Why We're Getting Involved with the Startup Institute: Traackr
(Traackr is a Hiring Partner for the Startup Institute Boston Fall 2012 Class)
For months, we have been looking for an experienced San-Francisco based Java engineer to join our back-end team and be part of building the next generation of our search engine. The integrity of our tech foundations and the cultural makeup of our engineering team are of the utmost importance to us, so finding the next person to join us has been a long exercise in patience. The possibility of growing that right person in-house instead of having them come already “pre-minted” was something we hadn’t fully considered until now.
A great place to prep new talent for joining our SF team would be to have them spend a few months in Boston, where most of current engineering group is located. The realization that this approach might work for us was further solidified when we found the Startup Institute while looking for ways to get hooked into the local tech and startup scene. We were particularly impressed by those involved in getting it off the ground (TechStars, Project 11, ex-Microsoft). The core idea also resonated with us: there is currently a well known and lamented shortage of talent that will build the tech companies of tomorrow. Every company in our field is having a hard time filling their open positions. Bridging this gap while preparing the candidates to deal with what lies ahead seems like the best approach to help address this issue.
There was no school to teach us how to work in a startup environment when we were getting Traackr off the ground. Most of us learned on the job without being previously prepared. Giving a leg up to newcomers by helping them learn from our experience seems like a great way to give back while meeting new talent and making new connections in the process.
To our surprise, we happen to already know one of the students in the first Startup Institute class. We met Todd Lombardo a while back through the Workbar, where Traackr has been located since mid-2011. We always thought that the environment there helped foster great networking relationships - and we were right. We had been sitting next to Todd for months at the Workbar. After a few conversations, we were swiftly introduced to the program and got to witness first hand the spark and excitement of everyone involved. Attending the first graduation event and meeting some of the students cemented our decision: we had to get involved.
So here we are, gearing up to be a part of the second Startup Institute class this fall, this time as instructors in the Web Development track. We are excited to potentially meet the next Traackr team member. Will they be a Java/Scala hacker or hail from the land of interpreted languages? As long as they have already been paving their own path and have the fortitude to join it with ours for the trip ahead, it won’t really matter. We have ten internal Traackr commandments and one of them is “get s**t done”. That’s really all that matters.