Postmates back-end engineer Zachary Lopez earned himself a manager title just 90 days after joining the on-demand delivery company.
“I saw a gap in support for our back-end engineering team and owned the problem,” Lopez said. “Three months after I started, I was promoted to manager.”
That was mid-2018. Since then, Lopez’s team has quadrupled in size, and he now leads a team of 32 developers.
While Lopez’s promotion and his team’s growth may seem rapid, it’s relatively common practice at scaling tech companies, where opportunities abound and employees are encouraged to own responsibilities before acquiring a new title.
Like Postmates, which continues scaling with roughly 40 open local positions, six other San Francisco companies are searching for techies like Lopez eager to advance and evolve in their roles. Insiders from each organization shared behind-the-scenes tidbits about their employers: what their company culture is like, the professional development opportunities available to them, and the coolest projects they’re working on.
What they do: Blend’s fintech platform for mortgages and consumer banking aims to decrease the time it takes for someone to secure a loan by as much as 50 percent.
Pick one word to describe your company: “Some of our core values include ‘organic,’ ‘passionate,’ ‘empathetic’ and ‘nurturing,’ or, ‘O.P.E.N.’” Engineering Group Manager Jyothi Potluri said.
“When I came in for my interview last fall, it was evident that Blend was a very O.P.E.N. organization. We’re full of motivated employees who are willing to share and learn. We’re passionate about Blend’s goal to democratize access to capital by bringing simplicity and transparency to consumer banking. While our bottom-up product development philosophy means many things, it mostly reflects our openness to ideas, people, technologies, solving difficult problems and making a difference.”
Our bottom-up product development philosophy reflects our openness to ideas, people and technologies.”
What professional growth or development have you experienced since joining Blend? “I had no fintech experience when I joined Blend,” Potluri said. “These past seven months have been a great learning opportunity to grow my understanding of the complex mortgage process, and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. My responsibilities have progressively increased and that, coupled with a nurturing environment, has promoted my learning and contributed to my professional growth.”
What they do: As an “urban logistics platform,” Postmates hosts and fulfills on-demand orders from consumers to stores and restaurants.
Pick one word to describe your company: “One word is too limiting, so we’ll go with our motto, ‘S.O.P.,’ which stands for speed, ownership and people,” said Zachary Lopez, an engineer lead. “Speed because Postmates is fast. We work a lot, and we’re fluid and flexible to changing circumstances, like when we implemented contactless dropoff and curbside pickup in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 and shelter-in-place regulations. Ownership because we look for people who own their work fully. And most importantly, people. I can ask anyone here for help. We support each other.”
We look for people who own their work fully.”
What professional growth or development have you experienced since joining Postmates? “I started in early 2018 and was promoted within three months to supervise the back-end engineers,” Lopez said. “Three months later, I took on a team of eight people, which we then doubled to 16 in the back half of 2018. Then we doubled that team again in the front half of 2019. All of this goes back to the three attributes, S.O.P, that represent the Postmates experience. After identifying areas that needed work, I was given the room and ability to add new team members. Now, we have a fully vertically integrated product engineering team under my purview.”
What they do: Hinge Health is combining wearable-sensor guided exercise therapy with one-on-one health coaching to provide patients with digital care for back and joint pain.
Pick one word to describe your company: “Driven. Trust and hustle are two of our values, and those who exemplify both are often highly motivated individuals,” said Lauren Dobias, a growth marketer. “Being surrounded by driven individuals enables our company to accomplish tasks in turnaround times that others wouldn’t even consider. Recently, our team was working on a plan for tests to run on a deployment two months away. An opportunity arose to test earlier on a different population, but that cut our prep time down from two months to one week. Our team effectively reprioritized, hustled, and had the plans ready in time for the early deployment. This kind of shifting and succeeding can be seen in teams across the company, all the way from hiring to releasing new programs.”
Being surrounded by driven individuals enables our company to accomplish tasks in turnaround times that others wouldn’t even consider.”
What professional growth or development have you experienced since joining Hinge Health? “I’ve been here for almost two years. I started on the client success team and have experienced and witnessed tremendous growth and transformation,” Dobias said. “The individual teams have been built out and reorganized, and completely new teams have been created. Our user acquisition growth strategy was a limited side part of my role on the client success team. As the need for more focus on that segment grew, we built out an entire team focused on user acquisition with appropriate resources, and now it’s my full-time focus. Hinge Health’s learn-it-all approach enabled me to build the skill set needed in the role change.”
What they do: Rippling’s platform helps businesses manage and automate everything HR like payroll, benefits and onboarding.
