Engineering @ WeaveGrid

For a little over two years now I’ve been pretty busy working for a growing company founded in San Francisco by Apoorv Bhargava and John Taggart. I was hired in December 2020 during the pandemic and one of the first remote employees outside of the bay area. We’re around 70 people now as I write this and when I started I was somewhere in the low teens. I thought I’d write a little about the company and some of the things we’re doing and why I believe in what we’re doing.

Why I went to WeaveGrid

I interviewed with three companies in late 2020 and was fortunate to get job offers from all three. I also had interviewed with three FAANG companies earlier that fall and was denied by two of them and broke off the process with one of them. There were three reasons I chose WeaveGrid:

1. The Mission

My boy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in January 2020. When something like that happens to your family it completely changes you as a person. So many things don’t matter. I was looking for something that would not involve trying to get people to click on ads but be meaningful. That year we spent many hours driving to Bend, Oregon for clinical trials of Teplizumab hoping for anything that would help my kid. When I spoke with Beau (who recruited me at the time) I was super impressed with the intentional mission of WeaveGrid. The fires in Oregon that year and every year since had devastated communities and destroyed many of our favorite backpacking spots. Jefferson Wilderness, Eagle Creek, and even Opal Creek to name a few. This has had a huge effect on my family.

Jefferson Wilderness near Marion Lake, Oregon

2. The Team

I interviewed with a few people that really impressed me through the process compared with the other people I interviewed. Everyone was much more mission driven and the enthusiasm was pretty contagious. When they did background checks on me my former Cisco coworker spoke with my now coworker Elissa and told me how energetic she was.

At several teams I’d been on in the past I felt like a lot of people were there just for the money and didn’t really believe in the mission nor the product. It’s so refreshing to work at a place where people are actually doing the opposite: They could make more money elsewhere, but the mission drives them. I find this to be more enjoyable and more rewarding.

I had no idea the caliber of people I was working with would get even better. Climate is a tough problem and good people are attracted to tough problems. Soon more people came and I’ve been humbled as a software engineer at how much better many of these people are compared to me. I love learning from them and hearing how they think. That part has been pretty incredible.

From the very beginning we’ve fostered a culture of humility. We have a great slack channel at work called #no-stupid-questions. Some of the smartest people will ask things like: I have no idea what yield or with do in Python, can someone explain it to me like I’m 5? And we all grow together.

3. The Timing

I had been at a tiny startup previously as well as a giant company. This is the first time I’ve seen a smaller company grow to a sizable company. I had wanted the smaller company feel and this worked out very well. There was unlimited vacation, total lack of explicit instructions, and just: “Make it work!” type of mantra. Me personally, I thrive in uncertainty. I just try to do my best and I love chaos. Those first months working at WeaveGrid we basically just built what needed to be built with little bureaucracy, very few meetings, and a lot of time spent doing the engineering craft. It was a dream.

We’ve grown some and now have to be a little more responsible for our designs, but I still find it refreshing compared to other corporate teams I’ve been on. We also have more engineers but I still think we’ve done a good job trying to make everyone feel welcome and included.

So that’s why I’m at WeaveGrid. But What do I do at WeaveGrid?

What I’ve done at WeaveGrid

When I first started I was all over the place. I worked mainly on our platform but then worked on different projects all across our stack. It was great! I got to see everything be built from the ground up. I wrote some of the notifications the users see in the dashboard as well as some of the early OEM interact code that speaks with different automakers. I was able to test real cars and get different reads from them. In addition I built systems to get reports to our utilities.

I re-built our Kubernetes cluster from the ground up, built our entire build system (which probably needs to be re-written again) with CircleCI and helped build our initial monitoring system with Prometheus, Grafana and improved our logging in Fluent, Elasticsearch, and Kibana.

What I’m doing now: Vehicle Integrations

But last year around this time as the company grew we decided we needed to specialize a bit more in different roles. Because of that, I am now part of our Vehicle Integrations team at WeaveGrid. And in my opinion, it is the most important part of this company. Why?

Our company connects drivers to utilities. We make it so utilities can be more efficient with all these EVs that need to charge at night. Right now we’re in the middle of the EV revolution: Each year more and more EVs are sold and it’s growing exponentially. If you think about every single person on your street coming home and then starting their car charging at midnight you can see how that might actually be a problem for the utility companies. Orchestrating these vehicles is paramount to any future the utilities can see.

To that end, utilities will need information from the vehicles. This is where I work now: Getting information from the vehicles. Importing that data, normalizing it across OEMs, and ensuring it is good enough for reporting and consumption by our utility clients as well as our drivers who like to see how much it cost them to charge their EVs.

This is why vehicle integrations is so important. It’s the gateway for all the rest of the things we do. If we have no data, we have no product. It’s been scary sometimes when things break and sometimes fun to play detective to understand why certain issues are happening. I’ve been impressed how other teams will help us when issues arise.

With WeaveGrid, unlike some of our competitors, we want to work directly with the automakers to get their data. We don’t want to access it without them knowing about it. We want the drivers to be more secure and we want the data to be accurate. We know this may also mean we don’t support all of the different OEMs that some of our competitors do (yet), however our competitive advantage is that the data will be more accurate and trusted.

We have a bunch of other projects in the works that will provide more value to our OEM partners as well as ensuring our data is better than any of our competitors.

So for now, the work is good, meaningful, and life is good at WeaveGrid. Oh, and we are still hiring, even in 2023!

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