CM: Hey Perry so great to get to chat with you. First of all, there are a tons of exciting companies out there right now; why’d you join Ripcord?
PC: I felt like I could make a difference! When I joined as a summer intern, there were fewer than 20 people working here. I’d been expecting to do standard intern tasks: entering data and planning the summer party. While I did help find caterers, party supply rentals, and an awesome bakery that did last-minute custom cakes, I was given more responsibility than I anticipated as a college freshman.
CM: What were some of your projects over the summer?
PC: I spent the summer researching competitors’ pricing and software and re-examining our pricing strategy. I would meet one-on-one with Alex, our CEO, to show him pricing models I made. He would listen thoughtfully and we would talk through the feasibility of my ideas. I even presented my findings at board meetings.
CM: What made you decide to take time off from school to join full time?
PC: I was really excited to take ownership of so much over the summer, so when I got the offer to take a break from school to work at Ripcord full time, I knew it was too important of an opportunity to pass up.
The longer I’ve been at Ripcord, the more deeply I’ve come to understand the problem that we are working to solve. The records management industry is stuck in the 20th century. We are more than just a company that scans paper faster than competitors, we are a company working to revolutionize an entire industry. Everyone at Ripcord believes in the value of companies being able to readily access information, and everyone at Ripcord believes in our solution.
CM: Walk me through a day in the life of Perry
PC: After carpooling to work, the day starts with bacon… lots of it. I scooter straight to the kitchen and see who’s there. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned at Ripcord came from 9:00am kitchen conversations with random members of the team.
Then it’s time to get to work — either at my desk, where I sit sandwiched between a software engineer and a product manager, or at the treadmill desk to work off my bacon guilt. I’m working on a pricing calculator that compares the all-in costs of our competitors. The goal is to create a tool that Sales can use to help articulate to customers where we fit into the market. It’s a dynamic project and I add to it as I gather more information.
CM: Sounds like you have a lot of autonomy in deciding what problems to solve and what challenges to take on.
PC: Definitely. For instance, I’ve been trying to learn Python in my spare time, so my software engineer neighbor comes in handy for quick afternoon lessons. He was only mildly condescending when he showed me how to break a while loop that would not stop printing.
Another good example of this trust and autonomy of young hires is the biweekly product update meeting. Here, we figure out which issues should be prioritized so that the roadmap can be adjusted accordingly. The woman who leads these meetings, my desk neighbor, is just a few months out of college and is already taking charge at Ripcord.
CM: Startups are quirky. What’s your favorite quirky aspect of Ripcord?
PC: Definitely Data, Jimmy’s corgi, who barrels in around 10am on the days we’re lucky enough to have her here. She takes her place under Jimmy’s desk and draws the attention of every person in the whole office before napping the afternoons away.
A close second would have to be Louie, the eight-year-old African Spurred Tortoise that belongs to Chris, our VP of Sales. Louie lives in a huge plastic tub with a head lamp on Chris’ desk. A note on the wall above the tub says, “I’m Louie and I love dancing to music when nobody is looking.” Awesome. I’ll be installing a secret camera pointed at Louie in the next few days and will leave music on in Chris’s office overnight. I’m very curious to see how tortoises dance.
CM: How’s the food?
PC: The evolution of lunchtime has been one of the most obvious signs of a growing company. Just this past spring we were eating burritos, pizza, pupusas, giant milkshakes, and tacos (sometimes all on the same day) standing up near our desks. But as we bring on more team members, we’ve become conscious of the possibility that perhaps not everyone wants to gain thirty pounds in their first month. Today we had grilled chicken, salads, quinoa… and pupusas for dessert. It’s all about striking a balance.
CM: Any final thoughts?
PC: I joined Ripcord because I love the genuine open door policy culture. I love sticking around after hours some evenings, getting to know everyone, and playing basketball in the warehouse. It was awesome to join the team that had gotten the robot and the company so far already, and watching the company grow has been thrilling. In just a few months here, we’ve tripled in size and have made big, quantifiable strides. Maybe school is still fresh in my mind, but working at Ripcord is like working on a big group project with the most diverse and talented group of people. Unlike school, though, our project isn’t hypothetical or simply for a grade. We get to execute plans that take effect and have a real impact in the world.