I interviewed a remote candidate recently over Google Meet for a software engineering position.

I asked him a simple question that involved sorting an array with a fixed range of integers.

He first suggested using merge-sort, quick-sort, heap-sort, etc… Basically all the O(nlog(n))) or O(n²) algorithms. Which is normal but not exactly what I was looking for.

However, I wanted him to come up with the O(n) solution and suggested he look for a faster algorithm given the constraints.

He said he didn’t know any more algorithms. Which is ok, because I wanted him to think through the problem, even…


Make sure you don’t hire engineers with “shiny object syndrome”.

What is that?

It’s when an engineer gets easily distracted by every cool new technology, framework, trend, or library that comes out and wants to include that into what they’re working on just because it’s the “cool new thing” everyone is using.

We hired an engineer like this in our early days at FiscalNote. He was a true hacker but would always get distracted and wander off checking out other libraries and modules on Github instead of building features for our clients!

In one instance, around the time when TypeScript…


The first iteration of our platform started as most startup MVPs do — as a single Ruby on Rails application. However, as the platform continued to add new features for legislative tracking and analysis and grew more complex, we realized a need to revamp our platform for scalability and modularity. In an effort to do so, we chose to strongly delineate server-side and client-side code by introducing Ember.js to our stack. Ember allowed us to separate the computational engine and database behind our platform from the actual application our clients love. However, Ember was not the only framework we considered…

Jonathan C. Chen

Co-Founder @FiscalNote

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