Transparency is core to who we are and what we’re building.
At Makelog, we’re building a release communication product that helps technical and non-technical teams communicate more effectively with each other and with customers. After spending several years at various B2B SaaS companies, we experienced firsthand how difficult it was to communicate product updates to enterprise customers who value having insight into the product roadmap – Are companies working on the features customers care most about? Are they fixing bugs that are being reported? What exactly is being shipped and when? However, most companies only communicate big feature or product launches since it’s too tedious to share every little thing that ships with the right people. Thus, there’s often a huge lack of transparency around the longtail of updates. We founded Makelog to help companies better communicate product updates with the right stakeholders in a clear, thoughtful, and beautifully-designed way. This is especially important now as the tech world is increasingly moving toward CI/CD, where product changes are an everyday occurrence.
As a small team, we rely on open and effective communication with one another. Whether it’s sharing learnings, giving feedback, noting concerns or celebrating wins – being a strong communicator ensures we’re all rowing in the same direction. There’s a lot of asynchronous communication via Notion and Slack, but we’re also happy to hop on a Huddle or Zoom call whenever needed (and sometimes because we just enjoy having facetime, too). For our daily standup, we use StatusHero, which helps us understand what everyone’s priorities are for the day. In addition to team meetings every Monday, we also have regular 1:1s with each other to help avoid silos. Every month or so, we do a virtual team bonding session using fun tools like Icebreaker, Dive, and Around. Last but not least, it only makes sense that we share our changelog out in the open – you can check it out here!
Team is Diverse
Our success hinges on building a diverse and inclusive team.
We’re building a release communication product to serve scrappy, fast-moving startups to large, public companies, and everyone in-between. In order to build the best possible product, it’s crucial we have different skills, viewpoints, and experiences to draw from. We’re proud to have people from different walks of life, including a female, Asian-American CEO (you can meet JJ here), as well as team members from underrepresented groups in tech. We have folks on the team who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and others who are completely self-taught developers. We don’t look for a certain brand-name universities or companies on your resume and instead strive to build a diverse team, pipeline, and customer base. In fact, we’re very intentional about the language we use in our job descriptions, so that they’re not catered to people who only have a certain type of background.
We pride ourselves on being “glue people.”
Part of the beauty of joining an early-stage startup is getting to collaborate with the entire team. We all view each other as “glue people” meaning everyone contributes in different ways, beyond just what our titles would suggest. Engineers are welcome (and encouraged!) to participate in anything from brainstorming product ideas and designs to helping with website copy to leading discovery calls with customers (if they would like to, of course).
A big part of cross-functional collaboration means having empathy and curiosity and interest in things beyond your scope. For instance, while JJ (CEO) is involved in all things customer-facing, in her free time you can find her reading books about DevOps, following engineers on Twitter, or dipping her toes into the debate surrounding conventional commits. Similarly, Dan joined as an early product engineer, which already straddles product and engineering, but he also wears a design hat and has been helping out on the recruiting side. As one of our new hires Julio puts it, “Everyone has to be down to be a janitor.” If you’re a fan of wearing multiple hats, you’ll fit right in and we encourage you to reach out.
Customer Comes First
Everyone on the team has a customer-centric mindset.
Our customer is a product (or sometimes engineering) leader at fast-moving B2B startups. In a continuous delivery environment, it’s super challenging for them to keep internal and external customers in the loop, which dramatically slows down value delivery time. We’re designing a release communication product that assuages these pain points. For example, we’re helping teams autogenerate release communication with context they’re already capturing in various tools like GitHub and Jira.
Everything we do keeps our customers’ needs front and center. To that end, we meet with design partners on a weekly basis, and include engineers in the discussions. Many of our customers are technical, or have technical use cases, and when engineers are able to dig into the requirements first-hand, it skips a level of technical translation. This allows for more rapid discovery and prototyping. If we find something that will better serve our customers, we’re always willing to check our egos at the door, scrap what we’re working on, and pivot as needed.
You’ll work on projects from inception to completion – and beyond.
We have an ownership mentality and engineers have a lot of room to innovate and see ideas to fruition. It’s everybody’s job to understand customer needs and deliver on them. That’s why you’ll get to have your hand in everything from discovery and ideation to design and QA. For us, finished doesn't just end at “shipped” – engineers are responsible for fixing bugs, extending features, and iterating based on customer feedback. Whenever possible, we love to have engineers present their work to customers directly in our design partner meetings. Not only are they the ones closest to the work, but it also enables engineers to get live feedback and see firsthand the impact they’re making. That said, we’re strategic about the features we build and aren’t afraid to find ways to push back on customer feedback if needed. There’s a lot of exciting things we’re working on and new hires might work on building anything from developer experience tooling to new features in the app to different integrations. If this sounds exciting to you, let us know!
Bonded by Love for Product
We’re passionate about making the invisible visible.
Often on engineering teams, all the glory goes to the people working on the biggest features and the things that are ultra customer facing. However, we believe stability, reliability, and performance are also important features of a product. So in addition to the obvious value prop of what we’re building (a release communication platform that helps ensure nothing slips through the cracks), we’re also able to show how valuable engineers are internally. It allows companies to celebrate not only big features but also every small win along the way, which are now made transparent. This helps other engineers feel seen and appreciated and improves cross-functional collaboration both internally and with companies’ external partners.
It’s important to us that candidates are similarly bonded by this mission before joining Makelog. We’re solving a complex, interesting problem in a way that’s never been done before, and learning more about it as we go. Our shared passion (and optimism) for tackling this challenge is what keeps us all going!
EQ > IQ
We look for people who enjoy “raising all ships.”
The spirit of Makelog is all about helping technical and non-technical people converge on a common language to better communicate with each other. Our goal is for our customers’ technical teams to be better equipped to speak about business value, and for business teams to be better able to speak about technical and product details. We believe the highest-performing engineering teams of the future will be incredibly customer-focused, whether it’s internal or external customers. To that end, we look for engineers who treat each other with kindness and respect, and never make others feel like they’re asking a dumb question.
Folks who stand out to us are exceptional communicators who proactively offer to explain things to others, share as much context as possible, and openly discuss their thought process and why they made the decisions they did. This is so important to us that it’s reflected in our interview process, where we opt for presentations and talking through technical challenges rather than whiteboarding. We’ll present real challenges from a customer and look to see how candidates understand and empathize with them.
Fosters Psychological Safety
The emphasis is always on “what did we learn?”
When you’re innovating quickly and building something entirely new, mistakes are inevitable, but we always view them as learning opportunities and never place blame on any one person. As JJ puts it, “ Our number one job right now is to experiment, to have hypotheses, and prove or disprove them.” We’re okay with things not being perfect and are just as open in Slack about missteps as we are about wins. Each week we take the time to reflect on how the week went and what we’ve learned. If a bug happens, we don’t focus on whose fault it was. Instead, we’ll say “nice find,” fix it, and move forward.
We love brainstorming with one another and encourage people to speak up and share their ideas. It’s common for us to riff off of one another – think sharing an interesting article or tweet in our #ideas Slack channel that sparks a discussion and might influence what (and how) we decide to build. We’re also cognizant that some people prefer more time to think through ideas, so we make space for asynchronous brainstorming as well. We recently raised a $3M seed round and we’re excited to expand our team in an environment where everyone feels safe to be their full selves and do their best work.