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Co-op Files: Reflections from Our Resident Funny Guy

Meet Willie Cheong. Willie is a web application developer co-op student from the University of Waterloo,  our Resident Funny Guy who  likes to queue up bugs for the “slaughter house”. Going into the second half of his third year of Engineering in September, Willie wanted to share some reflections about his time here as a co-op student at HitSend.  

I remember my first time meeting Graham. It was a 45 minute interview held on campus. I recall the atmosphere to be relaxed, as though it was 2 people casually discussing their experiences with the tech start-up scene. 40 minutes went by quickly and Graham only had enough time to give me a brief technical test. I walked out of the interview knowing I wanted to work at HitSend because I liked both Graham and the SoapBox product. As it turns out, Graham liked me too and so I got the job.

During HitSend

Working at HitSend was very different from my previous experiences in manufacturing and IT departments at larger organizations. Here are the biggest differences when making that comparison.

Any question can be answered almost immediately just by calling out to someone. In terms of technical development, there’s a back-end expert, a front-end expert, and a walking library of code. Yup, as a rookie I was completely covered on learning how to write good code. This contrasts from a larger organization where answers are scattered all over the place, and it can be daunting if you’re feeling lost.

Features I build at HitSend get shipped out to be used by real people, and bugs I fix change the experiences of real users. Unlike working at a larger organization, there is a feeling of actually making an impact that can be noticed from outside the company. I remember Brennan showing me the user feedback on the first feature I shipped on SoapBox; that felt really good.

While HitSend has been an amazing, I will not lie and say that I wake up every day looking forward to going to work. There are days when the lazy bug hits and all I want to do is just stay at home and be lazy; it happens to almost everyone. But taking everything into account, here’s what I find particularly enjoyable about being at HitSend.

  • The people are passionate about what they do. This was a really big driving factor for me. It just sucks when the people you work with are unmotivated. Nope, none of that at HitSend; everyone here loves SoapBox and works hard to make it awesome. I.e. we get shit done.
  • Nobody eats alone at HitSend. At noon, the entire team grabs lunch and meets in the café to eat together. We talk about cool things like the happenings in the tech space, time travel, a utopian future, how Batman’s Batpod would be engineered, superheroes, speculating one another’s jobs in parallel universes and other non-generic stuff like that.
  • The founders appreciate their employees and there’s family here. Achievements at HitSend are celebrated as a team effort. When something good happens, the company takes everyone out for beer and drinks. The fact that good things happen a lot at HitSend just makes this an even bigger plus.

After HitSend

On a closing note, HitSend has been nice to me. They taught me how to develop web applications properly, let me see all the insides of a growing company and gave me a lot of new perspectives. I can keep talking about all the things I enjoyed at HitSend, but I’ll try not to make this post too long. Warren always makes me tell a joke although I don’t think I’m a very funny guy, but here’s one to end this post with.

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

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