Product development is not dictated by one or two people.
Engineers, designers, and other stakeholders work together at the beginning of every new project. We discuss what should be built in the first iteration of the product, what we want to measure to determine success, and perhaps more importantly, what shouldn’t be built in the MVP. We aim to have a collaborative culture where our collective best idea wins - product development is not dictated by one or two people.
Afterwards, engineers work cross-departmentally to build and ship the product. In many cases, we have to balance the needs of the company with the needs of our customers, and engineers play an integral role in making sure those needs are met across the board.
Once an MVP of a product is built, we like to demo it at our weekly all-hands, celebrate the win, and gather feedback to make it the best it can be. From there, we continue to have a tight feedback loop between our teammates and our customers, using data to iterate on what we have built.
Heavily Team Oriented
We’re a small and close knit engineering team.
We’re currently 10 engineers that are split into three separate teams that serve three different customers: we have our Agents Team, our Buyer Team, and our Platform team that builds and supports internal tooling that our company runs on. We take advantage of our current small size and make sure that everyone has a say in every big decision. (Something we hope to continue doing even as we grow.)
As one example of how team-oriented we are, we recently rented a loft in Williamsburg and worked “remote” together for a week. It was our inaugural Tech Debt Refinancing Week where we walked through all of our products, identified anything that was a pain point, and improved or fixed it. Not only was it incredibly productive, but it was also fun. (We even made mugs for it!)
As a team, we also make sure to support one another in “picking your path.” Not everyone wants to follow a manager track, so we happily support engineers who want to work as individual contributors (ICs). And just because you don’t have plans to become a formal manager, there are also plenty of opportunities to mentor. We currently don’t have any junior engineers at Ribbon, but we’re excited and ready to bring on junior devs who are looking for senior mentorship in their first or next role.
Actively Practices Inclusion
The team we build must be representative of the diversity we serve, so inclusion is at the forefront of what we do each day.
While our headquarters are in New York City, we serve home buyers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We help veterans, families, and everyone from first-generation home buyers to folks who are downsizing as they buy or sell their homes. Our users come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and have different needs, so it’s incredibly important that we build products inclusively and with our diverse set of users in mind. We cherish our team members’ various opinions and perspectives because we know the only way we can create a good product is by seeing all angles and considering all ideas.
We also want to be inclusive internally. Everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed at Ribbon. Though we’re small (~50 employees, ~10 engineers), it is of the highest priority to make sure our team is being treated fairly not only in action, but in compensation. We hold bi-annual compensation audits to ensure there are no pay gaps across gender, age, or race, and routinely take a step back to make sure our code of conduct is up to standard. We are committed to operating with integrity.
Our interview process is standardized to reduce bias, too. Every candidate that comes through our doors will participate in two technical interviews, a meeting with our CTO, Wei, and a recently added culture interview. By providing the same challenging and exciting interview for each candidate, we make sure everyone has the opportunity to show us their best without extraneous hurdles.
Customer Comes First
What our buyers need is at the center of everything we do.
Unlike most companies, we don’t have one single customer type. We serve everyone in the real estate ecosystem: buyers, agents, lenders, you name it. Though our product touches everyone, our primary goal is to make homeownership achievable, and we orient mostly around the needs of our buyers.
Serving our customers is so important to us that one of our core values to be an “invited guest to dinner.” We're not a key player in the home buying process. We’re guests. We view ourselves as invited guests to help with the process and our only goal is to make things better. We know that buying a home isn’t easy – in fact, it’s one of the more arduous and most emotional processes people go through in their lives. We use our platform to alleviate the pressure of timing and uncertainty, giving homebuyers peace of mind when they are looking to purchase their dream home.
To make sure we’re meeting the needs of our buyers and agents, we rely on direct feedback from our customers and from our talented team of Account Managers who assist all parties involved in every Ribbon transaction. Sometimes the best way to serve our customers is by flying down to Charlotte to meet with agents in person, and we’ll do just that. We’ll pick their brain on how we can do better for them and turn their feedback into an actionable roadmap.
Photo below of us opening our Charlotte office in style!
Rapidly Growing Team
We want to double by 2020 which means hiring ~10 engineers.
What’s unique about the real estate market is its depth and vastness. We’ll never outgrow the real estate market because it doesn’t have a cap, and without a ceiling, we have countless opportunities to capitalize for both our business and the individuals on our team. It’s an exciting time to join because we have a lot of momentum, but we’re still small. We welcome the most senior of engineers as well as recent coding bootcamp grads, and everyone will have direct exposure to our CTO and leadership team. If you’re looking to have outsized impact in an early company with traction, we’d love to hear from you!
Impressive Team Members
We’re proud to come into work every day and work alongside such interesting and passionate people.
While some of our engineers studied computer science at schools like Yale, and have experience building products that have amassed millions of users at Twitter and Spotify, we’re mostly impressed by how interesting and diverse our team members are. There’s something very special about working with folks who are passionate about non-technical things, like improv, photography, and fitness to name a few. Our team members are at different stages of life (some of us are recent college grads, some of us are parents), but we all love using our hands to build something that is immediately visible and useable by our users.
All of us feel connected to our mission and genuinely want to help people. Even if you aren’t a homeowner yourself, it’s easy to understand how important and momentous buying a home is, and we wholeheartedly want to make the process better for everyone. While we are steadfast in our mission and work hard as an early stage startup, we’re also a compassionate group of people. We want to hire people who care about others, share our level of compassion, and also view working at Ribbon as more than just a job.
Committed to Personal Growth
We’re committed to your personal and professional growth.
We support our employees by providing a generous and flexible educational stipend. You can use your stipend to learn about whatever interests you the most that will help you succeed at Ribbon. Many of our engineers have taken introductory real estate courses at one of the many universities near our New York office, or attended a Dribbble conference because design piques their interest.
We also have a number of culture initiatives at Ribbon and encourage one another to grow through giving back. We try to tie our mission of making home ownership achievable to everything we do, including our volunteer opportunities. For example, we’ve volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House (which helps families who can’t be home while they seek treatment for their children).
We also support whatever drives you outside of Ribbon. There are many ways to develop, grow, and stretch yourself, and we do our best to provide each team member with the resources, time, and/or support to do just that.
Collaboration is key.
Since the Ribbon product has many different internal stakeholders (finance, sales, marketing, operations, engineering, etc.), it’s essential that we collaborate in everything we do. For example, we’ve recently had our engineers travel to Charlotte to sit in with our transaction coordination and real estate operations teams to understand their workflow and take in ideas for how to make our product better. Upon returning to New York, they made it a reality, making our transaction coordination process more streamlined with the assistance of our product. This sort of collaboration is pervasive across all of our product teams at Ribbon.