My route to Qumulo began after I was laid off from a major mobile phone company and decided to launch my own startup from home while spending time with my 10-month-old son.
As rewarding as that experience was personally, it was not as rewarding financially (surprise!), and I ended up entering the job market with a hodgepodge of experience of mostly UI and client-side development on a lot of different platforms.
Two months into my search, I decided Qumulo had the best culture and the most interesting work. Two years in, I am still very happy with my choice. Here are some of the reasons why:
‘Apple of Data Center’
The first thing that stands out, looking at our product UI, is that it is not your stereotype enterprise UI.
Since Qumulo’s beginning, our goal is to build the “Apple of data center,” with elegant, functional UI. To get there,we follow a set of UX tenets that guide the design of our UI:
1. Use data to inform design whenever possible
2. Don’t make users think
3. Be honest and transparent
4. Limit distractions
5. Don’t be afraid to innovate a better experience
6. Never leave users on a cliff
7. Always make a good first impression
This small set of principles continues to guide us to this day.
Keep calm and collaborate
The next thing that stood out for me when I interviewed was how friendly people are and how everyone seems to know everybody else.
Then, in my first months here, I had my first experience of a truly collaborative team. Our engineers are all self-managed and self-organized into teams. This means the team members must work collaboratively to manage their own work — from goal-setting, sprint-planning, and going directly into working in pairs, including programming, and a lot of times design and spiking. At first, making decisions in pairs and groups felt sooooooo slow, but I soon realized the power of collaboration. By deciding together, the entire team is moving in the same direction with the same context and reasoning, so the work can be done without further justification or arguments.
The collaborative environment feels so productive that I find myself craving being with my team at the times when I work remotely. That environment creates the feeling that everybody knows everyone else, because we do work together and tap into each other’s best. That gets me up every morning and gets me excited about what I work on everyday.
Building a cool product, the hard right way
At Qumulo, we work on a deeply technical product, and the quality is supported by good engineering practices. I have outlined five steps to good engineering, which I will share in a separate blog post.
While some may think that this kind of rigor around engineering will slow you down, it’s surprising that it really helps keep us fast. Clearly defined practices allow me to focus on the work that I care most about.
So what cool UI and UX will we be building?
The most exciting thing going on at Qumulo right now is our focus on our cloud product. I spoke with our cloud architect, John McGovern, the other day about his vision for the cloud, and we are only starting to generate ideas about to create the same simple, easy-to-use UX around our cloud product, and even to automate tasks so our customers can really focus on their work rather than maintaining their Qumulo cloud clusters. With these ideas, I am excited about the opportunities to define new cloud services and create tools and frameworks to support them.
And, as we move toward the cloud, we are also looking at ideas on how we can provide more analytics for our customers so they can optimize their workloads better across multiple clusters. Our Data Scientist has envisioned a cloud service that provides node- and cluster-level analytics to our customers, and it will provide a high level view across our customers’ clusters and help them optimize their workloads.
To sum up, I came to Qumulo for the people, and stayed for the opportunities to learn, grow, and to build cool teams and products. If you are a software engineer, I hope you will have an opportunity to experience this level of fulfillment as well.
At Qumulo, Will is the person to talk to about anything related to UI. He spends a lot of time improving the UI architecture, infrastructure and tooling with the goal of helping engineers create easily maintainable and testable UI.