We need great people to join us. But to become a mobivangelist, we need to be the right place for you, and you need to be the right person for us. We're a startup. That means hard work, solving problems, learning new things, getting better every day.
So here's a bit of a primer on life at mobivangelism.
- Be honest. If you're struggling, tell us. If you don't understand something, tell us. If you disagree, say so (and explain why). If you're stuck for more than a couple of hours on something, ask for help. If you have a better idea, speak up. If you screw up, own it.
- Don't be a dick. Nobody likes a smart-ass around here. Not everything is a fight worth fighting. Not everything matters in equal measure. And nobody is right all the time.
- Be curious. Learn by doing. Improve your own processes every day. If you find yourself spending time doing the same things over and over again, do some research and find a better way. Tell the rest of the team about it. Keep up to date with new frameworks and new tools. Never take the status quo for granted.
- Be creative. You join mobivangelism because you have the need to build, to create. When building software, we create things that people will love, that'll make them more efficient, that'll connect them in new ways, that'll make the world just a little bit better. And we do that through (mostly) just a small subset of ASCII characters. That's powerful and magical. Be a creator.
- Finish. 90% done is not done. 99% done is not done. Lots of really curious, creative, honest non-dicks struggle to maintain focus when the work gets sloggy towards the end. But you need to be able to dig deep, find the will-power, and just f'n finish. Expecting your teammates to carry you over the finish line every time is, frankly, a bit of a dick move.
Do you have to be a bearded white guy to join?
No. Absolutely not. We welcome diversity. In fact, we'd like to move away from our current unintentional mono-culture of bearded white guys. In short: race, gender, sex, religion, nationality, marital status or sexual orientation don't matter to us as hiring criteria. (If you are hung up on any of these, move along swiftly.)
What does matter:
- You need at least a couple of years of development experience (professionally or personally).
- Software development is your passion.
- You fit our values above.
- The information further below doesn't give you cold shivers.
- Ideally, you taught yourself to code at a fairly young age.
- You started coding because you wanted to create things.
It would be easiest if you're located in the Cape Town area in South Africa so that we can meet in person semi-frequently. However, if you're great at software development and you're extremely passionate about it, we're open to discuss it. You do need to be proficient at near-native speaker level in English. Communication is absolute key, and for better or worse, we're not geared to dealing with language barriers inside the team.
We work remotely.
It's not a perk. It's just what we do. Let's call it a selection filter. If you can work remotely, it implies:
- You can self-manage. We don't need to micro-manage every ticket in your list.
- You have experience. You probably don't need to tap someone on the shoulder every two minutes for help.
- You can learn on your own. You don't need to be taught.
- You're disciplined. You can roll out of bed at whatever time you roll out of bed, and get shit done productively without supervision.
- You have decent written and verbal communication skills.
- You're likely at a stage in your life where you like to do things on your own terms.
Having said that, when we get cabin fever, we meet up for an extended lunch and blow off steam. When we need to plan a big chunk of new work, we sit down together.
Salary and benefits.
Let's get this out of the way first: You don't join us because you want a shortcut to a raise or to riches. Unless you're the second coming of Scott Forstall, we aim to start you on the last salary you earned before joining. Because:
- Your current salary is a benchmark of how those you currently work with value your skills. Maybe they're wrong, maybe they're right. But that's the best datapoint that we have about how to value your skills. Expecting us (who haven't worked with you) to place a higher value on your skills than your current employer (who has) is a tad on the presumptuous side. #justsayin
- We can really easily fix salaries that turn out to be too low for what you add to the team. #fact
- Fixing salaries that are too high means we need to ship you off to the farm. You probably don't want that, and we certainly don't want that.
- We really need to make sure that money is not part of your present considerations. We pay generously by South African startup standards, but in most cases, you could earn more by going to a corporate.
So the glass-half-empty way of looking at it is to say, you don't get a raise just by joining. The glass-half-full way of looking at it is that, unlike at most startups, you generally won't have to take a pay-cut to join.
On to the structure:
- You get a base salary. PAYE and UIF contributions get deducted by us. You'll need to be able to live semi-comfortably on your net salary.
- You don't get any benefits. At our current stage, we're not in the game of helping you structure your finances through benefits. So medical aid is on you. If you want to contribute to a pension fund, that is on you.
- Days leave per year is undefined. We'll sometimes go long periods to try pull a project across the line, and then we tend to take good long breaks. Rule of thumb: We try to take a break of at least 6 weeks once every two years to recover and recharge and get properly bored, with a three-ish week break once a year.
- Bonuses — we pay them out whenever we feel like cash-in-bank is growing unproductively large. But keep in mind that it's called a bonus, not an expectation.
