Our mission is to empower the world to communicate with context and insight. The Nylas Cloud APIs powers email, calendar, and contacts features in SaaS products ranging from CRM and marketing automation to recruiting tools, scheduling assistants, legal and real estate platforms, and more. The Nylas email API integrates with 100% of email service providers, allowing bidirectional email sync between SaaS apps and your email client.
Each team is asked to select, explain, and rank their top 8 values in order of importance.
Nylas is a product built for engineers, by engineers.
Our company was started by engineers, for engineers: to make it easy to add email, contacts, and calendars to any app. We have spent the last four years developing an API that is clean, performant, secure, and makes the lives of other developers easier. Since a user’s inbox has more data than your typical startup, we’ve had to solve some pretty challenging big data, high speed, and availability requirements. We’re still a relatively small company (~ 35 people) who thrive on applying what we’ve learned within engineering to growing our company.
As part of our growth we have recently split into 3 engineering teams with focuses on product, platform, and tech operations. The engineering teams plan and coordinate their own projects and deadlines for work that is relevant to that team. The team leads represent the goals and roadmaps for their team in meetings with company leadership and relay the results of the meeting back to the team members. This ensures each engineer gets a chance to give input on important engineering decisions and have a say in what they’re working on.
Our Developer Success Engineers bridge the gap between customer and engineering.
They are both technical and customer facing, which allows us to dive deeper into customer issues and resolve them with very little back and forth. To recruit a DSE who has both a customer service background and deep drive to learn software engineering, we recruit actively through groups like HackBright and HackReactor. This lets us find candidates with non-traditional software engineering backgrounds to increase the diversity of our teams. Our goal is to have our DSEs grow into Software Engineers and we’ve instrumented a formal mentorship program to support this over the long term.
Little to no bureaucracy allows engineers to reach their full potential.
A flat organizational structure is one of the many ways we maintain our inclusive culture and promote individual growth while increasing productivity. We allow all engineers to be involved in any big (or sometimes small) engineering decisions. Decisions that affect the entire company are typically discussed by everyone or discussed retroactively for feedback. Each engineer has a regular unstructured 1:1 meeting with the VP and another with the CTO to ask questions about the company, discuss issues, and give feedback that is then acted upon.
Most of the work at Nylas is self-assigned, meaning that engineers typically get to choose their sub-team and projects. The engineering team is broken out into 3 small teams. Tech Ops creates, manages, and ensures the smooth and secure operation of our technical infrastructure. The Product team builds and owns new features and services for customers and to improves existing ones. The Platform team develops and maintains robust, scalable, and easy-to-use abstractions in support of the Product team.
The work that is not self-assigned is typically due to each engineer participating in our rotation to work on customer-related issues. This combined with open code review gives everyone a chance to work on and understand the entire product.
Nylas is a place where you can bring your whole self to work and be accepted as who you are.
It's a place that values growth and learning, puts high value on empowering employees, and we know it's healthy to have a life outside of work. While we are a startup and sometimes have to rally to hit a deadline, we strive to plan projects in a way that supports healthy work-life balance.
We offer a mandatory 2-week, contiguous vacation with an unlimited vacation policy, and we trust everyone to properly coordinate around busy (and less busy) times. The mandatory 2 weeks is designed to both encourage people to truly unplug, and ensure there is no single point of failure operationally in the company. We also offer (and have exercised) a caretaker / parental leave policy of up to 16 weeks for those expecting or needing to take care of ill family members or newborns.
Lastly, we allow everyone to work from home when they need to. You don’t need to get pre-approval or talk to your manager unless you plan to work from outside of the office for more than a few days in a row, or need to coordinate working from a different timezone. We trust that you know how to work productively from wherever. We currently have four fully remote engineers (in Boston, New York, and San Diego) and are open to bringing on other all-remote team members.
Each week we get together for a company all hands.
