The Swiftype Blog / Category: Culture

How Swiftype Uses Swiftype:
Part 1 – Developers

I’m Brian, a Software Engineer at Swiftype. I’ve been working a lot on Swiftype Enterprise Search, and I use it every day.

I had our rotating “Support Wizard” hat this week, which means I’m responsible for addressing customer inquiries and cases for the week. Enterprise Search helped me close a customer case in 15 seconds. The customer needed to whitelist our crawler’s IP addresses so we could crawl their site. I went to search.swiftype.com in my browser and searched for “crawler ip ranges.” I clicked the first result from Help Scout and it took me to a recent ticket requesting the same information but from a different customer. Bam! That’s exactly what I was looking for! Case closed.

Brian Stevenson, Engineering Wizard

 

When dealing with code, I use Enterprise Search for a number of different things. The browser extension is super handy when reviewing Pull Requests (PR) in Github. For example, I was looking at a PR that was pulling in a newer version of nokogiri, but it didn’t have a lot of context. All it had was the version bump, the new version of the gem, and small commit message. I opened the Enterprise Search Chrome extension and I was immediately presented with other PRs and Jira tickets related to the same body of work. I was able to click through to those results to get a much better idea of where and why those changes were taking place. At that point, I had much more context and was able to effectively review the changes in front of me. The browser extension is perfect for that – I can open it up on a pull request on Github and see a plethora of additional, relevant PRs and Jira tickets for that area of code.

Using the browser extension with Jira is also super helpful. If I’m looking at a ticket in Jira, it shows me all open pull requests and any other related Jira tickets that may not have been linked. Furthermore, it shows me all of our sprint planning docs in Google Drive and Dropbox, due to our full text extraction capabilities and fine-tuned search algorithms.

One of my favorite things to use Enterprise Search for is when I’m working with our Design team. They create a lot of visual content, like mockups and templates, but where that content is stored in Dropbox isn’t exactly self-evident. So when I’m working on a project that requires implementing their designs, rather than trying to wade through the ocean of digital assets in Dropbox, or bug them to send me an exported version of the new design, I just search for the content in the Enterprise Search app.  I use really simple, but extremely powerful queries like “new dashboard design in dropbox” or “sidebar icons in dropbox.” The search results all have image previews of the visual content they’ve been designing, so I can quickly scan them to find exactly what I’m looking for in an instant.

Enterprise Design Results

I also use Enterprise Search to show me all of the open pull requests assigned to me, across all of our repositories. It’s extremely useful because I don’t have to go to each repository individually to check for those PRs I need to take action on. I also sometimes use it to see PRs assigned to other people, in case they’re out sick, for example.

Speaking of people, the “Person View” is pretty awesome. One of my developers just went on vacation and I needed to be able to see what he was working on to be able to get the work done before the end of the sprint. I just searched for “Chris,” and because he was automatically created as a person in our organization (just by signing up for an account), I was able to see all of his recent changes across all our repositories in Github and other sources. I was able to jump on the highest priority task he was working on and finish it off. Success! I was also able to get more context on the other issues he was working on because I found some conversations he had with other engineers in Slack, and comments he made on tickets in Help Scout.

We also just hired a new engineer (who is coincidentally also named Brian)! I was helping him get up to speed and needed to find this mythical “onboarding” document. I did a quick search for “welcome guide”, and sure enough, the document showed up as the first result. And with a few more quick searches, I was able to find all the other onboarding documents that were scattered around our various cloud services. It’s so handy, and easy, to be able to search and find documents like this. It saves me so much time!

Last but not least, I use the mobile app to receive notifications for upcoming meetings. We have a sprint planning meeting every two weeks, so I get a notification on my phone that says hey, there’s this sprint planning meeting coming up, do you want to review these documents first? And I’m like yeah! I do want to review those docs so I can remember what we’re talking about at sprint planning! Thanks, Swiftype!

Welcome to the Swiftype office in San Francisco [HQ Photo Tour]

Welcome to Swiftype Headquarters in San Francisco, California. Founders Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie have created a comfortable and fun office environment with an open floor plan, scattered lounges, and various collaborative areas. Take a look at our office photos below to experience a day in the life of a Swiftype team member.

There are Muni and BART stations just a few blocks from our office, perfect for commuting or being a train ride away from where you need to be.

