Although my official title was “product manager intern,” I was more popularly known as the “most spoiled intern ever.” As far as job descriptions go, “most spoiled intern” had the following core responsibilities:
- Overeat at Owler’s 1 million users celebration party because make-your-own macaroni bars are dangerously delicious
- Overeat at the holiday party because tiramisu is dangerously delicious
- Forget to eat during the company’s celebratory trip to Mexico because sunny weather, white-sand beaches, and whale-watching are dangerously distracting
In all honesty, my internship was certainly a unique one. I arrived just in time to celebrate Owler’s big wins — hitting 1 million active users and 2 million community contributions. However, to reduce my Owler internship to a few perks that came with accidental good-timing does Owler a severe injustice. The real perks come from key tenets of Owler culture:
- Learning is not an option; it’s a requirement.
Owler is a startup, and with that come all the stipulations of interning at a startup. The work is fast-paced, unpredictable, and different every day. Come in ready to learn because you’ll be there every step of the product lifecycle — from ideation to final engineering handoff. You’ll learn how to write product-build logic and sniff out and handle any edge cases or obstacles that the engineering team might encounter. You’ll learn how to work with the UI/UX team so that your product is as beautiful and user-friendly as it is smart. You’ll learn how to analyze historical data to build forward-looking models and predictive simulations. Most importantly, you’ll learn that adaptability is king, and impact is key.
Let’s be honest here, employees know how to get their own coffee (cold brew on tap!) and print their own papers (literally ctrl+p; cmd+p for Mac users), but what matters is real, meaningful work, and that’s what you’ll learn how to do.
- Inclusion and respect are guarantees.
At Owler, you are not an intern, but an equal — both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. You’ll be a part of the dialogue and present your work at product meetings with all the major players — from fellow product managers to Owler’s COO. You’ll get to ask a potential VP of engineering candidate your own questions and be asked later for your thoughts on his hire. You’ll be trusted to interview actual Owler users and write up key takeaways and action items for the rest of the team.
I mean, seriously, I still look and act like a child (I’m barely over 5 feet tall and basically vacuum the office’s supply of animal crackers into my stomach), but my contributions are valued and expected. Owler hires you for a reason — they set the bar high because they believe in your ability to reach it.
- The sky is not the limit because there is none.
Life at a startup is exciting. We’re all in this big Owler boat, rowing together as a team to become the most important business intelligence company in the entire world. Let me repeat that — the entire world!! Perhaps we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid, but our strong belief in the value of our product drives us to truly dominate our industry, and the best part is that there is no “best” — only “better.” Our product can always get better; there is no point where we can’t improve any more.
With limited resources (Owler’s still small, after all), high growth, and lofty goals, wins at Owler are huge and they’re exciting. Success here is communal — you’ll be a part of every celebration and be infected with this great, big desire to continue hitting those home runs. Of course, that means failure here is also communal, and that’s totally okay because that’s what Owler is: transparent and honest. You’ll come to know and love Owler’s successes and struggles because you’ll face them as a team, using each one as a learning opportunity.
So, thank you Owler, for challenging me with a new task every day and investing in my growth and learning. Thank you for putting up with my endless barrage of questions and never making me feel like they were unwelcome or arbitrary. Thank you, Owler, for inviting me to one heck of an internship — it’s been exciting, it’s been fun, and it’s been enlightening.
Also, a special thank you to my manager, Marcus for:
- Teaching me that the sriracha + hard boiled egg + wheat toast combo is culinary perfection.
- Repeatedly using catchphrases like “land the plane” and “get this done and we’ll be dancing” because I think they are hilarious.
- Giving me vitamin gummies every day so that my doctor won’t get onto me for Vitamin D deficiencies.
- And perhaps most importantly, showing me how to use Microsoft Excel.