The Fetch Blog

The best events and reads for professionals

Featured job: Lead engineer at Visually (with a plane ticket to San Francisco!) — November 21, 2015

Featured job: Lead engineer at Visually (with a plane ticket to San Francisco!)

Visually is the leading marketplace for visual content, connecting the world’s best-known brands (including 42 of the Fortune 100) with the world’s best animators, designers, data visualization experts and more. The team is broadening its horizons and looking across the globe for great engineers interested in moving to San Francisco to join the Visually team.

Visually promises an exciting job at a great company where you’ll bring your engineering expertise and leadership to help them ship a great product faster. The team plans to have a welcome packet on your desk containing every suitable-for-work Aussie stereotype: a can of Fosters, gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse, a stuffed kangaroo or wallaby (can’t tell the difference), jar of Vegemite, map of local surf spots known to harbor Great Whites, and for the gentleman, some regular board shorts to replace your budgie smuggler (water’s cold around these parts).

What you’ll do

  • Build, test, deploy full-stack product features

  • Collaborate with product managers and designers on requirements and figuring out HOW features will be built

  • Make architectural decisions on new features

  • Collaborate with and lead a small team of remote developers

  • Perform code reviews

  • Participate in and drive daily scrum meetings

  • Address urgent issues

What you need to be successful

  • Love of coding

  • Extensive knowledge of PHP, Javascript, Linux, MySQL

  • Great understanding of how all layers of the stack interact

  • 7+ years of software development experience

  • Pride writing efficient code and following patterns, best practices, and internal standards.

  • Good knowledge of industry best practices for version control, testing, deployment, security, monitoring

  • Ability to own projects and tasks and to take them to completion with no supervision quickly and efficiently

  • Ability to organize and manage multiple priorities

  • Intrinsic curiosity about developments in the industry

  • Pragmatism to make proper trade-offs

  • Superior problem-solving ability

  • Great communication skills

  • Keen attention to detail

Why this job?

  • The team: Visually has a phenomenal team and plans to continue packing the walls with passionate, exceptional people that believe in the company vision and embody core values. You will work with people who were early contributors at successful companies such as oDesk, eBay, IAC, Optimizely, and Skype.

  • The 1200+ brands that Visually supports: These include some of the best-known agencies, consumer brands, and media companies in the world, including Spotify, The Huffington Post, Twitter, National Geographic, Salesforce, Verizon, Nike, Kayak, Visa, McKinsey, LinkedIn, Hired, etc.

  • Your work will be seen by millions of marketing, design and creative professionals every month.

More about Visually

Visually is the content creation platform that enables businesses to connect with their audiences through premium visual content — videos, infographics, ebooks, presentations, web interactives and more. With over 1000 certified creative professionals and an easy to use online collaboration platform, Visually works with clients to create cost-effective content that clicks, connects, and converts. Visually is backed by Crosslink Ventures, Softtech Venture Capital, 500 Startups and other leading investors.

Watch this video and learn more or browse the company’s amazing work portfolio. The lead engineer position is based in Visually’s San Francisco headquarters near Union Square.

If interested, please apply here: http://goo.gl/Si2jfJ

Coffee talk: Brianna Haag, San Francisco events extraordinaire and Mr. Marina founder — August 17, 2015

Coffee talk: Brianna Haag, San Francisco events extraordinaire and Mr. Marina founder

Brianna Haag knows events! Not only was she Eventbrite’s first City Marketing Manager, but she created Mr. Marina, a philanthropic event that’s raised more than $500k for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the last four years.

Today, she shares her favorite networking icebreakers along with tips for organizing an event that people will love and remember.

How did you get to where you are today?

Raised in San Diego, I first became a Northern California convert when I went to school at UC Davis. I spent a year post-college as a traveling consultant for my sorority, so I lived out of my suitcase while visiting a variety of college campuses. Once that wrapped up, I unpacked my bags and made the move to San Francisco.