Pick one word to describe your company: “Ownership. Engineers at Rippling have a lot of autonomy and responsibility over a wide product area,” said Engineer Adam Donovan. “I’ve worked on projects that started with talking to customers, then identifying a problem, formulating a solution, deciding my own roadmap, and then executing on it and maintaining it. This level of visibility and impact is what early engineers or co-founders have — and it’s why a majority of Rippling’s senior engineers are former cofounders and CTOs.”
The challenge of scale has pushed the team and myself to focus on leverage and automation.”
What's the coolest project you've worked on recently? “Our identity management team has built integrations for over 400 applications, with a team that's a fraction of the size of our competitors,” Donovan said. “The challenge of scale has pushed the team and myself to focus on leverage and automation. We don’t build an integration; we build an abstraction layer that supports a whole category of integrations. Then we build an additional layer to make it easy to add more categories, and so on. Learning to focus on higher order leverage has made me a more effective engineer.”
What they do: Grand Rounds provides companies with a platform that connects their employees to health professionals, specialists and medical locations within their insurance networks.
Pick one word to describe your company: “Passionate. I had the privilege of working with Grand Rounds as an external vendor prior to joining the company, during which time I could see and feel its mission-driven culture as an outsider,” Victoria Khamsombath, a senior communications manager, said. “That attracted me to join the team full-time when a role became available. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with employees across all company functions and have seen how everyone at the company puts patients first in their day-to-day work. Every discussion begins and ends with our end users in mind, focusing on how we can make our members’ healthcare experience extraordinary.”
Every discussion begins and ends with our end users in mind.”
What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently? “When the pandemic hit the U.S., the level of clinical uncertainty was at an all-time high,” Khamsombath said. “There was so much the public didn’t know and an onslaught of misinformation. We saw an opportunity to share our clinical knowledge and perspectives on the unfolding events to help people more safely navigate pandemic challenges. With our leadership team, I quickly created a media strategy to ensure that as many people as possible could access our medical experts through both earned and owned media opportunities.
“Working hand-in-glove with our clinical leadership to “myth bust” and be a voice of reason during this historic moment has been inspiring, humbling and informative. Our Chief Medical Officer Ami Parekh and Epidemiologist and Medical Director Tista Ghosh — two super smart women of color — have the unique ability to wield influence in a style that is calming, reassuring and authoritative. I aim to channel that same style in my day-to-day work and in front of any audience.”
What they do: Clumio moves backup and recovery and data protection to a single service on the cloud for enterprise, public and private services.
Best phrase to describe your company: “Welcome to the Clumio family,’” Douglas Qian, a back-end technical staff member, said. “We say this to everyone on their first day for a reason. We support one another both professionally and personally. We celebrate our new parents by sharing baby pictures over Slack. At our Thanksgiving feast, the executive team serves us in turkey aprons as an expression of gratitude. When we hit platform issues, we have mentors and managers ready to help resolve problems.
“Once, after a particularly long night of debugging, I apologized to my manager for an issue I had caused. He smiled and replied, ‘It’s OK, as long as we’re learning.’ A core part of Clumio’s mission is developing an environment of growth and learning, and our family’s strong support system lays the foundation that makes this environment thrive.”
A core part of Clumio’s mission is developing an environment of growth and learning.”
What professional growth or development have you experienced since joining Clumio? “I’ve been at Clumio for almost a year now, but it feels like much longer when I reflect on my growth,” Qian said. “In my most recent project building our backup service for Amazon RDS, I worked closely with a core team of engineers, project managers and UX designers. I gained technical skills like designing scalable back-end systems and engaged in more strategic aspects of the project like determining priorities for customer-requested features. These experiences gave me a unique perspective into how enterprise software products are built and how they are conceived, packaged and sold.”
What they do: Monday.com supports more than 100,000 organizations with collaborative tools to manage projects, daily work routines and workflows across teams and departments.
Pick one word to describe your company: “Positivity,” Enterprise Account Manager Ernesto Salinas said. “Being in an environment that has a positive attitude and culture makes every aspect of my job easier because I love being here professionally and personally. My colleagues and I enjoy coming to work every day, which pushes us to work harder. Everyone is eager to help one another out no matter the size of the task. The ability to lean on each other for advice helps dissolve unnecessary tasks and makes for more efficient and successful work.”
The ability to lean on each other for advice helps dissolve unnecessary tasks.”
What professional growth or development have you experienced since joining monday.com? “I’ve only been with the company for a few months, but it feels much longer because I’ve gotten to know the team so well in such a short amount of time,” Salinas said. “I’ve realized how important it is to work for a company that pushes you to be your best self. They’ve provided me with all the tools that I need to excel in my role and are always encouraging us to attend company-wide trainings and workshops that enable me to grow my professional skills. On a personal level, even my closest friends and family have seen a difference in how much more content I am in my day-to-day work.”