JC's Writing

My personal space to publish my thoughts

On changing to a product

Since the beginning of this year, 2021, I started in a new company, a well-known Silicon Valley startup, that's been around for 2 decades now. I'm talking about the note taking app, Evernote. I want to talk a bit of why I decided to come here and the challenges that I think I will encounter during this journey.

First I'd like to talk about my previos job, working as a consultant for ThoughtWorks. I was part of this amazing company for almost 4 years, this is the place where my career as a software engineer begun and I surely hope to come back in the future, but let's not get ahead and talk a bit about the past. Since this was my first job, the first engagement with a client that I had, one of the best, I have to say it, was a very powerful experience, working with a very powerful team that was assembled to start as the first team inside this client. I learned a lot and this is the team where I started to define myself as a frontend developer. This was the first year.

During my second engagement, I was asked to be part of a team where they needed some React experience to help rebuild the web interface of a payment platform. They reached to me and then I started, but not right away with React, since the client didn't want to prioritize this work right away, so I had to learn how the current frontend of this project worked and it was bad; they had the problem of Not invented here and it made the whole company to built the web in a custom developed web framework, a mix of Backbone and jQuery stuff. Don't get me wrong, it was not a bad framework, but the following versions, not the first one and our project was using the first one. It took me sometime to get used to it and to bring the necessary arguments to push for the new frontend. In the end, it worked and we started developing the new project a couple of months later.

I have to say, this has been the best team that I've been part of, so many excelent people, across all the different roles. It was awesome. After one year of work we started to release the new version of the project and it was a huge success. We were a data driven project and we could see the benefits right away, there was no doubt that what we built was first class software. At this time I decided that I wanted to specialize myself as a frontend developer. I was a part of this team for almost 2 years.

Then, the last year, 2020, I was part of 4 different teams and this made realize something that pushed me to resign and that is that I wanted to be part of a product focused company. Until now my job as a consultant made me move rapidly between different teams and different clients, specially at the end, not having much time to learn a lot about the business and always having the feel that I could have done better having more time to prepare. This was a hard year, the pandemic changed our way to look at job and we went full remote. I had to take advantage of this, since I wanted to be able to work as a digital nomad, not right away, but in the near future.

So my job hunting began, the first step updating my LinkedIn profile, then applying to different product focused companies around the world and I mean this, I applied to some stuff in SEA (South East Asia), Europe and USA. At this point I was about to leave ThoughtWorks, this happened officially in November 13, but I was on medical leave since the end of October, since I had a urgent surgery to remove my appendix, the famous useless appendix that can be quite dangerous when it starts to have problems. During this time on leave and then without a job I applied to a variaty of product companies and started studying a bit again.

After not hearing from most of them, having a few interviews and realizing that it was not going to be too easy, I found from a colleage that Evernote was offering positions in Chile. This was interesting, so I applied here too and the interview process began. I had 2 interviews with people in Chile and 3 others with people in USA, members of the team that I was being interviewed for. It was challenging to me, since I would have to make the interviews in English, language that I'm not quite used to talk, since I mainly write in it or just use Spanish.

Long story short, I made it and got the offer letter from Evernote and I have to say, its a lot more than what the market pays here for software engineers with my amount of years of experience, so I was quite happy with it, specially because it was more than the minimum salary that I calculated I needed to be able to live in Europe, the first continent that I want to visit when I start working as a digital nomad. I got the offer in mid December and I would start working on January 5th, 2021.

I've been here for 2 weeks now, the way we work is quite different to what I was used to as a TWer, a lot more flexible, working with teammates based in different cities of USA, without a fixed time during the day to be online, I just need to make sure that I'm working and finishing the work that I'm being assigned by now, mostly small fixes, to get used to the project. I've been assigned to work on the mobile app of Evernote as a frontend developer, but this time mobile frontend, not web. I'll be writing about this change in the future.

Now is my time to get used to the app, understand how we're working, how we're making decisions and help my team to build things that bring the most value to our users, I'm very excited to get to know the product design team and the UX team, to make sure we bring the best experience that we can build. I'm really confident that I will learn a lot working here, I hope to be able to make my network bigger, with people from different countries, backgrounds and with different approaches to work.

Here's to a different 2021, with new goals and new challenges.