A Cherished Opportunity

Having started a new company which has found a little traction and raised some money, I’ve found myself again in the position to staff up a company. My prior adventures in entrepreneurship have taught me that this moment is special — you never have the opportunity to define the culture as effectively as you do when you’re making your first few hires.

With my past company Yardsellr, I believe we did it right. Ask anyone who was there and you’d be hard-pressed to find folks who don’t feel substantial nostalgia for those days. As we built the company together (60+ people at its peak), we shared in the triumphs and celebrated well. And when things started going poorly, we cried together too. I realize it sounds cliche but it’s true: We were family. We owed our great culture in huge part to some of the earliest hires. Sometimes, I wonder if I was just lucky to have stumbled upon them. I certainly hadn’t devised some grand plan on culture planning, it just happened. I feel tremendously lucky that it turned out the way it did.

That experience reinforced something that I already knew — life is dramatically better when you work with people you really like and whose values you share.

In your job search and our search for candidates, let’s not leave it up to chance and just hope for the best. Instead, let’s get together and talk about what it would mean to be employee #1, 2 or 3. Of course you’ll have to answer interview-type questions too, but let’s make sure we spend just as much of our time discussing what we want it to be like working here. I know chatting about it thoughtfully might help lead to great success and an even greater source of happiness in our lives.

If any of this is appealing to you, reach out and let’s talk!

Danny Leffel
Co-Founder & CEO, Crew
danny@crewapp.com

PS. A little more about us and what we’re looking for is below.

About Crew
Crew is a productivity platform for iOS and Android that is geared to deskless workers. As a product manager and engineer, I have been on the receiving end of some killer productivity apps. Some of my favorites include Asana, Yammer and Slack. These apps have completely changed the way we work… unless you’re part of the half of the economy that doesn’t sit at a desk. Try using these apps 100% of the time on a mobile device and you’ll likely grow frustrated. Worse yet, these apps were imagined using the use cases of product managers and engineers, not bartenders, hotel workers, contractors or similar jobs. The existing apps are just too hard to use and fundamentally miss on solving the problems workers in these industries face.

Crew tries to take what we’ve learned about productivity for desk-bound workers and make that more compatible for other industries. Crew currently consists of multiple “modules”:
Messaging — Before using Crew, many of our users were using a mix of text messages and emails, with some using consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp and GroupMe. Crew makes messaging much easier by allowing a manager to add employees to a central directory, enabling employees to communicate without trading phone numbers (both a convenience and actually a safety concern in some companies).
Scheduling — Coordination around shifts is one of the top concerns in the businesses of many of our customers. Employees have shift schedules which can vary from week to week and employers get burned when shifts are busted (no-shows). Crew makes it easy to post the shift schedule and then coordinate shift swapping when necessary.
Task Management — Did you know that many restaurants have a “chore board” in the back? An actual chalkboard or piece of paper posted letting everyone know what has to get done today. A physical chore board!

We have new modules currently under development but what we’ve released thus far has already received a warm reception. Despite only having available for 3 months, Crew is growing very fast and is frequently ranked in the top 100 Business apps on both Google Play and iTunes. The traction we’ve gotten has helped us raise a seed round (unannounced).

What We’re Looking For
Our primary need is engineers. I really hate writing job reqs at this stage in a company’s life. I seriously doubt startups at our stage and even a bit bigger know EXACTLY what they need. I feel like job reqs encourage people who don’t fit nicely in one role to not apply, even though they might have the perfect temperament for chaotic startup life. Intelligent, driven generalists rule the roost at this stage. All that said, I’ll share a bit about our tech stack so you’ll get a sense for the kind of technologies you’d be working on.

Our backend is a highly automated deployment in EC2 that utilizes auto scaling along with many AWS features. Currently our client consist of an iOS, Android and Webapp utilizing a common infrastructure to communicate. The communication and data infrastructure is written in Node.js and Java (Spring) with heavy reliance on Mongo, Redis and ActiveMQ. This stack allows us to meet our goal of having a linear scalable application that targets zero downtime. The webapp is a Node.js Express application that utilizes Backbone, Require.js and Bootstrap to deliver a responsive and highly performant experience.