As an unexpected result of years of sleepovers and chick flicks in the early 2000s, I am now sitting in a conference room called “That’s so Fetch”. Next door, there’s a phone booth titled “It’s October 3rd”. Towards the back of the office is “The Projection Room above the Auditorium”, although admittedly that one is pretty misleading. If these names aren’t ringing a bell, Tina Fey and I are incredibly offended and you should make a quick Netflix pitstop before continuing.
Because I firmly believe that high school melodramas can serve as analogies for pretty much every other aspect of life, read on to learn about Engineering Culture at Esper, as told through Mean Girls’ quotes.
On Wednesdays we wear pink
If you want every Wednesday to look the same, Esper may not be for you. Flexibility is one of the key things we look for on our team, and an attribute I feel is paramount to any small engineering org. An early stage company is an exercise in organized chaos. The best contributors are able to adapt to changing priorities, a wide range of technical issues, an evolving stack, and ever-shifting customer needs.
Over the past year, I’ve taken product calls from a cornfield in Missouri, gone from a frontend-hater to a decent React engineer, met with members of Congress, and learned more than I ever thought I’d know about regulatory policy. I’ve experimented, failed, and tried again. For me, it’s the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding engineering journey I’ve ever been a part of and the twists in the road are what keep it fun.
So you agree? You think you’re really pretty?
Being able to create a service, product or even a whole industry with just a laptop and an AWS account is pretty awesome. There’s no denying that engineers are critical to the success of a startup, but we believe the best engineers remain humble.
We all need support from our teammates, we all have areas of weakness, and we can all stand to learn a thing or two. I love working on a team where this is acknowledged, valued, and practiced regularly. Humility is something we pay close attention to in our interview and hiring process. The best Esper candidates believe that the best companies succeed as a team.
You go Glen Coco
If our friend Glen Coco was at a large corporation, he would likely be handed a very small feature. He would live in a particular area of the code base. He wouldn’t be heavily involved in user research, product decisions, developing deployment protocols, or gathering follow-up metrics for this feature. He definitely wouldn’t discuss business development strategy with the CEO, plan desk arrangements or host the company holiday party. Maybe Glen likes that. Or, maybe Glen would prefer an environment where he is engaged not only in the full lifecycle of a feature but in the full experience of building a company.
At Esper, engineers are involved in every step of the process, from becoming policy experts and supporting customers to product discussions and even taking out the recycling on Friday afternoons. If Glen wants this deep level of ownership and responsibility, he belongs at Esper. Good for you, Glen Coco. You go Glen Coco.
I’m not a regular engineer, I’m a mission-driven engineer.
Esper is a mission-driven company, and every member of our team is excited and motivated by the ability to have a real impact on how government functions. Each day, our work directly improves the efficiency and transparency of government, and that level of immediate, tangible impact can be hard to come by as a software engineer. Esper isn’t a business that has a social cause, our business IS our social cause.
Of course, we have all the bells and whistles of your typical tech startup — a trendy office location, a never-ending supply of La Croix, overexcited founders who give the conference rooms ridiculous names — but a lot of companies have that. What really sets our company apart is our dedication to the larger vision: improving how governments create public policy.
P.S. If any of the above resonates with you, you should consider working at Esper. Get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.