The Web Setup: BuildZoom

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In this installment of the Web Setup, we spoke with David Petersen of BuildZoom a fast, easy and safe way to hire a contractor. Here’s a look at how they run a fast growing, collaborative start-up.

David, tell me about your team; what kind of office setup do you have?

Our core team is 20 people, 5 working in Customer Support in Oklahoma City and 15 here in San Francisco in Sales and Engineering.

We share an office with my brother’s company, Flexport, so we’ve got two fast growing start-ups in one space. 50 people in 100 square feet – it’s slightly insane. We’re moving next January but right now it’s definitely San Francisco start-up life, running on mostly MacBook Pros with some non-programmers using PCs, 50 desks and completely open space.

What web apps can your team not live without? How do you pick them?

I personally am extremely price sensitive; I have an aversion to signing up for new apps because I crave simplicity. Each one is something new to worry about – but there are so many apps that provide great services that we need.

Each app adds complexity, something new thing to worry about – but so many provide great services that we need.

Usually we’ll hear about one 2-3 times and realize it’s something we can use. Most, like Meldium, once we started using, we realize we can’t live without it. One of the biggest stressors in my entire life used to be keeping track of 50 passwords. Every site has different requirements: Numbers, upper case letters, lower case, punctuation, no punctuation – it caused me serious stress! I couldn’t get into my accounts and then I started using Meldium.

Slack is the number one thing we use – we love it. It’s helpful and reduces e-mail. We use Trello for roadmap items, GitHub for tracking bugs, HelloSign to sign something (it’s a God send), Bugsnag lets users tell us when our site as a bug, Amazon Web Services (AWS) for all of our hosting, and HelpScout is how we communicate with the world.

We use a number of others as well: FedEx, Instacart, oDesk, RingCentral, MailGun, Mandrill, SauceLabs, MailChimp, BizSpark, Authorize.net, Optimizely, Olark, New Relic, Twilio, ZenPayroll, Zenefits – it’s a lot.

How do you hire and onboard new people?

Meldium makes it easy to get everyone onboard quickly with all of our shared apps most our employees all have their own sign-ins since they all use Meldium for their individual apps. We don’t do any firing – so don’t have to use it to de-provision or offboard anyone.

What would be your dream setup? What would you wish were easier or better?

I would love to be in an office where we had 360 degree views of the San Francisco Bay area, from the 40th floor. I want my employees to be able to work together very collaboratively, sit near each other and not be interrupted.

In every way, with apps we use or the stuff we build, I would rather do fewer things better.

For me, I want everything in my life to be simpler, more minimalist. From personal investments, to my work, to the apps we use. You can get very tempted to add complexity with different tools and services and the toll of managing so many different things and sneak up on you. In every way, with apps we use or the stuff we build, I would rather do fewer things better.