Archives For culture

Note the TV….still not sure the purpose but I can only narcissistically assume its so that we can see ourselves behind home plate?

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).

I could have licked the field should I have been so inclined.

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.

Jason in Tibet

The author's attempt at a graceful self-portrait (shot while exploring Tibet in a 4x4)

Name: Jason Mills

Alter Egos, if any: Sometimes I am my alter ego

Hometown: New Braunfels, TX

Expensify Job Title/Role: Everything Man #2

When did you start working for Expensify? May 2011

What is the most exciting project you’ve completed so far for Expensify? It’s a secret, at least until we finalize our plans to take over the expense reporting world. Oops. Although I’m pretty sure that tiger’s been out of the bag for a while!

When you’re not fine-tuning expense reports that don’t suck, what projects do you work on in your off-time? Running. It’s a long-distance project. There’s also this bouldering problem I’ve got up in the Berkeley Hills. Does that count? In general, I spend a lot of time chasing adventure and pushing my body to the limit. It’s a decent-sized commitment!

Mountain Biking the Flume Trail in Lake Tahoe

The author logging miles on the Flume Trail around Lake Tahoe

(From the Proust Questionnaire)

Your most marked characteristic? Cop out alert! I’ve got two. Growing up in Texas instilled an affable side of me that’s still around today. That’s the nurture component. In terms of nature, people describe me as a easy-going but intense – some even say I have a streak of madness. Of course, that’s probably because I like doing things other people call “crazy”, like ultramarathons, downhill mountain biking, etc.  Now are those REALLY crazy?! I don’t think so.

Where would you like to live? This answer is admittedly mercurial. Several years ago, my answer would have been Taiwan; everywhere you go there you encounter amazing nature. Plus, in the Chinese-speaking world Taiwan has the best combination of modern practicality and traditional sensibility.  That makes it a pretty unique place.

Inevitably, a subset of people will answer this question by envisioning how a place is — or might be — without ever having been there. The dreamer in me is attracted to this approach. Lately I keep coming back to Brazil. It has several things going for it: unique flora and fauna; a language that lends itself nicely to rap; and it’s reputed to have a warm and welcoming culture.  Sounds like my kind of place.

What is your motto? Live life. Intensely. With meaning.

What is your favorite flower? The yucca flower. Why you ask? Mostly because it reminds me of youthful salad days, when I spent my summers backpacking in Texas and New Mexico. At the same time, the yucca flower is such an awesome juxtaposition; how amazing is it that something so delicate and beautiful arises from such a narly and prickly base?!

What is it you most dislike? I’ve got a laid-back, roll-with-it sensibility, so it’s not easy to come up with something I strongly DISLIKE.  But something that comes to mind is pretension.  There’s no need for someone to treat someone – poorly or otherwise – based on their perceived importance.  That’s got a Golden Rule ring to it, which might sound corny, but I’m a big believer in treating people like PEOPLE.  Everyone has an interesting story to tell; we just need to listen.

As many of our regular readers have probably noticed, we’ve been mentioning here and there for quite some time that we are in the market for new employees. And as we’ve said before, we’re taking a drastically slower route toward hiring than many startups do. But we’re being extra picky about who we hire, because we’re trying to preserve two things that are very important to us:

  • the integrity of our product, and
  • the corporate culture we’ve very carefully crafted

In other words, not just any Computer Science major will do. In fact, we don’t even care if you have a college degree. We don’t care if you’re a U.S. citizen.

What we do care about?

  • a great work ethic, almost to the point that some of your friends might call you masochistic. We work long, hard hours doing what we love, and if you’re the kind of person who wants to clock out at 5:00 or spend half the day surfing LOLCats, this isn’t the place for you.
  • a great character: fair, honest, with a decent sense of humor, and absolutely zero drama. Please, we get enough drama from watching Dexter.
  • talented and fast at picking new things up: you should be technologically multilingual, with the kind of intellectual flexibility that would make Neo’s bullet-avoiding backbend in The Matrix look like your grandma doing the limbo on a geriatric cruise. This doesn’t just apply to programming, though we demand a high level of talent and capability in that arena, for sure: what else are you good at? Can you speak in front of a group? Explain multiple step processes to your luddite relatives? Make a mean seven-layer dip? In essence, what else are you bringing to the table?
  • ambition: you’ve got to have it. We don’t want Expensify to be your final resting place; that’s just not how this industry works. We want people who are mobile, constantly looking for a next great project, working on side projects of their own, and with big plans for the future. And we want to help you get there, too.

Generally, we’ve found that our best applicants also have the following in common:

  • programming experience from way before their college years
  • a zest for adventure – everyone on staff is a world traveler, and have what one of our engineers referred to as a “willingness to get into trouble”
  • curriculum vitae that extend far beyond the classroom and the office: your most impressive work was probably done for the fun of it, anywhere from a junior high school bedroom to an exotic beach somewhere (our preferred location)

The point we’re trying to make is: the expectations are high, but the rewards are higher, and if you think you’ve got what it takes, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll sponsor a visa, buy your lunches, and propel your career to the next level – if you’re the right fit.