Our office building is on 301 Howard Street (between Fremont and Beale), in the middle of downtown San Francisco.

Need a coffee boost to start your day? Starbucks is right across the street.

Not a fan of Starbucks? Grab a freshly squeezed juice right downstairs at Joe & The Juice.

We are on the 13th floor. Welcome to Swiftype.

Mini Matt and Quin welcome you to our office!

An open workspace designed for maximum collaboration.

Find privacy and be productive. Soundproof phone booths for taking meetings and private calls.

Head over to our fully-stocked snack bar to grab whatever you need to boost your day.

Did I mention we get FREE catered breakfast and lunch?  Thanks Zesty!

Yes, we LOVE hot sauce.

Oh and we have a keg…for all occasions!

Got game? We are recruiting for a Rock Band player. Are you in?

Not a bad view huh?

Like what you see? We’re hiring for a variety of positions.

Swiftype proposed, and I said yes! A True Love Story in the Making.

I joined Swiftype shortly after graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Computer Engineering last May. I got to spend four years in Atlanta, which provided me an amazing startup ecosystem that let me invest a significant amount of time while still being a college student. I was able to work on a great team at Springbot and build out and launch an MVP at Stackfolio. I got to venture out a bit and intern at MongoDB last summer as well.

The startups I got to work with varied quite a bit in size, and I decided I wanted to join a startup with a small, somewhat established development team. I think this sweet spot is the best type of environment for growing as a software developer. Swiftype definitely fit that criteria, and much more.

Reasons I ended up signing my life to Swiftype:

  • I can see value in the product.
    • I always default to using the “site:www.website.com” syntax on google instead of using a website’s dedicated search tool. I think it’s silly that the majority of websites get beaten by a generic web crawler at finding their own content.
  • Swiftype gave me the time of day.
    • Quin [the CTO of Swiftype] personally reached out to me the day before my interview with a phone call and a follow-up email to make sure I was doing fine and made my way to San Francisco without issue. He also was very active throughout my entire interview process to make sure everything went smoothly. I got the feeling that he actually (even if just a little bit) cared about me.
    • I got the opportunity to ask in-depth questions about the company and its technology, which caused my interview to run way longer than scheduled. Swiftype was one of the few companies that was happy to take the time to give me in-depth answers.
    • Initial contact to offer was less than three weeks. (Not the quickest of all time, but considering I was on the other side of the world or on a plane for 9 days of that time, I’d say it’s pretty good.
  • I got a clear idea of what I would be doing.
    • More often than not, I think new software developers go into jobs pretty blind on what they’re actually going to do. I learned this the hard way through my first internship! It’s perfectly understandable given many circumstances, and perfectly reasonable for people to put themselves into that situation, but it still makes me very uncomfortable.
  • I knew who I’d be working with.
    • I got to interview with the entire engineering team. I left with the feeling that if I could be where they are when I get to their age, I’d be pretty happy with my career. We’ll see how that turns out.
  • Swiftype aligned with my interests.
    • The vast majority of my abandoned personal projects revolved around scraping data and doing something with it. I only found a select few startups whose business revolved around this concept and actually did meaningful things with it.
  • Super soft hoodies that actually look normal.
    • At least at the time, this was a priority. Unfortunately, not many people or companies actually took me seriously, which is understandable. Regardless, this is my public request for the long awaited Swiftype hoodie V2.
  • Positive Culture inclinations.
    • It’s tough to evaluate culture through interviews that span a short amount of time. But I got the same baseline vibes from the Swiftype engineering team as the friendliest, heartwarming development team I interviewed with in Tennessee. This absolutely wasn’t a priority while I was in the job search, but looking back on it, this definitely helped me make a quick decision to say yes to Swiftype.

*****

Note from the Swiftype Team:
Looking for a new opportunity? Jonesing to work with a talented, up-and-coming software development team? Really into soft hoodies and free lunch? You might be a great fit for the Swiftype team! We’re not on Tinder, but you can check out our careers page for our current openings and apply. 

Swiftype Announces $13 million Series B Funding Round

Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve raised a $13 million Series B financing led by our investors at NEA. We’ve actually worked with NEA since our company was only a few weeks old — first as a part of the Seed round we raised during Y Combinator and again when they led our Series A in September of 2013 — and we’re delighted to further our partnership with them today. We’re also excited to officially welcome NEA Partner Chetan Puttagunta to the Swiftype board.

