The open world of post-graduation beckons us to explore, discover, and experiment with our career paths. Graduating from college with a Management Information Systems Degree just a couple months ago, it was time to put my education to good use.
So, I thought, why not put my degree to use with a “hip” startup in Silicon Valley? Or Denver? Or, better yet, why not my hometown of Des Moines? Was it even possible to find a company with a progressive culture in the middle of the proverbial field of dreams?
As a matter of fact, it was possible—enter Dwolla.
Coming into a fast-paced company like Dwolla seemed like a great fit culturally, but I knew there would be a slew of challenges to work through. Namely, learning the ins and outs of our core product.
However, jumping headfirst into Dwolla’s day-to-day has shown progressive office culture drives the shipping of great products. Since joining the Dwolla team, I‘ve experienced the value of an open and fast-paced culture.
If I were to introduce a stranger to our company culture, they would come out with four takeaways.
1. Working at Dwolla means being passionate about Dwolla
First and foremost, the greatest strength of Dwolla is the fact that the team believes in the product and its success. This was evident from my first day in the office—there was a clear sense of “purpose.”
Already, I have witnessed people going to great lengths for the company and its customers, whether someone is jumping in to assist a customer or organizing a company-wide potluck lunch.
Both examples, whether business focused or more culture focused, add up to a great experience for both the people building their careers at Dwolla and the people building with our ACH API. Working for a company that you believe in and that fits your values creates an atmosphere of unity and passion.
2. Good office culture facilitates great customer experiences
Our office has an energy where people put 150 percent effort into their work and give our customers quality service and a great integration experience.
As an Integration Engineer, my work revolves around ensuring a great onboarding experience for our third-party developers utilizing our API.
Working with these developers, I assist them in integrating Dwolla’s RESTful API to make sure it meets business requirements. As a team, we take initiative to respond to customer feedback seriously and improve our API based on that feedback.
As an organization, we host cross-functional meetings with the sole purpose of simply being proactive about Dwolla’s customer needs. While our office culture embodies the “Iowa Nice” philosophy of diplomacy and collaboration with our customers, we are fierce believers in hard work and dedication to our product.
3. Culture is more than surface-level
Some might believe that work culture is only on the surface, however, I prefer to think of culture as more of an iceberg. There is a surface-level culture consisting of easy-to-see artifacts, alongside a true “beneath the surface” culture that exists within every organization.
Everyone that walks through Dwolla’s front door sees our surface-level culture—the open floor plan, casual dress code, ping pong table, etc. What’s harder to observe is the culture beneath the surface…
In my first month, I have witnessed the “beneath-the-surface” Dwolla culture by observing how people respect one another. The structure of the organization puts decision-making responsibility on the people who understand the product from many different segments of the company.
4. People matter as much as processes
Working to build a robust RESTful API is not straight-forward every day, but working with passionate team members definitely, helps provide buy-in and keep everyone aligned.
Dwolla makes it a priority to put customers first. Working with the teams of our customers requires a level of commitment to not only our API but also to supporting the business and applications that our customers are creating.
Ensuring that our relationships remain solid with our customers and third-party developers are paramount to the success of the Dwolla API itself.
Looking back at my first months and the onboarding experience with Dwolla, being the new guy in the office has never felt so welcoming.
From day one, it’s apparent the office culture of Dwolla is something that will not only be a point to celebrate in times of prosperity but a pillar of support for day-to-day activities. It makes me proud to build in Iowa, and I look forward to keeping my roots planted in Des Moines.
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