A funny thing happened on the way to San Diego ...
Jen and I took a trip to California to attend two conferences here in October. RailsSaaS took place in Hollywood October 6-7 and her Growth Accelerator Intensive is scheduled for October 23-24th. In the meantime, we decided to take a week and co-work with our colleague Joyce Hu based in the Los Angeles area and then sneak in a rare vacation, a week in San Diego.
While flying out I received a message from a friend, speaker, and rubyist: Adam Cuppy. As he had shared at RailsConf in Portland, OR he’s recently joined LEARN Academy. They had had a partner who backed out of taking on an intern. He was reaching out to his network to see if he could find some more placements. Having been part of starting the YWeb bootcamp in partnership with YWCA Madison in 2011 I knew a thing or two about what LEARN was facing and once we got out of the air and were able to hop on a phone call with Adam.
Happenstance or serendipity?
We’re supportive of the idea that the best way to grow talent is to bring on motivated learners and grow them through experience. That however takes support and is not a responsibility we take on lightly. We’d been seeking one more senior hire in order to be able to support bringing on a junior developer and then we added Glynnis, Christopher, and Max. Given the addition of these wonderful talents we were about to post a Junior position (or two).
When I had connected with Adam I agreed to help out and take an intern. He introduced me to Chantelle from LEARN academy. Soon thereafter she asked if we were open to the possibility of taking on two interns. In my experience this isn’t the upsell it sounds like as we’ve heard time and again that folks are more successful if they have folks at their level whom they can develop alongside and ask questions of that they might be hesitant to ask more senior folks because they don’t want to be “found out” that they don’t even know some “easy” thing.
I interviewed eight folks whom I spoke to for 20 minutes each and used a modified version of our normal interview process. At the end of that process I ranked all the students on a scale 1 (This person will be successful at Flagrant) to 5 (This person will NOT be successful at Flagrant). Virtually everyone I spoke to rated a 2 which meant I felt it was likely that they could be successful with us. The only folks who rated lower fell due to communication issues that felt to me that we might struggle together.
Chantelle and the team at LEARN received grades from the interns about their preferred placement as well and took the preferences from each side and attempted to match them up where they would be the most successful.
Flagrant ranked highly for most of the people with whom we interviewed and I was open to taking most anyone we interviewed. Three of the folks had been working together in a team. I hopped on a call with Chantelle and she offered a solution that could make life easier for the interns they were placing with us, easier for LEARN, and likely leave Flagrant with more options. She asked if we would be interested in taking on all three folks as an intern cohort.
I’m excited to share that we agreed and are taking on a whole cohort of interns all of whom are career changers. They bring 12 weeks experience working together, a ton of life experience, and a variety of perspectives. As a small team of 14 today this is no small addition. We are looking forward to sharing our environment, experiences, and enthusiasm with them and expect the same from them.
We also have a little project lined up that is about to kick off and needs to launch by the end of next month so, we’ll make sure they are comfortable first but, hopefully we’ll build that in public and share progress as we go.
If you’re looking for a team to help you discover the right thing to build and help you build it, get in touch.