Below was a draft post that I never got to post.
My first month at Lanetix!
So I’ve just started as a software engineer at a San Francisco startup called Lanetix! It’s been almost two years since I started Dev Bootcamp and a year after having my own startup consultancy in NYC. For another brand new adventure, my wife and I drove 5000 miles cross-country to the West (some say “Best”) Coast.
I won’t talk about the hiring process since so much has been already been written. What I will reiterate is that it’s a very thoughtful process. The senior engineers designed it with respect for both their time as well as the candidate’s. This was a breath of fresh air on my interviewing spree.
Even before my first day, I was able to talk to others on the team, get to know them, and ask questions. I felt very welcomed and comfortable with such a transparent onboarding. The company is small and the engineering team is split between Washington DC and San Francisco, but getting to know the company has been a smooth process with all the online communication and weekly demo days where people present new parts of the product to the whole company. The people here are really great listeners and empathetic; when I ask questions, they always take their time to explain the whole picture and hear my side.
This gets me into how Lanetix is organized. It’s trying to maximize employee empowerment and accountability by letting people make decisions, do the work, present it, and maintain/support it. This engagement into the full lifecycle of a feature is awesome!
One new thing I learned was feature flags. By wrapping new pieces of code in these flags, you can continuously deploy code to production without fear of breaking things. In this way, they are much like other large companies that can ship quickly. If something breaks, you turn a flag off or rollback a change! This kind of empowerment should not be dismissed; it’s really powerful to be able to quickly make changes and see them in production.
In fact, this is what I did my first day! Setup was quick given the company wiki, tooling, and configuration repositories; my developer environment, with no less than ten services, was up and running by the afternoon! With some debriefing of a bug we needed to fix, I was able to make a pull request on GitHub and get it merged in less than 24 hours!
Employees are trusted and you get the latest and greatest equipment, including the new MacBook Pro, large monitor, whiteboard standing desk, comfy hoodie, stickers, and really anything else you need can be expensed. They know that developer productivity far outweighs the cost of the equipment.
Overall, it’s still early days, but I’m learning more and more about our product, especially as we dogfood it. I’m currently working on our Insights Squad - helping to make seemingly simple features, like a fixed header on a spreadsheet, function with lots of work. In the future, I’ll be able to work with others in different groups to learn more about different areas of the codebase.
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for updates from our Ship It Day coming soon (Spoilers: It’s going to be called Maker Day going forward!) or the conferences and books I get from our continuing education budget!
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that well.
To be continued…