Tech Company Zapier Heads to the Twin Cities

by valerielockhart

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Image result for zapier logoZapier (think, “happier”) came onto the scene only eight short years ago. They had 15 employees, all working to create a product that would make their customer’s lives easier. Their idea? Create a software that would allow disparate web applications the ability to communicate with each other and automate tasks for users. And that is exactly what they’ve done. Next week, they will be bringing their global-team to Minneapolis for an annual company retreat and hiring fair

Their product is a productivity and automation tool, built in Python, which utilizes the APIs of many of the most popular communications and management applications such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, Facebook, WordPress, Google Calendar, Slack, Trello, etc. The Zapier customer base consists mainly of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and those who are interested in time-saving for business management. Without having to know any code, users can build custom event triggers and reactions, within minutes. There are millions of different configurations available, and they even have pre-built configurations they call “Zaps.” Most commercial apps will plug and play nicely with Zapier, and some third-party application developers have realized the importance to making their apps accessible to the service, even accepting “wish list” requests from Zapier customers for features and improvements that would be nice to have with their existing APIs. 

Now eight years into development, Zapier has an expanding team of 250 employees from all across the globe. One of Zapier’s local-to-Minnesota Product Marketing Managers, Joe Stych, recently discussed their upcoming hiring event at the University of Minnesota, and some of the perks that come with being a part of the Zapier team. Stych enjoys working with what he calls a “World-class” team. His coworkers come from over 21 different countries, including: Spain, France, Portugal, Taiwan, Canada, all over the US, and most of Europe. “Getting to work with such talented people from all over the world, representing all walks of life and such diverse cultures, is a great experience,” according to Stych. Time-zone coordination is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when working with such a geographically diverse team. In order to combat some of that difficulty, Stych explains that they have to maintain a company culture of transparency and thorough documentation, “Any of your coworkers must be able to check in at any time and be briefed on the current state of the project you’re working on.” It also helps that all of their employees are fluent in English, in addition to their native languages, so there are less issues with things being lost in translation. Stych noted that even though many physical miles separate them, “everyone is here to win as a team.” 

Maintaining that “team” mentality takes intentional work. Employees are encouraged to partake in weekly video meetings, and are paired up with each other weekly to get to know each other better. They also use a company Slack to share photos, memes, and ideas to help familiarize each other with their individual personalities.

Stych explained that the Zapier company culture and values include working with empathy and very little ego. He said they are looking for people who are proactive, passionate, problem-solvers. According to Stych, Zapier employees tend to be those who “…see something that needs to be done, and go do it.” “Zapier maintains a very action-oriented culture. Employees are encouraged to try things, test things, and build up their skills. There are tons of opportunities to grow here,” he added. 

Twice a year, the company holds a retreat in a different part of the world to give employees an opportunity to meet each other in person. These retreats are sometimes also used as opportunities to introduce the company to potential new hires, as is the case with their upcoming retreat in Minneapolis. 

So, why Minneapolis? Stych explained that there is, “something here for everyone,” referring to great restaurants, theater, the Twins, Gophers, and even the Mall of America. These are all things that he has seen people excited about. Another hot topic of discussion has been Minneapolis’ extensive public transportation. Zapier chose the Graduate Hotel, right on the University of Minnesota campus, to host both their hiring event and company retreat. Directly on the lightrail, everyone will be easily able to get to the event, as well as travel around to check out the sights of their choosing. The Zapier hiring event will be held on Tuesday, September 10th, from 6:30-8:30pm, but they ask that you don’t bring your resume. Instead, they are asking interested applicants to register and then simply show up to have a conversation. 

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