10 RiteTag interns share why their internship with RiteTag did not entail working for nothing.
Below my introduction, former interns from the first summer we offered an internship program (2014) share what they got from their time with us. Updated at the bottom with video interviews, case studies, press and how to learn about and apply for our internships.
Why intern with a bootstrapped startup like RiteTag?
We’re like a family. — Alex Devero, RiteTag Front-End Lead
We take care of our people. — Saul
There are big brothers and there are little brothers and sisters. Soon enough I’m sure there will be a big sister; it just hasn’t happened yet. In interviews, in my own kind of transparency, I tell people about us and promise to share even more on the struggle that is the startup life, when they come aboard.
To begin with, I tell people that as the RiteTag founder and CEO, I used to see myself as the father. After three years of doing this, and despite cutting out what didn’t work, and doing more of what does work, I think now that I’m more like the grandfather or, maybe the listening mother, even — and Michal (CTO) is more like the tough but fair father in our family.
When communicate on tasks in Asana (the cloud-based project management service we use) and in Google Drive documents, it’s all development and business; when we speak in person and in video calls, we go back and forth between making development decisions and joking, talking about our lives and the looming personal matters that the team needs to know about. Much of these things, they actually are not so need-to-know. We share as friends, though.
I want to share with you what it’s like to work with our team, and what you should expect to learn and to start or re-start an engineering career with. I will finish with words from people whose words mean the most: our past RiteTag interns, our alumni.
If you have tried our site, mobile app and/or browser extension, you know that we empower people with the information they need to make informed decisions on how they craft their social media updates. This is a continual pursuit, and it is a fun challenge for our engineers who build the extension, site and mobile apps.
Interns begin by reading our documents that cover our communications, development protocol, and then select a small task to begin with. As they show that they can tackle more, learn technologies and do the research needed to do things they’ve never done before, people have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best problem-solvers and coding/design creatives I have ever known. Learn how we divide mini-projects, tap into the best in each other and out-do goliaths with hundreds to thousands of times the financial resources at our disposal.
While you may go on to a rich funded startup with a “burn-rate,” you’ll be the better for learning to get things done with next-to-nothing. The founders are experts at this.
The career boost factor
You will apply for many internships, and probably invest more time into studying the company when you get their reply to your email, once they’ve studied your C.V. and work samples. Before we speak, you have probably found enough on us to see that RiteTag is getting the press, the accolades, and with the time invested in our API documentation, you know already that we are not goofing off. You are probably fairly confident before you even speak with any of us that if you get an opportunity with us, you will not be wasting your time.
If you are considering a number of internships, please do this: find out who a number of past interns have reported to and read the recommendations they’ve given in LinkedIn. One of the greatest honors that comes with my position is the ability to help those who have completed internships with us go on to do far greater things. Part of this is a letter of recommendation, which is delivered on our letterhead and also in posted to the social profiles that the intern wants it to appear on. As for the rest of what we do, you’ll need to ask us. We go to lengths, and it can get almost embarrassing. The things you do for family…
Founder & CEO at https://ritetag.com
I will now share the advice of some of our past interns. I asked them several questions, and got a range of replies, from brief to very detailed.
RiteTag Alumni, on unpaid internships
Sarabjot Kohli: Engineering
Current Employer: PopSugar
Experience: RiteTag, Netmax Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Education: State University of New York at Buffalo / MS Computer Science Engineering
1. Before joining the team you were already educated, experienced and certainly had ample job/internship opportunities before joining RiteTag. What was appealing enough about the RiteTag project that made you consider an unpaid position with us?
I always wanted to keep myself moving forward and make the best use of any opportunity that came my way, and if you had to get some experience that would give you the best worth for your time, joining a startup is one of them. Ritetag was one of the opportunities that I felt could give me what I was looking for. My aim was always to learn as much as I can and with that Ritetag proved to be one of the golden opportunities that I could have ever experienced. It was an opportunity to be a part of a terrific idea that was turning into reality.
2. What can you say about the people you worked with? What did they do in efforts to ensure that you benefited from your experience with working with us?