Seven and a half years later, I still call San Francisco home. I’ve been fortunate to work at some innovative startups in sales and marketing focused roles. I spent two years at Yelp as an early employee, four years at Eventbrite as the first city marketing manager, and have been at Tilt for the last year and a half. I’m a member of the Growth team where we’re currently focused on expanding our college community. Everything has come full circle!

Your work at Eventbrite helped many San Francisco organizers host incredible events. What makes attending valuable for guests?

Three things:

  1. The guest list. A room full of interesting people is valuable for everyone.
  2. An experience as promised. To attract a great crowd, an organizer must secure ticket sales or RSVPs and factor value into ticket pricing. All details should be communicated to potential guests to set event expectations. I once attended an event that promised unlimited cupcake tastings, but they oversold the tickets and therefore ran out of food in the first 20 minutes. The majority of the attendees were upset that they didn’t get what they paid for, and the vendors were upset that the amount of food they were told to prepare wasn’t nearly enough. 
  3. Flawless execution. Whether it’s a small bachelorette party weekend or a huge tech conference, details can determine how often (and in what context) the event is remembered and discussed. 

What’s your best icebreaker/networking tip for someone who hasn’t been to many events?

If you can peak at the guest list prior to attending, that can be really helpful for preparing. Striking up a conversation at the bar or the food table can be an easier way to approach someone, as is mentioning something you notice on a guest’s name tag.

Another networking tip is to set a goal (how many business cards to hand out or collect, or number of quality conversations to have), and to be comfortable taking off if you feel you’ve talked to everyone you wanted to connect with. There’s no reason to waste time if it’s a bust! 

You created the Mr. Marina Pageant, a well-known philanthropic event that’s been featured everywhere from the Marina Times to E! and raised $525k for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since 2012. What’s the toughest part of pulling it off every year?

Mr. Marina isn’t an easy event to pull off. I’d say the toughest part is recruiting the contestants, which allows us to scale our fundraising efforts in a massive way.

It’s a unique person who can not only commit to 10 weeks of fundraising, but is also willing to get onstage in front of an audience of 1,200+ people. Each year the group of contestants continues to raise the bar, and we’ve been so lucky to have so many awesome, passionate, and truly impressive people involved.

What other San Francisco events are you looking most forward to this year?

Right now, I’m really looking forward to the San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala on 9/24. The San Francisco Symphony sets the standard for excellence in musical performance and shapes cultural life throughout the spectrum of Bay Area communities — and opening night is the biggest event of the year, toasting to the new season.

Brianna Haag

Opening Night is also my favorite San Francisco black tie event, and this year I’m lucky to be co-chair for the Symphonix Dinner Party. Tickets are almost sold out, so I know we’re going to have a great crowd!

So many events, so little time. What’s the best way to handpick and prioritize which ones to attend?

There certainly isn’t time to go to everything, so I try to prioritize events where I’m confident there are attendees I’ll want to spend time with — whether that’s friends, people I’ve been wanting to meet, or an experience I’ve been meaning to try. I used to scoot around San Francisco on my Vespa, trying to squeeze in two or three events in a single night — but that’s exhausting! I’m much more selective now.

Where can we find you in San Francisco?

Barry’s Bootcamp. The SOMA location is right by my office, but the team is opening a new location in the Marina this fall which I know everyone in the 94123 is excited about! When I’m not working out at Barry’s (or various studios in the ClassPass network) you can find me sharing apps at Delarosa or sipping wine at California Wine Merchant.

Last, how do you take your coffee?

Usually with unsweetened almond milk (or a delectable treat is the house-made almond+macadamia milk from Saint Frank!)

10 incredible Instagram accounts to follow right now — August 7, 2015

10 incredible Instagram accounts to follow right now

65% percent of people are visual learners, so it’s no surprise that brands, companies, and communities have taken to Instagram to share inspiration and information in engaging visual formats.

Eye candy with a bit of brain food is hard to resist, so we’re sharing ten incredible Instagram accounts that offer both. Follow along to fill your feed with new learnings and beautiful imagery daily:

  1. NASA

    NASAA feed that’s literally out of this world, NASA showcases planets, new technology, and all things celestial. Explore the universe through incredible videos and photographs while learning about each item shown.

