Heavily Team Oriented
We often think of ourselves as an elite sports team. It's always we, never me.
Let’s Do This is a collection of seriously impressive individuals, but we thrive as a unit and are willing to make personal sacrifices on behalf of our team members. Our team-first mentality stems from our shared love of exercise and the product we’re building, and a mutual understanding of fun. Everyone has a voice in big product decisions and when we’re not working, we go to the gym together, go on runs during lunch together, and enter races together, too.
Perhaps one of the best examples of how team orientated we are is our willingness to move across the world with each other. During Y Combinator, eight of us moved from London, UK to Palo Alto to make the most of the 3-month batch. We raised a seed round after YC, and four team members moved to San Francisco together to open the office. In the summer of 2019, we took the whole team (everyone from both London and San Francisco) to Cambridge, UK for an intense “training camp” where we more than doubled all of our top-line metrics in six weeks in the run up to our Series A. None of this would have been possible without a team that believed in each other, put each other first, and was willing to make personal sacrifices, like moving their lives across the world in pursuit of a shared dream.
Even as a distributed company on two continents, we maintain cohesion. We keep open communications and everyone feels like it is easy to reach out to anyone else in the company, regardless of their role or location. Early in 2019, we helped relocate a U.S. engineer, Connor, to London and also moved a UK engineer, Tom, to San Francisco. Our hope is that every engineer spends at least one week each year working out of their non-home office, and so far, many of us have spent up to six weeks doing so. Doing so helps us stay close to one another and feel comfortable making quick FaceTime calls to discuss cross-office issues when we’re not in the same city (a much better alternative than potentially misinterpreting written Slack messages anyway).
If you ask anyone at Let’s Do This why they work here, what they love most about working here, or which value represents LDT the most, the clear winner is always “the team.”
Bonded by Love for Product
We get a massive kick from knowing that our product helps people get outside, be active, take part in life-changing experiences, and conquer personal challenges.
Our team members span the whole spectrum in terms of athletic ability, from new hires who've never run a 5K (but quickly get the running bug) to an Olympic gold medalist, yet we are all united by a shared love for physical challenges. We know how impactful endurance events can be on people’s lives. Our passion to get more people on their feet participating in them transcends the walls of Let’s Do This. If you’ve heard of Serena Williams (the 22-time Grand Slam Champion and G.O.A.T 🙌) or Usain Bolt (world record holder for the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100m sprint 🥇), they’re fully behind our product, too, and are proud investors of LDT.
Let’s Do This is a passion project. Normally, you either get an opportunity to build one of the biggest companies in the world, or you get an opportunity to work on something that you really love. It’s super rare that you get both. For most of us, we are creating a product that we always wished existed. It’s a beautiful thing to spend every day building a platform for yourself, something your closest friends will use, too… and call it “work.” We feel lucky to be in this position, and are grateful to have awesome people to do it all with.
Speed is our greatest weapon.
We will always prioritize time-to-market and always challenge ourselves to execute faster. While it’s common to hear that you will release code on your first day, we really mean it. Engineers on our team release to production multiple times per day and we tend to work on multiple projects within a single sprint. Sure, there's work that may take a whole sprint to complete, but we’re typically multi-tasking and keeping multiple plates spinning. Not only do we have many workstreams, but we’re also keen on not siloing anyone on a single project. To help stay focused, we regularly use single-week sprints as well.
At present, everyone on our team is a full-stack developer. While most people have front- or back-end preferences and different strengths, we encourage everyone to work across the entire stack.
We’re a small team, so we can quickly change focus and get behind a new problem on short notice and deliver in quick order. Our process supports a maker’s schedule, which we honor every day. To help facilitate speed, we also use CI/CD and have designed our technical infrastructure to bias toward frequent and fast deployments.
Risk-Taking > Stability
We’re not a company of optimization or incrementalism; we consistently support each other in making big bets and finding out how to make the biggest impact we can.
This often means that we fail, so we choose to fail forward. Fail, learn, move on to the next. If you’re a perfectionist or risk-averse, you won’t be very happy at LDT at our current stage. We are currently in a run-around-and-break-shit phase and believe that done is better than perfect. All engineers are on the front lines, operate very close to production, and have complete autonomy to build, release, and revert.
Our technology moves very quickly, too. We don’t mean that in terms of using bleeding edge technology, but that we (probably because of our stage and ongoing search for product market fit) regularly add new tech into the stack, rip out experiments that didn't work, and replace early iterations of ideas as the product evolves.
What might be seen as “cutting corners” (be it some part of QA or rigor in test coverage), we see as necessary in order to meet deadlines. We always try to maximize how much we can fit into a sprint and go as close to committing as much as possible. We also don't worry about overcommitting. If we've estimated poorly and added too much to a sprint or phase, we reassess in the next planning stage and ask ourselves if projects are still a priority or have the goalposts moved (again)? The team members who have come from big and slow movers like Facebook and Google have thrived at how fast we work and get shit done here (after the initial shock that is 😉).
Safe Environment to Fail
You’ll never be criticized for making a mistake at LDT.
