Archives For Fun Stuff

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to live with 30 of your coworkers?

For Expensify, that’s crossed off our bucket list! We do our annual offshore abroad, but it’s never been on this level in size and scope (not to mention, we don’t all live together under one roof on the offshores). Last week, we spent seven days in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan eating, working, sleeping, and then some; fun was just the tip of the iceberg.

From arriving at the local airport on the 8-seater Cessna Grand Caravan to hiking the Black River Falls, we had a blast in the Ironwood area and couldn’t have been more surprised with the welcome we received from our hosts Chris and Anne at the Powder Hound Lodge. Here are a few snapshots illustrate a day in the life of our week in the Upper Peninsula.

*Photos by Robert Chen

Powder Hound Lodge Welcomes EXPENSIFY to the UP

Our new home for the week

8 AM (sometimes 10 AM): We start off each (most) day(s) bright and early with a team breakfast. On this particular day, Anne from Powder Hound made us the works: bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausage, and buttered toast. Yum!

Getting the day started with some breakfast and conversation

Starting the day started with animated breakfast. Hot sauce anyone?

9 AM: After breakfast, the team is ready to tackle the day’s work for a solid few hours. Just look at that concentration, everybody is in the zone!

Expensify Working at the Lodge

The spacious living area was big enough for all 30 of us, and then some!

12 PM: Lunch is served! In this photo, we took over a local restaurant downtown serving delicious organic Italian food. Gotta support the local businesses while we’re here (sorry, Burger King!)

Expensify takes lunch in downtown Ironwood

Which one of these is not an Expensifier?

2 PM: Once we finish lunch, we go back to work in the lodge on most days with a few breaks in between. Wednesday was a special case – the local Expensifiers decided to take the SF team out to explore Michigan’s beautiful outdoors.

Team Expensify at Rainbow Falls

Team Expensify hike victoriously to Rainbow Falls

On the Black River Parkway Falls hiking trail

*On the Black River Parkway Falls hiking trail

David Barrett pausing for a break

David pausing for a break. /swag

Enjoying Lake Superior

*Contemplating life while enjoying Lake Superior

6 PM: Every night we’d have something fun to do. Whether it’s a job fair happy hour, a company-wide barbecue or something else, there were plenty of things to keep us occupied.

David Barrett of Expensify Giving a Toast

*David giving a quick thanks to all our Job Fair attendees!

Expensify Company Barbecue

*Hanging out at the company barbecue

11 PM: We’re a pretty work-hard-play-hard kind of team, so it’s not unusual to see some of us working until 10 or 11PM. But when the laptops close, it’s time to have some fun!

Supporting the Hurley, WI bars

Supporting the local bars in nearby Hurley, WI

Bonfire fun

*Expensifiers have a number of talents, including fire throwing!

Needless to say, we survived a full week of intense Expensify-ing with Expensifiers from both SF and the UP. We’ve created some irreplaceable memories that have only brought the growing team closer than ever before.

Next stop, Portugal!

Check it out, you ain’t seen nothing like this before!

During our UPshore in Michigan, we took some time to do our version of the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and #StrikeOutALS.

We’re also doing our part by donating to the cause; learn more about ALS and donate here!

While thinking of fun, creative projects that would also WOW our customers, software engineer Carlos had the AMAZING idea of integrating Expensify with Silicon Valley’s newest darling, Yo.

The 411:

To set it up, go to Settings > Connections.

Scroll down until you see the Yo integration, and enter your username before pressing ‘Connect’.

Expensify & YO! integration

Voila, you’re all set!

After connecting, you’ll get Yo’d as soon as you get reimbursed.

Why Integrate with Yo?

People want to be notified when they’re reimbursed. Yo is a simple communication system that works perfectly in context. Once Yo opened their API, an Expensify integration was a no-brainer.

Have a question? Email us at help@expensify.com or give us a shout-out on Twitter!
Upper peninsula michigan waterfall

Can’t wait to explore places like these in person!

It’s finally happening!

After forming a small team almost 18 months ago in the Upper Peninsula (aka the UP, aka the yoop), the SF team will be flying up to Ironwood for a week to experience the beautiful Upper Peninsula with our other half. From August 18 – 22nd, Expensify will be shaking things up in Ironwood with both crews, meeting the local community, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

There’s no better time than now for the entire team to meet face-to-face; in July alone, we grew more than 26%, doubling our marketing (from 1 to 2!) and success (4 to 8!) teams, and adding lots of new people to the sales and engineering teams as well. As a result, this will be the first time for many on both teams to meet one another, so this trip couldn’t have been planned at a better time!

Among the many things we’ll be doing while we’re up there, we’re excited to be hosting a casual job fair/happy hour at Tacconelli’s on Tuesday, August 19th.

Expensify Job Fair Happy Hour UP Michigan

Swing by, bring a friend or two, and come hang out with us!

I don’t have an official title at Expensify but on any given day, I work with the financials, recruiting efforts, hiring, onboarding, office management, relocation, etc. My favorite part of the job? Interviewing candidates. I take great pride in overseeing the hiring process at Expensify, ensuring that we grow our team to match the amazing talent we already have on site.

With that said, I wanted to pass along some advice for interviewing. First and foremost, treat interviewing like dating. Whether you are good or bad at dating, mastering a good interview comes with some basic steps.

Introduce yourself

Introduce yourself

1. Introduce yourself: When you meet someone on a blind date (much like interviewing), you introduce yourself, right? You try talk about yourself a little bit to give your date a sense of who you are, what you are passionate about and why you might be interested in them. This allows your potential partner (or company…) the opportunity to see if it is a match. Résumés aren’t helpful for this, providing only a shallow overview of who you are and after a while, all CVs tend to look the same… which is why we ask our application questions. We want to give you the opportunity to introduce yourself, and put your best foot forward.

