5 NYC software engineers on the missions that drive their companies, products — and the world — forward

by April Bohnert
July 3, 2019

A company’s mission is at the heart everything it does, says and creates — the culture it upholds, the brand it embodies and, most important, the products it builds. Not only does it serve to ground day-to-day operations in something deeper and more meaningful, but it also provides a sense of purpose and a source of inspiration for the individuals who work there. 

We talked to five local software engineers about the missions that drive their companies, why those missions matter to them and how they influence the way they approach new projects. 

 

Peloton company mission engineering NYC
Photo via Peloton.

Peloton empowers people to take control of their physical health with at-home fitness classes that pair indoor cycling and running equipment with the immersive, boutique feel of a traditional studio class. Senior Software Engineer Jeffrey Konowitch said helping people live their best, healthiest lives — and have fun doing it — is at the core of all new product development. 

 

Tell us a bit about your company's mission. Why is that mission important to you personally?

I see Peloton’s mission as enabling people to live healthier, happier lives. It can be hard to maintain an exercise routine (as I know all too well), and Peloton makes it possible for people to access amazing classes from the comfort of their own homes. 

 

As software engineers, we always ask ourselves how we can develop features that make the experience more fun, engaging and motivating.”

When it comes to building a new product or feature, how does your company's mission influence your approach? 

As software engineers, we always ask ourselves how we can develop features that make the experience more fun, engaging and motivating. We recently built a way for our members to visualize how consistently they work out, and we wanted to make sure that this information was encouraging, rather than discouraging. So, our design showcases how easily you could start a new streak. Today is the day that you start your new, healthy routine that will reverberate positively through the rest of your life.

 

Teachers Pay Teachers company mission engineering NYC
Photo via Teachers Pay Teachers.

Teachers Pay Teachers started as an exchange for teachers who wanted to share lesson plans and has since grown into a robust and widely used marketplace for all manner of PreK-12 educational resources. Data Engineering Tech Lead Tiffany Hu explained how the company’s mission — and the products that mission inspires — empower educators around the world to teach at their best.

 

Tell us a bit about your company's mission. Why is that mission important to you personally?

TpT's mission is to empower educators to teach at their best. I remember all the best teachers I've had through small but impactful moments — recommending a book, taking time before class to chat about a math project, et cetera. By providing a forum for teachers to share their knowledge with each other, we're helping them build more of those moments.

 

By providing a forum for teachers to share their knowledge with each other, we're helping them build more [impactful teaching] moments.”

When it comes to building a new product or feature, how does your company's mission influence your approach? 

Part of teachers being able to teach at their best is the ability to easily access high quality resources. We think the same way about the quality and accessibility of data to teams at TpT. Over the last year we've been expanding (more data sources, richer data) and strengthening (data validation, monitoring) the data pipelines that serve TpT's analytical and operational use cases so that TpTers can quickly access the data they need and trust it to be accurate.   

 

Cityblock Health company mission engineering NYC
Photo via Cityblock Health.

Cityblock Health brings together primary care, behavioral health and social services to deliver personalized, quality health care to underserved communities across the country. Software Engineer Cristina Lozano said that her own struggles dealing with the healthcare system make her more empathetic to the pains of Cityblock’s members and give her a sense of purpose when it comes to building products that can alleviate that frustration for others.

 

Tell us a bit about your company's mission. Why is that mission important to you personally?

At Cityblock, we're building better care to serve members with complex health and social needs living in lower-income neighborhoods. That means that, as engineers, we're working side by side with clinicians and community providers who advocate for and support our members — many of whom have previously had negative interactions with the healthcare system. I’ve experienced how hard it is to get accurate diagnoses and continuity of care to manage a chronic condition — and I don’t face nearly as many barriers as many of our members. I can empathize with the feelings of frustration, distrust and discouragement that many of our members have felt while trying to seek the care they need. I'm excited to be a part of a company that is working to alleviate those challenges for our community.

 

...As engineers, we're working side by side with clinicians and community providers who advocate for and support our members — many of whom have previously had negative interactions with the healthcare system.” 

When it comes to building a new product or feature, how does your company's mission influence your approach? 

When it comes to product scoping, we’re constantly asking, “How will this help the member or care team?” Our team is unified around building products with robust modern technology, and we also want the features we build to be thoughtful and aligned with how we want to provide care here at Cityblock. For example, we’re currently working to revamp how our care teams document their interactions with members. By simplifying this highly used flow in our application, we can eliminate a lot of daily frustration and help our care teams focus on engaging with the member in a personalized and meaningful way.

 

Candid company mission engineering NYC
Photo via Candid.

By leveraging advanced telemedicine and 3D printing to bring clear aligners directly to the masses, Candid makes orthodontic treatments more accessible and affordable — even for those without insurance. Software Engineer Natalie Abrams said, when it comes to building a new feature, she’s driven by a desire to make a complex process simple and intuitive.

 

Tell us a bit about your company's mission. Why is that mission important to you personally? 

Candid strives to make high-quality orthodontia affordable and available to the masses. No more monthly check-ups at the orthodontist, which can be a big pain if you don’t have health insurance. Healthcare in America is unaffordable for many people, and I find it amazing that companies like Candid are tackling problems that aim to help everyone. Oral health is key to overall health!

 

Healthcare in America is unaffordable for many people, and I find it amazing that companies like Candid are tackling problems that aim to help everyone.” 

When it comes to building a new product or feature, how does your company's mission influence your approach? 

When building a new feature, I like to think about it from a customer’s perspective, working to find solutions that create the most enjoyable customer experience. How can we better our code to help people navigate a complex process, as simply as possible? Recently, I have been working on our mobile app, trying to create an intuitive use of our platform and provide a meaningful connection with our company.

 

Teachable company mission engineering NYC
Photo via Teachable.

Teachable’s instructor-focused online course platform empowers creators of all stripes to turn their knowledge into income, providing a tool that allows people to create and sell online courses from their own websites. After using Teachable to expand his technical skills in React, Software Engineer Michael Sterling said he was drawn to the company’s mission and the impact it could have on people’s lives. 

 

Tell us a bit about your company's mission. Why is that mission important to you personally? 

Teachable's all about providing a platform that enables creators to sell and promote their content through online courses. Our creators are amazingly diverse, ranging from small bloggers to industry-leading professionals. I joined Teachable because I know how much targeted learning can help people improve their lives. Before joining the company, I learned React through a Teachable school and then used those skills to jump into exciting new projects. I'm so excited to personally help others on this kind of journey.

 

I joined Teachable because I know how much targeted learning can help people improve their lives.” 

When it comes to building a new product or feature, how does your company's mission influence your approach?

I'm currently working on growth initiatives for Teachable, so our company's mission is very much at the center of what we're building. We constantly have to answer the question “how does this help our creators get their content in front of more students?” To that end, we're rethinking our onboarding process for newly created schools, specifically which tools we can build so creators can hit 'publish course' as quickly as possible. As we further empower our creators, we'll let them do what they do best: promote their content and build their audience.

 

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