Inspire - Technical.ly

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Inspire

Philadelphia, PA
Founded in 2014
Status: Active

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 aims to be more than just a company — Avengers are committed to creating a brighter energy future. The company believes consumer technology products are the vehicles best-equipped to get us there.

Inspire’s platform is designed to make energy personal. Beyond providing 100 percent clean energy, Inspire also gives members data-driven home improvement and smart tech recommendations. By leveraging data and investing in its analytics platform, Inspire offers members improved transparency and control over how they consume energy. Many local Avengers also become 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.

Culture Checklist

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.