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#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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Superhero Spotlight, PyCon Edition: Scott Lobdell

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

superhero scott

For this “PyCon Edition” of the Superhero Spotlight we spoke with Hearsay Social software engineer Scott Lobdell, who is presenting at PyCon 2014 Montréal, a Python community conference, on one the coolest programming projects we’ve ever seen: Programming an Autonomous 20 Foot Blimp with Python.

Be sure to check out his session and join Hearsay Social for other activities at PyCon!

Title: Software Engineer

Time at Hearsay Social: Nearly 1 year

What did you do before coming to Hearsay Social?

I was in the Army for 5 years, so this is actually my first civilian job. Before coming here, I was a signal officer in the Army and deployed to Afghanistan once.

That’s a big shift. What attracted you to Hearsay Social?

When I went to apply for a job, I wanted to be a software engineer, so I did a shotgun blast of applying to companies. But on paper I looked like a risky hire, so most technical recruiters wouldn’t even look at me. But Hearsay Social actually took the time to interview me. Once they made an offer, I accepted.

What were the reasons you looked risky on paper?

I didn’t have any experience. I’d never been a software engineer before. I respected Hearsay Social a lot because they actually took a second to test me, essentially.

Were you programming before you went to the Army?

I was a computer science major in college at West Point, and I programmed on the side–just for fun–my entire time in the Army. Although I didn’t actually program in the Army, I was in the most technical branch of the army. Programming is what I’m passionate about.

ScottQuote4So what does your typical day look like at Hearsay Social?

When I come in the morning depends on how late I stayed the night prior. I work on something that I want to finish or something I think is cool, so I’ve stayed as late as midnight. Typical day for me is mostly programming, problem solving, working on a project–given the amount of things that there are to do, it’s always been a project of my choosing. Very rarely am I specifically told what I need to do.

What do you love the most about working here?

There are a ton of perks. Probably the best thing is that this is the smartest group of people I’ve ever worked with. I’ve made more friends here in two weeks than in the past five years. I get paid to do something that I love. I really enjoy programming, which is why I work long hours. Another unique thing is the sports we play on the side, like volleyball and a little flag football.

ScottQuote2

Is there any specific accomplishment you’re proud of from the past year?

My proudest one so far is the “suggested time to post.” [Ed. note: “Suggested time to post” is a unique feature in Hearsay Social that recommends to you the most ideal time of day to schedule your post.] It’s neat because it’s fairly subtle: all the hard work is done in the backend to ultimately deliver you a single tool tip, which I think is kind of cool. It works by leveraging all the data that Hearsay Social has already collected, doing a little analyzing, and pushing it towards the user. It’s personalized, so it’s different per user. The reason I did that was I wanted to know the answer to that question myself. It became useful to others.

ScottQuote1What’s your best advice for job seekers?

There’s a lot of value in showing initiative yourself, whether that’s maintaining your own blog or your own application. That creates value no matter what, whether it gets you hired or not.

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

I eat more beef jerky than anybody else here.

Scott's favorite movie
Scott’s favorite movie is a parody starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Favorite movie?

Last Action Hero. It’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie where the whole thing is a parody to other action movies, so it’s just over-the-top ridiculousness the whole time.

Favorite color? #111

Do you have a superpower? I can fuse two hydrogen atoms to create helium.

Favorite song to DJ on the office Sonos?

Nobody likes my music, so I generally wait for everyone to leave before I start DJing, but it’s all heavy metal.

Who is your role model, and why?

I had an influential mentor in the army, who was an infantry officer with a PhD in computer science. He was committed to the idea of a warrior-scholar. He was extremely smart and one of the most athletic and strongest people I’ve ever met, and he was a badass infantry dude. He just had an unbreakable work ethic. Those are the traits I respect in the professional realm.

Thanks for reading! If you’re interested, learn more about what it’s like working at Hearsay Social. Oh, and check out Scott’s autonomous 20-foot blimp below. It will be making an appearance at PyCon in April.

Superhero Spotlight: Chase Seibert

Welcome to the first installment of Hearsay Social’s “Superhero Spotlight” series! Starting with this post, we’re going to regularly highlight one employee at the company that drives our engineering, customer success, marketing, sales, and operations. These are the faces of Hearsay Social!

SHotW_ChaseBlog

Name: Chase Seibert

Title: Software Engineer

Time at Hearsay Social: 1 year

What did you do before coming to Hearsay Social?

I went to a startup right out of school, Bullhorn, where I was for nine years. I was employee #8, and when I left there were 200 people. That was a great experience. Anytime the company doubled, it really changed the culture and our processes.

What attracted you to Hearsay Social?

I met the team at PyCon a solid year before I was really looking for a job. Hearsay Social was hosting a drink-up after the conference. (Ed. note: We’ll be at PyCon again this year, so look for Hearsay Social’s team wearing red capes!)

What does your typical day look like?

ChaseQuote_1sq

On an average day, I spend at least 60% of the hours coding, working on features our team is trying to deliver in the next two weeks. The remainder of the time is spent on company meetings and team-specific meetings around planning. We want to deliver all these features, so we have to discuss the design as a group before we start coding. We’re given free reign to figure that out. There’s not a lot of prescribed ideas from the top, it’s very open-ended, which the engineers really like. And then there’s always sports: I do basketball and volleyball every week and I’m trying to play flag football half the time.

What do you like the most about working here?

The caliber of software engineers we have is higher than companies I’ve worked at in the past. It’s really nice to discuss technical problems with people, and they may very well have a better idea than you about how to solve an issue. And just like other startups, there isn’t a lot of red tape or process in the way to make your ideas real. It’s within your power to do anything: you’re not dependent on another team or department.

ChaseQuote_2sqIs there any specific accomplishment you’re proud of from the past year?

One thing I’ve been working on is introducing “scrum,” or working to deliver in two-week chunks. From an engineering point of view it’s great because you’re confident you’re constantly working on the next high-priority item. It tends to let us design our own solution, working with the designers as we need them. We’re so committed to meeting our deadline that we’ll work extra hours if we need to, but we’re pretty good about delivering within those two weeks. And then we keep iterating.

What’s your best advice for job seekers?

If real estate is about location, then work is all about the people you work with. That’s what you really need to get a sense for when you’re interviewing. Do you really want to hang out these people every day? Because you’re going to be hanging out with them every day! Do they work collaboratively or is everyone just doing their own thing?

Now for the easy questions. What’s your favorite lunch served at Hearsay Social?

That’s easy: fried chicken and waffles, because it has hot sauce, syrup, and butter. I also love the Vietnamese bowl, which I loved so much I even tried to make it at home.

Favorite color? Definitely blue.

Favorite movie? Dances with Wolves, which my wife gives me crap about it because she thinks it’s a chick flick.

Do you have a superpower? I can reach things off of high shelves.

Favorite song to DJ on the office Sonos? Daft Punk is good to code to because it has a beat and keeps going.

appleiigs
Image courtesy of http://oldcomputers.net/appleiigs.html.

Who is your role model, and why?

Definitely my dad, who passed away about ten years ago. He really got me into both computers and cooking. He was just so passionate about Apple when they released their IIGS machine back in the 80s and he was an architect so passionate about personal computers that we got one of these super expensive computers right away even though we didn’t really have a use for it. I was 5–shortly after that I was building my own PCs, and it was all because of that first experience.

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