We’re excited to launch “Gem’s Gems,” our new blog series spotlighting individual team members at Gem! To kick off the series, we spoke with Gem Founding Engineer Drew Regitsky. Drew has an impressive background as a self-taught software engineer, having transitioned from chemical engineering over the course of working at several startups (biotech, bioinformatics etc). A graduate of MIT, Drew went to school with Gem co-founders Steve and Nick. We caught up with Drew to learn more about him.
Name: Drew Regitsky
Job title: Founding Engineer
Hometown: Marietta, GA (originally, though I’ve been in SF for almost 9 years now)
How long have you been at Gem? 1.5 years full-time, almost 2 years counting contracting pre-seed.
When I started contracting early on, Nick and Steve already had a working product that sourcers were using day-to-day. So it was clear that they’d both found a real problem and created a solution that people will use. Obviously, Gem has come a long way since then, but the idea has more or less been the same all along.
What do you do at the company?
I help with building the product, deciding what to build next, and keeping things working.
What’s the coolest thing(s) about working at Gem?
To pick just one, I’d say cross-functional visibility and impact. I came here wanting to learn how to build and run a fast-growing startup (versus just code), and it's proven to be a crash course in exactly that.
Favorite memory from work?
So many! Maybe a tie between lots of fun times on the Hawaii trip, and moving into our first office at Mint Plaza. The office was sort of a tangible "We made it! We're a real startup!" moment, and it was fun working with the team to order supplies and set everything up ourselves.
What do you like about working at Gem?
Above all else -- the people. I’m really lucky to have such thoughtful, intelligent, and fun to be around co-workers. There's a lot I could say about the welcoming work environment, how we approach problems, etc - but most of it just comes back to having such great people here to work with and learn from.
What are some surprises you found working at Gem?
As an engineer, the value of everything besides code. This seems pretty obvious in retrospect, but I think there's a bit of arrogance that can creep in as an engineer in SF - a sort of "I can do everything" mentality. So seeing the impact of hiring our first Sales person, first Customer Success Manager, etc and realizing I probably could never do those things was very cool and a bit humbling. Beyond that, just how quickly we've gotten to where we are.
Which Gem value relates to you the most?
In my work I think a lot about velocity - fighting my perfectionist nature to make tradeoffs and be pragmatic. But in terms of what I appreciate the most, probably transparency. I've seen companies that don't practice it, and it's usually been a sign of dysfunction and lack of trust. Nick, Steve, and the rest of us all trust each other enough to never hide anything, and there's a general feeling that we all make better decisions when we're fully informed.
Where do you see the recruiting industry heading?
I learned a lot from Nick and Steve about the recruiting industry early on. There’s a way of looking at it as a matching problem – people want the ideal job; companies want the ideal candidate. Recruiters are helping with that. It’s also an industry that’s been surprisingly underserved by technology, and there are some great opportunities to innovate. Over time - and maybe with the help of software like what we’re building - I imagine recruiting teams will become more efficient and data-driven, hopefully giving everyone better outcomes in that matching problem.
What are your hobbies?
Outside of coding (which could also count as a hobby) I enjoy climbing, photography, travel, and getting outdoors. I've also dabbled in sailing (I can theoretically take a 35' boat out on the SF bay, but it's been a while) and DIY electronics (I built a wi-fi connected programmable LED strip for my room).
What superpower would you like to have?
Teleportation would be nice!
Thanks, Drew, for taking time out to chat with us! If you want to know more about what it's like to work at Gem, Drew has written a post on precisely that topic.
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