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#HSonAir Podcast: Employee Spotlight Series- Chris Dickens (Product Management)

IMG_9666In Episode 68 we continue our Employee Spotlight Series with an interview of Chris Dickens, (@_ChrisDickens) Technical Product Manager at Hearsay Social in our Seattle office. In our interview, Chris shares his early influences in technology, insight on the work he does today, and his thoughts on the future of the industry.  We also explore his love for problem solving and the need to take risks in order to grow and improve.
I invite you to be part of the conversation with me  @victorgaxiola on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to   I also invite you to “like” our podcast  page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.
WE ARE HIRING? If you are interested in finding out what exciting positions are available, please visit our careers page on our website.

#HSonAir Podcast: Highlights from the Grace Hopper Celebration with Joyce Jang and Kristin Thompson

IMG_9573In Episode 65, Joyce Jang (@_joycejang) and Kristin Thompson (@kmthompson) of our Engineering team, share the highlights and key takeaways from the Grace Hopper Celebration (#GHC15) that drew over 12,000 attendees this year. The podcast builds on their recent blog post Women In Tech: The Power of Support, Resilience, and Celebrating Our Successes” and explores the themes of: diversity, negotiations, the power of personal branding, and the importance of empowering women to support each other and celebrate successes. We hope you enjoy this engaging conversation!
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to We also invite you to “like” our  page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


#HSonAir Podcast- Employee Spotlight Series: Yahui Jin and Roger Hu (Product/Engineering)

Roger Hu and Yahui Jin
Roger Hu and Yahui Jin

The Hearsay Social story may have begun with Clara and Steve, however realizing the vision meant hiring others who shared the same passion, drive and commitment to create something special.  In episode 59 we interview Yahui Jin, Mobile Tech Lead and Roger Hu, Director of Engineering, to share their stories of the early days at Hearsay Social.

Together we discuss how Hearsay Social has evolved over the years, the joy that comes with making a difference, and how we’ve managed to maintain the unique culture that continues to attract new talent today. It was my honor to profile these longtime employees for their continued contributions and passion and for lending their talents to the growth and success of our team.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to  
Remember to “like” our  page on Facebook and continue to follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk

#HSonAir Podcast: Robo-Apocalypse: Is My Computer Trying to Kill Me?

CA618A34-DB74-4713-82AD-1B68AF290A64In our most ambitious podcast ever, episode 53 digs deep into our psyche and the mysteries surrounding the pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and big data.  Steve Garrity (@stgarrity), Ben Henry (@bjhenry), and Julia Winder (@juliawinder) join Eli and I in an after hours discussion on the pros and cons of tech advancement for humanity.  We hope you’ll enjoy this thought provoking journey that hopes to answer the question…is your computer trying to kill you?
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to
Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk


#HSonAir Podcast: Employee Spotlight Series: Ben Henry (Engineering)

Ben Henry photoIn episode 47 we sit down for a lively conversation with Ben Henry (@bjhenry) Director of Engineering at Hearsay Social. In our discussion we explore his interesting and entertaining journey to Engineering from the shores of Santa Cruz, through an early start in english literature, and his experiences as a professional poker player.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an e-mail to Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr or follow on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk
Thanks for listening!


First Hack Day at Hearsay Social

Hack days are a long-standing tradition in Silicon Valley, and a great way to fuel innovation, spark new ideas, and collaborate on a host of projects that don’t always fit into day-to-day business activity. Leading tech companies—like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo—often hold hack days throughout the year as a means to jump start internal innovation that may lead to benefits to an organization’s end product, solution or process.
As a software engineer at Hearsay Social, I often find myself asking my fellow engineers “What interesting side projects are you working on?” Like most engineers, I’m naturally curious and frequently spend time on nights and weekends working on projects unrelated to work that I find personally stimulating.
Because they are born out of curiosity, these projects are fertile ground for innovation, and are often sandboxes where engineers can test out new technologies that are not yet mature enough for use in a production environment.
To encourage the kind of self-driven innovation that only comes with free form, unabridged learning, (and as an excuse to spend a day working on our own projects,) my colleague Sukhada and I arranged to host Hearsay Social’s first hack day. We invited Hearsay Social engineers and friends who were interested to hang out with us on a Saturday to unleash their pent up ideas.
We started the day bright and early at 9 am (by engineering standards), and feasted on the requisite breakfast of champions consisting of donuts and coffee. We worked late into the evening, only stopping to eat lunch and drink beer from the office keg.

Nearly twenty people showed up, seven of which were guests, to work on whatever projects they desired. The projects varied widely, ranging from the simple to the complex, commercial or free, all having one thing in common: intriguing “hacks” that could very well lead to meaningful innovation.
hack day photo (1)
Below are a few examples of the cool projects we worked on:
Elayne, a friend of mine, has been teaching herself to code using online courses. She powered through her lessons on the Ruby programming language, occasionally asking someone for clarification when the lesson was unclear.

