The Journey to Becoming a Scrum Master at TextNow
How did you find TextNow?
I found out about TextNow through some friends I used to work closely with at a drone aviation company. Brad Ewing happens to be another close contact who started the same day I did. There was previously an opening for a TPM (Technical Program Management) back in August 2021 – but unfortunately I was at the recruiter introduction stage when an offer was already made to another person (whom I met after, and who rightfully deserved an opportunity here as well). So, from then every week, I would check the Careers page. As I reviewed the website and the company’s goals, it aligned to everything I believed. The people I knew who already worked here were very positive about the company.
Finally, on Monday January 24th, 2022, an opening appeared, and I messaged back the recruiter (Andy Rentfrow, Senior Recruiter.) Andy told me they already had 80 applicants but said he would give me a shot. I told him one shot was all I needed to show them why I would be their best candidate.
How was the interview process?
Have you ever felt like you have been struggling in a country that is not your native tongue, and suddenly you meet people who fluently speak your language and you’re super excited to talk to them and you don’t want the conversation to end?
That is how each interview went with TextNow. It was one of the most refreshing experiences I could have ever had, and I will never forget how those meetings left me feeling more excited than the day before about the role.
What made you want to come and work for TextNow?
There were many reasons, but I will try my best to focus on the ones that matter the most.
TextNow’s mission just clicked for me. Not only are we building a product in a company where I can envision a future for my personal career, but we’re also offering an opportunity to people who do not have the financial means for regular phone service. We are doing work for people who also need it. It may not be fighting cancer or saving lives, but I would say it is a close second to giving people who need to be connected a way to be connected.
The other was their “Work Best” policy, which allowed me to stay remote for my family, which I took for granted until the pandemic forced us into this setup.
My wife and I carpooled almost 2 hours each way (due to LA traffic) pre-pandemic and we barely saw our children in the morning and only for dinner time and bedtime in the evenings.
When Covid-19 hit, we were able to be there more for our kids, help them with their homework, take them and pick them up from school and hang out with them when our work shift was over (playing video games or cooking dinner together). Today, both my wife and I work remotely, and we added a 4th child to our family, and we get to be more involved in their lives than we ever have before.
Did someone refer to you? The power of a referral.
Not only was I referred by Alex Latouf, but I was also vouched for by everyone at TextNow that I previously worked with.
Fun fact, I got Alex Latouf his first job in software development and watched him grow into the amazing Engineer Lead he is today (shhhh, he was in Quality Assurance first).
We met each other in a bar after I overheard him saying he was interested in video games and at the time I was responsible of the hiring of the team, and we were looking for people to join with no experience as our budget for the project was already extremely limited. Our friendship and career growth of helping each other has made us close ever since. (See video of Alex clapping for me on my birthday at work, a tradition we both started at the first company we worked for together. This was in 2016)
When did you join the TextNow?
I officially joined the company March 4th2022. It feels like forever ago, but at the same time, I haven’t gotten the chance to meet everyone personally, so I am still super new to everyone.
What’s a tip you would give someone who is looking to apply at TextNow?
There are two tips I give anyone who is looking to applying at TextNow, one is giving the open truth, the second is to feel the hype and the future of this company.
If you are looking to apply to TextNow, make sure your career goals align with TextNow’s goals. TextNow still has many challenges ahead of itself and it is not a simple role that you might get at other tech companies.
TextNow is looking to disrupt the telecommunications industry and they want people who are looking to push the boundaries, wear multiple hats, resolve conflicts/risks daily, all while striving to make leaps and bounds for our current loyal customers today. You will have the most talented people around you who all want to succeed, but for us to achieve that, we need people who can jump in and give it their all to take this company to heights that it has never been seen before.
The second tip I would give someone is that this is the best place to ever work, period.
If you look at our core values, they are easy to memorize because after you spend less than a month with these people, you will realize we all live and breathe it.
No Brillant Jerks
Give a damn
They are not complicated or have any hidden meanings, they make sense when you read them, and you can see how they fit in your daily life here at TextNow.
After you acknowledge our core values and you open the doors of the amazing lifestyle of TextNow, you will realize this is the best place and people to work with.
I left my dream of working on video games after I accomplished my goal of working with the best people ever.
I realized my next goal was to work on the best product ever, because it will naturally come with the best people ever, so a double win for me!
Our perks, benefits, work anniversaries and lifestyles have so many rewards, there is something for everyone! At my previous place, working somewhere for 5 years got you a metal sword (which admittedly sounds cool), whereas TextNow gives you 1 month paid sabbatical, I mean, if that comparison does not show you how much TextNow cares about their people, I do not know what would.
Were you able to attend the TextNow offsite in Mexico? What were your thoughts on it?
The TextNow offsite in Mexico was one of the best ways to meet co-workers in person. Due to COVID regulations and comfort levels, I only wish I got a chance to meet with more Textnovians!
That would have required a longer stay of course but getting those 4 days to have company-wide updates, breakout sessions, and non-work-related activities (like beach volleyball!) and a chance to bond with teammates. The off-site gave me a way to get to know everyone in the most comfortable setting - by the beach on comfortable hammocks enjoying the summer breeze.
My family was fortunate to be able to attend (we had to cancel our Hawaii plans because I recently joined, but TextNow was awesome with letting me include my family on the trip), so I was in heaven. Got to get up in the morning, eat breakfast with family and co-workers, my family got to enjoy the beach while I got to go to work and meet all my amazing co-workers, come back for dinner with my wife and kids, then back to the martini lounge to continue my social engagements with my new co-workers. I could not have asked for a better off-site to be honest.
What does an average day look like for you?
An average day for me starts off enjoying seeing everyone’s faces in the morning with our daily standup ritual (unless its No-Meeting Wednesday, in which case I enjoy seeing responses in our team slack channels). Depending on the day, we have specific rituals that as a TPM, I would need to ensure that the dev team, Product Managers and Engineering Leads have prepped for the next steps we need to do.
After my morning and afternoon rituals are taken care of, I look at action items that I have assigned to me (collected either through meetings, retrospectives, or from slack). As I wrap up my day, I queue for my messages that I need to send off to people in the morning, so they don’t get them in the middle of the night (I like to be respectful of people’s off-hours). Then I switch my office setup from work mode to gaming mode (I put away my laptop and lower my monitors, push it to the wall and then I pull my gaming TV down to the front to hide my desk, voila! game mode in full effect!)
What teams do you partner with at TextNow?
I currently partner with the Growth Acquisition and the Growth Engagement teams. They were previously one big team, so my first task coming into TextNow was making sure the teams were able to live a life of their own (by having separate rituals, fully staffed teams, etc.) but still feeling like one big Growth team. There might be a 3rd team I am looking to support, but that time is currently to be determined.
What are you most looking forward to during the next year?
Wow, that is so exciting and hard to think about because there is a lot on the table this year for us to deliver, but what I am looking forward to the most is where the TextNow Product will be in a year from now. There are so many exciting features, marketing plans, and TextNow offerings that will really make a dent in disrupting the telecommunications industry. Based off the plans of the teams I am on, the Rally Cry mentality, and what was highlighted at the Mexico offsite, we are not a company you want to overlook or miss out watching! Another company offsite would be fun to look forward to as well! Hahaha.