Joining Propeller: A Journey of Pleasant Surprises

Getting to know each other

If I’m honest, I had set some pretty high expectations for what I would experience when I started working at Propeller. I was excited to work on a product with huge untapped potential, disrupting an age-old industry with some really funky technology. But more than that, it was the values in practice because the interview process had been unlike any others I had been through.

The first ‘interview’ turned into a 2-hour chat with Rory (founder and CEO) on my balcony. It was fun. We talked about sustainability, history, family, squash, personal values and travel. And we ended the conversation not yet having talked much about my CV or Propeller, but keen to catch up again. Over the following weeks, I:

  • spoke to Arnold in the Talent team from my kayak
  • advocated for my spray-painted Crocs as my favourite product
  • facilitated a live MIRO session to work through a very real opportunity the team is currently faced with
  • had a phone chat with Mags (Head of Customer Success) while at my daughter’s soccer training
  • walked through my entire career to uncover the important choices I had made and why, and what I had learned along the way
  • introduced the CEO to my kids and was invited to the CEO’s home but ended up taking his dog for a walk. I’ve since learned there are a few dogs in the office — Stella (pictured) is the newest addition.
Me and Stella

Best Hackathon EVER

Even before I’d started, I was invited to a two-day hackathon, which included such spectacles as angle-grinding in the corner office, a construction site safety light hacked for strobe effect, a five-minute recited poem on the topic of ‘GPS Surface Spikes’, and a song about ‘drone surveying’ sung to the tune of This is the moment from the musical Jekyll and Hyde.

Hacking hardware, software, processes, culture, and everything else.

Ohana means family

When it came time for my first day, the fun rolled on. Midday came around on my first day and a gaggle of people began to form near the door. Someone said it’s lunchtime and literally the whole floor jumped up and joined the convoy. It felt like a family more than a workplace. Which it kind of is. No, really . . . later that week the CEO’s mum came into the office to run lessons on how to cook dumplings, and there was a function not long after which was held at the family farm out west. Everyone was there including partners, investors, customers, and future employees. The band arrived for their gig and a couple of the Engineering team members joined them on drums and guitar for a set. So I brought my electric drum set in to work the following week (apparently it “takes up too much space in the living room and I never play it”) — and we’ve set up a “Jam Nights” in the office.

Making a real impact on real people

Another thing that surprised me was the strength of the connection with customers. The team is always talking to customers — from day one, my calendar has been full of invites to join my team members in their friendly catch ups with customers. When I posted about my new role on LinkedIn, I was swamped with comments, likes, and personal messages from customers who love Propeller — with messages like “welcome from the fan club!” and “let’s catch up next time you’re in Colorado.” And I will — there’s a policy of free travel to Denver for anyone who wants to go over and spend time with the team over there. No “business reason” is required beyond the importance of maintaining awesome relationships and culture. I’ll make sure to report back again when I’ve had the chance to meet all our Denver team and customers. But right now, I need to run, I’m late for a product strategy brainstorm/squash game with my boss.




This is the home for blog articles from across our Product and Engineering team — the team, the challenges and the technologies. We are based out of Sydney, Australia but located across the world. We are always hiring — check out our open roles here or reach out to us directly.

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Richie Hadfield

Richie Hadfield

Leadership | Product & Platform Development | Business Strategy | Non-Profit

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