Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category
I hope everyone is getting ready for some relaxing downtime in the next week. We kicked off the holiday season with an evening as a team at Frances, with Executive Chef Melissa Perello cooking an incredible dinner for us. Plus we dressed in formal attire which was pretty exciting to see each other all dolled up. Tis the season for some company loving!
Its been a pretty incredible year for us and we are excited to bring on 2013 with some pretty big ideas in the works. Be on the lookout.
Enjoy the holidays !
The Expensify Team
Well you guys, an update from overseas. We have spent the past week in Railay Beach. Its been incredible and to celebrate, we went snorkeling over the weekend! The picture above is probably the best picture of the trip, mostly because Matt is giggling like a school boy (our favorite cookies, BTW) and probably pooping his pants a little bit. Apparently that particular sea urchin is especially deadly.
If you can’t tell, I am so in love. We had a great day. The setting was incredible, but more importantly, we have an amazing team of people who are making this journey so unbeatably awesome.
So its been a few days for us, and Thailand is incredible. While work has been about the same (it really is true, we can work anywhere there is internet!), being able to explore Bangkok during lunch is amazing. Truly an adventure and an awesome way to break up the work day.
There are lots of little excursions we have collectively gone on and I have tried to put together a few of these pictures. My personal favorite adventure so far: Wine bar. Keep reading for the story below.
Honestly the pictures below barely begin to encapsulate how much fun it is to just walk around and explore. The temples you stumble upon are incredible, the markets are eye opening and the company is delightful. Seriously, how is this real life?
After mentioning a withdrawal from wine, David suggests we go to a wine bar downtown last night. Five of us cram into a 4 person cab, and it becomes very clear that communication with our driver is going to be an issue. With 4 of us uncomfortably squished in the back, David has the directions pulled up on his phone, but we still got out of the cab incredulous that we had made it (and severely cramped). When we get to the restaurant/wine bar (Opus, highly recommend it!) we realized we are considerably underdressed than the rest of the population. We had somehow wandered out of our hostel and its corresponding casual atmosphere into a beautiful, high end restaurant in which several of the patrons may have poo-poo-ed our obvious back-packing attire. Oops. Anyways in the background you can see the beautiful wine cellar they have where you can go hand select which bottles you would like to enjoy. We were also unaware that you were supposed to leave the bottle there and tell your server the bottle we preferred. We basically committed 8 faux pas in an hour.
Below are Shawn’s pictures from this market we wandered around. Saw a lot of weird stuff….
And below we have the Lumphinee Stadium for Muay Thai. Highlights? The stadium is not air conditioned and while it was pouring rain, several sections were shut down due to roof leaks. Oh, also, the violence. Two fighters left the ring in wheel chairs, one on a stretcher (that one made me cry) and one with his arm broken. While it was a little tooooo violent for my taste, I think the guys had fun [especially capturing pictures of me crying which will never see the light of day].
Oh, don’t get me wrong, a rapidly moving start up where intern folk like myself get to deploy live code, free lunches in a city where you can try a new place everyday, and working with talented, genuine, and all-around cool people were wonderful parts of the job. But boy did I cherish my barefoot walks around the office!
I think the bigger point, though, is that Expensify is an awesome company with awesome people, and I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience. For starters, I worked on a product loved by millions. All my CS buddies were testing software at their internships; I was extremely fortunate in getting the chance to write it. In a measly 6 months, I went from barely programming to totally programming, and Expensify gave me the room and environment to build that critical programming foundation that I think school just can’t provide.
But — to my benefit — it gets better. The people I worked with pushed me in the right way, challenged my ideas, and always helped when I needed it. It didn’t matter if it was 10 AM or 10 PM, I knew I could always ask Matt why I was getting a 500 error when it turned out to be a missing bracket. I was given real ownership of the projects I worked on. I was ultimately responsible for the projects I’ve started, and it’s been so surreal that Expensify gave me the chance and opportunity to succeed.
I only hope that wherever I go next is as cool a place like Expensify. I’ve not only learned valuable knowledge, I’ve made some really cool friends along the way and I can’t wait to see how our paths cross in the future.
Tomorrow is my last day of work here at Expensify, thus ending what has been an incredible adventure. I joined Expensify in late May as an intern, and now my time has come to return to school. As I write this, I’m watching the sun set over San Francisco and it’s finally sinking in that I won’t be seeing another California sunset for a while. I joined Expensify in late May with nothing but a laptop and high hopes, tomorrow I’ll walk out the door (of the new and better office) with the hope that our paths will cross again. Why? Because it turned out to be so awesome! This city is incredible, the work is fun, and it’s always a good time hanging out with the team. I’m excited to get back to school, but it’s bittersweet to be leaving such an awesome company at the same time. So now as an experienced Expensify intern, here are my pro tips on how to handle working for an awesome and fast paced startup.
Enjoy yourself. The office is filled with awesome people, you’re in a great city, and you’re working on a product that a million people love!
Listen! Everyone here would love to teach you something, just make sure you’re listening and able take advantage of that.
Be open minded. Your mockup or design document will not always be the best. Be able to take tough feedback because in the end it makes for a better product.
Take ownership of your projects. Plan, implement, and test. Then show it off to everyone and you’ll feel like a rockstar.
Expect someone to hold your hand. Be able to work independently and help will be there when you’re actually stuck.
Miss your last ride home. If you’re staying late it’s a good idea to know when the last BART train leaves (1:04 AM if you’re headed south).
Sit on the couch all weekend. After all, this is San Francisco.
Adjust Witold’s chair. Leave it alone and nobody gets hurt.
