My second week started with a day off for Memorial Day. The weather was perfect. The sky was blue and the sun was out and there was a light breeze. All the Gusto interns decided to meet for a picnic. We each volunteered to bring something and met up at Dolores Park in the afternoon. Being in charge of banh mis, I left a little early and biked to a small mom-pop shop in Mission, Thanh Tam II. Everyone had already told me their order, so I picked up a good mix of pork, beef, and chicken banh mis for the group.
We found a spot on the hill, overlooking the rest of the park, with nice views of the downtown skyline. While eating, as people circulated song requests, I discovered a lot of us had very similar tastes in music. We spent time just taking it all in, while also throwing around a frisbee and dribbling a soccer ball.
Zach, Kanishk, and me, who are all Kleiner Perkins (KP) Fellows, knew there was a KP picnic also happening really close to us. In the spirit of mingling and meeting new people, all the Gusto interns made our way over to where the other KP Fellows were sitting. It was cool that the first time I was meeting the other KP Fellows was with my Gusto intern family!
There are only a handful of official KP events throughout the summer, so self-organized get-togethers are definitely the way to get closer as a cohort.
There was even more food there and so many new faces. A couple of the Fellows were playing Spikeball and others were just sitting around talking. After we all went around and did introductions, I realized a lot of the other Fellows had also brought their friends. I guess it's just #internszn.
After the picnic, a bunch of people came over to my place to play Catan. Some were new to the game and others were veterans, so we broke up into teams of two. It seemed like Catan would definitely be the board game of the summer.
I began the work week with many meetings. Lisa introduced my project for the summer and set up a tentative timeline.
My project for the summer is an in-app calendar that will show employee time-off requests, payroll deadlines, and celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. The application will be one of two features living on the platform-wide, top nav-bar!
We also scheduled an early check-in, mid-point check-in, and final check-in. My project was full-stack and touched lots of cool technologies: Ruby in the backend, React in the frontend, and GraphQL!
During the rest of the week, I finished on-boarding and started pairing with other engineers. They helped me navigate the codebase while also explaining concepts from Ruby semantics to testing conventions to aliases and shortcuts to make my life easier. By the end of the week, I had merged my first pull request (PR) at Gusto!
Pairing is really important at Gusto - it's basically when two engineers sit side by side coding on monitors with mirrored screens.
After work on most days, I spent time rewriting my website. I wanted to leverage existing open-source blogging frameworks to make my blog more powerful and easier to maintain. I settled on using Ghost and spent hours each day making everything work.
On Wednesday, the entire EEL team went to a nearby park to eat lunch together. The biweekly outdoor meal is a good way to get together, especially as the team gets larger and larger.
Later, in the afternoon, all the interns witnessed our first State of G - a biweekly event where the cofounders and other leadership go over important updates and we celebrate accomplishments. There was big news this week!
Gusto is opening HQ #3 in NYC! Even more exciting, my team, EEL, is the first team to open a pod in the new office.
After the all-hands ended, we ate some traditional New York pizza and cheesecake to get in the mood. Kanishk and I even took a selfie with Josh, the CEO. We were all decked out in State of Liberty foam hats.
At the end of State of G, we took our themed photo of the day: jeans. Eddie joined us and even though it looks like Zach didn't get the memo, his pants were actually jeans too, just in a khaki color. I couldn't believe it so I had to feel the material to be sure.
Friday was jammed pack, but not exactly work wise. We had our first engineering training session, led by none other than Eddie. Only the interns and a couple of new engineers showed up and Eddie went over the history of the company as well as how the different teams are broken up. It was extremely insightful and put everything into perspective. In the afternoon, the Slack channel #grilled-cheese-alert was buzzing, which only happens when someone is making grilled cheese sandwiches in the kitchen and is willing to share. I was shocked at how good the sandwiches were, especially since they were filled with generic lunch cheese.
Note to self: caramelized onions in grilled cheese sandwiches are good.
This week, we found a ping-pong table folded-up in the corner of the office. We promptly assembled the table and found paddles and balls. After dinner, we all played Codenames. It got pretty heated and I will never forget Kanishk saying 'science' as the spymaster and us choosing 'scientist' when that was not one of the cards we were supposed to guess. After everyone left, Eda, Kanishk, Zach, and I walked to Mission Bay and checked out an outdoor food truck space with a mini golf course. When Zach left to hang with his girlfriend, Cat, the rest of us went to Eda's apartment and chilled in the lounge. The view from the building was awesome, with the Bay Bridge in the background. We played a couple rounds of pool before Eda left for ice-skating and Kanishk and I grabbed dinner. We ended the night by hanging at Albert's house with some Berkeley kids, including Zach.
On Sunday, a bunch of Gusto interns got brunch together. We were initially going to eat at Plow which was highly rated but the wait was too long, we ended up choosing a really quaint place called Helen's Kitchen. I got a delicious breakfast platter, with pancakes, toast, bacon, and eggs.
We then went to Golden Gate Park to walk around and ended up at Ocean's Beach. It was a little chilly for my taste so we braved the winds from the boardwalk while Eda walked around in the sand. After freezing for a while, we headed to Costco to buy snacks. Our craziest purchase was definitely a 4 lb bag of tortilla chips and 2 bottles of salsa. After checking-out, we all grabbed food from the food-court.
We briefly discussed the $10 Costco challenge which consists of eating $10 worth of Costco cafe food in 1 hour - you're allowed to mix and match but everything has to be from the cafe.
We ended the day at my house for a casual get together of interns in the area. I had invited all my Gusto friends and the KP Fellows; Patrick had invited his friends from Atlassian. It was such a fun time and everyone mingled and bonded which was great. I realized how the tech bubble is so small and even in a small gathering there are so many people that either know each other or have mutual connections. This was evident when Sarah, who went to the same high school as me and was a decently close friend, showed up because she was interning at Atlassian. It was a pleasant surprise as I hadn't talked to her in forever!
On Sunday, Patrick joined me and some Gusto interns at the Union Street Festival - full of food, stalls, and activities. We sampled some probiotic ice cream and checked out the Hint pop-up store. Eda ate a huge turkey leg and I did a jumping challenge, where I was able to reach a good amount higher than the average range for my height. I can't dunk though so that's a pity.
We all came back to my place for burgers and the NBA finals game. Eda's roommates also came so we had a whole squad.
I'm glad I got closer to a lot of people this week - my team, the Gusto interns, and some of the KP Fellows. I also spent some time with Patrick and Jarrod which is always nice. I'm looking forward to diving deep in code next week and also exploring more of the city. The weather has been so wonderful lately and I'm hoping the streak continues. Cheers!