Engineering at a Startup & Why working at Retain is Unique
March 7, 2022
Logan Rado, Software Engineer (with James Chambers interviewing)
We sat down with Logan Rado, one of Retain’s first software engineers, to understand what life is like on our technical teams.
Q: What are some of the interesting engineering challenges you have had the opportunity to solve during your time at Retain?
Logan: As the needs of a fast-growing company like Retain have continued to grow, so have the opportunities to dive in and work on important and stimulating projects. In fact, I’ve never grown and learned as much on the job as I have here at Retain! I have been given the opportunity to dive in and learn different technologies and build Retain’s platform with them to deliver mission critical product roadmap features across data integrations, performance, privacy, and more. I feel like this is unique as I got a lot of autonomy and space to learn and build, while still being focused on important projects.
Most recently, I’ve been able to work with AWS services like Step Functions, Lambdas, and Kinesis to expand our API integration capabilities with no downtime. In the past year, I’ve worked on migrating our browser extension from a message-driven system to an event-based one that is compliant with Manifest Version 3. As part of this project, I was able to work on many things that personally interested me, such as migrating all the key code paths to TypeScript and leveraging Puppeteer to run end to end browser extension tests in CI. Retain has afforded me countless opportunities like these to make an impact, learn cool things, and help drive our technical capabilities forward.
Q: What attributes make for a good engineer at Retain?
Logan: There are many attributes that make for a successful engineer at Retain- passion, humility, curiosity, and good judgment to name a few. I think passion is critical for being a great engineer, especially at Retain, and I’d like to take a moment to talk about it. We are all passionate individuals at Retain; we are passionate about our customers and the problems we solve for them, we are passionate about our users and protecting their privacy, we are passionate about our technology and shipping code we can be proud of, and we are passionate about things outside of work that make us who we are. Out of this passion comes caring and collaboration because while perfect may be the enemy of good, sometimes good enough isn’t good enough. We believe in philosophies like “bumping the lamp” because we care.
Q: Why is engineering at Retain different than at other places?
Logan: Retain is a very unique place to work for several reasons. To begin, the breadth and depth of work to be done should pique any engineer’s curiosity. We have product market fit, and our day-to-day work and larger projects reflect that fact. There is just so much to build as Retain continues to grow that there are almost endless possibilities. We’re already managing big datasets in our data pipeline, but still the amount of data and insights are expected to continue to drastically increase. Moreover, for a small team, we have many of the luxuries of large teams such as regular testing, detailed code reviews, and a plethora of scintillating events like Hackday and Wheel of Misfortune. Each engineer is knowledgeable and kind, and we’re constantly working together and with Product and Sales to solve challenges that oftentimes have no “right” answer. The result is a place where individuals can be creative, thrive and maximize their abilities while making tangible contributions, all at a startup’s pace while supporting industry-leading companies and best practices.
Q: What makes you most excited about the future of engineering here?
Logan: The people we’ve been hiring and the way that we’ve been transforming Retain together have made me more excited about our future than ever! As a heuristic, the number of interesting and thought-provoking discussions have exploded. These discussions have already led to some great developments like implementing new capabilities to upgrade the functionality, performance, and reliability of our platform such as synthetic tests, dbt, and Dagster!
Q: Any callouts/shoutouts about what makes Retain a great place in general?
Logan: My coworkers are some of the nicest and smartest people I’ve met. They’ve really made Retain what it is today, which is an environment that fosters all the elements necessary to build our individual careers and skills while building the biggest company possible together. The type of experiences and learnings that are made available by this kind of environment is not easy to find!
I would also like to shoutout our investors. They have been instrumental in helping propel Retain to where it is today, and I feel very fortunate to have them supporting and guiding us. It’s been amazing to be part of the Retain journey and behold the magic that is unfolding before our eyes.
Thanks to Logan for sharing his insights! If you’re interested in joining the Retain engineering team (or any other open roles), check out our job openings and apply here