Stardog is a reusable, scalable knowledge graph platform that enables enterprises to unify all their data, including data sources and databases of every type, to get the answers needed to drive business decisions. Stardog’s enterprise customers include Fortune 500 companies in finance, healthcare, life sciences, energy, media, and government.
Our team members aren't just talented engineers, they are great people.
We work closely with one another in "tech groups", groups of 2-3 people working on a component or feature together. Our team is kind, generous with feedback and recognition, and helpful to one another. In our Slack, you'll often see someone shouting out a colleague in thanks for their help.
Everyone has a strong work ethic, which is needed because we are developing very complicated software that is expected to work reliably for our customers. If a customer has an issue, someone will jump in and go the extra mile to make sure their problem is solved, even if it means working on something that isn't strictly their responsibility, or working an extra hour or two every once in a while.
Lastly, even though our engineers often have impressive resumes and come from companies like Oracle or MySQL, we are a team of people with low egos.
Working on the frontier of a growing software niche, creativity is needed at every level of the company.
Our product combines multiple areas of advanced technology, from graph databases, to distributed computing, to data virtualization. But while we're building on cutting edge tech, we still need to provide the reliability, robustness, and security that Fortune 500 customers expect. We need creative engineers to make it all work.
For example, some tools, like Tableau and Looker, don't work with a graph database. However, these are very common and widely used enterprise tools. To address this, we've created a solution where queries can come from a user in SQL form, we translate it to SPARQL, split it into multiple queries that may go to other SQL or NoSQL endpoints, combine the results, do additional inferencing, and pass the unified results back to the user who is expecting a SQL result set.
Solutions like this are part of the reason we were chosen as one of FastCompany's 10 most innovative enterprise companies in 2020, alongside companies like Canva and MongoDB.
We are always trying to do more to create a wide net and find diverse applicants.
Diversity and inclusion is a priority for the whole company, but is something we are focused on specifically on our engineering team. Right now, we have engineers who represent six nationalities, but we are always looking to bring in people with different backgrounds, and different ideas.
In terms of hiring, we have partnered with Diversify Tech, we are sponsors of Black Code Collective, and we are looking to partner with HBCUs to get our openings in front of as many people as possible.
Combining cutting-edge technologies is essential to our product.
We're building an enterprise knowledge graph that allows massive companies to see all of their siloed data together at one time. This helps them make better decisions. Creating an accessible data layer that pulls in all of the distributed data that large enterprise customers have is a unique challenge that requires cutting-edge technology.
Graph database technology is core to our knowledge management product. But while other companies offer graph databases, we're truly on the cutting edge by building the graph on top of distributed databases and incorporating data virtualization at the same time.
Our engineers are recognized internally and externally for their amazing work.
As a small team (17 engineers), there are typically one to three people responsible for a specific feature. We make their contribution visible on multiple levels.
For example, in August, we signed one of the biggest deals in Stardog's history. At our company-wide all-hands, the sales team described the process of how the deal was won. In that time, almost every engineer was named for a specific contribution they made that helped close the deal.
Engineers are also specifically given recognition for features they've shipped or contributed to, in our monthly engineering all-hands and in Slack.
Lastly, we ask engineers to write at least one blog post per year so that people outside of the company can see the impressive things they have worked on and get more public recognition. It gives them the chance to practice talking publicly about their accomplishments and helps with career development.
We know that recognition is both motivating and is the right thing to do, so we do it frequently.
Because we're located in many different time zones, we favor asynchronous communication and flexible work schedules.
As a remote-first team, we're spread across the world, from Hawaii to Turkey. Within the US, we have at least one engineer in every time zone, and have engineers in several European time zones as well. That means we have to be minimalists about how often we meet, and asynchronous in how we communicate. If someone posts a question in Slack, we don't expect it to be answered right away.
We also don't expect everyone to work a strictly 9-5 schedule. Even before Covid-19, but especially during it, we know that people have kids at home with them all day, and there may be a lot of distractions and disruptions. We expect everyone to be available on Slack for 3-4 hours a day, but otherwise, to work out their own schedules.
Your manager might not even know when you are working or not. All we ask is that if you are going to be away for an extended period of time, you let us know.
We believe in shipping frequently so we can test new features, get feedback from real customers and prospects, and improve our product.
Right now, we ship on a monthly cadence, and roll out features incrementally, with alpha and beta versions. We want our updates in the hands of customers so that they can provide the valuable feedback that ensures our products are meeting their needs.
Our roadmap has several inputs. We're building up a product team (2 people right now) and have a customer success team. These teams talk to customers about potential features so that we start off in the right direction. Additionally, we have a customer advisory board that meets twice a year to help us distill their high level strategic initiatives into concrete features we can build. Lastly, we talk to analysts, like Gartner, about what they are seeing in the market.
In addition to building based on the input and feedback of customers and analysts, we ship exploratory features to see how the market and our customers respond.
All of this ensures that the product we build is the product the market wants.
The only meetings we have are ones that could not be emails.
Meetings are an expensive use of time, so we try to only have them when truly necessary. Most of our engineers have 2 standing weekly meetings: a meeting with their manager, and a meeting with their tech group (teams of 2-3 people working on a specific project or feature together). In addition to that, we have a monthly company-wide all-hands meeting, and a monthly engineering all-hands meeting.
We don't do daily standup meetings. Instead, we do them asynchronously as Slack messages.