The realisation was sudden when Vinoth asked me whether I've completed my second year in Yahoo! I'd completed precisely two years the day he asked. The two years were excellent and eventful.
On December 15, 2003, I joined Yahoo! as an intern. In the next few days was the year end party at "Club Cabana." I was pleasantly surprised that Jayanthi had arranged for my year-end gift - a music player - even though, they couldn't have planned one for me. After a full day of celebrations at Club Cabana, there were cultural events and I was merrily competing with the person seated next to me for the chicken pieces that were being passed around. Only when the awards ceremony came did I learn that this person was the CEO!
Soon after the chicken episode, I contracted chicken pox and was sick for over a month. When I returned, I was told that interns do not have the unlimited sick leave that employees do. I'd expected this a priori. But, two days later Jayanthi comes and tells me that they've decided to pay me the full stipend although I'd worked for merely 5 days or so!
Around the month of May, I'd developed a search-related hack (we don't have a 20% limitation :p) and was surprised to see the CEO coming down to my desk to see that. He offered several practical suggestions, I was looking at him wonderstruck. This is one of the biggest things that I feel extremely happy about - people are respected and every bit of their work is recognised. Soon after, on May 18, 2004, I was crossing the road and met Sridhar (then COO, now here) at the MG Road median. As we were waiting to cross the other lane, Sridhar asks casually if I'm taking up the offer from Yahoo! That was truly Yahoo!-style. I do not how many people got their job offers while crossing a road. I could only stammer "wh-y n-o-t?". On my request, they handed me the offer letter the next day and that became a perfect anniversary gift for my parents who were entering their 25th year together.
The next Monday, I became a full-time Yahoo! and was greeted with balloons tied to my cube walls and a basket full of chocolates at my desk. And ever since, it has been fun throughout. The organisation has grown more than three-fold here, but the basic culture has been organically maintained even while assimilating the increased diversity. The fun was all the more great when we worked on "cutting edge" technologies (literally) with hack saws and the drill-bit that our manager had brought for setting up a team stall for a recent internal event.
It's amazing to see how conversations that happen in the gym, lunchtable, or the corridor or rants vented out in random mailing lists result in newer products or features. An example would be how a lunchtable conversation with this "Big Guy" led him to staff a hack project. Also, having been in several teams, many of them horizontals, I'd had a chance to wow at the Life Engine that Yahoo! is.