In den USA ist eben alles ein bisschen größer

Ich habe dieses Wochenende fleißig Englisch gesprochen, also gönn ich mir mal wieder einen Blogpost auf Deutsch.

Etwas, was man also Deutscher in den Staaten wirklich sofort realisiert, ist dass alles größer ist. Die Essensportionen sind größer, dadurch sind die Menschen im Durchschnitt (voluminös gesehen) größer und vermutlich sind auch deswegen die Autos größer. Da gewöhnt man sich aber schnell dran weil es also nicht so wichtig erscheint. Interessant ist aber, es scheint so als würde sich dieses “Bigger is better” Lebensgefühl wirklich auf alles auszuweiten. Die Leute denken einfach größer als wir Schmalspur Deutsche. Das habe ich schon oft genug über die Amis gehört und es bedeutet für mich immer: Wir Deutsche sind haben kleinere Ziele und die Amis wollen einfach mehr. Das mag stimmen, aber erst seit ich hier bin, hab ich verstanden was das auch bedeutet. Hier ein plastisches Beispiel:

Die Präsentation des IPhone 6 und der IWatch war hier in den USA wirklich ein großes Event. Damit meine ich, dass wirklich fast jeder auf der Arbeit den Livestream des Apple Events nebenbei geschaut hat. Yelp hat knapp Tausend Mitarbeiter hier im Headquarter in San Francisco. Man kann sich also vorstellen, dass das ein ordentliches Datenaufkommen war. Kurz gesagt: Es gab Probleme mit der Internetverbindung im Office Netz.

Alleine in einem Stockwerk hängen 10 Fernseher und 4 Beamer
Alleine in einem Stockwerk hängen 10 Fernseher und 4 Beamer

Ok, jetzt alle mal mitmachen. Kleines Brainstorming, wie man das Problem in Zukunft vermeiden könnte: Ich komm da spontan auf Ideen wie:

  • Auf einigen der vielen Fernseher zentral anzeigen.
  • Den Netzwerkverkehr zu der Quelle kappen, sobald Probleme erkannt werden.
  • Das schauen der Keynote während der Arbeitszeit verbieten.
  • Ein Event daraus machen und gemeinsam im Gesellschaftsraum -stockwerk schauen.

Ich bin mir sicher, dass es noch mehr Lösungen gäbe. Aber auf die, auf die man sich letztendlich geeinigt hat, wäre ich nie im Leben gekommen: Es wird eine schnellere Internetverbindung ins Headquarter gelegt. Das lass ich jetzt mal unkommentiert so stehen.

So eine Denkweise führt auf der einen Seite wirklich zu großartigen Produkten, die die Welt verändern. Nicht weniger erwartet man hier, wenn man ein Unternehmen gründen möchte!

Uber-Icecream
Uber denkt unter anderem übrigens darüber nach auch einen Eiscreme Lieferdienst zu machen :-)

Aber auf der anderen Seite kann ich mir nur durch solch eine Kultur erklären, wie sehr junge Firmen wie Uber schon über 40 Grafikdesign beschäftigen. (Übrigens haben die noch ein paar Stellen offen. Also wenn du Designer bist und es dir ausreicht verantwortlich für das Designs eines einzigen Buttons zu sein, bewirb dich bei Uber!)

Noch ein Schmankerl von meinem Wochenende: Ich war auf dem Oktoberfest. Oder zumindest das was die Amis darunter verstehen. Die Musik war so ungefähr das einzig Authentische dort und die haben leider einige Songs zwei oder sogar drei Mal gespielt. Egal, wir waren eine gute Truppe und es hat Spaß gemacht!2014-09-20 16.35.46

The details make the difference

At first a statement of defense: No I was not too lazy to write a new blog post in the last few days! But… unfortunately I read the PR guidelines and the Non Disclosure Agreement of Yelp… Yeah, all the interesting stuff, I’m not allowed to publish. What a surprise ;-) But I will try to talk about the information I already received in one of my many interviews and enhance it with the impressions I had until now.

Just a small part of the development area
Just a small part of the development area

Let’s start with a development overview: There are about 250 Developers in (I think) four subsidiaries. I guess about 200 of them are here in San Francisco. The Development Teams are divided into a hand full of Teams like Consumer (Core), Search, Biz (the part for Businesses), i18n (Internalisation), Platform, … Those Teams therefore are subdivided into Sub-Teams, usually consisting of about 5 Devs and aehm… that’s it. Of course there are Product Managers, but one PM usually has more than one Sub-Team. Other than that: Nope, no QA Guys (every Dev writes tests for his own stuff), no Designer, no UX, no Agile/Scrum/Process guy. Therefore exists a Frontend Team. They work side by side with Designers, who a few indeed exist but not directly in the teams.

The development sub-teams get a new feature presented in a Kickoff meeting by a PM. Then they are passionate to make it a good feature, try to understand why it is required and give good feedback. When the feature gets mature enough to implement it, one guy picks it, plans and starts the development. Every atomic task needs to be reviewed by at least one other person and be covered by a level of 100% by automatic tests. This is definitely a good thing as we are coding in python, which is a dynamic language, so tests are the only way to know if something still works after a large refactoring.

When a change is reviewed and approved, the feature branch gets marked as “PickMe” for the next push to production. If it got picked, it is merged together with all the other picked branches and the most recent version of the production code. Of course, this potential new production version needs to be tested on an environment which is similar to the production environment. All push communication happens on a huge  IRC channel by the way.

