Archives For Company Life

Everything about our (mis)adventures, off shorings, job and hiring info, and company culture.

IMG_9509

Expensifiers at Pecana cafe in Montevideo, one of our favorite 10 AM spots

If you’re unfamiliar with our annual Expensify Offshore expeditions, we have a dedicated webpage here to help spark the flame! Otherwise, some tl;dr background:

  1. A complete Expensify Offshore spans four weeks, and occurs once per year. It is always opt-in, meaning any employee can elect not to attend, partially attend, or fully attend.
  2. The employees vote democratically on the destination, which at bare minimum must be internet-friendly and relatively easy on the wallet.
  3. The company coordinates and communicates the essentials, including general itineraries, to-and-from travel, basic lodging, and special events.
  4. Employees self-select to lead or support priority projects dictated by a mix of customer needs and personal interest. The projects are optional, supplementary to daily responsibilities, and ideally completed during the time abroad.

———-

The Arrival

I was a couple days early to Expensify Offshore 2017 in Uruguay.

After six feature films in the nosebleeds of Copa Airlines and a taxi ride at the mercy of Google Translate, I stumbled out onto Montevideo’s Calle Blandengues around 2 AM local time. Historically, this was a Jewish neighborhood and absolutely worth a morning wander, so I left my curiosities for the moment in favor of meeting my Airbnb host, Ramiro.

Continue Reading…

IMG_2026.JPG

Celebrating our new London office in 2016!

We’ve got an incredible team in London, and we’re so excited that it’s been ONE WHOLE YEAR since we landed across the pond!

2016 marked the official office opening, which quickly led to establishing a team of 10 to lead Continue Reading…

WeFirePeople_1600x

Nobody likes to talk about firing.  It’s not something to celebrate: if you need to fire someone it means you screwed up.  Either you hired the wrong person, or — more common — you hired the right person, but failed to enable their success.  Either way, the blame falls on the company (not the individual), so it’s no surprise that companies tend to avoid talking about their failures.

But despite that discomfort, firing is an important topic because in the long run, careful application of firing is actually more important than hiring.  To understand why, consider this simple chart:

image (3).png

Continue Reading…

NoAdultSupervision_1600x

There’s an old adage in Silicon Valley:

A people hire other A people, while B people hire C people.

Said another way, great people want to work with other great people, but not-so-great people prefer to work with people worse than themselves.  This is because great people love to be challenged by their peers, while not-so-great people prefer not to be challenged at all.

The Vicious Cycle of Mediocrity

It’s easy to agree with the above in theory.  But building a company that adheres to this in practice is very, very hard.  So hard that extremely few companies actually do it, despite the best of intentions along the way.  You can tell if your company is doing it by seeing if it’s followed this path:  Continue Reading…

GSD.png

One of the greatest perks of working at Expensify is that you are surrounded by passionate, mature people naturally motivated to do the right thing.  This works because we hire people who have three key characteristics:

  • Extreme natural talent
  • Long term ambition
  • Deep humility

All three matter in different ways, but the third is particularly relevant here because it’s what ensures everybody has an appreciation for the limits of their knowledge — which translates into a low-drama, super collaborative environment.

Now, when people hear “collaborative environment”, they typically think about the various off-the-shelf management techniques, like Scrum, Agile, Holacracy, or whatever the pop-business gurus are selling these days.  We don’t use any of those.  Rather, we try to live by two main principles:  Continue Reading…

There are no shortage of challenges and problems running a startup, but by far the most difficult of all is hiring.  Attracting, retaining, and inspiring truly excellent people is the lifeblood of any startup, and Expensify is no exception.  But what I think is exceptional about Expensify is our commitment to maintaining and even raising the bar on hiring as the company grows.

That might not sound exceptional.  Indeed, it might even sound cliché.  But make no mistake: despite how easy it is to make this claim, it’s very difficult to actually put it into practice.   Continue Reading…

Once a month, Humans of Expensify will profile one of our team members, because behind every great expense report, there is an even greater human.

“My political philosophy is what I call ‘libertarian anarchism.’

It’s not an official title but I like that it captures the political philosophy of libertarianism and also aligns itself with the rockstar defiance of anarchism. It’s descriptive but gets a reaction, which I like. And I grew up in a family where coming out on top of an argument was a primary virtue.

I think words are extremely powerful and just by choosing a particular label it can set people off to instantly dismiss your perspective or open your mind to think of things in a different way.

Starting those conversations is why I have consciously adopted that label. A lot of people think that they know what a libertarian is and it can be based on a sort of caricature – a reflexive reaction, especially on the west coast, that liberal is good and right wing is bad.

So this title gives me the opportunity to weaken that knee-jerk reaction.

Continue Reading…