Working at an Open Company
I’m relatively new to working at a software company in the valley. Before I came to Balanced, I was working as an entry level engineer at a medical device company. Partly due to strict FDA regulations, the medical device industry moves very slow and bureaucratically. I did a lot of paperwork while the executives were in closed door meetings trying to close deals. While I was working hard on a product that I knew would help people, I had never actually met a single end user.When I joined Balanced, I was suprised to learn about its open company policies.
Balanced is an open company externally.
New features and comments on existing service are constantly being discussed openly on our Github page. At any time, anyone has the ability to post new features or concerns and get real public feedback.
The other day, a customer wanted clarification on our policy regarding ACH Debits. Our CEO Matin was able to address the concern publicly. By promoting open discussion, it allows the company to really understand what the customers want and helps us guide our product planning.
International support is one of our most requested features. When we link our customers to that issue, they’re able to absorb all the discussion around the issue. Open discussion around our product is a great feature because it lowers all knowledge barriers. Everything is open to the public — new customers can research issues and understand why certain decisions were made. Open discussion also keeps Balanced accountable for its actions. Anything about our product is fair game for people to discuss.
One of our main projects is open source.
Another reason why Balanced can be considered an open company is evidenced by the fact that one of our main company projects is open sourced. When I applied to work at Balanced, I was given the task of fixing a bug or implementing a feature on our open source customer dashboard. A few pull requests later and I had pushed code to production, before I even started my first day
This past week, we held a technical talk open to the public where we discussed how we’re tackling building a nontrivial single page app using Ember.js. At the end of the talk, the speaker opened up his laptop and did some live coding where he hacked on our actual production app. By giving developers the source code to our dashboard, we’re giving them the flexibility to build and integrate whatever they want. This openness is not only appreciated by the community, but also helps our business grow as we make it easier for other companies to integrate with our services.
Balanced is an open company internally.
In addition to being an open company externally, Balanced is just as open internally. Every Friday, during our beer and humus (B&H) roundup, company progress and information are shared with everyone. Sometimes, the information includes company financial information that normally wouldn’t be shown to engineers or an intern. Everyone is given the chance to speak and we’re urged to ask about anything that is unclear or doesn’t make sense. There’s never been a question from an employee that our CEO Matin refused to answer.
I’m not sure how all of these open policies will scale as Balanced grows, but at the moment the policies seem to be working well. The open company policies promote accountability and transparency, two important qualities that every business should exhibit. I’m excited to see how the dashboard will evolve and curious to see how customers will integrate. Who knows, maybe Balanced will decide to open source their custom designed Hypermedia API framework?