From the first time I spoke with someone at Cumulus Networks, I realized I’d come across something spectacular. My interviews started with a “screening” call from Nat Morris, but it didn’t start with any of those awkward “tell me about yourself” ice-breaker questions. Nat immediately began the conversation with a detailed description of the Cumulus Workbench, his plans for where to take it, and what I thought about them. For someone like me, being able to talk candidly about a concrete project made it easy for me to see myself in the position, and I felt like I was being treated as if I were already a part of the company. This conversation left such a powerful impression that it literally carried me through the entire interview process.

Photo: Daniel Walton

I started on the day before the RDU team moved from the Apex office to the new office in Cary. All of the furniture was gone, everyone was huddled at folding card tables, and I ended up sitting on the floor in another room since we didn’t have enough chairs even after borrowing some from the restaurant next door! The team assured me that it wasn’t a bait-and-switch by showing me the switches in the basement and driving me to the fancy new office that was almost finished, but any uncertainty I had went away as soon as I sunk my teeth in to some work. Nat flew in all the way from the UK to help get me onboarded, and within hours I was closing tickets, writing documentation, and submitting pull requests with the best of them.

My first task was to take the Workbench and document how to get it up and running in a development environment from scratch. I wrote up proofs of concept and examples for the APIs that we were planning to bring in its future iterations. I developed scripts for automatically reporting usage of the Workbench so that we could provide that information to the rest of the company. It felt really awesome to hit the ground running with some engineering work, and I felt right at home after getting familiar with our development, testing, and automation environment. By the end of the week, I could already see how the work I was doing could have a tangible benefit for the rest of the company. This made me fairly comfortable pursuing tasks on my own without having to have them spelled out to me by my boss – a good thing considering he lives on UK time.

But in the end, when you get past the exciting technical challenges, it’s the people that made the experience. Everyone I’ve met in every department at Cumulus Networks is sharp as a whip, wholly believes in the company vision, and is always willing to help out when someone has a question. When I had my job offer call with Jason Martin, he told me that out of all of the perks and benefits that come with working at a startup, its the people you get to work with that make the difference. These people are the movers and shakers that are taking risks to disrupt the industry for the better, and being able to build meaningful relationships with them is worth a lot in the long term. Knowing that those values were recognized by the decision makers of the company convinced me that I was making the right decision when I accepted my offer.

I have the pleasure of working with some absolutely brilliant people, and I’m honored to be able to call them my colleagues.

EDIT: Cumulus Networks has replaced Workbench with a pre-built virtual data center experience that you can access with just your browser. It’s a lot like work bench, but simpler, smoother and easier. You can check it out here. 

Photo: Daniel Walton