One Year at GitHub
These last 12 months have been the most exciting of my professional career. I’d like to share some of the most amazing things from my first year.
Our async communication structure opens up some amazing opportunities to work from wherever and however we want. For example, I worked from Thailand in February with a couple other GitHubbers.
Each morning, I’d wake up, hop on a scooter and ride through the lush jungle for two miles down to the beach. Then, I’d order a delicious $1.00 banana milkshake from the beach bar and start the day by reviewing pull requests and colleague feedback.
Since we work asynchronously at GitHub and hours are irrelevant, there was nothing stopping me from searching the globe for the best beach bar wi-fi.
So naturally I pushed that as far as I could:
- 103 total days away for GitHub-related travel
- 50 days of that in San Francisco
- 9 foreign countries
- 5 GitHub Drinkups
- 3 conferences
- 1 Git & GitHub training session
I’ll never go back to a 9 to 5 job again.
I was doing laundry in a random laundromat in Berlin, and a gentlemen there saw an Octocat sticker on my laptop. He asked if I worked at GitHub, and how hard it is to transition from using Subversion to using Git.
It always feels a bit magical when someone halfway around the world recognizes your brand.
It also means that your coworkers are counting on you to represent them well to the rest of the world, to engage with those Superfans in conversation, and to generally behave in a classy way in public.
I’ve tried to take that responsibility seriously, because I want to work for a company that I can be proud of.
Hiring is an investment
There have been a handful of people that I really wanted to come work at GitHub.
I have since learned that it is no small committment to recommend and campaign for a specific candidate internally.
For people that I personally recommend, I will generally:
- Review the position in depth, ensuring a good fit with regards to the candidate’s skills and experience
- Meet with the person (often multiple times) and listen to what they are looking to accomplish
- Spend several hours crafting a written recommendation for the candidate in our internal hiring system
- Talk to or meet with other GitHubbers to convince them to interview the candidate
- Follow up with the candidate to see how things are progressing
- Try to remove any blockers internally for the interview process and ensure things move forward
- Volunteer to fly to San Francisco to help on-board the candidate should he or she get hired
On more than one occasion, I’ve invested over 20 hours in a very promising candidate that just didn’t work out.
There have been 73 people hired at GitHub since I started a year ago.
The time that we invest in our hiring process is what has led to us to hiring amazing people. We should never stop doing that.
Culture of encouragement
It might seem trivial, but when you pour every ounce of energy you have into a new feature or bugfix, it feels really good to know your coworkers are into what you’ve been hacking on.
I’ve witnessed my fellow GitHubbers building each other up on a daily basis, lending a hand when someone has family problems, opening up their homes to traveling GitHub coworkers, and in general being supportive humans:
I feel like there is more trust built into our company culture because of this.
It’s been an incredible ride watching this company grow over the past year, and I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store.
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