Currently, each of the three owners has an equal share of the company. Maybe that gives you a feel for the type of company and type of people we are. Having said that, don't expect to walk in and get an equal share of the company. (We're fair; we're not stupid.)
We're looking at the best way to reward our new, early hires with shares that vest over time.
But let's clear up a couple of things about shares before you get too excited: don't be in it for the shares. Shares mean zilch until the company is worth a huge amount (let's say R100 million plus). 10% of nothing is nothing. Even 10% of a hypothetical R10 million is a nice big bonus and nothing more. If you can't retire (or semi-retire) off shares, they're a distraction. Shares are there as a nice thank you to early employees at a hypothetical future acquisition or as a nice side income in the form of dividends if and when a company has built up sizeable and sustainable revenue streams.
The job description.
In a start-up, you get your hands dirty wherever there is an immediate need. If that's new product strategy, that's what you work on. If it's customer support, that's what you work on. If it's closing deals, that's what you work on. If it's coding (and a lot of the time it is), then it's coding. If it's devops (and that's an important part of the job too), then you go boot up a new instance. If it's persuading someone politely but firmly that their idea is terrible and here's an alternative, that's what you do.
Nothing is above or beneath anybody.
Until we've grown to 20+ employees, there are no executives, no minions, no clearly defined roles. Just things that need to get done and a team of people willing to do them. That's pretty much how every tech start-up works, and that's how ours works. Whether that sounds like heaven or hell — up to you :)
Quick storytime with Pete:
Most important lesson in my career was on the day I started. I had abandoned my PhD studies in Machine Learning to join a startup, and the first day I had to call a list of a thousand users who were billed incorrectly the previous weekend. Felt like a real arsehole for giving up on my studies for that. But it taught me empathy for users from day 1 in a way I would never have been able to otherwise.
For many people, work-life balance actually means work-life separation. You know, 9-5 job, guaranteed 13th cheque, 18 days guaranteed leave, never ever have to work late or *gasp* work a weekend.
That's not gonna fly. Sometimes servers break. Sometimes serious bugs surface at inconvenient times. Sometimes you run an UPDATE query on the live subscriber table and forget the WHERE clause just before you're about to leave for a wedding. (The Pete may or may not have unlocked that special achievement early in his career.) Or sometimes a project with a hard dead-line starts running behind (like, say, the TV ads are scheduled to flight in a week).
We need to be able to depend on you when any of this happens.
We love doing what we do. For us, this work is an important, enjoyable, integral part of our lives. We think what we do matters and is important.
What we don't want is for work to be so consuming that you become one-dimensional. To recognise opportunity, you need to be able to see the world through more than one lens. That means having interests and passions outside of The Current Mostest Urgent Project™. It also means having time to reflect, time to be bored, time to have fun, time to relax and time to recharge.
Maintaining balance between the different parts of your life is a tricky dance, and we don't always get it right. We can't always get it right. But what do get right is that we can always depend on each other. That's the simple truth. That's who we are, and that's who we need.
- Currently: ObjectiveC.
- Soon: Swift.
- Fat-free framework (mostly)
- Slim (some newer codebases)
- 15" Retina MacBook Pro for all development
- Slack/Trello for comms
- Git (bitbucket) for repos
Because a big part of our WeChat work depends on the WeChat APIs, perhaps also take a gander over here.
You don't need to be familiar with all of the above. We're not married to any specific technology, language or framework. That's just what we use because we're efficient in using the above to get things done. We welcome any new skills you might bring. We expect you to be able to learn anything new as you go along. If it takes you a week to get to a "Hello world" in a new language, you're not gonna cope.
Full-stack is a big bonus, but if you want to do mobile apps, cool. We need that. If you want to build back-ends, cool, we need that too. If you just want to build web front-ends, cool, everything we do has a web component somewhere.
It might seem like you have two choices:
- Do the right and respectable thing, move up the career ladder and optimise for salary.
- Go on a crazy adventure with some folks who are slightly obsessive and massively curious and who are driven to build product.
If it feels like a something you have to think long and hard about, then trust me, path 1 is almost certainly the right path for you. If path 2 feels like it has a certain inevitability to it for you, then we should chat.
- Get in touch with @mobivangelist on Twitter or add mobivangelist on WeChat. (Seriously, we're about mobile and social. How did you think this was gonna play out?)
- We'll let you know how you can get a CV to us. Note: what we most want is to see what you've done before. Apps you've written and ideally submitted. Websites you've built. Your personal repos on Github. That kinda thing. (Again, if you only build stuff because it's your job... Back up a section, and follow choice 1, don't pass go and don't send us a CV.)
- We'll enjoy a beverage of your choosing together. If you like us and we like you, we'll have a little task (integrating with our brandWeChat APIs) for you that gives you a sense of what we do and gives us a sense of how you work.