Rypple: Software Engineer / Developer

I haven’t talked about Rypple since they were a stealth startup looking for a ‘star software developer‘ and, later, a ‘star developer and front end ninja‘.  They’re no longer stealth, and they’re looking to hire a Software Engineer / Developer:

If you have a proven track record of building successful software (e.g. people love what you create), then we want to talk to you. If you don’t think its crazy to build both scalable, high-quality applications and release early and often – then you’ll like it here.

At Rypple, you’ll:

  • Join our dev team to design and build our online apps and the infrastructure we run our business on.
  • Regularly deal with users, customers, and our industry partners. You’ll be expected to come up with new ideas to create value and then implement and improve on those ideas
  • Be a generalist with technology but a specialist with building world class applications.
  • Be highly adaptable to technical challenges and thrive in an adaptive environment.
  • Be disciplined and get stuff done.

The Good
The founders are entrepreneurs with a good track record at Workbrain, and I found them to be impressive in person.  They believe in agile processes.  Their product is in an interesting space and a space they know well.  Initial feedback on their product seems to be positive.  Because it’s a public application, you can take a look at it and see if it’s something you’re interested in being a part of, which is always a big plus.  The technology stack is a good one — GWT, REST, Hibernate.  They claim to be agile.

The Bad
Workbrain had a bit of a reputation as a sweatshop.  I haven’t heard the same vibe from Rypple, but ultimately that’s something you’d want to assess for yourself.

What’s Missing?
What’s the size and composition of the team, and where would you fit into it?  What’s the compensation like, from ‘generous pay’ to vacation and benefits?

YMMV
When last I spoke to the Rypple founders, they were believers in Peter Thiel’s hypothesis that low pay is a predictor of startup success — that members of a startup need to be hungry and committed to the success of the company, and that high pay prevents that from happening.  It’s an interesting hypothesis, but your mileage may vary when it comes to the specifics of how much Rypple is willing to pay you to join the team.  You won’t know if you don’t talk to them.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to working for a startup.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

And finally, I’m increasingly irritated by job descriptions that mention things like ‘nunchaku skills.’  I know it’s intended to be humor, but my mileage does vary.

The Location
Yonge and Eglinton.  It’s not great if you’re coming from far out of town, in particular by GO, but it’s pretty accessible by Subway from most parts of the city.  There are lots of restaurants and shopping, particularly if you include Bayview Village and Mount Pleasant.  It’s neither the perfect location nor a bad one, to my eye.

In Summary
A development position for one of Toronto’s more visible startups.  If doing Java development for a startup sounds interesting, then you should probably talk to Rypple.

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4 Responses to Rypple: Software Engineer / Developer

  1. Austin says:

    Hi Geoffrey,

    I read your post and it inspired me to re-evaluate how Rypple is doing on the Joel Test. I had originally blogged about it in January and we stacked up pretty well, rating 11 out of a possible 12. However, it’s been half a year now and while we think we’ve improved, the proof is in the test.

    You can check out the post here. Thanks!
    http://blog.rypple.com/2009/05/22/we-are-hiring/

  2. Hi Geoffrey,

    Thank you for this post. It’s a good summary. I’ll try to quickly answer some of the questions you posed.

    – When I joined Rypple a year ago I signed up because I recognized the potential our team and our idea had. I did take a pay cut. Other people also recognized our potential and soon after we had an impressive list of investors (one of which is Peter Thiel). This, in turn, helped us reduce future funding risks and allowed us to assemble a great team (https://www.rypple.com/about.shtml?tab=team). A steady pay cheque is only a part of a great compensation package at Rypple that also consists of performance bonuses, HSA, equity, and – most importantly – a great experience and an opportunity to learn. For example, we have a sizable learning budget for purchasing books, attending conferences, and organizing lunch’n’learns with people like Roger Martin, Matthew Ingram, and Joshua Porter.

    – I worked at Workbrain for 5 years and I liked it. Time management skills, efficiency, and productivity in that fast-growing company driven by a successful product were essential for developers. Some people pull all-nighters at university more often than others. Likewise, I saw some people struggle to meet job demands more often than others. We learned at Workbrain that agile development helped with many of those issues and we have successfully applied it since. I promise to blog more about how we approach agile development at Rypple. After 3 years of working on agile teams I can honestly say that we are agile.

    – If you asked me what I like the most about Rypple I would tell you that it is my teammates. Our recruitment process ensures that all new hires address an expertize need and are also great people to work with. In a learning and creative environment like ours, being intellectually challenged by my colleagues is a true pleasure.

    Please let me know if there are any other insights I could provide.

    Regards,
    Tiho

    P.S.
    We only partially joked about ‘nunchaku skills’ being a valuable asset. Austin has been training taekwondo since childhood and Nat has a karate black belt. Watching their sparring got kind of boring so we’re looking for new talent. 🙂

  3. […] hiring. See how we stack up to the Joel Test By austintam I can across a post evaluating the pros and cons of working for Rypple from an outsider’s perspective. Since I […]

  4. Wow – looks like us ‘Rypplers’ are out in force today!

    I joined the company about 7 months ago and, unlike many of my colleagues, I am not a former Workbrainer.

    I’ll get straight to the point. Rypple is a startup, and we are very motivated to move fast and build great things. Do I work longer hours? For sure, but I do it because I find the time slipping away from me – I’m not fixated on the clock. I have a wife and three kids, and a 75km one-way commute, and Dan and Dave have always been understanding of the other demands on my time that I have in my life.

    Did I take a pay cut? Yep, but I got an equity stake that I believe will be far more valuable. Other forms of compensation were pretty much a lateral move, from vacation to health benefits, and I was generously compensated in this regard in my previous position.

    Most importantly though, do I regret making the jump from my ‘cushy’, better paying, better titled and arguably-more-secure 9-to-5? Not for a second. The team is fantastic, the work is rewarding, and I’m part of something that could be huge. What more could I want?

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