My GitHub Odyssey

I now work for GitHub, and I totally love it. This is the story of how I came to be there, with pictures. A quick warning to those with sensitive eyes: this post links to places with strong language.

I’ve been watching GitHub for years now. I was one of their first users in 2008, and I’ve read the blog posts on how awesome it is on the inside. This is the kind of company that everyone in my industry wants to work for. They don’t post openings on Craig’s List or Monster, and there’s no HR manager you can target with your resumé. So how does someone like me get their attention? By writing them a love letter using their own product, telling them why I was the right person for their team. I knew it was a long shot, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

I delivered it via Twitter at 8:37am on St. Patrick’s Day – a Saturday.

[tweet https://twitter.com/benstraub/status/181041584433922049]

I was a wreck that whole day. I was worried that I screwed it up somehow, that I came off as a clueless Twitter newbie, that I came on too strong. We went to a party later that day, and I had just started to relax when my phone lit up.

I don’t want to sound like a tween at a J-Biebs concert, but this was a moment I’m not likely to ever forget. Someone whose book I’ve read – not, by the way, any of the people I had sent that tweet to – wrote me at 4pm on a Saturday and said he “like[d] the passion and the attitude.” O. M. G.

We emailed back and forth for a while, and decided the best way to decide if I was a good fit for the company was sort of an extended audition. They have some software they develop out in the open (anyone can see the guts of it, and even make contributions), they were looking to expand the team working on it, and would I be interested? I thought it over for the amount of time it took to type “YES”, and proceeded to spend my evenings working on it for the following two weeks.

They invited me down to the office in San Francisco to meet the team, and do a real interview. Here I am catching an 8am flight; note the optimistic look on my face.

Here I am shortly after landing at SFO. I believe this was taken right after my driver called to arrange a pick-up.

The town car dropped me off at the address, and I bewilderedly stumbled around. I had to look the address up on my phone; here’s what it looks like:

Understated. Minimalistic. Genius.

I stuck my head in and asked the first person I saw, “GitHub?” He said, “Yeah, hi. I’m Tom.” Yup, one of the founders. I’m trying so hard to just. Be. Cool.

What followed was a whirlwind of introductions, code, food, beer, San Francisco, and amazingness. The place and the people were everything I had thought they would be, even being such a fanboy. Here’s the artwork GitHub had commissioned from a local artist. (It’s a… stylized rendition of our beloved mascot.)

I caught a ride back to the airport and flew home. It had been quite a day.

Now, most other companies would let at least a few days go by. I was expecting to have some time to, you know, convince myself that this was really happening. But no. The next day I had a Spaniard video-chatting with me (from Spain!), and the day after that I got the email. I was at work. I fought to keep a straight face all the way to a meeting room so I could do my happy dance where I wouldn’t be seen.

Anyway, that’s my Hired-by-GitHub story. I’ve loved every second working there, and I’m continually in awe of the people I work with.

3 thoughts on “My GitHub Odyssey

  1. Pingback: First Week at GitHub (April) « Our Peculiar Band of Characters

Leave a Reply