  2. I Have This Thing With Floors

    ihavethisthingwithfloorsThoughtful design is everywhere — even under your feet! This insanely popular account features photos tagged with the signature hashtag, #ihavethisthingwithfloors. Photos of the gorgeous surfaces serve as a reminder to stop overlooking beauty (no matter how small) around you.

  3.  From Where I Drone

    From Where I DroneThis drone photography and cinematography offer striking, unseen perspectives of beaches, buildings, and people around the world. Are you a digital nomad or remote freelancer? Use these extraordinary images as inspiration for a future global work location.

  4.  Adventure Patch

    Adventure PatchGo to some of the best-known parks and places (with patches of each destination, held up ‘Dear Photograph’ style) with Keegan Jones, a talented Product Designer and adventurer who curates tagged images from the community.

  5.  Hand Drawn San Francisco

    Handdrawn San FranciscoA global tech community and adored travel destination, this brilliant account features drawings of some of the city by the bay’s most popular sights. Additionally, discover lesser-known places and hidden gems, as loved and sketched by artist Thomas Leach.

  6.  Folk Magazine

    Folk MagazineFolk Magazine inspires followers to live an authentic life. See beautiful environments as shown by the people who call them home, including ‘story-telling ramblers’ and millennial wanderers.

  7.  Coffee Cups of the World

    Coffee Cups of the WorldFolks around the world love coffee, as evidenced by the massive presence of the caffeinated beverage on Instagram. More than the lattes and cappuccinos, however, are the eye-catching cups the coffee is served in. Don’t miss the quotes, puns, brilliant business logos, and a medley of day-brightening patterns and colors.

  8.  Escape Your Desk

    Escape Your DeskYou’ll never want to break free of your office more than after looking through images posted by this account. Captures include creative workspaces, coffee shops, parks equipped with Wi-Fi and more. Get out there!

  9.  Breakfast in Sydney

    Breakfast in SydneySnapshots of Sydney’s best breakfasts may inspire you to prepare a delicious plate of your own. Arguably the most important meal of the day, breakfast will provide you with all of the energy you need to knock tasks off of your to-do list.

  10.  Passion Passport

    Passion PassportFollow some of the globe’s most active adventurers who capture breathtaking shots daily. Your next project may be your Everest, but you’re sure to find inspiration for accomplishing whatever you set your mind to after scoping out these photos.

Coffee talk: Krista Gray, director of community operations at The Fetch — July 13, 2015

Coffee talk: Krista Gray, director of community operations at The Fetch

Meet Krista Gray, the new Director of Community Operations at The Fetch! A passionate traveler, Krista also loves tech and bringing people together. Here, she shares her story and why she’s so excited to be working with The Fetch community.

How did you end up where you are today?

Still in my first few weeks of experimenting with life as a ‘digital nomad’, I’m currently working from one of my oldest friend’s newly purchased home in Connecticut. This is amazing because I left New England about seven years ago to pursue a change of pace in California. My time on the West Coast has consisted of a two year stint in Carmel-by-the-Sea before moving to San Francisco to help build a startup (which turned into several startups over a five-year span). Just recently, I left my last role to spend this summer with people I’ve missed dearly for nearly a decade. The best part? While I’m temporarily back where I started, I’m able to work with The Fetch!

Why did you want to get involved with The Fetch?

I’ve followed The Fetch since meeting Kate Kendall at a Skillshare class she was teaching about Community Management in 2012. At that time, I had just moved to the city and jumped into the entire startup ‘scene’. The concept of The Fetch resonated so deeply with me as it was exactly the kind of resource I found myself searching for. Starting over in a new place/industry is overwhelming, and having a cheat sheet for the the right kind of events along with access to carefully curated, intelligent reads can make it much easier to get acclimated and involved.

What things excite you about our community right now?

The sheer volume of incredible things that Fetchers are working on! I’m so impressed with the passion and knowledge each person brings to the community, and eager to help them all make the most of their work-life.

