Engages with Community
Fostering community is at the core of who we are as individuals and a company.
Our mission is to build strong communities that deliver stellar member experiences, so businesses can quantify the impact and become the next generation of community and Developer Relations leaders.
We’re currently a small team and each of us has deep ties to community engagement. Our co-founders Patrick and Josh have contributed to developer communities at companies like Algolia and Keen IO. Josh also maintains various open source projects and regularly speaks at community events. Together, they created the Orbit Model, an open source framework that helps organizations measure and grow their communities.
Nicolas, a software engineer based in Paris, expanded his engineering skill set thanks to community sharing of videos, online courses, and other content. He was driven to give back and started writing blogs, speaking at meetups, and attending conferences. This led him to found JAMstack Paris, a meetup group for dev engineers where he met Josh.
Alex is a junior software engineer who spent all of 2020 building her coding skills with the goal of making a career transition into web development. Along the way, she built a community by documenting her journey and blogging about her progress, as well as starting a podcast and email newsletter for other creative women along their own coding journeys. She's also a mentor for other early-career developers at The Collab Lab.
Chance is a senior software engineer based in San Francisco, CA. After spending the past five years building developer tools for companies like Librato, he’s convinced in the importance of growing developer communities. He believes the purpose of software is solving actual problems for people and will always advocate on behalf of the user.
At Orbit, we talk a lot about value capture versus value creation, with the goal being to encourage the latter. Patrick created the podcast Developer Love, to unpack how to build successful developer communities. Check out episode 6, where Patrick interviews Tim O’Reilly and discusses why it’s so important to create as much value as possible.
While COVID-19 has accelerated the remote-first trend, it’s one that is here to stay. You can now be part of a community regardless of where you are physically, which makes the work at Orbit more pressing than ever before. Engineers who join the team should be similarly passionate about engaging in the community and excited about helping businesses do so on an even larger scale. If that sounds like you, definitely reach out!
Fosters Psychological Safety
We want you to feel safe stepping outside your comfort zone.
The best communities in the dev space (or otherwise) protect the psychological safety of their members, and we believe it should be the same at Orbit. This means creating a space where you feel comfortable speaking up and sharing your thoughts without fear of risking your reputation, back channelling, or having an idea called stupid. At Orbit, our goal for ourselves (and anyone who joins the team!) is to ensure we trust and respect one another. This makes for a more resilient, fulfilling, and long-lasting work environment.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Our founding team of three works across a nine-hour time difference, so flexibility is baked into the way we work at Orbit.
With Patrick in San Francisco and Nicolas and Josh in Paris, a nine-hour time difference naturally requires flexibility. While we like to have 1:1s biweekly, and meet as a company three times a week to keep each other in the loop about our priorities, flexibility is baked into our day-to-day.
We believe successful engineers know what kind of schedules work best for them and will speak up if they have different thresholds for meetings. We want you to be able to work whatever hours suit your needs the best. For example, Nicolas generally likes to work 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., while Josh prefers to have his mornings free and work later in the evenings (when he can also catch up with Patrick in SF). Josh also recently became a parent, so having that flexibility with his schedule is extremely important. At the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule for when you have to work or from where, as long as you’re getting your work done.
The Orbit team hosts a virtual event for community members called OpenSnack.
Bonded by Love for Product
We use Orbit to build Orbit.
Since we’re building a tool for managing and growing communities, we rely on our product to help us grow, too! We coined the term “Orbit Model,” which is our framework for building the most powerful communities, or what we call “high gravity” ones. To retain existing members and attract new ones, much of our approach focuses on welcoming and responding to community members across different channels and providing tailored interactions. We’re able to do this using our automatic Twitter and GitHub integrations, the Orbit API, and one-on-one outreach based on the data. You can learn more about how we use Orbit to build Orbit, here.
Today, software is adopted through personal agency and community plays a huge role in this. Unlike 10 or 20 years ago, software isn’t sold the same way – people aren’t going to fill out a lead gen form or download a white paper. There’s a real commercial opportunity to help businesses transform the way they think of their customers and community.
