Monthly Archives: June 2014

Work at Moraware!

Moraware is hiring! We need more help doing many of the same things I’m doing: customer support, training materials, and marketing. As the newest hire (I started at the beginning of 2014), I’m in a unique position to say why you should consider working here, too.

The basic pitch is that you’re going to love it. I know I do. I’m simply happier than I’ve been in a long time. Having a job I truly enjoy is a big part of being happy for me. I suspect it is for most people.

Moraware, how I love thee …

Me, happy working at Moraware

Me, happy working at Moraware

So why do I love working for Moraware? For starters, I work with awesome people. I talk with my boss, Harry, every day – and I enjoy his company. It doesn’t feel like a “work call” when I talk to my boss. We’re just talking about the various things we’re trying to accomplish and figuring things out together.

I left Microsoft because I wanted to be an entrepreneur – but I wasn’t thrilled with the poverty that often accompanies such a journey. Moraware appreciates and nurtures my entrepreneurial side while paying me a damn good salary. It’s a nice balance for me.

I love learning – I absolutely crave it – and I’m learning a ton working for Moraware. Every day I absorb more of what it means to run a software business. Recognize that we’re not technically a “startup” anymore, because we clearly have product/market fit. We’re just a small, profitable software company with no outside investors. I’m employee #6 (or #7, depending on how you count), and every day, I’m learning more about the ins and outs of the company. I’m experiencing the “daily grind” of helping keep the company running. It isn’t glamorous like a TechCrunch startup, but it’s interesting as hell. Most of our daily work involves doing things for customers (like, you know, answering their questions and helping them use our software).

In addition to being paid well and learning every day, I get to work from home and have a fair amount of flexibility in my time. If I need to take Gus to gymnastics in the afternoon, I do. If I want to take a break to play catch with him, I do. However, since I’m the only person in the company in the Eastern time zone (everybody else is in the Pacific), I try to protect my mornings between 8-11a for work, since that’s when I add the most value being on the phone.

The challenges of working here

We have many of the wonderful problems that you’d expect a growing company to have … most of which fall under the heading of customers wanting even more from us.

Bottom line – there’s a lot of work to do. There are so many additional things that I could be doing and would like to do, but I just don’t have enough time. That’s kinda why we’re hiring again. Some things aren’t what I expected. While it’s nice that nobody micromanages me, it can be intimidating, too. Since I’m responsible for my own work, it’s pretty obvious what I do and don’t accomplish. I want to pull my own weight and earn my keep – obviously the company wants that, too. We need more people who pull their own weight and don’t wait around for instructions.

Working from home is awesome – but it’s not for everybody. There’s something to be said for seeing your coworkers in person. Specifically, it’s easier to connect about random things at the proverbial water cooler, and when you share an office, people pick up on more nuances of mood changes. There are brief industry events every couple of months – Harry and I go to some of them, partly so we can see each other in person once in a while.

One of the primary draws of this job for me is also one of its biggest challenges. I wanted to work directly with customers in support so I could learn all the stuff that comes with that – and one of the things I’ve learned is that customer support is emotionally draining. I like doing support for 2-3 hours, but I run out of gas if I do it for much longer than that.

Who we’re looking for

Years ago, Joel Spolsky summed up what everyone needs in an employee: smart and gets things done. We agree.

Another word Harry has used is “Impressive” – we want people who are truly impressive in some capacity that we need. You might be truly impressive at being high energy or truly impressive at connecting with people or truly impressive at creating training materials (I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Kathy Sierra is welcome to work here if she chooses). No offense to all the wonderful average people out there, but we’re not currently looking for average. Show us why you’re special.*

Even though we want you to be impressive in some way, we also want you to be a generalist. We want people who can do a lot of different things. Just as important, we want people who are more interested in furthering the overall success of the company than in finding abstract perfection within their own role.

We want people with something to gain (crap – that means Kathy probably isn’t a great fit, unless she has a latent passion for countertops). I have a lot to gain in this job … there are parts of entrepreneurship that I suck at (specifically – the making money parts), and I’m addressing those gaps by working here. Maybe you’ve always worked for a huge company and want to find out what a small company is like. Or maybe you want to test your brilliant hypothesis for improving self-service help. it doesn’t really matter what it is, but before you take ANY job, you should know what you have to gain by working there.

Finally, we’d like to improve our diversity in gender, age, race … everything. We have several middle-aged white dudes already, and although we won’t discriminate against short guys with awesome hair like me, it would be nice to get some fresh perspectives.

What you’ll (probably) be doing, at least at first

We need more help answering the phones and responding to emails. We’re growing every day (They like us! They really like us!) … and we’re getting pretty stretched in customer support.

Maybe that sounds terrible to you … yet you’ve read this far. Customer support is more interesting than you think. It teaches you a certain reality about software that you don’t get from programming (both Harry and I happen to be programmers). It tells you how you’re company is really doing … every day, people tell me what they love and what they hate about our product.

A good customer support person isn’t necessarily someone who’s already done it. To be good at customer support (in addition to our general requirements of smart and gets things done), you must be:

  • Energetic – always “on” with customers
  • Extroverted
  • Empathetic
  • Extremely good at listening to people and solving their problems

(See what I did there? With the 4 E’s? That’s marketing, baby … BTW, Harry doesn’t have any empathy, and Susan – our other support person – isn’t even extroverted! So technically you just need most of these qualities.)

Again – we’ll need you to answer phones and respond to emails … but that will take up about half your time, because it’s really hard to do customer support well for a whole day. It’s simply too draining.

The rest of the time, it would be nice to help make customer support less necessary in the first place by improving our online help and training materials (a concept straight out of the Customer Support Handbook). I’m working on it, too, but there’s plenty of work to go around.

Beyond that, there’s marketing (we just hired nickd to help us make our website suck less – oh my God, there’s so much work to do), operational work, product management/design work, improving our testing processes … so, so, so much to do. My current title is “Customer Support and more” … that’s probably a good title for you, too.

It only took me about a week to learn our software, but it took me at least a month to understand how our customers use it – that’ll be where you start, too. Where you go from there depends on you.

OK, ONE MORE THING – our customers are all businesses and mostly small businesses. We need somebody who’s passionate about the problems of small businesses. It’s not enough just to answer their software questions – we want somebody who is motivated to dig deeper with our customers and ask why. We want somebody who can look beyond a question being asked and figure out what business problem is causing the question to be asked in the first place. That’s a lot easier to do if you find small businesses really interesting.

What you get

Hopefully I’ve given you a sense of what it’s like to work here. To summarize what you’ll get out of it:

  • Great pay
  • Great benefits (health, dental, vision, 401k, profit sharing)
  • Great people
  • Great working environment
  • Great learning opportunity

How to apply

If you’ve read this far, then you must be intrigued … if talking to customers sounds interesting to you, then email me and/or Harry and tell us:

  • What you hope to gain by working for Moraware – why are you excited to work with us?
  • What’s “impressive” about you – what would make us excited to work with you?
  • Why you think you’re qualified (a resume with something resembling a cover letter is traditionally used for this purpose)

I can’t wait to hear from you!

* I’m apparently impressive at being impressive – when Ted (the other owner) was describing to me what he wanted me to do for Moraware, he summarized it as “becoming the Patrick Foley of the countertop industry” … I don’t even know what that means, but <sniff>, he had me at hello.