What events do you recommend in San Francisco?

I love Inforum (a division of the Commonwealth Club) for their conversation series. I recently had the pleasure of watching Molly Ringwald interview Judy Blume at the Castro Theater, and it was really enlightening to hear each woman discuss her respective creative endeavors, sources of inspiration, and challenges encountered over the last twenty years. These events are also a great place to network with like-minded people and make new friends.

What’s your favourite thing about your city?  

The weather. No, seriously! A lot of folks complain about the fog, particularly in the summer, but I think there’s a certain bit of magic to it. I love San Francisco’s temperate climate and the opportunity to layer clothes everyday, nearly year round. ‘Sweater weather’ has always been my favorite. 🙂

What’s unique about San Francisco?

I think the people are what make San Francisco truly special and unique. The tech industry attracts such a diverse range of people from varied cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. I’ve found that people I’ve met in San Francisco also seem to share a sense of heightened awareness in terms of gratitude — it’s refreshing to be surrounded by such great minds that are also deeply appreciative.

Where can we find you in San Francisco?

If I’m not at The Roastery, you’re likely to find me at a Bar Method class or getting fresh air in one of my favorite places: the Lands End Trail, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, or Crissy Field. I’m also a huge fan of sunsets, and like to watch them from friends’ roof decks or the city’s best vantage points.

How can we connect with you?

Keep up with my adventures by reading my journal, or give me a shout on one of my favorite social sites — Twitter or Instagram.

If you didn’t live in San Francisco, where would you be?

San Francisco is easy to fall in love with, and really difficult to think about leaving for a long amount of time. However, if I didn’t call the City by the Bay home, I think I’d try life in a European city. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Rome and marvel over how different the daily grind is. I think we learn the most when we push ourselves out of our ‘normal’ routines and overlaps, and trying something so different could be a really fun and productive way to keep growing personally and professionally. Time will tell!

Last, how do you like your coffee?

It depends. I’m somewhat of a rare breed in that I don’t have a go-to coffee selection. I’ll often drink it black, but there are days that I mix in cream and raw sugar. Additionally, I can never resist a coconut iced coffee at Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth, NH when I’m visiting home. They flavor the beans, and it’s simply the best.

Interview: San Francisco local, Paul Biggar, founder of CircleCI — May 4, 2014

Interview: San Francisco local, Paul Biggar, founder of CircleCI

Paul Biggar

“The best things we did to be successful were to spend a lot of time talking to customers before building the product, and to focus on making a truly excellent product. We spent way more time there than on sales and marketing, and that made a real impact.”

Kate Kendall talks programming, startup lessons, the Irish tech scene and San Francisco life with Paul Biggar, founder of CircleCI.

Having been based in San Francisco for some time now, have you found it has changed much over the past few years?

The main difference is how ubiquitous tech is. SoMa is bursting with startups, rents are through the roof, the market for developers is skyrocketing, and venture money is everywhere. When I started coming here in 2009, there was a lot of tech, but it wasn’t quite popping the way it is now. And the resentment (around Google buses, etc) certainly wasn’t there.

You have worked extensively on dynamic scripting languages. Why do you think their importance has grown in software development?

I attribute it largely to the rise of the web, and also because of a dissatisfaction with Java. When the web as a platform (“Web 2.0”) was really taking off in about 2005-ish, there was massive frustration with Java. Up until that point, there were limited alternatives, and if you weren’t using Java you were probably using Perl (which was frustrating in different ways). That’s when PHP and Python and Ruby really started taking off.

Python had been slowly growing in popularity for about a decade. PHP had become the defacto language for individuals to build websites, since it was incredibly easy to deploy them. The Ruby on Rails came along and really took the world by storm. By 2009, a vast majority of new startups were using Rails, something still true today, even though there are many more options now than back then.

Most of the frustration from static languages came from inflexibility – Java was a giant ecosystem of heavyweight components, and an ugly type system. By contrast, dynamic languages were freeing. It was an easy sell.

