Aptible helps developers do their best work by empowering them to use any cloud resource securely. We’ve already helped hundreds of innovative companies succeed at becoming trustworthy custodians of sensitive data – and we’re just getting started.
Each team is asked to select, explain, and rank their top 8 values in order of importance.
Impressive Team Members
Our team members have amassed decades of combined coding experience.
We are a team of pet (and human) parents, entrepreneurs, avid hang gliders, and amateur bread bakers. While we’re proud of our collective personal and professional accomplishments, we believe what makes us most impressive is how each member of our team embodies Aptible’s company values.
We take our values seriously and are constantly blown away by the degree to which our team lives by them. As one of many examples, we measure commitments through company-wide OKRs that are then translated into OKRs at the team level. Those team level OKRs are then divided into two-week sprint goals, which are decided on by project teams in collaboration with our CEO and COO. We hold each other accountable by having daily syncs, and as part of the larger Aptible organization, during our bi-weekly all-hands meetings where we discuss how each team and the company are tracking toward our goals.
Everyone at Aptible loves the mutual support and camaraderie of a strong team that wins together. We measure our commitments carefully and hold each other accountable, which means we’re able to deliver more to our colleagues and customers in the long run. We fail often and early, and learn from it. We value and respect teaching as the best way to learn, and make time to share information openly. We think and talk a lot about how we can improve, and work hard at it. We ask “why?” a lot in order to understand root causes.
Customer Comes First
We love solving problems in original ways that delight our customers.
By implementing and managing the operation of key infrastructure security controls, we’re able to save engineers valuable time. Since we’re developers building a product for developers, we’re in a unique position to help solve customer pain points. Our goal is to make their lives easier, and one way we do that is by leading with design. This means we hold every feature accountable to the day-to-day experience of the person whose life that feature is intended to improve.
Since our customers are our North Star, it’s no surprise that we regularly interact with them and use their feedback to help us build the best product possible. For example, there are over 20 Slack channels that we share with customers. Not only will engineers drop in to answer customer questions directly (sometimes fixing bugs in real time for customers), but you’ll also see lots of activity every time we roll out a new feature. Even when we have to push back on a certain request, we’re always willing to hop on a call with customers to explain our reasoning.
We set an equally high bar for maintainability, evolvability, and performance.
In order to feel ownership, everyone needs to have as much context as possible so they can be trusted to make the best decisions possible. As a small team, we value getting together, whether it’s for a brainstorming session, planning conversation, or deep dive into a previous quarter’s results. Leadership is transparent about what their goals are for the company and they welcome all types of questions at all-hands. We avoid siloing knowledge at all costs, and because we are a remote company, we always make sure that information is both documented and easily shareable to all team members.
When it comes to specific work-to-be-done, individual engineers start with either broad requirements (for big projects) or a specific user story to solve. In both cases, we’re responsible for designing a plan of attack, getting input from other team members, and seeing the work through to completion. One great example of this is our compliance visibility project, which entailed creating a dashboard that would show customers exactly what we were doing to help them deploy secure and compliant applications and databases and what they could change if needed. While we had a general idea of what we wanted to build, it was really Ann Guilinger, one of our engineers, who led the project from start to finish. She was responsible for enlisting a couple other engineers and working with our product and design teams to build the dashboard, get it to our first set of customers, and expand it from there.
We hire people who are not only proactive, but are also comfortable asking for help when they need it. Folks who work here love crossing domain knowledge boundaries and getting their hands in all aspects of product development: ideating, interviewing customers, UX/UI design, testing prototypes, architecture design, DevOps, and everything in between. In other words, if you’re resourceful and like taking the initiative, you will thrive at Aptible.
Fosters Psychological Safety
We often talk about how psychological safety is the key to thriving work environments.
The science of high-performing teams is a topic of interest here at Aptible, and we’re constantly thinking about how to build the best work environment. Company-wide, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. It’s more than okay to ask things in a way that isn’t perfectly polished. In fact, our executive team leads by example in our all-hands meetings, which are super informal (in a good way!) and open for anyone to speak up and share their thoughts. On the engineering team, we encourage folks to point out things that didn’t go well so we can learn from them and make ourselves better together. Similarly, when a project or process goes well, we want to learn from that, too.
We believe emotions belong in the workplace, which is why every new employee completes our workshop, “Aptible 102: Communicating through Disclosure, Feedback, and Conflict” within their first two weeks on the job. Instead of asking everyone to conform to one particular work style, we also encourage each other to share our personal and work style preferences.
