It is hard to believe that it has almost been two months since I joined Locale.ai. They say time flies when you do what you love and that absolutely holds true in this case! There are people who come up with crazy ideas and then there are those who actually go ahead and bring it to life. The team at Locale.ai definitely falls into the latter category.
How I ended up applying to Locale.ai
I am fond of analytics tools and I follow the industry closely. So I got intrigued when I came across a tweet about the problem that Musthaq (Engineer at Locale.ai) had put up. I spent some time understanding the problem and landed on Aditi’s blog on the idea behind Locale.ai.
The bold vision of becoming the "God Mode" for every moving commercial asset captivated me right at that moment.
It prompted me to reach out to Musthaq. Based on my conversation with him, I found out more about the work culture at the company. I had dropped off from college to take up freelance frontend development work. I wasn’t finding it challenging enough. My ultimate goal is to build a startup of my own so joining a great early-stage startup made sense. I was left unsatisfied and wanting for more but I was still not looking actively for a job.
Locale.ai seemed to be a place where I could openly express my thoughts, where my work was valued, where I could tackle difficult engineering challenges, and where I wasn't simply another engineer. Without any second thought, I applied for an engineering position at the company straightway. The team at Locale.ai didn't care for my degree and we wouldn't care for yours; if you've got the skills and passion to build great things you are always welcome.
As soon as I put in my application, I got a task that mirrored the kind of problems that are solved at Locale.ai every day. I was asked to design a mapping solution to solve the location problems for a dating app.
Sticky notes are my favorite tool when it comes to brainstorming ideas. So, I took a couple of them and started writing everything that came to my mind. I shortlisted a couple of ideas that could be quickly prototyped and started working on them. I used Figma to try out some ideas before finally writing the code. In retrospect, this exercise served two purposes.
It gave me an idea of how problems at Locale.ai look like, and it gave the team at Locale.ai an idea of my problem solving skills. It’s pertinent because the team is trying to solve a problem that hasn’t really been solved before.
An interview that wasn’t!
The task submission was followed up by a call with Locale.ai’s Co-Founder, Rishabh. We talked about my passion for programming and my journey so far. Right from the first go, he established the flexibility to ask questions. This was followed up by a technical interview the next day. I tried to remember all the Leetcode questions I had done before and data structures and algorithms were all over my mind.
But the interview was nothing like I had expected it to be. It was a very collaborative engagement and not a one-way street at all. Rishabh asked me for a new feature request related to my task. We brainstormed and validated ideas together, talked about the code and implementation details, sketched out the possible UI's, and so on. This was different from everything I knew about technical interviews so far. It was a lot more engaging than one-off questions like why the event loop checks the immediate queue at last (the worst named queue ever!).
It felt much more like a real-world product and engineering brainstorming session than an interview.
The final interview round gave me a deeper insight into the value system at Locale.ai. My conversation with Aditi, Locale.ai’s other co-founder, dug deeper into my core values as we talked about everything from the day I started programming, my failed startups, side projects, college life, and so on. Both of us were evaluating the tiniest details to see if my values and goals aligned with the team.
This was particularly important as Locale.ai is a closely-knit community that thrives on collaboration, open dialogues, and growing together both as a team and as individuals. The next day after the interview, I was offered a role to be part of the rocketship at Locale.ai and just three days later; I was on the team’s weekly planning call, ready to kick things off.
Work Life at Locale.ai
You don't have to work a single day if you truly enjoy what you do. Since joining Locale.ai, I've experienced a number of "aha" moments. The first came when I glanced at our enormous and sophisticated code base. I spent a few days figuring out how it works. One thing that stuck out to me was how at ease everyone made me feel, whether I was asking questions or providing feedback. The environment created by the founders enabled me to give it my all.
Early on, I started attending customer success calls that gave me a first-hand experience of what the product meant for our customers. My first such call was with a European urban mobility company. The client was very excited and he was telling us about the impact the product has had on their operations. His infectious energy provided me with a lot of motivation and brought a great perspective that helped me build even better.
Even if it was only through their screens, the exhilaration of learning new things and meeting new people felt great. This feeling of enthusiasm and thrill became a routine because every day at Locale.ai is challenging and pushes you to be better.
At Locale.ai, we embrace speed, rely on consumer feedback to eliminate guesswork when developing features, and never produce something just for the sake of it.
Why Choose Locale.ai?
Challenging problems, exceptional culture, ambitious people, and like the cherry on top, a lot of beautiful maps.
I believe that there should be a why behind everything we do. So I want to get into why Locale.ai matters to me. While it is crucial for an engineer to be skilled at writing code and solving hard problems, it is equally necessary to be enthusiastic about the problem at hand. Ask yourself, "What about the thing that's bothering you?" What motivates you to address the problem? This connection to the problem is critical, particularly when working at an early-stage start-up.
The enthusiasm and determination to solve the situation are contagious. When we're working, we're all thinking the same thing: how can we tackle the next major geospatial challenge?
Every day at Locale.ai, we handle millions of data points and convert them into beautiful actionable visualizations. The road to the solution is arduous. But that doesn’t stop us from going head on and coming up with the most novel solutions.
The application process at Locale.ai is very exciting and fulfilling and definitely not for the fainthearted! So, a quick note for everyone who wants to join us: apply only if you want to be in charge of your job. Apply only if you believe the problem we are attempting to solve is worth solving. Apply only if you are ready to be a part of something bigger than yourself! Luckily for me, I want to do all these things.
If at any point you resonated with what I said, and want to come build the first-ever operational analytics platform, apply here.