Changing roles can be a tedious process with many factors to consider. I recently made the decision to join OneSchema as a Senior Solutions Engineer and wanted to share how I approached the decision – and just as importantly, my experience since joining.
For me, two elements equally outweigh the rest when looking at new opportunities (there are really three, but I was told I could not list “office snacks” as a criteria):
Do I believe in the product?
Do I like the people?
1. Do I believe in the product?
In a previous position as a Sales Engineer at Samsara (NYSE: IOT), I encountered countless customers who were thrilled with the connected operations platform, but struggled to upload CSV files. What should have been an easy process was made difficult by their inconsistently formatted spreadsheets, users who were new to tech, and a single nondescript message when the upload failed: “internal server error.”
Getting data imported frequently involved going back and forth with the customer to collect missing fields, collaborating with support for more detailed error information, and a greater than 24-hour turnaround time.
At times I thought, “I can’t believe this is part of my job. How hard could it be to fix this process?” Improvements were made, but data import was not a priority.
It turns out, my experience was not unique. Data imports may seem simple in theory, but delivering a great experience is actually quite complex and distracts companies from focusing on their core product. Because of this, painful CSV imports have been accepted as the norm.
When I learned about OneSchema, I immediately saw value in the company's mission, especially given my own firsthand experiences. The Embedded Importer aims to simplify the data upload process so teams can provide a seamless experience for their customers and still have the resources for more important, competing business priorities.
Because they were tackling a problem I directly experienced, I was thrilled when I learned that the company was in search of someone with my particular set of [solutions engineering] skills. Eliminating a mundane task via the use of tech is my type of challenge (see also: my passion for home automation).
I’ve always been drawn to companies with a strong customer-first mindset where everyone in the organization is motivated to go above and beyond for users. Having this mentality helps not only build strong customer relationships but also quickly move the product forward in the most impactful ways. This is especially crucial when finding product-market fit at the seed stage. During the interview process with OneSchema, it was clear to me that everyone on the team wore a customer "hat" and thought deeply about how their work impacted delivering a great customer experience.
This segues into the next aspect that drew me to OneSchema – the people.
2. Do I like the people?
I prioritized joining a team that aligned with my cultural values, ethics, and beliefs. While the majority of startups understand that developing a positive environment is necessary to attract and retain talent, it's not easy to live up to the standards that facilitate a great culture on a daily basis.
We have 5 values at OneSchema – Earn Customer Love, Execute Rapidly, Take Ownership, Operate Transparently, and Empower People.
Having been here for just over 4 months, I’m happy to say that the way we operate lives up to these principles.
Throughout the interview process, the entire team was so welcoming that it felt like I was spending time with friends. The company’s culture is one of working together respectfully while having a ton of fun in the process. We have team lunch together every two weeks (+ about half of our team is in our San Francisco office every day) and monthly team offsites. Twice a year, we have an all-company retreat (the last one was to Palm Springs), which are great opportunities to get to know everyone on a more personal level.
OneSchema’s leadership team thoughtfully weighs every decision – large or small. Not only that, but they strongly value input from the team and are transparent about all aspects of the company. Our biweekly retros provide an opportunity for everyone to candidly share wins, losses, and questions with each other. We also have quarterly All-Hands meetings where we discuss high-level company goals, cover important metrics (e.g. burn rate, runway, fundraising market environment), review the product roadmap, and have an open Q&A.
Because the team is currently small, everyone is given a high degree of ownership. This means a significant amount of impact can be made at the company level by a single individual, and there are constant learning opportunities. Within the first month here, I collaborated directly with the CEO to develop our sales playbook, shared user feedback that influenced product strategy, and worked closely with both current and prospective customers.
At OneSchema, I have the pleasure of solving a real problem with a delightful and talented group of people. It’s gratifying to be able to see the results of getting our customers out of spreadsheets and back to the meaningful, creative work they love. If you’re interested in joining our fast-growing team, you can learn more about our culture and check out our current job openings here!