The people at Ritetag were the best part of the whole internship process. My experience in web development was just about the basics of HTML and PHP, though by the end of it, I considered myself to be able to write a clean web code. Starting from beginner tasks and slowly moving on to the tough ones, I picked up new things as well as learnt from my mistakes. Throughout that process I was constantly guided by other members of the team. Sending them a quick message with a problem and getting back a video chat to solve it, was one of the most common ways we used to work around our common assigned tasks, and for me that has been one of the major reasons that I could learn at a much faster pace.
3. Did the founders give you opportunities to advance in responsibilities and authority within the RiteTag organization?
The founders were always open to new ideas and were always motivated to introduce new features that could help the product grow. That being said, the responsibility of taking out those ideas and make them practically working was something that was carried out mostly by the interns. The founders were always available for the guidance and help us understand how things would be setup. That made us see ourselves growing and improving day by day.
4. How did the founders encourage and also enable you to develop your leadership strengths? Did they offer to support you, when they suggested sub-projects that they wanted you to take on, and people that would report to you?
As mentioned above, the founders and other team members were always helpful and supportive. Any project that I was assigned, it used to be well explained and if not, they used to take out their time to explain it to us. Sometimes some new features were a result of a fun hackathon that helped in learning about how to teamwork and put in valuable participation.
5. What advice would you have for someone who wants to get the experience, the credit, a recommendation and a huge career boost from working on a project that gets a healthy amount of positive press and is probably the most inventive company in the social media optimization field?
To anyone who wants to have an experience where he can get a real time experience of seeing a product rising in the social media world, and see his contribution be a part of it, Ritetag could be your platform. It is something that not only adds up your knowledge and improves your skills but even helps you have an added benefit for your job search. The technologies that Ritetag is developed on are one of the most widely used and popular technologies that currently have a huge demand in the IT industry. The browsers we use today are continuously being updated and made more powerful, things tend to becoming more user oriented and hence user design and user experience has become the important part of almost every product. Hence Web Development has taken its course and has surely proven to be a great career for many engineers and Ritetag can definitely give you that boost you would need to make a good place in this sector.
6. In interviews or the application process for what you went on to after RiteTag, were you/do you get asked about your work on our project? Did you feel that your internship with us was attractive to prospective employers — in what ways and to what extent?
My internship at Ritetag was the sole reason that I managed to get a job at another company. My experience and the technologies that I learnt at RItetag, were all a part of my resume as well as the job description that was mentioned. They called me for an interview and asked about my experience, how did we work and it did impress the interviewers as Ritetag works in its own unique way and remotely. It was easy enough for me to tackle the questions that were asked and explain the workflow we followed while working with our tasks and all that just made my things easier. Had I not have been a part of Ritetag, cracking the interview could have been a pretty tough job for me.
George Konstantakapoulus: Strategy Advisor
Current Employer: Telcom Networks, Manchester Social Entrepreneurs
Experience: RiteTag, elaunchr, Galoo/Misi.co.uk, Incio SEO Agency/Masters in Entrepreneurship
Education: Manchester Business School The potential and the project focus. Having used hashtags to grow my personal branding in twitter (@konstant_g) and as part of BEng dissertation, I knew ritetag was a very good fit for me. Having talked with the founder (you) I saw that there is an open-minded approach to idea generation and feedback. All this combined made me jump on board!
[I joined] to add value and express ideas. All of them had an open-minded approach and have been working in great projects. As I got to know them better my respect kept growing for them as I would always find something about a ‘cool’ project they have been involved with. More I interacted with them more I learned about how to project manage. A thing that really pushed me to find solutions is the diversity and world spread of the team. We had to align ourselves while having 1 to 15 hours difference, and we managed to actively collaborate! Overall there is a great team working behind ritetag. From my first interaction with the team I understood that they valued much my input. I always do my best.
Definitely! I had an open line with the CEO any time I wanted and he was always there to give me feedback and provide me with ideas and responsibilities on what to do next.