2. Make sure you actually put your best foot forward. When you meet your date for the first time, you shower right? You try to look presentable. You know that your date doesn’t have that much to judge you on and will be grasping at anything to make an assessment. Just like that first date, interviewing requires a bit of presentation. Take away anything that makes that might be a distraction from your best foot. Distractions can include (but are not limited) to spelling errors in your emails or on your CV or not following directions. Showering typically helps too but is not required.

Be yourself. Always.

Be yourself. Always.

3. Be yourself (don’t hold back). This one is fairly simple for us. We are a laid back, close knit company. We backpack for a month every year as a team, and let me tell you, things get intimate. Keeping that in mind, we want to see who we are going to work with every day. The reality is you spend a crazy amount of your waking hours at work, so its beneficial for you to feel comfortable letting your hair down.

4. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Remember we are trying to woo you too (say those last three words 10 times fast). We are as nervous as you are. Interviewing (and dating) is this back and forth of “does he like me? Do I like him?” If you are nervous, we might not be able to tell how much you actually like us.

Are you going to swipe right on Expensify?

Are you going to swipe right on Expensify?

5. Ask good questions. This one is more important than you might think. Whether its for dating or interviewing, we want to know how interested you are in us. The questions you ask are how we gauge that. It’s true, for Expensify at least, we have a ton of information on our site about the company, product, strategy etc. But we strongly believe in Albert Einstein’s saying “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”Our site doesn’t provide all the answers. Come on, we know you can think of something to ask us.

You are looking for a match in your job search. Interviewing is taking a chance, trying to find what role is going to fulfill your needs, provide satisfaction on a daily basis and help you grow into who you always hoped you would be.   So are you gonna swipe right, or what?

You’ve heard about Expensify’s culture, right?  Well if you have, you surely know about our legendary, annual “Offshore” trips. In short, Expensify works abroad for an entire month together, because why not?!  The purpose and goal being not only an opportunity to see another part of this beautiful world, but also come together as a team and focus on what we are doing, where we are going and most importantly, why.  Last year we went to Croatia and this is what work looked like for a month:

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As you can imagine, we’ve missed it terribly and cooked up an incredible idea to ease the longing. Why not take Offshore, onshore?  We live in arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the US, and San Francisco has a plethora of colorful neighborhoods that we could really settle into and enjoy for a day of work outside the office.  Offshore/ Onshore would take place in the North Beach neighborhood (fondly referred to as “Little Italy” and closely associated with the Beat Generation celebs like Kerourac and Ginsberg).

It happened to be a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us!  We explored the best cafes, had the fanciest of caffeinated beverages, and got to know North Beach a tiny bit better than we did before.

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It wouldn’t be a proper “Offshore” without a proper hoppy brew.  Following a sales meeting, a few of us decided to finish off our workday at the world-renowned, historic Vesuvio Cafe (across the alleyway from the infamous “City Lights Bookstore” and home to the aforementioned Beat celebs).  Nothing tastes better than a frosty beer amongst your coworkers and heroes (beat poets), except perhaps the beer in Croatia!

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The night officially ended with a beautiful Team/Family Dinner.

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As we brought the day to a close with a round of limoncello shots, we declared Onshore a success and an instant tradition.

Want to get in on our excellent and original traditions? Apply on our Jobs page.

This is where I live.

This is where I live.

I work for the best Silicon Valley Start-up, Expensify.  I also live right off the shore of the largest body of fresh water, Lake Superior.  Most importantly though, I’m helping to bring Silicon Valley to the area I love and much-needed jobs along with it.

In January of 2013, I was approached by another employee of Expensify that lived in the same area as I did.  He wanted to bring jobs to Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.  He had been experimenting with three people for a couple of weeks to see if it was a viable option to staff a midwest workforce alongside our international team we already had in place and still stay cost-effective. These jobs could be seen as basic data entry positions easily trained to anyone with minor computer knowledge, but there is a growing amount of complexity as Expensify moves more into the global market and receives data from around the world to process for our clients.  The best part, the agents could work from home!  He was also looking into the possibility of bringing entry-level developer jobs to the area.  Where did I fit into all that?  He needed someone to help get it all started, maintain, and manage it.

At the time I was running my own computer repair business full-time out of my home and did contracted computer IT for local businesses.  After hearing his initial pitch about Expensify and what his vision was for the area, I was sold.  When you live in a town with a population of under 6,000 people, and don’t want to move out to Silicon Valley, you never really think you would get a chance to work for a San Francisco based tech start-up.  So, I started working for Expensify as an independent contractor, slowing building a data entry workforce, training them on the work in person and then allowing them to work from home after that.

Fast forward a year.  I’m now a full-time member of the Expensify team and Expensify has brought over 30 jobs to the area and is still expanding!  Exploring more than just data entry jobs too.  How about some Help/Support Email Agents and some more entry-level developer jobs?  We’re looking to utilize an area and its population that most companies never think about.  Even better: we’re still staying cost-effective despite previously relying on a solely international-based workforce as our local employees have shown to be extremely accurate and efficient. This in turn pushes our international team to higher standards increasing performance across the board.

It’s extremely exciting to be a part of a company that is willing to bring Silicon Valley to an area that only hears about it from the news.  But the best part is to see the expression on people’s faces when I tell them that I live in Northern Wisconsin, but I work for a San Francisco based company.  It always leads to awesome conversations.