1 Year at Vercel

Reaching this milestone is a big moment for me! I am surprised at how quickly time seems to have passed since I caught you up with my thoughts after crossing the 6-month mark. I imagine if I met Riz-from-6-months-ago, she would have better articulated what I’m feeling in this moment. The sheer enormity of the little things combined that have contributed to the growth in myself and my career is something current-Riz is stunned by and is still processing.

Growth is the obvious theme as I ponder over this 1 year journey. Lee Robinson [Director of DevRel @ ▲], in his blog post, has shared a unique insight into the speed at which the company has multipled (I joined when we were in the 50-60s , we’re now at >150!) — I recommend reading it if you want to find out what it's like working at a Hypergrowth startup.

Personal Highlights

There were many wins a team (in summary: we're in our best formation...yet), however, I'd like to share a roundup of a few of my personal highlights on this occasion.

The following is an uncomplete recollection:

  • Being nominated and winning an inaugural Vercel Isosceles Award. The main criteria for this was to celebrate folks for anything they've done to make Vercel a better place. I did not expect to be nominated, much less win — so I was very delighted to find out that I did!
  • Being in the Interviewer seat for the 1st time. Hiring (which we are) is 1000% more difficult that I imagined. Kudos to everyone who undertakes this responsibility with great empathy and patience.
  • Being honest with myself and starting meaningful, impactful conversations. I am proud of myself for not shying away from setting my own goals and milestones despite how uncertain/ impossible the chosen path or how much easier it would've been to pick inaction, compartively.
  • Being unabashedly vocal about the remarkable work done by the whole Customer Success team all year around (yes, that includes full coverage over the end-of-year holiday period). Only by walking a mile in the shoes of a CSE (Customer Success Engineer) was I able to comprehend the impact of our work. Ask me to expand on this over a coffee and I will oblige. 😉

I don’t know about you but when I think back to the notions I held about ‘working at a job’ as a kid, I presumed that it required a special understanding of some alien-level knowledge which, once acquired, was like gaining a completely new kind of vision or puzzle piece that was unavailable to anyone not working in that job. Like a rare superpower. This theory holds true to some degree: there are specialist topics that I only picked up at University or via my day-to-day experience of working as a Success Engineer. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that a job constitutes of parts that are far greater than this, too.

Zoom out enough and you’ll see that you can simplify it to things said and done in the company of others. My ability to suggest ideas, voice doubts, invite feedback, embrace critique, hack solutions, iterate together, be confused, ask questions, answer questions, celebrate others, track progress, etc. while trying to be the best version of myself (i.e. being kind, respectful, understanding, honest, sincere, humble etc.) is my actual superpower that was staring me right in my face.

// side-note: This only works in conjunction with the existence of moments wherein someone took time out of their day and offered me a listening ear, assured me with memes/emojis/jokes, championed my work, been vulnerable themselves, etc. Let us never underestimate the impact we can have on someone’s day. //

That’s the real deal. Everything else is a by-product.

Finding a workplace that realises this is key. The last year has given me the space and clarity to discover and exercise this superpower, fearlessly. Thus, I hold gratitude closest to my heart.

May the next year echo more moments of growth, happiness, and emoji. ✌️

Until next time,