In the common area of Catchpoint, a group of employees huddle around an intense foosball match, while another group draws on a wall with chalk. The space is jovial and silly, with a mural featuring planets, rocketships and the Star Wars logo. Employees float in and out from the next room over — where people are heads down and hard at work.
The smart monitoring service for digital business was founded in 2008 by four former Google and DoubleClick workers who were frustrated with traditional monitoring tools. Now a leader in the digital intelligence space, Catchpoint focuses on addressing users’ pain points. The company provides performance insights on customers’ digital experiences to boost overall business performance for more than 350 clients.
Recently, team members from several departments shared how Catchpoint fosters innovation, from the engineering side of the house to marketing and beyond.
CATCHPOINT AT A GLANCE
WHAT THEY DO: Provides insight into customer-critical services to help companies deliver digital experiences.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Midtown Manhattan.
WHO THEY DO IT FOR: More than 350 customers, including Google, priceline.com, Comcast, Verizon and Wayfair.
BACKGROUNDS: Employees come from varied backgrounds, including corporate conglomerates and small startups.
IDEAL CANDIDATES: Passionate, creative and able to fail fast.
COOLEST PERK: Week-long internal hackathons that allow employees to work on projects they wouldn’t normally work on.
What is your role and what initially drew you to Catchpoint?
Pooja Bhagwat, software engineer: I work on a team responsible for building our product portal. As a software engineer, I’ve worked for different companies with thousands of employees. But I wanted to work in a smaller startup kind of environment. At the end of the day, I wanted to feel like I contributed to the greater good.
Kate Anderson, director of marketing: I was brought on to help build the Catchpoint brand because we have probably the best product on the market but a low level of awareness. When I was interviewing, I asked a lot of questions. People were able to differentiate the product and I knew: "Wow, this is a great opportunity to help sales accelerate their deal cycle and bring more awareness to the company."
Vandan Desai, senior product manager: I own the OnPrem product here. I started my career at a small startup and also worked for Samsung and Bloomberg. I really like to make things move and get things done. Catchpoint is all about getting things out there as soon as possible. You can make a huge impact by just getting it out there, getting feedback, building on it, fine-tuning it and giving the finished product to the customer.
Gavin Lynch, senior data platform engineer: I’m on one of the back-end teams and work on our NoSQL system. Our CTO originally designed it and now I'm the lead for our back-end team. One of the nice things about working with a small company is that one person can have a big impact — particularly in engineering. I can actually see my feature being used by a client. That's definitely motivating.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Bhagwat: When we come in, we usually we have a stand-up meeting. We share what we did yesterday and what we are going to do today. We share what we learned the previous day. Then we go into work, and most of the time it's coding. We have two weeks of sprints and our release cycle is comparatively shorter.
Anderson: No two days are the same. Today, the marketing team had what I like to call a ‘traffic meeting,’ where we talk about all the content in development and make sure we're promoting that content through blog posts, paid media and social media. Tomorrow could be different.
Desai: Product management involves a lot of talking. For about 25 percent of our time, we talk amongst ourselves, to customers or stakeholders. The remaining 75 percent is talking to engineers. You have to really understand how they envision the product — and how they think the customers use it.
As for the day itself, it starts with a stand-up meeting. Then, I look at customer feedback, other tools in the market, our competitors and customers’ needs. We want to move with the customers’ wants or needs. You have to be constantly on your toes.
Lynch: It depends on the day. Some days, we work through production. Some days, a feature isn’t working as expected and we have to make it better.
What are some projects you’re working on now?
Anderson: Well, we just relaunched the website, so that was a huge project we completed in April. I'm in phase two with that — optimizing the site, figuring out where we can add content and making sure that we're following the messaging structure. We're also doing an SEO initiative, and we're ranking for the keywords that will bring us the most qualified traffic.
What has it been like to be a part of a startup that's growing quite quickly?
Bhagwat: I have seen so much growth in the last two and a half years. It’s very satisfying. Our product has grown so much and I feel that I have contributed, especially now that I'm a senior member who can actually train people. I am getting more responsibilities, and I think I have grown professionally.
Any cool company traditions?
Bhagwat: We have hackathons every six months with really lucrative rewards. Many features or projects that we work on during hackathons are integrated in our product.
Desai: I did hackathons at Bloomberg and Samsung, but those were very different. They do it to help employees learn something new. Here, you do a hackathon project to affect the product.
How would you describe Catchpoint’s culture?
Bhagwat: The top management is very transparent. Even if you’re not involved with marketing or sales, they make sure that we all know what's happening on the other side of the building.
Anderson: The culture is very flat. People from engineering hang out with people from product. People from product hang out with people from marketing. It's not clique-y.
Lynch: One thing they focus on here is independence. We trust that everybody can get the job done. For me, what's nice is that you get a lot of freedom to implement things the way you think they should be done.
What’s exciting about this industry in particular?
Anderson: It's a really exciting space. There have been big acquisitions — and the way the market is changing and growing so quickly is interesting. And if you’re in tech, you always want to be part of a growing industry.
What qualities do you think makes a person at Catchpoint successful?
Bhagwat: Creativity is definitely one of them. At the end of the day, everyone is trying to make our product better. Clients are a major driving force. Whatever we can do to make their life easy — that adds value to our product. Also, a willingness to learn makes people successful here.
Lynch: A passion for the field.
Anderson: On my team, I try to instill an ability to accept failure. I don't like to micromanage, so I give people guidelines and say: “Go make your own mistakes.” I like to give them a sense that a mistake is not the end of the world. You'll learn from it and it won't happen again. I want people to have initiative and be inquisitive. I want my team to know that mistakes are part of the learning experience. So I definitely look for people who can take initiative.