Swiftype-Office

Swiftype has come a long way since graduating from Y Combinator in March of 2012. Quin and I started the company alone in an apartment in Mountain View, CA, adding Luke Francl and Oleksiy Kovyrin as quickly as we could convince them, and then the team stayed that size for a while. But today we’re a team of over 25 incredibly talented individuals, and our business has grown similarly. Today we power billions of queries every month across hundreds of thousands of websites, mobile applications, and SaaS applications. Along the way we’ve had the privilege of working with many fantastic companies, including Qualcomm, CloudFlare, Shopify, and Twitch. It has taken a tremendous amount of dedication — and a lot of hard work — from our entire team to get to where we are today, and I couldn’t be more proud of the progress we’ve made so far.

Looking ahead, these new funds will fuel our continued growth as we look to bring on more search engineers, expand our sales and marketing efforts, and establish a stronger position of leadership within the search industry.

If you’re interested in joining a quickly growing, fast-paced organization, we encourage you to check out our jobs page. We’re always excited to meet new people who are interested in joining the Swiftype team, and we’d love to hear how you can contribute.

Our Cloud Stack at Swiftype

Swiftype site search was featured as LeanStack’s service of the week. As part of that I wrote a guest blog post about how Swiftype uses cloud services to run our business.

“Implementing a better product with less hassle is really only half the advantage of using a service like ours. The other half — which doesn’t seem to get as much marketing play — is that by leveraging the product of a company dedicated to a single, specific technology, you realize the gains of having a full-time team of domain experts dedicated to improving your search feature, without assuming any of the cost. At Swiftype we spend all of our time thinking about, developing, and iterating on search, and every time we ship an improvement, all of our customers reap the benefits instantly. Our experience has shown that at most companies it can be a full-time job just maintaining an internal search system, much less improving it over time. When search isn’t a core competency of your company, we believe you’re better off letting us take care of the details. And of course the same philosophy applies to our company as well, which is why we leverage so many existing cloud-based services in our daily operations. Anywhere that we can save time and resources using a product that another company focuses their full effort on delivering is a win for us, because it allows us to spend our resources on what we do best — building great search software.”

Read the post to learn more about our cloud stack and the services we use.

If you liked this post, please remember to bookmark our blog and subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll be posting announcements and more from the Swiftype team, as well as our friends and partners who power their search with Swiftype, such as Laughing Squid.

How We Use Swiftype to Understand our Customers

Paul Graham’s advice to entrepreneurs is simple – “Make something people want.” Make being the easy part and what people want being the much harder part. In the startup world, there are several interesting techniques for figuring out what people want. Customer Development, User Surveys, Crowdsourced idea generation etc. However my recent favorite is Swiftype’s weekly analytics email. Let me explain.

Quickly See What People Are Searching For

The following screenshot is from Swiftype’s sample report:

Top searches by number of queries

The first section of the email let’s you see at a glance what your users are searching for. We use Swiftype to power our documentation search, so our search terms tell us what our users most need help with. The top search for us right now is “email.” This make senses because our users typically want to know how to setup email. The top few keywords gave us a good sense of what our users are looking for right after signing up and have helped us shape up our product tour.

Figure out What New Stuff to Build

The second section of the email is more interesting. You can see which searches returned no results at all:

Top searches with No Results

In our case, the missing searches could mean one of the two things: * A feature/functionality that we have but which is missing documentation. * A feature that we don’t have.

For us it’s mostly the latter. For example the top result for us in this category is “reports”, since we don’t have reporting yet (our early adopters did not care for it but we are working on it now). Using this feature we also realized that people are looking for integrations like Pivotal, JIRA etc. Based on this, we decided to work on a hosted app platform that we will be rolling out in a few weeks.

Either way, we learn exactly where we need to improve. It could be improvements to an existing feature (adding documentation, improving the UX) or ideas for new features. Used with other techniques like user interviews and analytics, Swiftype has really helped us improve our app. In the future, we plan on using Swiftype to power our app directory search so we can find out ideas for new apps. The same technique can be applied to your marketing site as well.