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culture

Your day to day at MagicBell

Hana Mohan

Thank you for considering MagicBell for your next work adventure. In this post we hope to shed some light on what it is to be a part of our team, and if this will be a good environment for you.

As an early-stage startup, our focus is on high productivity and customer engagement. We all spend our day building things, improving our processes, engaging with customers, and having some social time with each other.

An asynchronous remote work environment

We love working remotely. A few of us have been doing it for a decade, while others started during the pandemic. We are here to support you in doing your best work from wherever you want.

MagicBell started as a remote company and intends to be that way forever. We don’t believe in hybrid remote as it disincentivizes team members who can’t make it to an office. We are also a (mostly) asynchronous remote team - we don’t insist on you being in a specific timezone as long as you can have a 10 am - 1 pm EST overlap. This requirement will go away as we grow, but it helps us create a cohesive team and a strong culture for now.

Some of our team working on a launch. Circa: October 2021

It’s easy to find focused time since no one will walk into your office and tap on your shoulders. However, it also means that if you need help, you need to ping people on Slack and then wait for them to reply. A few weeks into the company, you can figure out how everyone works and their time zones. This is why we insist on a few hours of timezone overlap at this stage of the company. Later this will probably be team-specific.

A caveat

While we believe in remote work, we do think that nomadic life is incompatible with the demands of a high-growth startup. If that’s what you are after, you are better off working at another startup, or better, as a freelancer.

Few meetings

We have a few meetings a week. While zero meetings would be ideal, it feels impractical. Once again, being a remote team, we want to make sure everyone feels connected to their coworkers and the company’s mission.

Here are the meetings on the calendar

  • Sprint planning (every two weeks)
  • Storytime to groom stories for the sprint (every two weeks)
  • Demo (every two weeks)
  • All-team check-in (once a month)
  • 1-1 with your manager (every two weeks)
  • Check-in with the CEO (once a month, unless the CEO is your manager)

For the dev team (and anyone else who needs it), we offer a no-meetings Wednesday. If you need to speak with a team member about work (or anything else), we encourage you to ping them and request a meeting.

An environment built on trust and respect

Here are some guiding principles we abide by:

  • There is no expectation of synchronous replies. The only thing we expect is that you show up to scheduled meetings on time.
  • No expectations that you would work outside office hours unless there is some fire-fighting going on.
  • We don't track the team’s hours and never ask you how many hours you are working.
  • Taking paid time off isn't frowned upon. In fact, we encourage you to take time off regularly. The only expectation is that you keep people notified and stay within your quota of PTO earned.

Tools for collaboration

We use several different tools for collaboration, and we are always excited to find new ones that can help us. If you have any recommendations, write to us!

  • Notion is our primary knowledge base. We also use it for some lightweight project management (for quick projects).
  • Shortcut is our primary project management tool.
  • We use Github, CircleCI, AWS, and Heroku for development.
  • Slack for asynchronous team communication, and Zoom for video meetings.
  • SupportBee, and Intercom for customer support
  • Dovetail for managing user research and sharing insights from customer conversations
  • Grammarly to help us write better.
  • Greenhouse for recruiting

Team Retreats

Remote is great, but it can also be a bit challenging at times. It can be tough to bond with your team members beyond work. To facilitate this, we offer an all-expense-paid annual all-team retreat.

Our plans for the future

We strive to improve constantly, and these are the next things we want to try out:

  • More regular social hours via Zoom
  • Bi-annual retreats

Hopefully, this gives you a good sense of your day-to-day at MagicBell. Please feel free to write us, or tweet us if you have more questions. If you are excited about working together, please check out our careers page.

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