You can expect to build and ship a product every month or so.
In the very beginning, Sensor Tower was an app that helped New Yorkers know when the train was coming (it’s long story, you can ask us about it later). It's the classic, almost cliche, story, but it doesn’t make it untrue. People had a problem and we were excited to provide a solution. Fast-forward many years, a lot has changed, but that excitement of solving a problem is still at our core.
Engineers here are energized by quickly iterating on ideas and then shipping them as soon as it’s ready so that our customers can use them. As engineers ourselves, we know that the best motivation to work quickly is knowing how much impact your feature or product will have on your user(s), and we want to keep it that way. We don’t enforce deadlines because the desire to help our enterprise customers (like Zynga, SuperCell, or NBC) to make better, more informed decisions about their next investment is what fuels us. (We’re pretty excited when we get press shoutouts too.)
Whether you’re an individual contributor or working on a team of 3, your product is basically like an independent business.
From ideation to execution to QA to maintenance to marketing, engineers really own the entire process end to end. Full ownership not only enables us to ship quickly (because you won’t need to wait on code reviews or for product to sign off on your work), but it also hits on the best part of engineering: the high of creating, building, and shipping. Here is an example of what one of our engineers (Tony Mai) designed, implemented, and deployed. Or take a look at Ad Intelligence below, which Dmitry Filimonov and Dylan Waits built to provide app developers with insights to the marketing strategies of their competitors.
Unlike venture startups, we’ve grown because our customers find value in our products.
As an engineering team, we care deeply about how our customers and end users use our product. We focus on providing the right balance between ease of use and power-user oriented features. What this means is that engineers aren't building something just because their manager says so, but instead, everyone understands the use cases and how what they're working on brings value to the end users. By using the product and understanding our customer’s goals and behavior, we come to know the technology within this scope better than almost anyone else in the industry, and can therefore provide the best suggestions and strategy for how to solve problems.
Open Source Contributor
We try as much as possible to give back to the open source community because so much of our work is dependent on it.
The best reward is people using and benefiting from our work. If it helps us be more efficient, we are thrilled to hear it’s helping others be the same. When it comes to open source, the proof is in the pudding. Check out our open source project for Sidekiq Throttled (which is concurrency and threshold throttling for Sidekiq) or our daterangepicker (gif below).
Friends Outside of Work
You should only work with people you’d trust in your kayak.
You can, and should, ask as many people about this before joining a team/company. At Sensor Tower, there aren’t any mandatory social events but it’s well understood that it’s important to feel connected to the people you work with every day. We have company-wide events quarterly (think a weekend in Tahoe, escape the room, white water rafting, or flying trapeze) and then we’re always hearing about or seeing pictures of things teams or groups of people at the company organize on their own.
Thoughtful Office Layout
We’ve tailored our office space so that you can easily transition between focusing, collaborating, and socializing.
We were very particular when we last looked for new office spaces. The number one priority was finding a space that had a set of rooms for our engineering and data teams to work quietly, undisturbed by other departments. Today, engineers and data scientists work in adjacent rooms which facilitates spontaneous collaboration but also allows each team to find privacy when they need to. Our sales team is clustered together on the opposite end, near the common area because half the time, they’re visiting customers, on a call, or grabbing lunch with potential prospects. We have multiple communal areas for people to hang out or brainstorm, as well as a number of unoccupied conference rooms for more formal meetings or impromptu work sessions that require a quiet, uninterrupted space.
It might sound trivial but it really isn’t. Part of doing your best work means having the freedom to create your own schedule and the ability to structure your ideal work environment. We’re thoughtful about every big decision at Sensor Tower. Choosing the right office space was no different.
Having fewer layers within our organization opens up lines of communication and increases collaboration.
For the most part, we (Alex and Oliver) serve as product managers. In this role, we exist to support our engineers, not the other way around. We give everyone as much ownership as they can take which we hope will increase over time and with experience. As the company matures and our headcount increases, we will hire engineering managers to ensure that meetings are run well, that our culture of feedback is supported, and that learning is still prioritized. But until that happens, we will always be available and involved in supporting our engineering efforts.
Committed to Personal Growth
As part of being a flatter organization (see above), managers focus on pushing the power of authority down to others instead of pushing down information and communication messages.
We genuinely want to see everyone on our team grow, learn, and mature during their time at Sensor Tower. As an engineer, you don’t need to work at a given company, you should want to work there. We are especially conscious of this because we are a self-funded company. We don’t hire for the sake of growing our numbers and improving optics for investors. We don’t believe that hyper-growth without profitability is how we should measure success. Our focus and investments are in our team and in our product, because those are the foundation for healthy, sustained growth.