I had the chance to work as a team leader with a team of five people working all together with focus to improve the value communication for ritetag. This came relatively fast after my introduction to the founding team. I believe it was both a result of my skills and their belief to support and grow strong personalities in their team that could make decisions for ritetag to grow in the best possible way.
Be open minded, acknowledge your faults and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to express your ideas, there is no such thing as a bad ideas there are ideas that have value and are feasible and ideas that don’t have value and/or are not feasible. Your ‘bad’ idea might spark another idea that will be valuable and feasible! Trust your guts and accept feedback and criticism, it’s the only way to improve.
Deniz Ece Aktan: Engineering
Current Employer: Piksel Inc.
Experience: RiteTag, Digitelematica, Tart New Media
Education: Politecnico di Milano / M.S. Computing Sytems (Data Engineering)
I was born in Izmir/Turkey. I did my bachelors in a double degree program between Istanbul Technical University and State University of NY (Binghamton) in Information Systems Engineering. Currently I am finishing my masters in Engineering in Computing Systems in Politecnico di Milano in Italy and also working as a Java developer in Piksel SRL in Milano.
Working distantly with talented engineers in all over the world, communicating, source code sharing, implementing the same project was something that I haven’t experienced before, and I thought it would provide me the opportunity to practice my developing skills as well as communication, collaboration and team-work.
Michal and Pavel were very responsive everyday almost 24 hours, and more than willing to help me with all of my questions and problems. They were easy to communicate with, and in my first days they explained me in detail everything that I needed to know about working distantly (asana, bitbucket, rules for the team).
They gave me the credentials to access the source code of the rest api and the databases, so I had the chance to examine the design, structures of them. The founders tried to keep me motivated with different and interesting kind of tasks that I can improve myself during the implementation.
They valued my perspective of looking, asked my ideas for solutions of different problems and even for the enhancement of RiteTag. So I had the chance to come up with new, creative ideas, put them to the evaluation of the team.
To someone who has these requests, I would comfortable telling them that joining the RiteTag team would be a good step to take. For using their creativity, improving in practice, experiencing working and being mentored by talented and bright engineers, getting the appreciation and being dignified for their work.
Working in a young, dynamic start-up company makes a pretty good effect on the possible future employers. Plus showing that you are able to handle working distantly, you prove the your technical skills and your ability to use code version control systems, code management/sharing tools, as well as the quality of your communication and teamwork skills. These covers pretty much all the main features that employers are seeking for and doubles your CV/resume’s value.
Sumeet Dhariwal: Engineering
Current Employer: Paytm
Experience: RiteTag, Active Gaming Media, spyders.in, Samsung Electronics
Education: NIT Hamirpur / B.S. Computer Science and Engineering
Ritetag was working on an interesting problem plus running the company in bootstrapped mode for quite a long time was a good indication that founders are pretty serious to make their startup work.
Founders are very humble and cooperative. They give you enough responsibility as well as freedom depending on your capability.
Yes. So the more productive you are, more authority you get to handle things for the project.
Yes. Founders are very receptive to new ideas and if you show enthusiasm backed with actions, they will let you work on a new idea.
So anyone who is looking to learn how actually a bootstrapped startup works and learn how to hustle to make things work, Ritetag is a great opportunity.
Yes, so if you do some substantial contribution during your period, even if you get an unpaid internship, it will show your enthusiasm to learn new things to your prospective employer.
Jack Simpson: PR/Marketing
Current Employer: Web Applications UK Ltd
Experience: RiteTag, eLaunchr
Education: The Manchester Metropolitan University / B.A., English and Creative Writing
In retrospect, I can say that RiteTag is a unique and incredibly rewarding and exciting opportunity. The electric atmosphere on the ground floor of a start-up can’t be found anywhere else.
What appealed to me in particular about RiteTag is the flexibility it offers. You can fit your work in and around existing commitments, and what a fascinating project to be able to list on your resumé.
I’ve worked with a lot of start-ups. There’s a functional insanity that comes with being an entrepreneur, and the passion of the people around you at a project like RiteTag is dangerously infectious. You’ll learn that belief in something plays a key role in its chances of success.
