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Superhero Spotlight, Intern Edition: Supreet Singh and Stanley Soo

Welcome to Hearsay Social’s “Superhero Spotlight” series, in which we highlight employees at the company that drive our engineering, customer success, marketing, sales, and operations. These are the faces of Hearsay Social!

superhero interns
Hearsay Social’s spring 2014 engineering interns, Supreet Singh and Stanley Soo, posing with the Hearsay Social engineering bear.

For this “Intern Edition” of the Superhero Spotlight we spoke with Hearsay Social software engineering interns Stanley Soo and Supreet Singh, who joined our engineering team through the University of Waterloo “Co-operative Education” program. Over the past few months, they’ve been helping our team and contributing code. Before we bid them farewell, we interviewed them to hear about their time here.

Names: Supreet Singh (SU) and Stanley Soo (ST)

Title: Software Engineering Interns / Minions

What are you studying at Waterloo?

SU: Mechatronics Engineering.

ST: Computer Science.

What eventually attracted you to Hearsay Social?

SU: It’s a startup, and the whole company culture seemed cool. Also, one thing I really liked was that they weren’t looking for a specific area of expertise. They were looking for a generalist so, to me, the company wants engineers to try out whatever they want and whatever they’re interested in.

ST: When I interviewed with one Hearsay Social engineer, she gave me a rundown of what the company did, and I thought the idea of how we were going to introduce social media to a particular area of the financial sector which never had this before, what we do with it, and how we use all the data, that was very interesting. On the other side, similar to what Supreet said, it was the generalist idea. We wouldn’t always be doing front end or just back end: we get to touch different parts of the app and really get to know the stack.

How does your typical day look?
SU: I get to work on front end, back end, iOS–whatever the team requirements are. And I get to experience different technology stacks.

ST: Mine is very different for very interesting reasons. When working on a small project or simple feature, I’d be iterating on it and getting feedback, which is pretty normal. For the bulk of the internship, I’ve been working on internationalization, which was very interesting because the workflow. I got to work on a lot of back end stuff and scripts. Typical day working on internationalization, I would work on scripts and communicate with the third-party translators we were working with and communicate that back to the team. It wasn’t just writing scripts or just deploying, but it was actually seeing the effects of that and speaking to people to see what it affected.

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Ryan Newton, Web Developer at Hearsay Social, “twinning” with Stanley.

Is there any specific accomplishment you’re proud of from your time here?

SU: I got to see the iOS app being built from the ground up and hit its first set of launch goals. That was pretty exciting. I got to see the product being built and then shipped, including improvements, small features, and whatever increases engagement.

ST: I’m very proud of the internationalization project because we switched from a process that was pretty concrete. The process before was very laborious because anybody outside of engineering couldn’t change it even though it was very trivial. We are now rolled out on a new system allows non-engineers to make edits and the system is streamlined for engineering processes. That was awesome because we rolled out that whole system, and I was a part of that.

What do you love most about working at Hearsay Social?

SU: The lunches are good! My ideas are heard by my team and it’s not like people say, “oh, he’s an intern so he doesn’t know anything.” The ideas are heard by the team, and I feel like I’m making a positive contribution to whatever features are being built out.

ST: I really like the process that we have, and it’s mainly because of the people. Whenever I get an issue or ticket or feature, it’s really open-ended and nobody ever tells me what to do. I can try whatever I think works and then I get feedback from other people around me. And the feedback is always positive: it may be “consider this,” which really allows me try new things but also get guidance when I need it. Someone else will look over your code, yet you have the freedom to really experiment.

How would you compare this to other internships you’ve done?

SU: I like the culture and the fact that I’m surrounded by so many smart people here. And, like Stanley said, the openness of the system. You can work on whatever you want to work on.

ST: What really stands out about Hearsay Social is that it’s really fast. You can take an idea, make something out of it, and then somebody else will review it. Here, even if someone already reviewed it, most people on the team will look it over and actually give you feedback.

What are you looking to do in the future?

ST: I just love the culture at Hearsay Social. I got to see Scott work on the blimp stuff for PyCon, which is pretty exciting. And just seeing him work on the facial recognition stuff around the office and how that’s actively embraced–lots of people helped. It was something that was part of Hearsay Social, it wasn’t just something Scott liked to do. Hearsay Social actively encouraged him to do that. I’d like to find a place like that once I graduate.

Scott's blimp at Pycon.
Learn about Scott Lobdell, a Hearsay Social engineer, and the autonomous 20-foot blimp he brought to PyCon here.

Time for the fun questions! What’s your favorite snack from the kitchen?

SU: Chocolate covered almonds and M&Ms. Unlimited supply!

ST: Chocolate covered raisins, because the chocolate is sweet and then the raisin is sweet, so it’s just sweet on sweet.

Favorite color?

ST: Maroon red. I love that color.

SU: I guess I’ll say “blue” because I’m wearing blue.

All-time favorite movie?

SU: Dark Knight.

ST: Mine’s probably something like Rush Hour 2 because it’s ridiculous.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

ST: Not getting lost in San Francisco.

SU: Dodging questions that I can’t think of an answer to.

Who is your role model, and why?

SU: Elon Musk is pretty cool. He’s founded over three companies, and the companies he’s founded have been game-changing.

ST: My father. He came from China, moved around different parts of the states, and later settled in Canada. He decided to explore different places to find the best place, which is something that followed me. That’s why for my internships, I’ve moved around a bit. I feel like I should explore even if I’m comfortable.

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Thanks for reading! If you’re interested, learn more about what it’s like working at Hearsay Social.