(SPOT.ph) “Am I seriously the only woman in this room?” It’s a question Anne Aaron would find herself asking when she’s in a room of 30 engineering leaders. And unfortunately, “yes” would usually be the answer.
Aaron is the Director of Video Algorithms at Netflix. It's about to sound complicated, but no, she doesn't work in a futuristic episode of Black Mirror (even if she does work for Netflix). “My responsibilities include hiring and managing software engineers and research scientists, strategic decision-making on software architecture and research, project management, and cross-team coordination,” she shares.
She’s basically in charge of making sure that whatever you’re watching—from the latest episode of Queer Eye to an old episode of Friends—looks good. And good means it doesn’t matter what device or what kind of Internet connection you have; even if you're on a smartphone with a frustratingly slow 3G connection, it’ll still look as good as it possibly can.
“We want to make sure that you’re enjoying the story and not distracted by bad video quality,” Aaron says. She and her specially chosen team do this through coding and research. “We do this by writing the software that encodes video to the best quality possible, and conducting cutting-edge research to keep getting better.”
Aaron’s job is no small feat, either. She also represents Netflix in international standardization groups, which lets her travel around the world to speak with other companies so they can work on technologies related to video and image coding. She’s also been recognized as one of the most powerful female engineers of 2017 by Business Insider and she’s all the more humbled by the acknowledgement of her work. “I don’t normally feel so ‘powerful’—my job is making videos look better. But I appreciate the recognition.”
But as a Filipino making huge strides in the entertainment and tech industry—at a time where immigration is always a hot topic and in a world where the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements exist and women have to work twice as hard only to earn less than men—it’s actually an incredibly big deal.