A lot of attention was paid to my development, and I found people taking an active role in me learning and getting better at my role, which is rare to find, even in established careers.
I would say my experience at RiteTag grew me personally as well as professionally. I learnt how to benefit from taking chances. I also learnt an awful lot of practical knowledge in a short space of time that has proved invaluable to my career.
Absolutely. In fact, Saul’s faith in my ability bolstered my professional self-confidence. He was happy to let me see how far I could push myself, and I found myself being handed sub-projects and extra tasks to work on. Consequently I am more confident taking the lead on a project at work, and delegating tasks.
Going back to my broken analogy of being on the ground floor; there’s no such thing as a glass ceiling at a start-up. With RiteTag, there is a unique opportunity to define what you want to make of your role, and who knows how far the right person can take that kind of opportunity?
I’m not a fan of basketball, and definitely not a fan of cheesy quotes, but Kevin Durant said ‘hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard’. It’s true, and I wish I’d put that into practice more at RiteTag. In my professional career, I’ve learnt it the hard way.
As I’ve said, RiteTag is a flexible, innovative organisation. You’d have nothing to lose. Go at it with an open mind and a good attitude.
My work with RiteTag is one of my CV’s quirks. Before I got my current job, interviewers often asked about it and I found it was what made me stand out.
Try saying: ‘I worked with an innovative international start-up. I stayed up until 3am so I could conference call with colleagues in Prague, London, the east coast of the United States, and Osaka, Japan. I took the lead and contributed on meaningful projects, and made a difference.’ Jack W. Simpson @jw_simpson
Writer/Creative. PR/Marketing guy in Tech. Still reading books.
Han Zhen Liu: PR/Marketing
Current Employer: Touch Adventures
Experience: RiteTag, American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem
Education: Shibaura Institute of Technology / B.S., Biomedical Engineering
Bio: Majored in biomedical engineering, Han is currently working as an UX designer for a boutique app developer. During his time in RiteTag, he learned about startup growth, SEO, and social media marketing.
I had just graduated and was looking to explore different field. RiteTag offered me the flexibility of working from home, and an insightful look into startups and marketing.
Saul hosted weekly meetings and he was very inclusive in listening to our opinions. He shared his experience working in the field, both the rewarding and the deflating.
Yes. But due to the difficult combo of an international team + startup environment, it is difficult for everyone to be on the same page at all time. Yes, the founders were receptive to new ideas.
I’d recommend this experience to people with specific goals in mind; such as experiencing startups, learning more about marketing and PR, or networking/business development. For me, RiteTag was a project that was both creatively enticing and challenging.
If employers didn’t ask me, I told them. They definitely appreciated my diverse work experience.
Ankit Jaggi: Engineering
Current Employer: UPES CSI Student Chapter
Experience: RiteTag, IRCTC, UPES CSI Student Chapter
Education: University of Petroleum & Energy Studies / B.Tech., Computer Science
The main reason why I chose RiteTag was the product that they were working on. RiteTag is one of the most innovative social media startups. Twitter has always attracted me and RiteTag was giving me direct access to lay my hands on it. I had my initial thoughts about how the internship would turn out to be but the first interview with Saul allowed me to take my decision and joining RiteTag.
RiteTag is made up of people who are not only experts in their work area but also are very supportive. Saul, the CEO and Michal, the CTO form the crucial part of the team and are the most cooperative duo I have ever met. They not only encourage you to experiment but also discuss with you on how the product can be made better.
Starting on a new project or internship is tough, you need time to get well versed with the workflow and how things are done. But, the team made it very easy for me.
Saul helped me in improving my organisation as well as entrepreneurial skills. Michal was instrumental in making me more technically sound and guiding me through all the technical stuff.
All my questions were answered in such a quick short span of time that my work never got delayed. Even when I was not able to complete my work on time, Saul always gave me more time and never complained.
My experience at RiteTag taught me some great skills and has helped me ever since.