All hands is our fully transparent company-wide meeting where we discuss what has happened during the week, and reflect on successes and failures. It is a recap of the past week and we go over operations, sales, marketing, finance, and engineering departments accomplishments. We always host an AMA at the end to openly discuss any company issues.
Unlike other all hands meetings that are usually run by a single person, each department head or project lead presents at ours. It is one (of many) forums for people to ask questions and challenge decisions, even around fundraising. Our executive team members are entirely transparent about open business negotiations, and will share updates about fundraising whether they are good or bad.
Lastly, we are diligent about hosting regular retrospective meetings to learn from our mistakes and come together as a team to improve our processes. Our monthly all company retrospectives allows us to have open and frank conversations on a regular basis.
Actively Practices Inclusion
We’ve open-sourced our employee handbook.
At one of our company offsites, we spent a significant amount of time discussing our company values. From those conversations, we decided to model the company that we aspired to be, and make it easy for others to fork that handbook if they wanted to borrow or were inspired by it. Why make it public? If we’re lucky, people will fork it, work on it, and perhaps borrow from it to create their own.
Within Nylas, we partner with Paradigm to host D&I workshops at the company. These workshops range from “how to conduct yourself at meetings” to “how to write performance reviews,” and have helped us be more conscious of our biases towards different races, genders, and ages. Our VP of Engineering, Tomasz, also spearheaded a partnership with Code2040 after participating in the program as mentor. We partner with Code2040 to focus on diversity for our intern recruiting.
We make a big effort to create an inclusive environment that is open, frank, and predictable. One of the ways we are working to maintain this is by implementing a new engineering growth and leveling framework that recognizes contributions which are typically undervalued or ignored in traditional engineering ladders.
Everyone who joins has such a tremendous impact to the company, and brings something that doesn’t exist yet here.
This is a startup. If you need a super structured world, this isn’t the right place for you. The people we have attracted understand the impact of our product and have ideas about how to push it further. At Nylas, we ask for forgiveness, not for permission.
If you have a question about design or marketing, you should speak directly to a designer or someone on the marketing team. We’re not a huge company, which means you will have full ownership of your project. While we avoid 1-person projects as much as possible, project teams can have as few as two engineers, giving each person a tremendous amount of freedom and responsibility. Everyone touches all parts of the codebase. Everyone is a full-stack engineer.
Additionally, all Nylas engineers participate in a customer focused rotation where we work exclusively on the most critical customer facing issues. This allows each engineer to work directly on what customers have highlighted as their biggest issues. These may include really complex ActiveSync authentication situations, Unicode parsing issues, data duplication, and more. Each engineer spends two weeks of their choosing every two months to empathize with our customers.
Our staff members have contributed to numerous open source projects like Debian, mypy, and more. We’re also active members of and frequently present at regional and local conferences like Pycon and PyBay. We love to use our office space to host meetups.
Eats Lunch Together
Everyone picks their own lunch from our catering company and eats together.
Sometimes we do engineering lunchtime talks after lunch about projects and new tech. Individuals will volunteer and say they want to teach others about a certain topic, whether it be “how to write good unit tests” from our “developer tooling in CLI” and we’ve also invited outside speakers (like someone who came in to talk about beekeeping).
When we bring in a new intern class, we’ll have more frequent and regular talks on software development processes, which help to uplevel our interns as well as build relationships between individuals at the company.
Actively Practices Inclusion
Open Source Contributor
Eats Lunch Together
Instead of accruing vacation time, you will plan the vacation time you would like to take off with your manager. There are no limits, but we ask you to work with your manager and team to plan responsibility. For every day taken off we ask for a week’s notice.
We also highly encourage all of our staff to take two consecutive weeks off annually to recharge.
First you’ll speak with one of our founders or hiring managers. Next you’ll meet with one of our engineers to do a timed coding challenge. Finally, you’ll come onsite, have lunch with us and meet the rest of the team for 4-5 hours.