The applicants who stand out to us the most are people who feel connected to the product and what we’re building in a meaningful way. Maybe they’ve been a developer advocate or community manager already. Maybe they are involved in local or online communities. Or maybe they just have a shared interest in learning more about how the product works and are excited about building this particular tool. If this resonates with you, we’d love to hear from you!
EQ > IQ
If you want to spend every minute of your time deep in code, this probably won’t be the right place for you.
At Orbit, we value EQ and communication skills a lot. If you’re looking to spend 99% of your time coding, this might not be a fit. Not only do we want everyone to contribute to our strategy, but we also don’t view any walls between the company and community – it’s a diffuse membrane! We regularly share mockups and roadmaps with our community. We believe that engineers infuse the product with empathy, through the meaningful choices they make everyday when building it. This means engineers who join our team inherently need to be able to empathize with others, consider different viewpoints, and connect with humans as much as (or more than!) they do the code.
Customer Comes First
Everyone at Orbit interacts closely with our customers and community members. In fact, some of them feel almost like our co-workers.
Simply put, there’s no way to work at Orbit without directly interfacing with our customers. We rely on our customers to tell us how they’re using Orbit in their daily lives. This direct feedback allows us to make the small incremental changes our customers’ need, as well as hone in on greater step-changes and our company roadmap.
We have open lines of communication with our customers, whether it’s a regular weekly call or via Slack. For example, our Orbit 1 Slack channel, which has roughly 200 members, is our inner circle. Early customers and advocates are all in this channel and topics include feedback, book club, and show and tell (where we share the reports to leadership about growing our community). Developer advocates from all over the industry discuss how they use Orbit to successfully grow their business, and help us understand the community better and what we can improve upon.
At times, it feels like customers are our co-workers. That’s why it’s so important that anyone thinking about joining the Orbit team feels excited about interfacing with customers regularly and aligning on what they need to be successful. This enables us to grow strategically and continue to build tight-knit communities.
It’s not done until it’s shared.
Engineers are involved in the entire process, from ideation and design to building and sharing products with the community. As we like to say, “it’s not done until it’s shared.” We’re inspired by the book Shape Up from Basecamp. Every six weeks we have a “shaping week” where we all look at customer feedback and roadmap strategy and decide what goes in the backlog for the next six weeks. We value product-minded engineers who enjoy the added challenge of thinking through the UX and the business case for each feature and work through questions such as How important is it? What’s the priority? Who needs it? Is there a faster/cheaper way to do the same thing?
One great example of start-to-finish ownership is the Merge feature. On the engineering side, Nicolas led the initial research stage to land on the current algorithm used, and sought help from Josh when he was stuck. When it came to feature/UX design, the team discussed Nicolas’ early prototypes both internally and with community members and then iterated based on valuable feedback. Finally, Nicolas kept an eye on rollout and tackled support tickets when needed.
We’re looking for engineers who are comfortable managing their own projects and aren’t afraid to ask questions as they arise!
Creative + Innovative
We’re creating an entirely new category for communities.
If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that humans have an inherent need to connect with others and belong, and we’re completely reinventing how that’s done. Our Orbit Model is a bold attempt to provide a framework that helps anyone build better communities, whether that’s an open source maintainer looking for contributors, a meetup organizer searching for speakers, or a large company that relies on their community for product feedback and getting the word out. Every company and product has a community, but they’re not always leveraging and serving that community in the best way possible. With Orbit, you can use our API to automatically understand which developers are most active in your community.
While our company’s approach is innovative in itself, we also foster creativity internally. We not only provide creative outlets such as writing, giving talks, and side projects, but we actively encourage everyone to stretch themselves and take full advantage of opportunities that speak to them. That’s why we prioritize giving our team enough uninterrupted time to be creative and believe meetings should come second to flow time.
As one of many examples, everyone at Orbit contributes to our blog. We love to have fun and some of our best ideas come from joking around. In fact, one of our most popular blog posts was an April Fools’ Day post!