, and advanced data mining. My role will be to enable us to make it happen.

You’re very accomplished – why did you choose to come to Nitro?

Clearly I’m very into Scala [Ed note: Alexy is the organizer of SF Scala!] and Nitro is the most exciting company in the Scala community right now. So the choice was easy.

What is the advantage of using Scala for the Nitro platform?

Scala is versatile, functional, and allows developers to write clear and concise code. It’s the best way to create a long-lasting, extremely valuable codebase that is easy to reason about and build upon. Plus, Scala is a self-selecting technology – it is the best engineers who aspire to learn and work with it. Because we believe in learning at Nitro, you can make a great Scala programmer of a great non-Scala programmer (and if you’re either one, come join us!).

What do you find most exciting about the innovation around smart documents.

When a document becomes a PDF, it almost always means it’s important (contracts, business plans, financial reports, etc.) – documents that create and drive a business. Imagine a world where each of these documents comes in an intelligent workflow helping you to write itself and make sure it is correct and meaningful. Now that requires some science, technology, and awesome teams worldwide to achieve — and I want to get there.

Do you have any ideas you want to explore in the document space?

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with documents. For example, if someone sends you a contract, unless you are a lawyer (and even if you are), how do you know you’ve paid attention to every important detail? How does the sender know you did? How can we quantify your attention and measure the effort spent on individual parts of the document? Imagine that you have to sign a legal contract. First it lists all of your obligations, and then your partner’s. But right before listing all that is due to you, someone inserted a clause: “everything below applies only if you are a zebra”. Now if you don’t pay attention, you’re not going to receive anything. In reality suspicious clauses may be less obvious, but their effects may be similar. What if we can detect them? Amazing.

Any final fun tidbits about you?

My wife and I use every opportunity to load our four kids into the van and drive and to the great outdoors, visiting national parks all over the West.

And that, in a nutshell, is our new Chief Scientist. His intellect, experience, and talent are a huge asset to Nitro – and to documents as a whole. We can’t wait to see what happens with him on board. To learn more about Alexy, you can connect with him on Twitter @ChiefScientist and visit http://www.meetup.com/SF-Scala/ 

Interested in joining the best and brightest in tech? Check out the open positions at Nitro.