It’s completely okay to get it wrong. In fact, we have a strong bias toward taking risks and making mistakes versus playing it safe. As a result, one of our core company values is, “We are an elite force. It’s always we, never me.” We are all open about making mistakes across all levels, including our CEO. Our most senior developers admit to hacks and come forward about being wrong when they are. We’re honest in our PRs and the feedback we give, and also recognize risks and knowingly accept them. We have dedicated time to build test harnesses to catch bugs and alert us (i.e. alarms, emails) because we encourage speed over perfection. It makes us more comfortable to take risks, too, because we are reassured that mission critical regressions will be caught early.
To us, feeling safe to fail goes hand in hand with open feedback. We frequently reference the radical candor graph when we are giving or asking for feedback, and make sure everyone has context around what they’re building. We document our in-person meetings, whether they be dev team retrospectives or standups, and share them in our shared Slack office. We also have a Facebook Portal in both of our offices, which is on at all times. It provides an additional wormhole from one office to another. And despite our time differences, we schedule weekly All Hands meetings and weekly #devs meetings when our timezones overlap so that everyone can attend. Ideas are shared, concerns are voiced, and we happily address successes and failures from the week.
We want Let’s Do This to be the place you go to to find events.
While our world moves more communities and interpersonal interactions online, we still believe that the best human experiences happen in person. We are using technology to enable better experiences and transform an industry that has been technologically underserved.
We’re well on our way to building the single source of truth for endurance events, so much so that our event discovery product is already embedded within the Runner’s World site in the U.S. and UK. Upcoming challenges include scaling out content aggregation to new geographies and niche sports, while building a platform to increase the number of content contributors and generating the kind of rich user-generated content that really sets our information apart.
Major projects on the horizon include integrating with the many registration platforms used by organizers to allow our users a seamless checkout for any race, ramping up our recommendation engine built on top of athlete data from trackers like Strava and Garmin, and building awesome tools for the supply side to succeed in marketing events on our platform. The one we’re most excited about though is the community project kicking off in 2020. Anyone who’s ever done a race knows how important the people around you are when training, and how much you love showing off your newly minted medal at the end! We’re going to bring the achievements you’re most proud of online into your Let’s Do This profile, and build communities of like-minded people in pursuit of similar goals to help you achieve yours.
We are currently a team of 11 product-focused engineers. Creating value for our users is our north star, and given how much we dogfood our own product, we have a thorough understanding of end-product goals. We do our best to have everyone work on projects that personally interest them. While we haven’t always been able to deliver on this promise, we truly believe we are a better team and will build better products when everyone is passionate about what they're building.
Supports Physical Wellness
There are no expectations that you need to be an athlete, but if you are one or have aspirations to move more, we’re 100% behind you.
All employees at LDT have a $650 annual allowance to enter races and events. Whether it’s an obstacle course race or a 5K, we encourage one another to go to large and small events alike. In the UK, a 5K or 10K might be £10 to enter, but these are the grassroots organizers that make up a lot of our marketplace and we love interacting with our clients and communities. There’s nothing more rewarding than spending time with the communities we serve while also doing our bodies good! On top of our annual allowance, we also have subsidized gym memberships. Given our product, we get our fair share of free event entries from the partners we work with and often enter events as a team. (These are super fun and totally optional.)
It’s important to us that everyone feel welcome and free to be themselves. No one is pressured to participate in races or athletics events. That said, it may happen. We had one developer join us as a “might go for guilt-driven run once every few months” type of person. However, after seeing these races on screen every day for months on end, she eventually signed up to her first 10K… and then her first half marathon... and then a sprint triathlon… One day, she announced that she’d entered a 78-mile ultra marathon 🙀 and ended up leading the charge in recruiting several other team members for training runs before crushing her ultra. 🙌
We fully support one another regardless of what their interests are. We love getting out as a team whether it’s running, cycling, or going out for a beer after work. Most of us (five so far and counting!) have recently moved to SF from London, and are doing our best to explore the trails, roads, and slopes within striking distance of the Bay Area on the weekends.
We had a heated debate about whether to choose this value. Let us explain:
Some people consider work/life balance to mean working 40 hours (or less) per week. You won’t find that here at Let’s Do This. Our hours are long, but we also find it difficult to say when exactly they start and stop when our work naturally integrates with every other part of who we are.
For many of us, LDT is the first place where we’ve found balance. We have more mental, physical, and emotional health here than we’ve ever had working at other companies, and it’s remarkable. A lot of us have athletic backgrounds or interests, which means no one will blink an eye if you suddenly decide to take a break in the middle of the day to go to yoga or do a 5-mile run. If anything, one or two people may ask to join you. And when you’re getting fresh air on a trail run or with your friends at a Tough Mudder on the weekend, it will be hard not to think about our product. How can I improve the user experience? Which feature specs need reframing? Ooh, we should explore a partnership with X!
In this way, work/life integration is a more appropriate value for us at Let’s Do This. We are an early stage startup who recently raised a Series A, and we couldn’t be more excited to realize our vision for the future. We pride ourselves on having the same work ethic and discipline that elite athletes do and would be sad if work and life had to be two separate things. If you’re looking for a job to clock in and out of, don’t come here. But if you want the camaraderie of a team in a competitive sport and want to work alongside other passionate, focused, and determined team members, please reach out – we’d love to talk to you!
You can reach out to Marc, our Head of Engineering, at [email protected].