When I was greeted by my shiny new MacBook Air on my first morning at Mobify, I could already tell this would be a very different work environment than my previous jobs, where they gave us giant, gray Dell towers. Off to a positive start!
After spending a relaxing few hours getting acquainted and setting up the dev environment , I was given my first task: ship code to production on the first day. The second was a little more challenging: develop a new feature to be presented to the entire company at the Friday all-hands meeting. Awesome, bring it on!
Mobify HQ is located near tons of great places to eat, and we take full advantage of it. Almost everyday, people are in our company chatroom trying to set up lunch crews. Every day for my first week I had lunch with a different department. This was a great way to meet everybody, not to mention getting a literal free lunch.
Soon I got to work on some bug fixes. Progress was a bit slow since I was dropped into a brand-new codebase but thanks to a helpful co-worker, I managed to ship on my first day. The fact that they are willing to make a new hire's code go live the first day shows how confident they are in their employees.
The next day we started talking about the new feature I would develop. The rest of the Platform development team had suggested creating an interactive dashboard where the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) could be aggregated and compared to see how well the company is performing. I did some research into a few products and eventually settled on Geckoboard, which integrated with various services we already used such as Google Analytics and Small Improvements.
The rest of my week was devoted to gathering data from different sources, such as how many people sign up for Mobify Cloud or how many websites use Mobify for mobile. Once I had the numbers I pushed them up to the dashboard. Sometimes this was as easy as using the built in Google Analytics widgets in Geckoboard. Other times I had to write database queries and interface with Geckoboard's API to push numbers to custom widgets. This forced me to learn the data layout of the system quickly.
Another teammate suggested that it would be cool to make a widget that would visit websites that were using Mobify and take screenshots so we could see the quality of websites that are being produced. I managed to get a MVP ready in time to present it to the company on my first Friday all-hands meeting.
All-hands meetings are held every Friday afternoon. They're used as a way to wind down, have a drink and foster communications between different teams in the company. For me, the best part was open discussion of challenges – anyone has a chance to jump in and give suggestions on how to solve problems and give feedback.
After my first week, I learned there was an HTML5 Developer conference in San Francisco that Mobify would be sending a few of developers to. I voiced my interest, not really expecting to go since I had literally worked a total of 7 days at Mobify. To my surprise I was nominated to go to the conference. Mobify sees a lot of value in these conferences as ways to soak up knowledge that can be shared with the rest of the company. This is a testament to how much Mobify invests in people – they see everybody's potential and help drive them towards it.
One thing I love about working on the Platform development team is the actual democracy. Our CTO works with us every day. He acts as the scrum master and drives meetings, but aside from that he's a regular team member. Everyone on the Platform team has an equal say in things. There's also more of a "beg for forgiveness" rather than "ask for permission" work philosophy, which I enjoy.
Outside of work, people organize lots of events or groups outside of work like trips to watch the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Magic card tournaments and poker nights, just to name a few.
We also have free kettlebell classes and yoga classes 4 days a week – great to work off all those lunches! It's great to see people investing money to promote a healthy work environment. There are also few better ways to build team spirit than surviving a gruelling kettlebell circuit together.
Mobify's hiring process was a bit more intensive than any other company I've interviewed for, but now I realize why. Everyone at the company fits very well together. They have a clear picture of the kind of culture they want to build, and a one hour interview is hardly enough to tell if someone will fit in well. Mobify is growing fast but as long as we remain devoted to nurturing this culture, it will continue to feel like a group of friends who happen to be working together.