Inside the culture of Inspire
When people join Inspire, they’re not just another employee; they’re an Avenger. It has a lot more to do with protecting our planet than it does with a love for high-budget blockbusters. Inspire’s mission is to drive massive progress towards a brighter energy future. The company believes simplifying consumer adoption of clean energy and smart home technologies is the vehicle best-equipped to get us there.
Inspire is developing technology products that empower people to live smarter, and connect to power fit for the 21st century. The company’s flagship product is a Netflix-style subscription to wind power. Its proprietary operating system creates custom subscriptions for each home by analyzing data like energy use, occupancy, weather history and real estate trends. This model represents a fundamental shift in the traditional payment mechanism for energy. Many local Avengers become Inspire members, and every Inspire technologist tests new products before they’re released.
The company is in rapid growth mode, with approximately half of the team in its Center City, Philadelphia office and the other half in Santa Monica, California. Despite the distance, silos don’t exist at Inspire. Bi-coastal team members collaborate closely with company-wide Slack channels and both offices have live video streams to encourage interactions throughout the day. When the member support team (known internally as “member support Avengers”) said their CRM software was lackluster, the product and development teams fixed it by building an entirely new platform customized to their needs.
Team members in Philadelphia have the opportunity to spend time working in Santa Monica, and vice versa. Santa Monica employees might have the luxury of working in beautiful Southern California, but Philadelphia-based staff are afforded an incredible view of City Hall from Inspire’s lofty perch across the street. All Inspire employees, however, share a passion for the environment and a perpetual thirst for learning — especially on the job. Just ask Inspire’s developers, who learned Angular 2 to build the company’s consumer technology platform.
What are some examples of projects Inspire employees are working on?
Everyone is or becomes a full-stack developer. The company is very product-focused. Technologists are tasked with developing next generation consumer products that are easy to use and help members better understand their energy consumption. The team is currently working on Inspire’s consumer technology platform, which is written with a mix of Ruby and Angular 2, and using Ionic to create native mobile apps. Inspire’s tech team is constantly unlocking data that helps members optimize their energy usage, increase their home's value and decrease their carbon footprint.
How does Inspire encourage learning on the job?
Developers at Inspire love technology and are driven by their curiosity. It’s not a requirement to be an expert in the languages and tools we use, but it is a requirement to strive to get better at technology every day. At Inspire, coders get to learn and work with new technologies throughout the stack, whether it’s on the front-end, building API’s or working with our data scientists.
How does the company’s mission impact its technologists?
In the best way. Coders have opinions, and those opinions are welcomed at Inspire. While technical skills are important, Inspire is looking for technologists who want to feel a sense of purpose when they go to work everyday. Inspire’s dev team brings the company’s mission to life in everything it builds. At the end of the day, developers are asking themselves the same question their colleagues in other departments are asking: Is this going to help us achieve our mission?
What does the company do to loosen things up?
The drive to create a larger impact on this world is very real, but employees don’t take themselves too seriously. Every employee is an Avenger fighting climate change. Every employee also has his or her own story about their first “Cupcake Smash,” an internal birthday tradition that features an Avenger cape and a cupcake eating competition (could you eat a cupcake in one bite?). That is, unless you’re CEO and founder Patrick Maloney, who donned a pair of goggles and plunged his head into a bucket of water to bob for his birthday cupcake.
What is every-day company culture like?
Avengers will tell you that company culture is a big draw, and like everything else about Inspire, the company mission is a big part of it. The team is driven by the collective desire to create something new — to test, learn and solve the tough problems. Inspire’s staff is young, energized, and motivated by purpose-driven work. Avengers are encouraged to learn new skills and put them to the test. Outside of work, team members can often be found together, whether it be at a happy hour or office yoga session. Side projects are encouraged, and several employees use their free time to build something unrelated to work or engage with environmental justice organizations.
Andrew KirchnerAndrew Kirchner is the Director of Product & Strategic Market Development at Inspire. Read More »
“We have this saying that a good idea can come from anywhere. I spend a lot of time talking to people on the front lines. We want to be trailblazing. We want to be different. We want to tell the disruptor story. The ideas can come from anywhere.”
Claire MonclaClaire Moncla is a Business Development Manager at Inspire. Read More »
“It's all about impact. How many trees we're saving, how much clean energy is being produced — people who work here are excited about the work that we're doing. I think a lot of people come here for the culture.”
Matt AndersonMatt Anderson is a Software Engineer at Inspire. Read More »
“There’s a variety of work. It's not like you're off in a corner building something no one is going to use. The stuff you work on really matters.”
Posted Aug. 11, 2018
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