In addition, we check in with each other both qualitatively and quantitatively. Each team member has a weekly 1:1 where they can discuss anything with their manager and we view this feedback as a two-way street. As a team, we also conduct a bi-yearly Team Experience Survey to understand how we’re doing as an organization. One of the key components that we assess is Team Psychological Safety. We ask questions derived from the work of Amy Edmondson, PhD – the scientist who developed the concept of psychological safety – to understand how the team is feeling about taking risks, asking for help, and making mistakes at Aptible.
We’re very proud of what the results say about psychological safety at Aptible today! Our most recent results show that our team feels overwhelmingly positive when asked about various aspects of psychological safety, something we actively work hard to protect:
Psychological Safety at Aptible: Results from our Team Experience Survey (December 2020)
In order to communicate effectively with each other, we’ve established and written down a set of norms for when we communicate.
These norms are especially important to us at Aptible since most of our communication happens over Zoom, Slack, or email. Being remote forces us to communicate in a way that working in person may not allow. We often create explanatory collateral rather than simply pulling a co-worker into a meeting room and we’ve developed a culture of permanence and accessibility around documentation that we are confident will be invaluable as we scale. Being remote requires that communication between teammates and teams more broadly is thoughtful and intentional each time.
Whether it's the daily scrum standups (we’re constantly working to streamline and improve the efficacy of these), weekly 1:1’s (where you have free reign to set the agenda with your manager), or our bi-weekly all-hands (where we come together as a team to hold ourselves accountable to our goals and enjoy some face time), here are a few of the general practices we promote to ensure positive and effective communication:
Establish clear goals. The goal doesn’t necessarily need to be a deliverable – it could be “brainstorm,” “get aligned,” etc. – the only requirement is that every participant is clear and in agreement on the goal(s).
Clearly articulate the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting. Distribute the agenda and/or deck, so participants can review in advance.
Identify and rotate roles. This might mean rotating functional roles – like “MC,” “scribe,” “timekeeper,” etc. It also could mean experimenting with rotating communication roles, like those described in Kantor’s Four Player Model of Communication.
Be present. Core behaviors include: Participate in meetings, Don’t check Slack, email, etc. Focus your attention on speakers and make appropriate eye contact.
Constantly seek to improve meetings to make them more useful. Identify when scheduled/recurring meetings have outlived their purpose and cancel them.
There are many more norms where those came from – including more tips on how we use Slack and Zoom effectively and with empathy.
The Aptible Team at our 2021 Offsite in San Diego.
We praise those who give feedback early and often.
Feedback is essential for effective communication and psychological safety. However, we recognize giving effective feedback can be difficult to do – it can be uncomfortable and there's always a risk of triggering defensiveness if not done thoughtfully. As a result, feedback loops close and collaboration suffers on most teams as they grow. We care deeply about giving and receiving feedback in a way that makes others feel cared about and not targeted.
Whether it’s informally in meetings, via manager 1:1s or during all-hands, we put a lot of energy into developing good practices for giving feedback. For example, we have quarterly reviews since this allows us to check in with each other more frequently, and address what’s working well (so we can continue) and what needs to be improved. We also hold workshops on giving and receiving feedback and apply those skills in our everyday interactions.
Flexible Work Arrangements
As a distributed team, we enjoy the flexibility of working from home, local co-working spaces, or our favorite coffee shops.
We work across every time zone in North America – most people work online between 9am and 6pm in their local time zone. Ultimately, we care more about the impact we make than the number of hours we put in.
At Aptible, we praise focus and seek leverage and plan our work to make the biggest impact with the least amount of precious time. Sleep is leverage: We believe in getting enough of it. Health is leverage: We take pride in our physical and mental health benefits. It will take years to reach our most ambitious goals, so we aim to perform at a high level over a long period of time.
Think about something you've wanted to accomplish but simply haven't found the time for. Working remotely adds a few more hours into the "life" part of the equation, whether it’s being able to learn a new language, take your dog for a midday stroll, or have more quality time with loved ones.
Aptible Team Hike During 2021 Onsite
Ideal for Parents
Working remotely also allows those of us with children to maximize our time with them.
This could mean being able to take on carpool drop-off rather than an hour-long commute in the morning, or the ability to run to a midday event at school without having to take a full day off. We believe that just as sleep and health are leverage, so too is being able to take care of the things that are most important to you.
In terms of benefits, we offer job-protected Paid Time Off (14 weeks, fully paid) for all parents to bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child.