Getting Started — My First Week Working at Josh.ai
I just completed my first week at Josh.ai, the privacy-focused voice control and automation platform for the smart home. After a busy start, I wanted to share my experience for future team members as well as any professionals that are exploring the startup route. There are a few important factors to consider when searching for the role that will be the best fit for you and hopefully, my insight will inspire others to follow their aspirations while helping them make informed decisions.
To start, the interview process can say a lot about a company’s mission and its culture. For a relatively young company, Josh.ai has an in-depth interview process that spans from technical challenges to application-specific and interview-style questions. When looking at a smaller company, it is vital for everyone involved in hiring to be in sync and this was evident throughout my interviews.
I spoke with my manager, his superior, and many other members of the Josh.ai team that I would be working with. As I wrapped up my first week, it was clear why there was a significant focus on this part of the process since everyone works together in a smaller organization. In a setting where collaboration is key to innovation, it quickly became clear that startups like Josh.ai are seeking motivated team players to drive the vision forward!
Since I am based in the Josh.ai Denver office, my onboarding was in-person and in a more intimate setting than if I were starting at a large company. My manager, Casey, flew in from his home in Newport Beach to help me settle in for my first week so that we could work together one-on-one. This automatically set the tone for how the team at Josh.ai operates; they care about every employee!
Onboarding is an involved process for any business, especially in an industry with as many facets as the Custom Integration channel. Therefore, Casey’s job of training me over my first week was no joke. He showed me everything from general administrative responsibilities, such as setting up all of my company-related accounts and workflows, to whiteboard sessions where we covered the more technical aspects of the industry. This personalized experience helped me feel comfortable in my position as well as with the company as a whole from day one.
Here is a day-by-day breakdown of my first week to provide an insider look at what it is like to work for an innovative, fast-paced company like Josh.ai!
Before my first day, when dealing with standard onboarding elements such as W-2s and I-9s, I asked my soon-to-be manager what time I should be at the office for my first day. He responded with, “I’ll be there at 8, beat me to it.” This text set the tone for my first day. They mean business.
I have been told my whole life that being early is on time, meaning that if you show up before the time allocated, you will always be there when you are supposed to. I took this to heart and showed up at 7:15, which in my case, was a little early. Nevertheless, this helped me get into the best mindset possible to hit the ground running on day one.
I spent most of the day getting set up with all of my accounts and finalizing administrative documents. I also got set up with Josh.ai’s external social platforms since I will be focused on our Marketing Communications strategy. While I left after day one feeling better than I did coming in, I still felt slightly disconnected from the company. This disconnect was due to my inability to relate to any conversations I was overhearing regarding product and industry-specific items.
I showed up early on my second day, but only by about fifteen minutes this time since my nerves were slightly more relaxed. Today was the day to learn about more of the technical components of our company and industry. The deep technical dive is something that I was looking forward to because of the number of industry terms that I didn’t understand. However, we started slow with Casey taking a couple of hours to teach me the basics of our industry. I can tell you firsthand it is no joke with lots of moving parts.
Gaining this level of baseline knowledge was something I needed because when sitting in on meetings on my first day, it almost seemed like people were speaking a different language. This was mostly due to the technical jargon used in the smart home industry not being something I was accustomed to. Nonetheless, I left day two feeling much more comfortable because I now had a foundational understanding of what we do at Josh.ai.
By day three, Casey felt more comfortable with me taking on some of my own responsibilities. He also knew that I had come ready with ideas of my own to improve Josh.ai’s company communication strategy. He gave me the assignment of developing a proposal, which I would present on Friday to our leadership on how we can optimize our social media and customer engagement. Taking on this kind of responsibility is why I joined Josh.ai. I wanted to be in a role where I could share my vision, even if new ideas were met with questions or concerns. Having the autonomy to express opinions from day one is not something every entry-level employee can say they are able to do.
Like a fine wine that gets better with age, so does your comfort within a new organization. Even after a couple of days, I felt more in sync with my position and how to help achieve our objectives. I can attribute this to the fact that I was learning everyone’s roles, understanding what Josh.ai stands for as a company, and soaking in nuances of how our industry operates. My knowledge bank at least doubled from the start to the end of each day, and continues doing so. Casey was also doing everything he could to get me up to speed, which made it an easy transition to contribute to the Josh.ai team.
By Friday, I was feeling happy with my role in the company and the people I will be working with for the foreseeable future. Feeling great does not mean I will not encounter roadblocks or face overwhelming moments in the future. However, after presenting my proposal to our leadership and receiving encouragement throughout the week, I know that I am in a place that supports me and will allow me to craft my path as I start my marketing career.
Lastly, I wanted to give a brief checklist of things to keep in mind when you are starting with a new company:
- On-Time is Late, and Early is on-time
You only get one shot to make a first impression, so make it count. As a new member of the team, it is important to show you are ready to contribute and willing to put in the time to learn.
2. Be Prepared
Do your research before day one! This does not mean you need to know everything, but having a basic understanding of the organization and industry you will be working in is always a good start. I also recommend researching the people you know you will be meeting to have a good idea of who they are so you have a foundation to build upon before walking through the door.
3. Ask Questions
There are no bad questions! Well, this isn’t necessarily true because there are bad questions. However, for the most part, asking questions will show you are engaged and ready to learn. The only way to find something out that you do not understand is to ask, so ask away!
Max is a member of the Josh.ai Business Development team. Originally from Connecticut, Max graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.