More to come, when I know what I can publish without being a whistleblower. Stay tuned…

So many new things to learn

What happened the last four days was simply overwhelming! I could make ten blogposts just from the experiences I already had. But let’s continue where I left off.

After lunch I had a deeper look into the bootstrap documentation, which is just huge. There is so much stuff, you have to know. Fortunately I’m no complete new beginner in terms of I already know how to use git and the basics of python, which is the main language at Yelp. So I just have to learn all the new processes, the architecture, the people, the american keyboard schema, the build process and many many many many things more. A lot of the 90 Interns(!!!) Yelp has this year, have no experience at all and are standing in front of the Mount Everest of new things.

Women wearing  traditional Bavarian Dirndl pose with beer during 176th Oktoberfest in MunichOne thing I also have to (and want to) learn, is the american culture… I did something wrong on my first day. Everybody get’s introduced by his mentor with an email to the team. The usual introduction mail contains a picture of the mascot of the local sports team, the new guy is from. As my mentor did not find a picture of the mascot from bayern münchen, he did not sent a picture. So, I answered to everybody, that mascot (actually a bear) is so boring, nobody knows about him. But everybody knows the oktoberfest and included a picture of two women in Dirndls having a Mass Beer.
Later that dad, the director of development replied, that I should be more “sensible” what pictures I send around. Maybe somebody finds “uncomfortable” about those kind of pictures.
Of course I apologized in person and promised to avoid those pictures in future. That’s really something I was not thinking about. But in America, things are a bit different.

Wednesday was mostly more of bootstrap meetings and trying to make something productive but actually reading the docs. The teams don’t do pair programming. So all of the knowledge transfer happens in meetings and even more in documentation. Yeah… There is much of it.

After work, all interns went to a cable car tour, grabbed some burger at In-N-Out and had them at the beach with a nice view to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. This event was guided and sponsored by Yelp! The YIP (Yelp Intern Program) Team really does a great job to help us getting started in San Francisco! Next week we gonna visit a baseball match. I’m definitely looking forward for it!
2014-09-03 18.37.122014-09-03 19.44.48

Oh… as we already talking about the topic! There is sooooo much free (and mostly healthy) food!

2014-09-04 10.09.102014-09-03 09.54.09

There is even a beer tap for parties
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Oh and every Friday, we get a free lunch for engineering and some external guy is presenting something. There were talks from the people who invented MySql, Python, … This friday we got Barbecue and the inventor of CockroachDB presented his masterpiece. Afterwards it was time for beer, even more snacks, kicker and billard. :-)
2014-09-05 11.48.57 2014-09-05 17.45.37

 

Let’s get this party started…

As I'm also here in the US to improve my language skills, so I decided to write some blog posts in english if I'm in the mood for it.

Me in San DiegoFirst things first: I had a great roadtrip on the US Westcoast. The stops were in Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosimite National Park, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Venice Beach (Los Angeles) and San Diego. That’s quite a lot for only two weeks time! It was exhausting but also so nice, too! Thanks for my mates Lisa and Andres for making this amazing trip possible! Most of the Pictures you find here. But one I provide exclusive to my readers here on this blog ;-)


Thats the view from the top (25th) Floor of our Hotel Apartment.

But now to the interesting facts. Today was my first day at Yelp! Oh boy, I was so under tension and so excited. But I was also good prepared. Yelp had provided me a lot of information in the last few weeks. They sent me e-mails with things to when I arrive. They helped me find a good Apartment. They even told me the directions from my home to the workplace and what are common clothes at work. And many many more. I always had three emails or more each week since I agreed on my contract. Very impressive!

So I arrived at 9:30 in the lobby of this high riser, right in the financial district of San Francisco. The Security checked my Passport and requested my a elevator to the lobby of Yelp. There I got a photo-ID badge with included NFC Chip to open the doors. Then I got picked up by a nice lady of the internship team, to show me every floor and all facilities. The tour ended at my new desk where she introduced me to Anthony, my Mentor.

At my Desk I found a pretty decent hardware setup:

15" Macbook Pro Retina, zwei Monitore und eine Nerf Gun
15″ Macbook Pro Retina with SSD, two external Displays and a Nerf Gun

Additionally there were some other Goodies like a Yelp T-Shirt, a bag and branded gloves. I also got a welcome letter with passwords and what to do first. And, as I would learn over the day, which was just the beginning of a whole lot of documentation for getting started. But no time to read only one line of it: The first meeting is approaching! It was a very good information meeting about the basics of Yelp and and the development department. I was there together with all the other newbies of the day. Unfortunately I can’t remember how many people were with me in this meeting, but definitely more then 5! A whole lot of people when you hear, that next week already the next newbies arrive. But maybe those are normal figures for about 250 employees in development alone. (And a Dog called Darwin)

The bootcamp itself was very good because it contained all the information needed, compressed in one hour. That is something that is also reflected in the documentation. It is just detailed enough to show you the point and not bloated with information about stuff that could also be interesting.

2014-09-02 12.38.35But then was still not the time to get my hands dirty. Lunch Time! Today all Interns went together to a sandwich restaurant a few streets away and came back to eat it together in the “all hands” area. There are a lot of interns currently at Yelp…

Pew, … I still got so much stuff to tell! But it is already after midnight. I promise to continue this post in the near future. Apparently not tomorrow because we (Interns) go on a cable car ride and having burger after work. Yeay!