Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m from Madagascar, which is a beautiful island in East Africa. It’s slightly bigger than France and not part of the continent. We have a population of 20 million. It’s tropical weather, so there’s a wet season and a dry season.
I’m the youngest of four children. My sister and my brother also work in technology. I joined clipboard about a year ago, in late 2020. At this point, I’m the most senior junior engineer at CBH, I think. That means I’ve seen people come and go, and while it’s always sad when someone leaves it’s been incredible to watch the team grow with so many talented people.
What made you choose Clipboard Health?
Before working at Clipboard Health, I’ve mostly done in-person freelance work. Clipboard is my first remote experience.
It was actually a trick of chance that I ended up at CBH. I wanted to try something new and the timing worked out. I think the better question is “why did I stay” since in the startup world it’s normal to try something new and then move on if it’s a bad fit.
The answer to that is that I’ve found that Clipboard Health really is meritocratic. If you work hard, everything goes well and works out. If you don’t, it doesn’t. There’s a give and take, but I’ve never once felt that the location I was working from mattered to Clipboard. Talent matters. Effort matters. But you aren’t treated any differently based on where you live.
I’ve been promoted three times in a year because of that philosophy. This is a place where effort is rewarded.
I recently talked to Ron Karroll, and he specifically brought up that he was glad to be able to promote you without jumping through hoops.
There’s just no bureaucracy in that sense. There’s no jumping through hoops to get your work done, either. If you see a problem, you can just go fix it which helps let you do your best work.
There’s also great diversity here, and I specifically mean in terms of global diversity. You have brilliant people from many different cultures sharing things they’ve learned from very different backgrounds and work environments, and it’s a wonderful co-growing environment in that way.
What do you consider your specialties to be?
I’m doing a bit of full-stack work, but my day-to-day job is mostly focused on backend, database, pricing, and bonuses for nurses. I’m also working on the urgent shift initiative and improving our core functionality, which again has a front-end component but is mainly back-end jobs.
I get to work with GCP, AWS, Python, and Machine learning. My main language is node.js, and we use that as well. One cool thing about working here is that there’s so much variety that you get to learn everything. It’s non-stop, so there’s a challenge to it. But there’s never a point at which you say “I’ve learned everything I can in this stack.”
Where do you see the company going over the next few years?
This is the discussion Aaron and I love to have. Clipboard is de-risked; we are bringing in revenue. We have some human resources restraints right now, but financial restraints aren’t a problem - nobody says “there’s no budget” it’s just “what is the right thing to do to scale”. When we look at the company, it’s something we would invest in.
In start-ups, it’s normal to leave different companies and join others all the time. But I don’t see myself moving away from CBH any time soon. The potential is exciting, and I want to build my career here.
What’s your favorite story about working here, either that you’ve heard or you’ve experienced yourself?
I think the story I tell the most to new hires is how I found myself one day having to push a service called “document service” to the finish line. It had failed delivery before it was handed over to me, and they needed someone to take it completely over and make it happen.
It was a tough project and took me 3-4 weeks to finish. I had to learn a lot to actually be able to do it. But once I finished it, I felt great, I got a big opportunity to turn a problem into a success and was able to make it happen.
After I finished the project, they noticed me working well and eliminating backlog, and gave me bigger and bigger opportunities. Clipboard Health is a place where you can take those big opportunities on, even when you are new, and they trust you to do it. When you succeed, they reward you for it. That’s the working environment I always wanted.
What skills that aren’t strictly typical to your job description did you bring to the table?
I think analytical thinking is one of my strong points. I have a background in computer science, but I’m a mathematician by training. My CS skills are mostly self-trained, but bringing a quantitative background to the table is unbelievably powerful.
My mathematics background gave me a desire to know and understand how things are working and to really know how any given code works. Quant helps, but the quant mindset of wanting to know how things really work on a structural basis is even more important.