First impressions of working at Intercom

Intercom is not just the product – it’s also a great place to work. I recently joined Intercom, and last week took the time to write a note to our private Facebook group listing some of the great things about working here.

Below is the unedited Facebook post – inside jokes, warts and all. I really appreciate the opportunity to share this with a wider audience, and hope you’ll get some insight into what it’s like working at Intercom.

Here are the CliffsNotes:

  • Muster is our internally developed Continuous Deployment system. It builds, tests and deploys our software.
  • The throwaway comment about screaming Vikings is a reference to a tourist attraction that occasionally makes some noise outside our office.

I’ve been working for Intercom for 18 work days now, so for no particular reason here’s a list of things that have stood out. tl;dr I really enjoy working at Intercom.

1. It’s really nice being treated well. The great new office and location, fantastic food, awesome computing equipment… this is miles better than anywhere I’ve worked before. I know that similar benefits are not uncommon in the industry, but it’s still a source of daily delight. The personal touches upon joining (like the welcome card signed by your co-workers, welcome pack, being invited to lunch/Friday demos in advance of actually showing up etc.) were really sweet.

2. Open and casual access to great leadership is a privilege. The “Interschool” series of chats led by Des, Darragh, Paul etc. for the current wave of new hires was an excellent way to learn about the history, mission and direction of Intercom, as well as the details of the product. The weekly all-hands is also really well done and a great source of information about what’s going on across the company.

3. You get addicted to shipping. Some days I felt I didn’t do much even though I did a few things that had impact – in previous roles doing one thing a day would be good. Even just watching deployments fly by on Muster or running “git pull” are fun ways to get a feel for the velocity of change in the company (and we should get faster at this!).

4. There’s so much to do. The vision for the app and its impact on Internet communication is inspiring. There’s really big things being worked on (in small chunks, of course). And of course, to support the growth of the customer base and activities, we need to iteratively build out a scalable, performant and secure architecture on top of what exists today. This is fun.

5. However there’s not actually that much low hanging fruit. Everything I’ve touched is really effective at what it does and certainly wasn’t thrown together in a mad startup scramble. There’s a high bar here for software development practice, cloud infrastructure use and protection of user data.

6. The toolchain is world class. It’s great able to use tools like CircleCI, GitHub, Google Docs, Trello etc. (or at least have the option available to use them). This probably doesn’t resonate as much with folks who haven’t come from $megacorp land.

7. Slack is so great. I know it’s not exactly Intercom secret sauce, however I’ve used a lot of chat/collaboration systems (I used to hack away patching Neil’s Unix Talk Server back in the day…) and this is easily the best. It transcends IRC/Jabber/etc. and has been very useful in operational events to coordinate and share information. Also, I now get emojis. :heart_eyes:

8. The weekly cadence is awesome. There’s a good buzz on Fridays, the demos are genuinely exciting and a great way to finish the week.

9. You lot are awesome. It’s been a battle not letting “imposter syndrome” kick in :) – I still have a huge amount to learn about the product, technology and culture of Intercom, but it’s been very easy so far thanks to my extremely patient, kind and almost-intimidatingly-technically-skilled co-workers.

10. It’s pretty easy to start ignoring screaming Vikings. I never knew I had this talent until now.

In the interests of balance, here are some minor things that’d be cool to get at some stage:

  • Directory of recorded talks / weekly all-hands. It’s nice to stay current even if you can’t make a meeting!
  • A better wiki. The Google one is clunky, though usable. There’s also some docs still up on the github wiki.
  • A good org chart / navigator. I’d do badly at a quiz of who works on what team and what team owns what right now.
  • More unicorns.

Editor’s note: If Brian’s description of working at Intercom sounds attractive, we are hiring.