Big Data technologies have evolved tremendously in the past few years -- we process data faster, cheaper, and at larger scale than ever before. Despite abundant tooling, however, the simplest of ideas take far too long to become a reality. Going from design to deploy requires 1000s of lines of code for data partitioning, monitoring for new data, error recovery, triggering downstream processing, and more. As a result, projects that look simple take a long time to implement, with most of the effort requiring expensive, hard-to-find specialists.
The history of technology tells us that newer areas of technology will inevitably get easier, with much of the complexity abstracted away from end-users. Writing raw html code to change the copy on a website or run an A/B test gave way to web content management tools.
We believe it is inevitable that Big Data will go the same way. That’s why we created Ascend.
We've been writing MapReduce jobs since 2005. We've deployed production systems on Hadoop, Cassandra, Spark, and Kafka when they were still in the "oh-dots", and scaled these systems to billions of events per day. We've learned a lot.
Ascend is a platform for the rapid creation of big data solutions without big data code.
We make every developer a big data developer. With Ascend, any developer can model their big data solution using concepts and tools they already understand. We handle the underlying complexity, dramatically lowering the skill barrier while increasing your efficiency in building big data solutions.
We're looking for a handful of talented people to help us change the way the world works with data.
Environment: we run everything in Docker images running on Kubernetes, within Google Container Engine (GKE). Why? Because after getting over the initial learning curve, we’ve found Kubernetes to be incredibly powerful, with a vibrant community that is driving the product forward at an incredible pace.
Testing & Deploy: our continuous deployment pipeline gates all changes on 100% test pass rate. Why? We believe technical debt is a slippery slope and people always underestimate the impact of shortcuts. It really is better to do things right from the beginning.
Services & APIs: we like both TDD and DDD (Doc Driven Development). We like API Driven Development (acronym TBD) even more. Why? In early stage companies things change very quickly. Leveraging environments like Kubernetes allows us to easily spin up services that expose clean APIs for particular purposes. We like a microservice approach for its modularity, speed of development and maintainability. Each of our services exposes REST and/or gRPC APIs that adheres to a well-thought-out spec, ensuring that if we need to change implementation strategies, the work is well contained.
Comms: Slack. It's really just that good.
There are always people who are faster, stronger, or smarter than you. Even the fastest and smartest people get it wrong sometimes. Be humble, constantly strive to improve, and be open to input.
Even if you are “right”, respectful discourse preserves a healthy dynamic. Humility fosters comfort and trust within the team, which in turn improves decision-making and team morale.
Once you share an idea with the team, it is no longer yours; it belongs to the team. It is neither yours to promote, nor defend, but rather to evaluate in collaboration with your teammates in pursuit of the best collective outcome.
When things go well, humble people tend to share the credit. When they go badly, humble people tend to shoulder the responsibility. Our team focuses on resolving the issue at hand, not on assigning/deflecting blame.
Building a company is hard. An optimistic attitude helps us push through obstacles and makes this a great place to work.
Take risks. Celebrate success. Learn from failure.
We won’t achieve great things by playing it safe. So we take risks. We celebrate our successes. And we learn from our failures.
Treat others with respect and with an assumption of competence.
We assume good intent from our colleagues. If someone does (or says) something that doesn’t make sense, we give them the benefit of the doubt and jointly try to understand the disconnect, correcting any misunderstandings or errant assumptions.
We believe the best teams are those comprised of individuals who have demonstrated excellence in a variety of areas, love sharing knowledge with their team, and actively seek out environments where they are not the smartest person in the room.
“Eyes open” decisions
We make decisions “eyes open” to the consequences. We know that even the best choices usually have downsides to them, so we acknowledge these and don’t act surprised when they come to pass.
In improv comedy, “no” is a terminal word that halts creativity. “Yes and”, however, amplifies that same creativity and momentum. When problem solving at Ascend we try to follow the same rule. It encourages people to share ideas and it helps us find the good idea hidden behind the “bad” one.
Company before team
We do what’s right for the company rather than optimizing for our own team’s (or our personal) success. Management doesn’t create incentives for people to put their project ahead of the company.
Think big, think far
Our goal is to build a company that can thrive as an independent entity. While it is sometimes necessary to make short-term decisions, on the whole we err towards planning for long-term success.
We are a product company driven by customer success
Our long-term success is predicated on having the best product, and with it making our customers wildly successful. We succeed when our customers succeed.
We value diversity of experience and opinion. We value (and will seek out) diversity of gender, race, political view, and more.
Diversity within Ascend better equips us to meet the diverse needs outside. Diversity helps us think bigger, broader, and farther. It challenges us to think differently, and we are better for it. At the same time, what binds us together as a community is a shared belief in the core values of the company.
Startups are hard. Survival depends on a sustained (yet sustainable) effort over time. We don’t ask anyone to sleep in the office, nor work unsustainable hours. We do, however, work with focus and intensity.
We would like to have a workplace where people can bring in their dogs. Our current location does not allow this. When we relocate, if we are able to find a dog-friendly location then we will be allowing people to bring in their dogs.