Saul believes in people and their abilities. I was given an opportunity to lead the other interns at a time when the CTO was unavailable. Even though I had no prior experience in managing such kind of work, Saul told me that I could do it. At a later time, when new interns joined the company, I was given the responsibility of supervising them.
Michal, before going on a break, was instrumental in teaching me the work that had to be done in his absence. Both Saul and Michal used to talk to me and give me insights about the qualities of a leader and how to grow your leaderhsip skills.
When I decided to work on the Twitter Influencers mini-project, they really appreciated the idea and helped me in researching APIs and gave me all the details that I required.
I faced many problems while dealing with new interns and supervising them. But they helped me pass every hurdle with ease.
Choose “RiteTag.” This company will help you get the experience you are looking for in the startup space. If this is your first internship or your third, you will certainly be learning be new things which will excite you. Even when you would have finished your internship, you will feel a strong connection to the people at RiteTag, because the team are not just your work mates, they feel like your friends. This is one of the most fully loaded internships available, so don’t miss out.
I was an intern at RiteTag during the summer of 2014. After that time, I have given over 30 interviews for internships. The first question that is asked by the interviewer is about the projects that I worked on RiteTag. What was its importance, how its implementation was done? If there is a live project that you have worked on and you can show a live demo of it, the interviewers are bound to be impressed.
Majority of the interviewers were interested in the project management work that I had done at RiteTag and how had it helped me. Working in a distributed team was also a plus point they were looking for.
I am Ankit Jaggi. Currently studying Computer Science at UPES, Dehradun, India. I am greatly interested in working on new technologies. I am currently working on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and integrating it to the Web. I am actively looking for an internship for the summer of 2015. To know more about me, visit http://ankitjaggi.com or mail email@example.com@live.in
Joeleen Moy: PR/Marketing
Current Employer: Office Furniture Heaven
Experience: RiteTag, Spot Dessert Bar, Checkers Drive In Restaurants, Inc.
Education: Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) (current student)
As a student, there are so many internships and job opportunities that offer valuable experience in a particular field. However, RiteTag offers hands-on, practical, experience and knowledge in a wide range of fields. The experience of working with RiteTag is invaluable. I learned practical skills in public relations, customer service, marketing, social media, SEO, and project management, just to name a few.
The RiteTag team is great and great to work with. Saul is a powerhouse and full of business knowledge. His passion for RiteTag is contagious and incredibly inspiring to work under. Saul took the time to guide me through my first few days and was available to offer assistance whenever it was needed. He was also focused on offering the “complete” internship experience and made sure the projects I worked on would give me functional skills that I would use in the future.
I use the skills and tools I’ve learned at RiteTag everyday at work.Saul is also great at incorporating everyone on the the team and is especially receptive to individual personalities and skills.
In my case, Saul saw my interest in creating visual content, and with his help and guidance, I was able to work with another intern and create infographics for RiteTag. During my time at RiteTag, I was able to work side by side with an amazing, diverse team that pushed and encouraged me.
If you’re thinking about interning for RiteTag, go for it. The experience is invaluable and the team is amazing to be a part of. Its a labor of love, and it may take you out of your comfort zone, but everything you have to gain from RiteTag is amazing. RiteTag gives you practical training and knowledge in a broad range of areas that will be applicable wherever you go.
My time at RiteTag definitely gave me a competitive edge in interviews and applications. Because the experience here is so comprehensive, there’s so much to talk about with recruiters and interviewers. The experience at RiteTag emulates the entrepreneurial spirit that employers are looking for. There aren’t many college sophomore that are well versed in SEO, startup culture, and social media analytics. RiteTag was the factor that pushed me to the next round in many cases.
Joeleen Moy: I am a second year Macaulay Honors Scholar at Baruch College, currently pursuing a BA in Business/Graphic Communications. I am passionate about creating visual content, marketing, and branding.
Flora Pan: PR/Marketing
Current Employer: Teaching Awards Committee
Experience: RiteTag, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, First Markham Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
Education: The University of Western Ontario (current student)
I liked that it was a startup and the team was small enough that communication was thorough and easy.
