This is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute just sit right there and tell you how I became… the only non-tech person in a team of seven developers.
Arriving at 9am on my first day, I enter a room and to my disappointment it isn’t overwhelmed by computer screens and laptops. The first morning was very pleasant and consisted of my new team helping me get set up and briefing me on the ongoing actions. They warned me that it was going to be very different from what I was used to. And boy were they right.
It was only after day four that I began to understand what they were talking about. Adjusting to a new job, new colleagues, new missions and a new environment always takes time but this was on a new level. The daily talks they had during breaks, over lunch or in the open space were utterly incomprehensible.
Luckily, my colleagues were very helpful and explained everything on the spot. Not wanting to appear too clueless, I had to restrain myself from asking millions of questions and only focused on the things that really seemed to matter.
Days pass. I learn what GitHub is, what machine learning is. I distinctly remember a coffee break where two colleagues had to use teabags, spoons and sugar cubes to explain how an API works.
More days pass. I occasionally whisper to my neighbor “hey, what does that mean?” and as I’m learning, my initial confusion turns to the utmost respect for the team. Coming from one of the great programming schools in France, I realize that my colleagues are extremely skilled at what they do. Their aura of technical expertise and exciting discussions keep feeding my admiration: the questions come flooding out.
“Can you do this?” “And that?” “You can? That’s INSANE”. I see them type and go about their day working on what is like magic to me. And as I realize the world of possibilities that they are dealing with, I fully grasp the complexity and impact of our project.
Even more days pass. I dive into this Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. My everyday tasks keep me in the real world, and training sessions with my colleagues start enlightening me on how Recast.AI works, what it truly does, how I should talk about it, pitch it, what it is, what it isn’t.
Lunches remain blurred but thankfully, a little less so. I pick up terms and expressions and even understand what they mean. As my understanding of the team grows, my involvement in their daily brainstormings grows stronger. Until one day.
Writing about the opening of our API endpoints
It all began with “Justine, this week you should tell our users that we’ve opened all our API endpoints”
“Ok I’m gonna need some help with that.”
“How should I put this?”
“What’s an API endpoint again?”
I see their endearing “isn’t she cute” eyes quickly turn to astonishment. As my goal was to write an email to thousands of developers, I have to get the words right. I have to understand what we’re doing.
“So it means that people can use our API without actually going through the platform”.
“An API has endpoints that people can have access to”.
“Remember, the API is a “connector” between our own technology and the users”.
Roughly forty five minutes later, the email is sent and gone, much like my energy.
How it is today
Fifty-eight days passed. I have come to fully understand what Recast.AI can do, and soon how our technology truly works. That’s exciting. I’m at ease communicating with our users, having been immersed in the world of developers. When they asked me to take over some user support tasks like answering developers questions, I finally felt part of team.