Eats Lunch Together
We like our coworkers.
We think it’s important to like the people you work with, which is why we invest heavily in building relationships within and between teams. Our onsite lunch catering and large kitchen spaces make it easy for teams to eat together. To that end, we try to keep our teams small enough to fit around one or two kitchen tables. If it's nice outside, some teams might leave the building and eat in a nearby park, or they’ll take their lunches to a room to watch videos or chat about topics of interest.
Teams also have offsite budgets to spend as they wish. In the past, teams have gone to lunches, pedicures, escape rooms, karaoke, woodshop classes, baseball games, and more. Onsite, it’s not uncommon for people to get together for things like book clubs, board game sessions, poker games, and Super Smash tournaments.
At the end of the day, our teams are cross-functional, and you aren’t limited to only forging relationships with people who do the same thing as you. An engineer can expect to get to know designers, product managers, business leaders, and operations folks. What’s more, a lot of people like to use a Slack extension called Donut, which matches up random people across the company every two weeks, regardless of role, and invites them to go grab a donut or coffee and become acquaintances.
Customer Comes First
We spend time with the people who use what we make.
We’re here because we want to build useful products, which means regularly interacting with our customers. Teams working on external-facing products visit clients at their offices to learn about any problems they’re facing and how we can help solve for them. Those of us that work on internal-facing systems regularly shadow internal teams to understand their ever-evolving processes and workflows.
Sometimes, we’ll (literally) go the extra mile and travel to places like Chicago, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Amsterdam, Atlanta, and Los Angeles to sit next to and learn from the business teams there.
Preparing for Peak 2019, engineer Catie Talbot along with the rest of the Ocean Team traveled to Hong Kong to gain firsthand understanding of the problems which we faced before building a solution. The trip was part research, part alignment. They spent the week staying close to our users – shadowing and mapping out the team’s workflow and building out a roadmap for the ideal fulfillment process at Flexport. It was an amazing learning and bonding experience for everyone involved!
Flexport was founded in 2014 and became a $3.2 billion-valued unicorn in 2019 – with only 150 engineers.
In the past year, Flexport opened offices in Seattle and Philadelphia, bringing us to 12 locations and counting! The volume we’re shipping has increased so rapidly that we’ve purchased warehouses in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Shenzhen, and we’ve even leased our own Boeing 747!
We achieved this growth thanks to 150 engineers across four cities and three countries, something we attribute to a carefully designed product cycle that syncs strategically with the business. To keep up with the growing demand, engineers move fast.
When you join Flexport, you will ship code on your first day. You’ll build our product and design flexible, high-quality solutions. To help you understand the broad scope of our mission, you’ll participate in a week-long crash course on the fundamentals of global trade. Your onboarding class will be flying in from offices around the world and consist of people from operations, sales, marketing, product, design, and more. It’s a great opportunity to tap into the cross-functional knowledge of your starting cohort!
Your best work happens when you are refreshed, so we play the long game.
In order to do your best work, we know you need to feel happy in and outside of work. That’s why we have a flexible vacation policy and keep the office full of love thanks to our Flexpups (aka puppies!). Teams also host monthly happy hours for the company with themes like “Dangerous Goods” or “Base Camp” with lots of decorations, costumes, and themed drinks and bites.
In the spirit of friendly competition, we also have a board game night every other
Thursday, participate in club sports leagues (Flexport FC recently walked away as soccer league champions!), and hold trivia nights with Flexport swag prizes.
We like to have fun together outside of the office, too. This past summer, one of our Engineers, Francisco Delgado and our Senior Program Coordinator for Flexport Academy, Franni Weinberg, put together our 4th annual tubing trip to the Russian River. The trip was open to all Flexport employees (and even friends of Flexporters!) as a way to relax and enjoy the company of coworkers in a non-work setting. Everyone who attended returned slightly sunburnt, having gained some new friends, and with a big smile on their face.
Wears Many Hats
We are growing quickly, so we encourage people to fill the gaps and wear as many hats as they want.
Want to learn more about operations and the business side of Flexport? Phenomenal, do it. By learning about their pain points you can have the freedom to go build products to solve them.
One great example of taking initiative and trying something new can be attributed to Kevin, who built our permission policy system. He single-handedly ran our infrastructure for over a year and flew to our Shenzhen office to improve site performance behind the Great Firewall.
Desmond Brand joined Flexport’s original engineering team as engineer #8. Six months later, as Flexport continued to grow, he became an Engineering Manager in charge of supporting half the team. He then took on the role of Engineering Director, supporting both the client-facing applications group and the frontend infrastructure team. And after three years in management, Desmond decided to return to an individual contributor role on the frontend infrastructure team, "leading from the front" once again.
We encourage you to try various roles and functions to find what fits you best!
We practice a bottom-up culture by embracing candor.
We believe open communication is the key to success, so everyone at Flexport is encouraged to speak with candor. We give everyone a voice and try to make sure those closest to a given problem are the decision-makers. We also believe in regular check-ins between managers and reports. Not only do managers and their direct reports meet one-on-one every week, but we also schedule skip level meetings (where you meet with your manager’s manager) on a monthly cadence.
This works top-down as well. Our CEO Ryan Petersen holds an all-hands meeting once a month to share global company updates. He also actively encourages anyone with a thought or idea to Slack him and leadership directly in our #ask-exec-team Slack channel and slido Q&A sessions at all-hands. We also have an #ask-maker-leaders channel to give everyone a direct line to the product, design, and engineering teams behind each feature and line of code.
A great example of this is when one of our Engineers asked the #ask-exec-team why we have a one year cliff in place for performance-based equity refreshers. They made a compelling argument in the channel to remove the cliff with clear bullet points and articles to back up their reasoning. So compelling in fact, that Ryan approached them about a month or two later thanking them for bringing it up and letting them know that Flexport would remove the cliff vesting requirement (formerly a one-year cliff) for all refresh and promotion grants! No company is perfect, and Flexport recognizes that, but ultimately we believe that maintaining an open communication channel enables individuals to comfortably voice their thoughts and receive the attention required to maximize career growth.
Promotes from Within
Flexport is great because of the people, so we make sure to take care of each other!
Most ideas and initiatives drive from the ground up, and we regularly promote and empower those who exemplify our values.
Take Will Humphreys-Cloutier, for example. When he joined the engineering team in January 2017, he saw that despite all of the cargo we were moving around the world, we didn’t have a carbon offset program. Together with Susy Schöneberg from the business side, he drove Flexport's partnership with the Carbonfund.org Foundation. They built carbon emissions reporting, and provided a way for our customers to sign up.
After that, he made it possible for Flexport to model and coordinate the allocation of cargo onto carrier ships. He wrote detailed design docs, mentored his teammates, and acted as the glue between product, business, and engineering. He has since been promoted to Staff Engineer and then Engineering Manager for the Ocean Automation Team.
Flexport.org started as a hackathon project, but has since spun out into a huge business where our clients also join the mission to make global supply chains more efficient and transparent. We’re now building out a separate engineering team for Flexport.org.
Impressive Team Members
We get to build a product that changes the way the world trades, and we get to do it alongside people who inspire us every day.
We’re driven by a collective desire to change trade and have fun doing it. Our leaders have deep domain knowledge (having previously founded multi-million dollar startups) and experience managing teams handling hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. They’ve mastered the logistics industry and know how to lead us down the right path.
Our engineers span a wide range of backgrounds, and we take special pride in that. We have seasoned engineers from large, successful tech companies, who bring industry best practices and high standards. We also have product-minded ex-founders, brilliant newcomers, and more. We love having a diverse group on our team, and hope you’re the next to join us!