We were also not tied to a certain role that we started in, but were given freedom to move around and shape it as we find out the kind of work we enjoy doing.
Saul was incredibly transparent and thorough with his directions and goal setting for RiteTag, which made things a lot more concrete and easy to work through. The marketing team had lots of energy and the developers worked hard to push out new features to improve the RiteTag product.
When I first started, I told the founders that I had no experience in writing blogposts with a call-to-action, but they didn’t use that to limit my responsibilities in the company. After only a week of observing, I was allowed to craft my very own, which ended up being a big success. I was also given admin access to all the social media accounts very early on and trusted that I would contribute positively to the team.
During my time as an intern, I got an opportunity to work on a promotional video for the API that was being developed. It was my first time doing a voice over but the team was very supportive and patient with me. They didn’t mind the back and forth that had to happen and frequently gave words of encouragement.
There are definitely many opportunities within RiteTag, but you would have to be open to them and be committed. Since the company is tight-knit, having a good working relationship with all staff is extremely important, and to do that you need to be transparent in your communication. You will get to try many different things if you are willing to work hard and ask for it.
I feel my experience at RiteTag has opened me to more opportunities in the communications field.
Although my internship was primarily in marketing, I was able to hone my writing skills through creating blogposts for the website every week. Prospective employers will be able to look at my experience and see that I have put my communications skills to work and there is something to show for it.
BIO: Flora Pan is a biology student at Western University with a strong interest in communications and journalism. She is currently working as a freelance writer who specializes in topics such as health, science, and lifestyle. Currently she is learning play the ukulele and Korean. To contact her to chat or for business inquiries, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua Kidd: Engineering
Current Employer: Folsom Creative, g33kidd.com
Experience: RiteTag, GetQd
Education: Garden City High School
When I was able to join the RiteTag project I was mainly excited to learn new things from the team and to build something useful. RiteTag was definitely one of the most code-heavy projects I have worked on and it was exciting to me. Being able to work on something that was live, had a lot of users, and data was something that really changed the way I look at things today. I learned from my mistakes on what I didn’t do right and I think that made me a better person and developer today.
The team I worked with was awesome. They always were able to help me out if I had a question.
I was in school at the time. I wish I could go back and do it over again and I would have definitely stayed with RiteTag.
Saul was a great help to me in strengthening my leadership skills and most importantly I learned a lot about startups. He was always there to answer my questions and helped out whenever he could on side-projects or sub-projects of RiteTag.
My main advice would be to not give up and make the project your #1 priority.
Bio: I’m a Full-stack developer at Folsom Creative in Colorado. I’ve been a developer for about 6 years.
2016 Update: intern video interviews & much more!
Shashank Bharadwaj, RiteTag’s first Director of Mobile Development discusses how we built his team, the Crafter project, and how he springboarded from his internship with RiteTag directly into his current role as the Lead Engineer at WorkGenius (SanFran).
José Nieto was in the middle of a career resurrection, and chose our internship to learn and to open doors. He became our first Android Lead within weeks of starting his internship at RiteTag.
Sarabjot Kohli: “I got my BTech in Punjab and my MS at SUNY and was getting no on-sites for anything I studied; I got hired for web development, though the only place I did web development was in my RiteTag internship.”
Joeleen Moy, PR/Marketing Intern (from our very first year of an internship program) shares what it’s like to “ get “scrappy” and be willing to learn under the direction of a passionate startup leader.”
Shwetha Simakumar, PR/Marketing Intern, 2016, shares how to find an internship that’s worth your time, how she made her choice, and what it was like doing PR and Community work when we divided RiteTag into RiteForge/RitePush/Rite.ly and rolled at the all-new RiteTag.
Case Studies: customer success stories
An indie game studio and social media marketing by Galyna Ievdokymenko (PR/Marketing Intern, 2016)
How I Boosted Attendance 1,760% Through Social Media Optimization by Kristin Drysdale (PR/Marketing Intern, 2016)
“Hey, who’s heard of RiteKit? Are they, like, known?”
For latest press on RiteTag and quotes from RiteTaggers, see RiteTag PR.