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"You Name It, I Did It": 10 Startup Employees Recall the Early Days
In the First 100, we're introducing Mashable readers to employees 1 through 100 at 100 different companies. Last week, we introduced you to employees 1 through 10, from companies like HowAboutWe, Groupon, Reddit, Barkbox and Quirky. Today, we introduce you to employees 11-20, and we hear about how a company evolves in the period of growth from 10 people to 20 people. While the companies below range from software to fashion to media, they share common themes — a willingness to take on any tasks that need to be done, a focus on hiring slowly and thoughtfully, and a growing need for highly specialized roles.
"As you get bigger, the problems you face start requiring specialists. You hire a MySQL expert and a CFO, and you wonder what you did without them," says Tim Clem, #18 at GitHub.
Read on to meet 11 through 20, and check back in at The First 100 to meet the rest of the group over the coming weeks.
12. Josh Kill, Squarespace
The road to Squarespace... I had my own web design firm in the Seattle area that I started with Tyler Thompson, the former Creative Director of Squarespace. We had worked on Squarespace sites before, and had also done some contract work with Squarespace, so I was pretty familiar with the product. To be honest, it took me a long time to even start using Squarespace because I was a big believer in hand-coding and building my own websites. Once I gave in, though, I realized how much it allowed me to focus on design and client work — that made me believe in Squarespace. I came out to New York to visit Tyler, and ended up with a job offer on the table. The possibility had never really crossed my mind before, but after getting a taste of the company culture and getting to know the founder, Anthony [Casalena], it seemed like a natural fit. It was clear that he was legitimately interested in solving problems and not just building a company. That was inspiring to me, and ultimately what motivated me to join Squarespace.
An evolving role... I was hired because I knew about design, but could also code. I started out as a designer working with the Creative Director on specific projects — overhauling how the interface looked, designing new templates, etc. Then my role morphed into more of a web developer. I became the middleman between back-end developers and front-end designers, making sure we were using the best solutions when it came to HTML and CSS. Eventually, I was building out the front site, designing and building templates, and even adding features to the product. I now manage a team of 10 as the Director of Platform. My value to the team is that I understand the high-level picture of a project and make sure the team is on the same page. We also spend a lot of time on that final 10% of a product, really perfecting it before we share it with the world, and I can provide some guidance on what that should look like.
Designing web templates that stand the test of time... I'm constantly on the watch for what's next and what’s being built. I try to stay engaged in what’s happening around the web at all times. It’s like a diet — I don’t go through a cycle of "Let's spend two weeks of R&D to come up with a new concept." You have to be consuming this stuff everyday. Not only do you have a good sense of what the current design trends are, but you also get a sense of when a trend is played out.
A "flat" company... We always describe our company structure as ‘flat’ but that doesn't fully convey what I mean. At Squarespace, you actually have the ability to work on what you're passionate about. What I liked about Anthony when I was first getting to know him, and it’s still true today, is the fact that
he’s always looking for the best solution and he doesn't care who it comes from
he’s always looking for the best solution and he doesn't care who it comes from. He’s constantly asking for other people's feedback and opinions. Through careful hiring, we are able to create a company with a full range of people who all care about different things, and everyone plays a very important part in the company's success. I look forward to the company doubling in size and still having that be the case.
Squarespace now has 262 employees.