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Not Just “Keeping The Lights On”: What It’s Like To Work At Rewind


These days, there are a lot of tech recruiters in our inboxes. Unfortunately, wading through the endless emails to find real opportunities is difficult and time-consuming. How do you choose a company that will be a good fit for you, personally and professionally? Ultimately, I wound up at Rewind as a Software Developer (since September 2020). Here’s why I’m happy with that decision.

More Than Just Keeping the Lights On

I became a developer because I like to solve problems. Naturally, our value of being comfortable being uncomfortable spoke to me. Within a few months at Rewind, I’ve worked on onboarding flows and billing systems for a new platform. I also had the opportunity to participate in a number of interviews for junior dev positions and presented my team’s work during a company-wide demo.

With a goal to support over 100 different platforms, Rewind has ambitious development goals. Working within the constraints of each platform (and its API) means no two days are alike. We work with complex systems with many moving parts that handle petabytes of data. Processes behind how we support platforms, how we handle data, how we optimize billing, how we evolve the backend: we’ve got a lot of issues to solve, and I’m excited to be a part of the team in charge of figuring them out.

Shape Up, Not Agile

These days, most of us have probably worked in an Agile development environment before.

At Rewind, we use a different framework. It’s called Shape Up (if you’re a fan of Basecamp, you might have heard of it before).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Shaping – Shaping is the process of deciding what to build next, or ‘shaping’ the next development cycle. This pre-work aims to be concrete enough to provide direction, but abstract enough to give us room to build.
  2. Betting – Betting is the process of choosing a project for the next six-week cycle, thus prioritizing it for development.
  3. Building – This seems obvious, but it’s the meat of the cycle – where the devs are given rein to go forth and do what we do best – build!

Shape Up uses a six-week work cycle, with a ‘bridge’ period in between. So for six weeks, a small team of developers is given autonomy to solve whatever issue needs solving – for example, a better method of billing customers on a certain platform. For the next month and a half, that small team of devs will work together to ship a solution for whatever we’ve been assigned. Then, we reflect on what worked and what didn’t during the bridge period.

I like this workflow because it ensures nobody is ever alone on a task: we’re always tackling problems in 3 or 4 person teams. That means there is someone else to ask questions, bounce ideas, and brainstorm with. To me, it’s the difference between “move fast and break things” and “move at a pace you can maintain, and write code that’s meant to be read”.

Shape Up provides a collaborative structure and creates a team-oriented experience for us at Rewind.

Mentorship, From the Bottom Up

How do you become a better developer? One way is by working with other good developers.

Working with and learning from senior devs is a regular occurrence at Rewind: every code review is an opportunity to learn. The bridge cycle has time for reflection and review every six weeks, allowing us to make full use of our individual Professional Development budgets. Personally, I’ve purchased a number of books on Ruby to better improve my skills, and participated in an employee book club and discussion about Clean Code by Robert Martin.

Of course, not all learning comes from books. I’ve also benefited from observing and asking questions while senior devs debugged problems. Shadowing, or ‘riding shotgun’, is a fantastic method of learning because you can watch a more senior dev refactoring and rejigging code in real-time. Watching and shadowing other devs has helped me get better at writing code, but also how to structure code, how to approach novel problems, and general tips and tricks that can only come from experience.

To me, it’s like being an apprentice carpenter, working with master craftspeople. Sure, I could build you a table – but when I work alongside other more experienced builders, the table is going to be more robust, flexible, and easier to repair. At the end of the day, the customer is getting a better table (or product), but even better, I’m learning how to build the very best tables around.

Since we all rotate shifts as Production Engineers (PEs), everyone gets the chance to dig deep into the nuts and bolts of our source code itself, and actually help customers perform complex data restores. Everyone deals with all aspects of the product: the front-end web application, but also the back-end logic, the massive amounts of data, the user interface, etc. – in such a complex system, no two days are the same.

Leadership, From the Top Down

The responsiveness of leadership at Rewind is demonstrated, not talked about. Feedback from all levels is sought out and listened to regularly by management. We receive regular communication on plans and decisions affecting the company.

Despite lots of new faces, the Rewind team feels close-knit. The CEO attends every onboarding session to greet new employees, go over Rewind’s company values, and generally say hi. We have an active company culture on Slack, weekly drop-in lunches, and other social events. Despite the fact that my coworkers and I are spread across Canada and the world, I still feel like I know them on a personal level.

TL;DR: We’re Hiring

So those are my (slightly more than) two cents about working at Rewind. Clearly, I’m a little bit biased, but if you’re interested in solving problems with us, I highly encourage you to check out our open positions.

If you know someone who might be interested in a position with Rewind, let us know – we offer a $1000 thank you for any referral that we hire. Drop us a line at jobs@rewind.com.

Special thanks to our friends at Rewind for their insights on this topic.
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