Expensify went wine tasting after hitting the 1 Million user mark in June.
San Francisco from the top of Twin Peaks
A night out with Thomas and the other interns
Took a trip down to Big Sur
Sunset on the Golden Gate
This summer was great, guess I’ll just have to come back.
1. Instagram the picture of the new keys. Make it artsy so your friends will think you are creative.
2. Cram into the elevator and make sure you bring some booze.
3. Capture the moment of opening the door for the first time.
4. Christen the new office.
5. Appreciate the view from the new digs.
As two interns living across the country for the summer, we realized we could finally visit some west coast tech conferences without having to fly across the country. When one of our fellow Expensifiers mentioned that he was going to Defcon 20, we jumped at the opportunity to join. We’re both interested in security and hardware-hacking and starting pondering the best ways to get there.
After a heated debate and damaged friendships, it was decided that the best way to get to Las Vegas from San Francisco would be via a fifteen hour bus ride that would get us there at 4:00 am the day of the conference. This turned out to be a fantastic idea (sort of). The buses have wifi and power right? How bad could it be?
Although not one of the four buses we were on had either power or wifi, the first leg of the journey was exciting. We saw Central Valley for the first time, met (and smelled) many interesting people, and learned why people generally fly distances such as this one. Regardless, we got to do a lot of reading and web browsing (thanks to a Chromebook, an iPad and a Kindle) and before we knew it, flashing lights and almost-naked women surrounded us (red card). We had arrived!
We arrived at the Con about four hours before badges were being sold. We joined the slightly existent (and totally unnecessary) line and struggled to stay awake while starting to get an idea of the demographic we’d be surrounded by for the next four days — nerdy guys and girls passionately discussing all kinds of things related to technology and hacking. Perfect.
The first day had only a single track, which was mainly devoted to “Defcon 101”, a crash-course in what the Con is about and some interesting tech talks, including “by far, the most drunken introduction to python I’ve ever witnessed” according to @McGrewSecurity.
On the whole, the Con was a blur. We saw tons of great talks about semi-devious and really creative things, from hacking wireless routers and remote-wiping smartphones with faked Exchange certificates (surprisingly easy) to open source peer-to-peer messaging with Android and an open-source drone platform for the common man. We learned how forensic investigators go about extracting data from computers they’re targeting, the best ways to delay them long enough to make them give up and how trivially detectable consumer Android spyware is. Yeah, it was awesome.
When we weren’t at talks, we were in the contest room, watching events like BroCTF, run by our colleague Nick, or at the lockpick village, worrying about just how easy it is to pick ordinary house locks.
Of course, we didn’t spend all our time at Defcon. Being in Vegas for the first time, we had to go out and explore Sin City. We had a few nice reasonably priced $100 dinners (we can expense those, right?) and saw the sights. Las Vegas is a truly unique place, even without the gambling and prostitution. It’s even better at night when you can go outside without melting (the lights look nice too).
As we left the Golden Nugget’s award-winning* buffett to catch our 12:01 am Greyhound bus, we silently reflected on a great first Defcon experience and looked forward to
picking all the locks in the office telling our compatriots about our experience (sixteen hours later, of course).
Oh, and a shower, we certainly needed that too.
*By award-winning, we mean terrible
-Jeff and Mike
Let’s talk about the amazing day I had today…honestly so unreal.
When I got to the office this morning, our board meeting was going on, so I quietly shuffled to the side to crack down on some email. An hour later, after our investors headed out, I was moving to my favorite spot in the office, only to be pulled aside by David, our CEO.
“Psst, Alex. Do you like baseball?”
[pause] “Um…yeah, I love baseball.”
[hands me an envelope] “Here are two tickets for the Giants game today at at 12:30. You should go. These seats are killer.”
“What?!? Oh my god! Miss work?”
“Yeah, go, bring whoever you want!”
All of this occurring before 11:30 AM. I spent the next 45 minutes feeling like a cracked out cinderella, twitching with excitement, barely able to focus while imagining the fun I would encounter at the game. I had heard briefly about these mythical, magical seats that our awesome investors had been known to hand out…but I had never been the beneficiary of such generosity. As I squirmed at my lap top waiting for the minutes to tick by I kept thinking…”is this real life?” à la small, drugged, car-seated youtube sensation of yesteryear.
Fast forward to the actual game. Holy crap are these seats killer (See inset).
It was a wonderfully warm day with sunshine and the perfect light breeze. Bratwurst and beer magically appeared before me (ok not magically, we ordered and paid for it) and, although Lincecum struggled throughout the day, being so close to the field and watching the players warm up made me so uncomfortably starstruck, I thought I was going to cry… until my co-worker Matt pointed out that my heroes would, in fact, be able to see me cry.
Somehow I pulled myself together to revel in the glorious day (unsurprisingly, it wasn’t too hard to enjoy). Once the game ended and we headed back to work with our giddy smiles and a spring in a step [read: delicious beer in our stomachs] it occurred to me that today was maybe one of the most absurdly amazing surprises of my life which would never have happened if it weren’t for a combination of our amazing investor Bobby who so generously gave his tickets to David to share and David himself, for deciding that a couple Expensify-ers deserved a three hour lunch at AT&T park.
Seriously guys, best company ever.
As the only girl currently at Expensify, nothing gives me more pleasure than to write about balls. Boy, did we get a lot of them! We will be handing them out at career fairs across the country because who doesn’t love ping (read: beer) pong balls in college? Get ready kiddos, we might be headed to a school near YOU!
SO excited about these balls!