We believe that past mistakes shouldn’t determine future job prospects. Our team works with several organizations focused on re-entry and education programs operating inside prisons. We have an internal committee, Bounce Back To Work, that meets weekly to focus on outreach and collaboration with different organizations across the country, helping get people with criminal records back into the job market. Every quarter, a few engineers volunteer to help teach valuable software and coding skills to inmates at San Quentin, helping them earn 30x more money than with the typical manufacturing jobs available while incarcerated.
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We also regularly host community members (like authors, activists, political leaders and candidates) and organizations at our offices. We recently hosted our first Hustle conference, and we’re also passionate about engaging with and promoting diversity in the tech community.
One of our engineers, Isis Anchalee, actively speaks at tech engagements such as Women Who Code. You might recognize her as the woman who started the “I Look Like an Engineer” movement to promote diversity around underrepresented groups who work in tech as an engineer.
We’re also a fun and eclectic bunch and it starts at the top. Our CEO Roddy is a DJ and creator of a non-profit called Envelop. We got a slack channel devoted to coffee and astrology. Benjamin Reynolds is a fire performer. We got turntables, karaoke, and even a Killer Queen console for celebrations. We celebrate events like Senator Doug Jones, Pride week, hitting revenue targets :), and even our regular game nights. (Come join us! No pressure! Well, not much pressure...)
For us, there is little separation between our developer community, and ourselves. Additionally, we host Meet-ups in New York, San Francisco, and we recently announced our new meet-ups in Japan, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Bangalore. See a list of Meet-ups here. We hosted the Blockstack Summit 2017 in July as well. Our larger community can be found on Github, Slack, and Twitter.
There are over a million ways to make an impact on someone, and no way is better or more meaningful than the other. At Alto, we have an overarching desire to “help the world,” and tackle an outrageously high medication non-adherence rate (the rate at which people don’t take their medication properly, or at all). However, we are largely motivated and inspired by connecting with the individuals we’re trying to help. That’s why we take so much pride in our Yelp reviews, have a Slack bot that posts every survey response we get from a patient, and why once a month, we volunteer at the SF Marin Food Bank. We want to be in touch with and give back to our community, personally and face-to-face. This is the common denominator across all members at Alto; we bond with one another as a result of bonding with our community, even when that means repackaging 3,000 pounds of cashews at the Food Bank.
Over the past few years, we have held over 100 events for the cannabis community. We’ve run events to help educate our partners and the cannabis community about new regulations, and held seminars on how to grow a business efficiently. Cannabis to us is much more than our line of work, it is a movement. We are one small part, but believe we can have a big impact.
The cannabis community is large and multi-faceted. We are members of The California Growers Association, The California Cannabis Industry Association, The California Distribution Association, The Minority Cannabis Business Association, The Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, Americans for Safe Access, The United Cannabis Businesses Association, The San Francisco Cannabis Retailers Alliance, and many more. We do our best to continue learning and sharing our knowledge and experience with our colleagues.
One of the most impactful events we’ve hosted is Meadowlands, a 3-day retreat in the redwoods of Mendocino at Camp Navarro. We had over 350 attendees, and speakers included local and state regulators and operators across the supply chain.
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We love bringing together planners to share best practices. That’s why we’ve recently started working together with several of our customers to host Regional Workshops to connect our transit planning community to each other. We even hosted our first Bay Area Remix Training right here in our San Francisco office. When you live in a place with as many transit agencies as the Bay Area, ongoing coordination between agency staff is a critical element to provide seamless service to customers. We were joined by transit planners from seven agencies across the region including AC Transit, County Connection, Union City Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, WestCat, and Santa Rosa Citybus. We spent an afternoon discussing local projects, Remix best practices, and even a bonus session on how Remix works, under the hood.
During the Remix best practices session, we opened up Remix maps in each participant’s city and talked through a project, garnering feedback from the group in terms of ideas and tips specific to Remix. The group also got to hear about a few secrets that we’ll be excited to share in more detail in just a few months.
We try to engage with the community on to see where the development of the tools and frameworks we use will lead to, and also to exchange ideas with others. Conferences include the PHPBenelux Conference, Dutch PHP Conference, ConFoo and ZendCon. We also have a local PHP User Group in Mannheim that we support and sometimes host in our own offices. Organizing and hosting unKonf allows us to interact with, support, and help build up our community.
Last year, Stephan presented a session on NomadPHP, which is a virtual user group for developers that does not have a local user group in their area, as well as with NomadMage, a similar version but for the Magento Community. We have traveled to different user groups and conferences to demo our open source contributions as well as connect with the local communities.
Investing in the development of our region always proofs to be valuable for us. We sponsor and organise tech conferences: DataMass summit, AnalyticsConf, or 3cityNetConf. Our experts give talks on many topics, such as data warehousing and .NET development. Maciej (our co-founder) is a leader of a SQLServer user group. We are also one of the sponsors of a local .NET chapter. It is during those events we get a chance to meet our future employees. In our opinion, dynamic community creates a competitive edge for local companies.
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Agile Product Development Consultancy
San Francisco, Santa Monica, Chattanooga, New York
Our team members speak at conferences all over the country including Railsconf, ElixirConf, QCon, O’Reilly, Strangeloop, SXSW, Lean Startup Conference, Pluralsight Live, among many others. We have a group within the company called Outreach for people to help come up with ideas for talks and review talks. Speaking allows you to distill your knowledge down into something that is accessible to others, become a part of the greater community, and mentor and inspire others in the community. We also provide assistance for travel. For example, one of our engineers, Anna, is on the board of RailsBridge and runs ElixirBridge, and we fly her around the country to do Elixir workshops on the weekends.
To many of the developers at Carbon Five, speaking at conferences is important on a personal level. Courtney, who supports a variety of initiatives like Railsbridge, Women Who Code, and Balanced Team, says “I think seeing women on stage speaking about something that they know showcases that there is a body of work that a diverse set of humans is responsible for. To me, that is the greatest opposing argument to the anti-diversity mindset. Plus, it’s just fun.”
More locally, we also host a speaker series and hack night that is open to the community. We host many events and invite you to come.
Our CEO sits on the board of a local nonprofit and every office has a budget they can use to support local causes and events they are passionate about. Our annual user group always has a raffle or donation request for a cause we believe in. Last year we asked all of our attendees to bring gloves or winter clothes for the Chill Foundation that helps inspire youth to overcome challenges through snowboarding. Learn more about how we volunteer at Inntopia!
Serving our customers is synonymous with serving our reddit community. In terms of engineering practices and routines, this means that every big change we make is announced in r/announcements, r/modnews, and r/changelog and before any of our big launches, we get beta user feedback for weeks beforehand. In fact, there have been times that we actually pull features out as a result of feedback from our beta users.
We engage with our reddit community IRL too. Our People & Culture Team recently hosted a panel for women in tech, where Tia Caldwell (Engineering Manager at Netflix), Nancy Hang (SVP of Product at Hipmunk), and Cynthia Slavens (Director of Mastering & Operations at Pixar) spoke about the paths that led them to their current positions. Whether it’s meeting other redditors at a Global Reddit Meetup or attending panels we host at HQ, we encourage everyone to be your own customer.
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