Mel, one of our user-experience engineers, has spent the last several months teaching herself iOS development

by building an app called “Hearsay Meals” which makes it easy for Hearsay employees to check

what’s for lunch, order dinner, and vote on what beer we should keep in the office keg. She, and two other

engineers she recruited, continued work on that, much to our collective delight.


David, another Hearsay Social engineer, worked on his Darwin.js project that makes it easy for people to run,

and visualize evolutionary algorithms in a web browser. While still a work in progress, you can try this example

for yourself.

hack day string-evolver
Other projects included:

  • My manager, Robert, wrote a program to generate weekly progress update emails that he hopes can replace his presence at the weekly managers’ meeting. We’ll see.
  • Sam, took the first steps on an ambitious free alternative to a powerful data tool Google has been using internally for years. Checkout unique.

The event was awesome, and went better than we could have hoped for a first attempt. We are already planning ways to make the next one even better.
If you or someone you know would like to join us next time, please connect with me @captbaritone, or send an email to, and we’ll be in touch! Feel free to also follow us or leave a comment @hearsaysocial.

#HSonAir Employee Spotlight Series: Joyce Jang (Engineering)

JoyceIn episode 33 we profile Joyce Jang (@_joycejang), Software Engineer and self proclaimed Cookie Monster at Hearsay Social.  In our discussion we explore Joyce’s journey to Engineering and the value she is adding daily in improving the user experience and enhancements of our product. We also find out more about the intern program at Hearsay Social with the addition of a special guest.
Join @VictorGaxiola and @EliZelig and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an email at 


#HSonAir Employee Spotlight Series: Amanda Atwood (Recruiting)

amandaatwoodIn episode 24 we interview Amanda Atwood, Recruiter at Hearsay Social. In our discussion we explore the challenge of finding talent in this competitive market and what sets Hearsay Social apart from other companies in San Francisco. We also talk about our internship program, university recruitment, and the recent video produced by her team showing a year in the life of a new employee. To find out more about job opportunities at Hearsay Social, visit our careers page online.
Join @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr in the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.

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#HSonAir Employee Spotlight Series: Interview with Greg Kroleski of Hearsay Social

26bf7cdIn episode 17 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce Greg Kroleski (Product Manager, Hearsay Social, @gregkroleski) and the role he and his team play in the design and development of our enterprise solution for the financial services industry.
We also discuss how customer feedback impacts the evolution of our solution and leads to future enhancements. Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
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Tech titans Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, and Clara Shih participating in's "Hour of Code"

Thanks to the video from this week showing an 8th grader teaching President Barack Obama how to write his first line of code, you might have heard of the Hour of Code. This is just the latest in a long line of initiatives spearheaded by, a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.
As part of this week’s “Hour of Code” event, I’m honored to say that Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih will be joining tech titans Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, and others in 15-minute video Q&As with 100 classrooms across the United States, including Pawcatuck Middle School in Stonington, CT, Birchwood Intermediate School in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, St Francis High School in Traverse City, MI, Cooper High School in Union, KY, Concord High School in Staten Island, NY, Perry-Lecompton Middle School in Perry, KS, and Houck Middle School in Salem, OR.
Watch Clara and her fellow thought leaders in the webchat at the bottom of the post. And here are some thoughts Clara will be sharing:

If an 8th grade girl thinks she might be interested in computer science, where would you tell her to start?

It’d be the same for girl or boy:

  1. Make sure you have a strong math, science, and general academic foundation.
  2. Start coding. It’s easy to start with Web programming and HTML.
  3. Attend summer camp, which is valuable even if you don’t end up doing computer science, which is becoming as foundational in life as reading or writing.

I am a girl and a nerd who is interested in computer programming. Who inspired you and were any of these mentors female?

  • Ada Lovelace (one of the world’s first computer programmers)
  • Grace Hopper (invented the first compiler for a computer programming language)
  • Anita Borg (computer scientist who developed the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology)
  • Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo! and Google’s first female engineer)
  • Bill Gates (co-founder and former CEO and chairman of Microsoft).

What would you consider “key” decisions you made or crossroads you encountered to get to where you are today?

Think entrepreneurially. The best jobs of 10 years ago aren’t the best jobs of today or certainly 10 years from now. The most important thing you can do is build a solid foundation, learn how to think for yourself, and then be opportunistic.
In your opinion, what is the most influential social media platform out there today and why?

Social media has become so widespread that it’s basically impossible to answer that question, like answering what’s the most influential Web app. There are too many. Social has come to occupy different parts of our lives, from professional to family and friends to romantic to quick messaging utility. Aside from the obvious big three, Pinterest, Instagram, and WhatsApp are also very interesting to me.
As new social media platforms pop up everyday, how does Hearsay Social stay on top of trends and change accordingly?

We download and try everything. It helps to be based in Silicon Valley, because we live and breathe technology here.