You are a co-founder of CircleCI, a hosted continuous deployment provider, how would you describe the benefits of CI to a less technical team/person?

Developers write code, and every time they do, CircleCI automatically tests their code to make sure it still works (that’s “Continuous Integration”). It’s a productivity tool for developer teams, that lets developers ship code much faster, meaning they get their products to market faster, and keep them more reliable.

What have been some of the hardest challenges you’ve faced to date and what insights do you now have from navigating them?

Every three months brings new challenges. The challenge you have as a two person startup trying to get some adoption is a different challenge from being a 14-person startup with thousands of customers and millions in revenue. I’ve spent a lot of time looking forward to figure out what the challenges are going to be three and six months from now, and asking other founders and CEOs what the future is going to look like.

I would say the hardest thing is getting to traction. Once we got to a million in annual revenue, the future became fairly straightforward and was well carved out. But that journey to make sure we had a product that was useful, find customers for it, try to get them to pay, etc, that was a hard journey.

The best things we did to be successful were to spend a lot of time talking to customers before building the product, and to focus on making a truly excellent product. We spent way more time there than on sales and marketing, and that made a real impact. Nothing helps a customer make a decision like a recommendation from their friend, and the higher the quality of the product, the more likely that is to happen.

Do you think your previous company NewsTilt was before its time?

Yes and no. NewsTilt was predicated on the idea that journalism was becoming more niche. Instead of a reader going to a newspaper for all their news, they’d read news from many smaller sites related to their interests, like TechCrunch, or The Fetch, or other small-ish communities built around niche topics. That prediction was totally correct, in my opinion.

The other side of this is that while we anticipated the problem, I’m not sure we got the solution right. We were trying to build a platform where we’d solve all of a journalist’s problems in trying to achieve that, like distribution, revenue, etc. Nobody else has done what we were trying to do, so its hard to see if it would have really solved the problem today. Companies like Medium and Svbtle are doing well with high quality publishing and better tools for publishers, but are not really looking at community as part of their platforms.

What’s the Irish tech scene like? Do people feel they need to move to the US to build a global company?

Dublin has a nice tech scene now. There’s a lot of people building products and tools and starting companies. It wasn’t that way when I left in 2010. One of the major changes since then has been the massive explosion of US companies setting up in Ireland. Dublin was always a tech hub, and Google very famously set up there, but in the last few years about 40 large US companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Hubspot, Zynga, Dropbox, etc, have all set up there too.

During the mid-2000s, when the Celtic Tiger was booming, tech wasn’t a very glamorous profession, unlike finance and real estate which were major drivers of the economy. Now, developer salaries are rising, tech is booming, and most of the rest of the economy still hasn’t recovered. So tech is important and interesting now in a way that it never was before.

There is a lot of debate in Ireland about whether you have to move to the US and to San Francisco to build your company. I suspect its the same debate being played out in New York and Austin and London and Berlin, with the caveat that emigrating for better opportunity has been something the Irish have done for hundreds of years.

Whether or not to move has the same factors in every city: does your market and company and product benefit from being in SF, through access to capital, customers base, press, engineering talent, startup experience, etc. I’m a firm believer that the best thing an Irish investor can do to help their company is to buy the founders a one-way ticket to SF.

Where’s your favorite place to relax in San Francisco?

This sounds a bit lame, but my most relaxing time is walking my dog near my apartment in SoMa. We live just by the Bay Bridge and walk down to AT&T Park along Embarcadero and under the Bay Bridge.

What local events do you recommend checking out?

Once your company starts kicking off, you kinda stop going to that many events any more. I really enjoyed going to tech meetups once I got to SF, and then more once I started using them to network and find customers and early hires. Once CircleCI really took off, I’ve mostly stopped going to meetups, with the exception of particularly high quality events, in particular events where successful operators are presenting. 

For me, the best recent events I’ve been to are at Heavybit and Y Combinator, both of which are unfortunately members-only.

About our writer // Kate Kendall is the founder of The Fetch and CloudPeeps. She also blogs about startup life and advises businesses on the role of community. Follow her via @katekendall.

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