Chartbeat Spotlight: Ben Stahl

July 24th, 2013 by Cat

One of the most common interview questions I get from candidates is, “What’s it like to work at Chartbeat?” There's no one right answer to this question, but I’m a firm believer in being honest with candidates about what to expect when you're part of the Chartteam.

I write up these spotlights to give people that extra layer of insight, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I hope they show you why it kicks ass to work here and how different roles at the company contribute to the larger data pie.

Today you'll get to know Ben, our Marketing Engineer. He's seen Chartbeat evolve from a teeny tiny startup to a larger, much more “grown-up” business. Enjoy his inside perspective on what it’s like to grow with a changing company.

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What Ben brings to the table:

After a stint in finance, Ben joined Chartbeat and took on a role with the Chartcorps, focusing on client support and user education. He used this position to understand Chartbeat products frontwards and backwards, but always had aspirations to be in a more technical role. So over two years ago Ben started his journey from “pretengineer” to engineer. He did this by reading every book he could get his hands on, taking courses and combing the depths of the internet for anything that would teach him how to write good code and not just copy it.

Ben attributes a lot of his learning to working in an environment that allowed him to ask a lot of questions and get constructive feedback from solid technical minds daily.

More than anything, Ben has worn a ton of hats here at Chartbeat, working with the Chartcorps, outreach, account management,  business ops, product management, and development. This type of exposure makes him a great Marketing Engineer because he can see past the lines of code and think creatively about the business.

So what cool things are you working on now?

Right now we’re working on a fun way for outside viewers to get a sense of Chartbeat metrics without having to put any code on their site. Concurrents and Engaged Time are the way we measure the web, and anyone should be able to get a taste of our metrics. We’re building a responsive page chock full of parallax surprises to hopefully provide an engaging experience for curious perusers to get an insider's glimpse at our tech .

What challenges are you facing as we continue to grow?

I think we deal with a lot of the same challenges most companies in our situation face. It’s about balancing having a great, growing crew of extremely hardworking people who care deeply about every aspect of Chartbeat but also letting go a bit of this culture where everyone has their hands in every aspect of the evolution and building process around every single product.

As a company we are constantly coming up with ways to keep team members involved and informed, and we may well develop our own secret sauce over time, but sometimes I’m bummed to miss the creation process and only get to see end results of our initiatives.

What have you learned working here?

I’ve learned a lot of things, but the one that sticks out most is knowing the difference between overwhelmed and whelmed is usually just a few questions.

One philosophy our CEO Tony  has promoted since Day 1 is to ask for forgiveness before permission. And so far it's worked out pretty well.

At Chartbeat, we all try things that may not be in our comfort zone or expertise, and usually come out in a better place afterwards. Back-end engineers write front-end code, data scientists sell the vision, and dogs do business. This is a place where learning is encouraged, always.

What’s the weirdest Chartbeat moment you’ve had so far?

Nothing weirds me out, but the day we introduced the ability to search a word or phrase and automatically have the first Google image result inserted into our less serious (bullsh*tting) HipChat chatroom things TOTALLY got weird. For the sake of the readers I won’t divulge details.

What's the best perk about working at Chartbeat?

Sure, it’s cheesy, but I think the best perk about Chartbeat is the people. We’re an eclectic mix of characters from all different walks of life and somehow we manage to have a lot of fun together.  We’ve got former polar explorers, radio talkshow hosts, velodrome racers, and biochemistry lab geeks.

Each person is uniquely different and that’s a great thing because we all add our own flavor to the mix and end up with a harmonious atmosphere. We challenge, impress, surprise and alter each other's perspective, but most of the time we just smile (and drink High Life’s) together.

Want to ask Ben a question about life at Chartbeat as our Marketing Engineer? Add your questions in the comments and he'll respond to you!